Jesus: The Original Youth Minister

5124omQ9aVL“If you have a group of twelve kids who don’t understand your illustrations and one of them wants to kill you, you have a youth group like Jesus.” –Mark Yaconelli

If you just think of this quote on the surface level, for it quickly gets dark if you dive deeper, it’s a funny analogy. I came upon this quote while reading Sustainable Youth Ministry: Why Most Youth Ministry Doesn’t Last and What Your Church Can Do About It by Mark DeVries. At first, it made me chuckle, for I have one teen who jokes about using nukes against me whenever I challenge him to a wrestling match . . . and win. And another who has watched way too many crime shows and claims to know how to get away with hiding a dead body. . . .

But after my chuckling, I began to think about Jesus and his disciples, how he may have been the first youth minister and what his youth group would have been like. Continue reading

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Heroes: Black Panther~The King of kings

Black-Panther-Poster-CroppedLast weekend, I got to see Black Panther with a group of friends–and it was well worth the wait! The story was solid, the sites were stunning, and the action was awesome! I also enjoyed how there was representation with many women and black characters; however, they represented without making the white men look dumb–Agent Ross still had a very important part to play at the end. Nevertheless, my biggest complaint, is that there were no elephants. I mean, we were in Africa, and I didn’t see a glimpse of my favorite animal, which makes this movie a nine out of ten in my book. (The sandy elephant you see in the intro story doesn’t, doesn’t count–it’s not a real elephant.)

Like I said, it was another good movie produced by Marvel. Other than the popcorn and getting to share this experience with a group of good friends, my favorite part of the movie, was the wisdom that King T’Chaka shared with his son, “You are a good man, with a good heart. And it’s hard for a good man to be a king.” Continue reading

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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