The Life of a Youth Minister

Eight months.

It has almost been eight months since I graduated from Harding University and dove into full-time youth ministry. It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed so quickly. But looking back, I feel this is truly my calling. However, though I have greatly enjoyed what I do, that doesn’t mean it’s been an easy ride. . . . I mean, I’ve been to three funerals since I’ve started . . .

A lot has happened during my time serving. I can easily write a book about all these experiences, such as a mission trip to Texas, the time spent at Little Prarie Bible Camp, fasting for thirty hours, and cheering at numerous sports events. . . . But one thing that does stick out which I can write a blog about, is that I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked, “So, what do you do all day?” I even have a teen in the youth group, let’s call him Michelangelo, who teases that he works harder than me since he goes to school five days a week, while I only work two [Sunday and Wednesday]. I know Michelangelo says this out of good fun, but there are people who believe this–that youth ministry is one of the easiest jobs in the world. That youth ministers don’t need to work too hard, that they’re just big kids who get to hang with the teens. Or that youth ministry is just a stepping stone into pulpit ministry–that’s where the real work begins.

There’s a lot of crazy ideas out there, but hopefully I can shed some light on what it’s like being a youth minister, by sharing some of my own thoughts and experiences. (Though I won’t share all of them; I can’t give away all of my trade secrets.)

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What’s Most Important?

I’ve heard this song on the radio during the last few weeks. And though it has a catchy beat, and I get what it’s trying to say, I wish it wasn’t being played–that there was more “Joy to the World,” or “Away in the Manger,” instead of “Christmas with a Capital ‘C'”.

The reason I say this, is because I believe there is too much time and energy spent on arguing and debate, rather than on sharing the Gospel. And heated debates being made, without one knowing all the facts. I say this, for though I am a Christian, and I believe we should talk about Jesus daily, I have no problem with saying, “Merry Xmas”, or “Happy holidays.” Why? Continue reading

Christian

What if ‘Christian’ was no longer a title or noun–
But a verb?

Is it not some type of state of being?
We often treat it as such.
For you see, a verb is an action,
While a noun is just a thing.
In order to jump, you must be jumping,
But to be a person, you must simply be born.
To be takes no effort, no sweat, no sacrifice,
While a verb must constantly be in motion,
Constantly in action,
Constantly doing instead of simply being.

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God vs. Monsters

In every culture, there are legends of monsters. Frightening creatures such as the Greek’s Cerebus: a titanic dog with three heads, each with a mane of snakes, and a serpent for a tail. The North American Wendigo: a beast similar to Bigfoot, but with antlers, flesh so tight to its bones, it almost appears as a skeleton, and its blue heart can be visibly seen beating in its chest. Or the Bogeyman: a monster that kidnaps and devours disobedient children.

We all have monsters that we’re afraid of, for not all monsters are mythical in nature. This picture of Foxy, from the game Five Nights at Freddy’s, is here to represent the monsters within our own lives.

In fact, there are several monsters within the pages of the Bible, such as the mighty Behemoth (Job 40:15-24) and the fierce Leviathan (Job 41). But, not all monsters are beasts, such as the man Goliath, who was defeated by God through the shepherd boy David (1 Samuel 17). There are also the lions, the beasts that Daniel spent an entire night within their den, God using His angel to shut their mouths to spare His servant (Daniel 6). Or even the fiery furnace, which God rescued Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from (Daniel 3):

Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?” 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. Daniel 3:14-18

The Bible is full of stories of monsters and God rescuing His people from them. However, reading stories such as these, are not always comforting, are they? For what about the monsters that we deal with within our daily lives? Such as a bully or an overbearing boss? Or where was God when Joplin was hit by the monstrous tornado? Or when a woman was taken advantage of?

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God still Reigns, and Jesus is Lord

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Discussing politics, is usually like poking a bear with a very sharp stick. Because of the sensitivity of this topic, I have made it a personal policy of mine to not share my political views on social media–which is still a policy I uphold and is not the purpose for this blog. However, this is a topic, though very fragile, which I cannot remain utterly silent upon. This post is not to share my favor nor disfavor for one party or the other, or to bash nor support the candidate who was and was not chosen for election. This post instead, is to share three amazing truths spoken in chapel today by my university’s most wise president, Dr. Bruce McLarty: Continue reading

The Tales of Traveling with an Open Backpack

14570220_10210808326503416_4024642559880682269_nThe bell rung, releasing me to venture from my 11 o’ clock class to lunch. I stuffed my books and notes in my backpack before racing for the door. Next came weaving through the bodies of the corral, I mean hall. Squeezing through couples, detouring around friends, bumping into backpacks of those who had stopped to greet another with a hug. Finally, after shooting down a near-empty hallway, I believed I was scot-free. I was nearing the stairwell which headded to the caf when a voice stopped me, “Hey, do you know you’re backpack’s open?”

“Yes?” I replied somewhat puzzled, with my stomach protesting for the slight delay.

“Oh, okay. I thought I would tell you.”

“Thank you,” I replied before separating, me heading to the salad bar for some cottage cheese.

That was also not the only time which I’ve been stopped by a passerby trying to help, alerting me of my open backpack. One of my favorite examples, is a random guy who tried to close it for my while I was walking  down a fleet of stairs.

“Why do you keep your backpack open?” asked another.  Continue reading