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The following is the week day email I get from Family Minute:

There is an artist who takes broken pieces of china and glues them together in various forms to make incredible art. All of us have broken pieces in our lives. Some of our lives even seem to be shattered beyond repair. But those seemingly worthless pieces can be put together and used to fashion something beautiful and something that can be used to help others.

Whether you're broken as a result of divorce, abuse, neglect, alcohol or drugs, know that your pieces can be salvaged and used for good in your life and in the lives of many.

It is my hope that my vocational life until now, is being shaped into a mosaic that will be formed into something helpful for other youth workers and churches that I will be able to serve.


The 44 Hours that Changed my Life

I woke up at 3:30am on Monday to make my 5am flight. I was in San Diego a little after 8:3o when Doug Clark picked me up from the airport. I knew this was going to be a different type of interview after I had talked to Doug a few days earlier. I asked him if I need to prepare anything for the interview and basically I was told to just come with my story.

Doug gave me a tour around San Diego then we had coffee at The Hotel del Coronado. We sat in the courtyard and talked. We rememberd we had first met in 1997 at a Leadership Network deal for large church youth pastors. (This is also where Riddle and I first met.)

Then we headed to the NNYM offices where I met the staff. I had lunch with Doug & the executive staff and we chatted. They each asked some questions but they were more pesonal rather than professional. (Partially because Doug had asked some of the harder questions when he visted Lubbock.)

I joined the staff meeting, was introduced was asked to share a little bit towards the end of the meeting. I rambled about being an evangelical mutt and my heart and history of networking. Afterwards the executive staff met and eventually two of the guys wanted to tell me how it went.

It was a welcome relief when they welcomed me aboard and recognized this sort of position is an outflow of my DNA.

I called my family before Doug and I went to get the rental car and check me into the hotel.

Had a wonderful dinner with Doug and his family at Stir Fresh Grill, now I know why it's one of their favorite places.

Went to the hotel, called my dad and CRASHED!

I slept 7 hours and was wide awake at 4:3oam. What'd I do? Called my friends on the East Coast, of course. Talked to a few friends over the next couple of hours (all on the East Coast) and then got ready for breakfast with a friend. I had breakfast with my room dog from my last National Youth Worker Convention, Mr. Adam Mclane. Read this if you want a hint at what our friendship is like, and yes, it is mutual. We ate at DZ Akins and it was an amazing breakfast as we got caught up on all things us and our worlds.

I then followed Adam to the Youth Specialties offices. Saw Dave, (BTW: we met for the first time when he worked at Squint Records & Sixpence None the Richer had a little promo stop at my church (The Methadome/Our Lady of the Quary) for the album that had "Kiss Me" on it.) met Ian, Tash, and others who I couldn't find links for.

Adam went to work, Ian was polishing off the 50th YS Podcast and I went upstairs to check email and read. I was so tired after an hour or so, I laid down on one of the couches, set my alarm for a 40 minute nap and went to sleep. Being in the YS office felt like I was at a friends house who loved me and I knew they wouldn't mind if I took a nap, so I did.

I woke up to some noises and sat up in time to see Marko walking around looking for a location to shoot some video. (Still have no clue which group was interviewing him.) I kissed Marko's ring. . . . er. . . I mean. . . we shook hands and caught up a bit a little later.

I had In-N-Out for my Double/Double Animal Style with Light Fries and then headed to the airport. I was so tired from everything, I was asleep before the plane took off and I didn't wake up for about 2.5 hours into the the flight to Houston.

Made the connection to Lubbock and walked in my door around 11:30pm. 44 hours and my life was different.

I'm super excited about the new ministry and can't wait to get started but for now my #1 priority is to follow through with the 40 plus people who previously shared they wanted to support us monthly, at some level. (I never asked for amounts becuase it didn't matter until the position was offered.) There are probably 12-15 other people who had expressed interest in being a monthly supporter so I'm starting the process of talking with them too.

Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement leading up to this trip and for the adventure that will follow.

Keep Lovin' Jesus!


My Latest Prayer Update

If you'd like to be on the prayer update list, let me know

The interview last Wednesday with Doug Clark from the National Network of Youth Ministries was very long but also seemed to go very well.

I'm flying to San Diego on the 24th (not the 22nd) to interview with the NNYM's executive team and meet the whole crew.

A an encouraging thing from Wed.

I took an online test that measures your working relationships/styles. When they reveiwed the the results with me, they let me know that the style I scored, out of 40 or so possible styles, was the one they had determined would be the ideal one for the position. That match is not enough of a reason to be offered the position, but defintely encouraging.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

Keep Lovin' Jesus,



Hey, You Never Know!

Win an Autographed Electric Guitar from Interlinc.

Win a sweet little Fender electric guitar covered with some of the biggest names and coolest people in Christian music!

The guitar includes:

Family Force 5
Stellar Kart
Hawk Nelson
Thousand Foot Krutch & more

Enter here!


The Youth Worker Book of Hope

I'm so excited about this book. Tim is a good friend and I've known about this book since it was a proposal and maybe even an idea for a proposal.

Youth ministry is hard, whether it's your vocation or not but what makes the hardships bearable is the great joy of seeing God work in students lives. Because of the hard times though, it's easy and probably likely to focus on te hardships and hurts.

Enter "The Youth Worker Book of Hope". It shares 16 stories from different youth workers who made common mistakes, what they learned and the hope they found through their particular experience.

This is helpful for most youth workers because we know we have faults but it's refreshing to know that we are not the only ones and that there is hope beyond the mistakes. One of my personal joys of reading the chapters is that I know over half of the contributors. So I get to laugh more and probably hurt more than most people as I see more insights into my friends lives but each chapter is a winner, whether you've gone through their particular experience or not.

Matthew McNutt's thoughts on the book.

Adam Mclane's thoughts on the book.

Become a Fan on Facebook


Turning the Page. . .

My last day as an employee of the church was July 1, 2009. I am remaining as a volunteer through the end of summer activities. So during this time I'll be teaching most of the lessons, doing most of the activities and still loving on students. Plan on staying longer but probably taking a break from responsibilites for a bit as I work on the what's next.

A good bit of last year I wrestled with depression. I described that I felt like I was in a "fog" on more than one occasion to a variety of people. I'm tons better now and I feel like i'm my normal self. During this time in the fog, my performance at the church was in a fog, too. It covered a variety of things but my weaknessess were weaker and affected the tasks side of my ministry.

The church leaders were patient with me and helped me see some things and encouraged me to discover and deal with whatever the "core" issues were that were affecting me personally and professionally. I did that and over the last 4 months or so, I believe I'm much more my old self and able to see reality and deal with it in a holistic manner. I believe also that If I had gotten to this place sooner, it's possible I'd still be employed by the church. (Anyone is welcome to call me for more details and if you are part of our church family, I'd encourage you talk to me and the elders if you have any questions).

The depression did not cause my not meeting what was desired of me by the church but it helps peole understand part of my story. The church leaders and I are still friends despite disagreeing on some things and I've told them and now I'll tell the world, I understand how they came to their conclusion but I would have done something different. There is no anger or bitterness within me about this, I've been there before, I know what it looks like and I promise my heart is in a very good place.

The elders were clear on this during the meeting after church on Sunday that it had nothing to do with any immoral behavior, false teaching or anything in that realm of possibilities. in some ways, it'd be easier if it was, for them.

Here's what I'm EXCITED about as a result of this. I've applied to work with the National Network of Youth
Ministries as the South Central Coordinator. That's a long title for, pastoring youth pastors and building healthy networks for a six state region. TX, NM, CO, OK, AR & LA.

I would have never have applied for this or thought about it if the other had not happened. I've told almost everyone that this is the job I'd want to do if I won the lottery and didn't have to work. Here's an article I wrote for Group Magazine a few years ago that shows where my heart is regarding networking within youth ministry and why it's important - Networking the Kingdom

How you can help us:

1. Everyone who reads this can Pray for us. We are starting a prayer team as we pursue this and currently we have over 80 people who want to pray for us and be informed on how things are progressing. If you want to join this prayer team, leave a comment on my facebook wall or email me at SnaveNel @ aol dot com & I'll add you to our prayer team.

2. Some who read this may want to Give to us. This position is like being a missionary, we have have to raise our support. If ever there was a time in our American economy this would seem like a bad idea, it is now. But we depend on God and wisdom and not just the economic forecast. After about a month and a half of sharing with some people about the possibility of this position, we have almost 40 people who are willing to give monthly support at some level. (I don't know the amounts for most and it doesn't matter until the National Network of Youth Ministries says, "Welcome Aboard").

It's weird pursuing this sort of position because raising support has never been on our bucket list. However it's been fun catching up with friends, telling them what's going on and them affirming this as a potential great fit and them wanting to support it because of me but also because of the need.

Thanks for reading so much and for caring about us as we seek to discern and discover God's will regarding this amazing opportunity.


What I'm Discovering About Youth Ministry

I try to have no agenda when I'm with students, meaning I don't want them to think "he's just here because he wants me to do something" (join a bible study, small group, mission trip) etc but rather I want to be with them, help them see how God is working in their lives and encourage them with no strings attached but the string of love.

I think the problem with that approach is it's hard to measure when you don't make students do stuff.

Talked with a friend yesterday about Andrew Root's, Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry: From a Strategy of Influence to a Theology of Incarnation and it just kind of brought these thoughts out in our discussion.


I need to write/blog

Writing is not just jotting down ideas. Often we say: "I don't know what to write. I have no thoughts worth writing down." But much good writing emerges from the process of writing itself. As we simply sit down in front of a sheet of paper and start to express in words what is on our minds or in our hearts, new ideas emerge, ideas that can surprise us and lead us to inner places we hardly knew were there.

One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see.
Henri Nouwen


We are a spoiled generation

Louis CK from per gustafson on Vimeo.

HT2 Mike King

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