Archive for June, 2007

Real People

I started this thought a little while back.  Our values with Impact…  Real People being number 2.  This goes beyond who we have as leaders.  Yes, we want our leaders to be down to earth and not fake.  Students need to understand that the adult leaders don’t have everything all figured out in life either.  We struggle just like everyone else.  The important part of this is that, while we question things about life, we know the true source of life.  We understand that God has it all figured out and the more we trust Him and lean into His understanding the easier and more managable our lives can be.

Even more so, we want students to be real.  I am so tired of Sunday school answers and washed over comments about how life is going.  My desire is that if a student is having a tough time that they would be open about it and give us the chance to help connect them with the ONE who can help them through all things.  Understanding also, that often times He chooses to use us to help others as well.  Life is too short for fake appearances and glossed over answers.

Let’s be real – all the time!

What’s Your Passion?

I’m still amazed when I see people who don’t look the part step into something such as youth ministry and shine. I have learned over the past 10 years that students don’t want the “hip, cool” guy. They want someone who cares about them. They desire to be cared for. They are looking for someone who is passionate about them.

Jeff Cerow pointed me to this guy. He’s a cell phone salesman. But that isn’t what he is passionate about. He loves to sing opera. Check it below. This is amazing!

Well, Paul Potts went on to win the whole competition – who would have thought!? Opera! Are you serious? It leads me to my question for you all – What’s Your Passion? The youth of this area need people who are passionate about God, passionate about them, and passionate about seeing them connect in relationship with HIM!

Listen to his comments after his incredible performance. Have more confidence in yourself. If God has put the desire and the passion to serve youth then do it with full confidenc, knowing that He will give you the words to speak and and the ability to handle the tough times when they come…

Refreshing

I brought the family to the first of our Saturday evening worship services. Wow! What a refreshing service.

Kim and I sat together with the kids, worshiped as a family and prayed together. It was nice to not be driven by an agenda. Pastor Peter spoke about being refreshed and strengthened by the Lord. He spoke to those who felt like they were running on empty and shared from Isaiah about rising up on wings of an eagle. It tied right on with the song that we were singing “Eagles Wings”. While our Saturday was busy and we did a lot of work around the yard today – this was the highlight of the weekend.

We are looking forward to our next Saturday evening worship service at the end of July. Join us if you can, you won’t be disappointed!

Realignment

impact-i_color.jpgMy car broke down yesterday.  The belt that runs from the cooling system broke because the bearing in the pulley froze up and cause the pulley to be out of alignment.  My mechanic told this all to me this morning while all I could think of was “how much is this going to cost me?”

This rings true in what we do with Impact as well.  (o.k., thanks God for messing with my car so I can have an analogy to use…)

Sometimes what we are doing needs to be redefined.  Some things can get knocked around and out of alignment, which causes other things to get messed up.  I do not believe that we are heading in the wrong direction but I also  want to be proactive in ensuring that we never do!  I believe we are making an impact in the lives of the youth in the Capital Region and we are seeing fruit in the lives of man of the students here.  Over the past year we have had many new youth come through our doors, not only as visitors but also regular attendees.  I believe we have created an atmosphere where youth can connect in relationship with Jesus and others and, in turn, go out and make a difference in their communities through the love of Christ.

As I said above, I believe that we are “winning” at what we are trying to accomplish.  But how can we measure this?  I have a statement that I pray will clarify what a “win” looks like.  “A win happens at Impact when a student has a meaningful interaction and discusses life-changing principles within the context of a small group”

What does this look like?

Our greeters need to be aware of those who need to get connected with other students and creatively communicate the importance of relationships, so the win for the greeter happens when students choose to get connected with others.

The worship leader should strive to create an atmosphere that prepares students to hear the message, so the win for worship happens when students participate and their hearts become open to truth.

The speaker is positioning the message to set up small group time, so the win for the speaker is measured by how well students discuss the teaching during the group time.

In the end, if students participate in an effective small group, we win; if they do not, we lose.

I’ll be posting ongoing points about how we lead an effective ministry as the days and weeks go on.

Here’s to winning – because we know what is at stake if we don’t…

My day was better than this…

looks like this driver may want to check the new ten commandments of driving. He’s gonna need to put them into practice…

badday.jpg

Oh Please!

Today, the vatican issued an unusual document – the “ten commandements of driving”

from CNN.com

An unusual document from the Vatican’s office for migrants and itinerant people also warned that automobiles can be “an occasion of sin” — particularly when they are used for dangerous passing or for prostitution.

It warned about the effects of road rage, saying driving can bring out “primitive” behavior in motorists, including “impoliteness, rude gestures, cursing, blasphemy, loss of sense of responsibility or deliberate infringement of the highway code.”

The “Drivers’ Ten Commandments,” as listed by the document, are:

1. You shall not kill.

2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

7. Support the families of accident victims.

8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

10. Feel responsible toward others.

the pope has obviously not driven in Massachusetts. To live up to these standards would prove impossible!

Why we do what we do…

There are nights driving home after a long evening with the youth that I wonder, “why am I doing this?” The thought to me is startling as I know that God has called me to pastor youth. There is nothing else I would want to do with my life. And that is when reality floods back in. I love this! I love what I do. After almost 10 years I can still say that firmly. I love that God has called me into ministry.

I know that many times it is a thankless thing that I do. I look around me at the many youth who have come recently and I thank God. It’s not about me. It’s not about me getting a pat on the back and a “well done”, this is about connecting youth into a relationship with Jesus. I am seeing many do just that. It’s amazing! As I recount the hard times over the past few months, March was really hard – I would go so far as to say the hardest month in ministry ever for me personally. When Andrew passed away so quickly I was stunned. And yet, the fruit of his life and his passion for God is so evident and even now still being experienced. I look at the 12 youth that are now a part of Impact that had never come before, but because of Andrew’s life and his continual inviting – even after death – they are now here.

I look around at the environment that we have created, where youth can be themselves and be free to invite others – where church doesn’t have the stigma of being boring and irrelevant – but is a fun place to be. I see all of the new youth that are coming in – visitors every week! God exceeds our prayers every time. I think of the changed lives that are all around us because we don’t step carefully around the sensitive issues – I am so glad that my Sr. Pastor gives me the freedom to challenge the youth to live a life of uncompromising commitment to Jesus. Even today, I received an email from someone who found us online and wanted to thank us for being bold enough to speak about sex, divorce and homosexuality without skirting the issues and making things look all nice on the surface.

Real talk about a real God is what we are about. Nice, safe talks don’t follow the pattern of Jesus. Plain talk about who He is and how He can help us through life are so much more life-impacting than a pretty story and a scripture.

So I guess that is core value number 1. Straight Talk. We won’t play games with the youth of NH as we talk about what it means to live a life connected in relationship with Jesus Christ. You want answers, we’ll talk, we’ll help young people with their doubts and fears. We can walk through the hang-ups because the bottom line is that we have all been there ourselves.

Which leads to core value number 2. Real People. More to come on that later…

how priorities change

we brought the kids to Storyland today – just a few short miles away from the Presidential Range in Northern New Hampshire. 9 years ago I would have killed someone to get over onto those mountains to hike and climb all that granite goodness. Now, 9 years later with 2 kids in tow, I couldn’t have been happier riding on the teacups and sitting by the pond as Makenna tried to catch a duck. It still blows me away that I am a dad. Even moreso, I am amazed at how priorities change over the years…

How have your priorities changed over the years? Is life still all about you? let me know your thoughts.