Are You a Better Minister Than a 4 Year Old?

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was:

A four-year-old child, whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman, who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the Little boy just said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

(forgot where I found it)


Always Worth the Effort

Friday is typically my day off but I got a text from a student on Thursday night letting me know they were pitching for their high school team on Friday night.

One of the girls spent the night with a friend and the other had planned to be a with a friend after school till later anyways. So after having a good lunch date with my wife there was nothing to do on Friday night, so I planned to be there.

I've been here for a little over a year but I didn't know where the field was because it's off campus. I got there late and I didn't get to see him pitch because he only pitched the first three innings. I was very frustrated at this point that my innability to find the stadium in time caused me to not actually see the student play that I came to see play. He gave me the "What's up? lifting of the head" when he saw me standing along the fence.

I stayed until the game was over. His team beat Permian High School (the school that inspired Friday Night Lights) in extra innings.

After a long post-game team meeting on the field, he came over and we talked a little. Talked about baseball, how he did, when the next game would be and not much else. Despite not talking bout spiritual things or praying together, I would call this a pastoral visit. Funny thing is I had another non-pastoral visit with a friend that probably wound up becoming a pastoral visit before our meeting was over.

With the adult it wasn't planned but the topics just took shape that even though we didn't talk about spiritual things, there was a pastoral side to the conversation, first because I was there, secondly, because the talk was helpful to them and I'd bet money that I made a deposit into their "trust account"

Same goes with the student, just by being there demonstrates love and concern. Though not too many students can put the theological phrases to it, it's a demonstration of the incarnation and builds trust in the little things, so when it's time for the "Big Things" they know there is a relationship there and they trust us. Taking time out of our normalcy (with proper boundries) is always worth the effort because God uses little things and people to do his will.


Latest writing thing just came out on YMX:

Skills are important, we need them and we need to strengthen the ones that we have in order to better minister to the people we serve. While we should use our talents skillfully it’s also vital that we have a heart of integrity. We understand better now, more than ever, that our salvation and our identity is not based on how well we perform or even how David-like our heart is. We are treasured because we belong to God and not because of anything we do for God, not even having an effective, successful, mind-blowing, creating-a-model-that-everyone-will-want-to-copy, youth ministry.

Warning: Obvious statement around the corner. At the heart of each of these encouraging You Matter essays is this, you matter. Not, you matter because... or you matter if... simply, you matter. More explicitly, YOU matter.

Read the rest @ You Matter Always

Newest Youth Ministry Interview

King of Pastor2Youth.com and now, fellow Texan, Ryan Nielsen.

Lots going on and hopefully more will follow sooner rather than later.


Happy Easter!


You won't believe this

Today was our last full day in San Antonio for a few days for Spring Break. We decided to go bowling with our kids and their 2 cousins. I knew Ryan was bowling today through the wonders of twitter so I called him and asked him where he was bowling.

We wound up being 2 lanes away from Ryan and his youth group and it was not planned.

It was good to see him even if it wasn't for too long. I hadn't seen him since we roomed together back in 2002 for the NYWC. Just kinda funny when my two worlds collided.


Around the Horn

I've been saving these for about a week so here's a ton of misc stuff with a thanks to Tony for my new baseball inspired title for posts like these:

1. I'm twittering much more consistently than I blog in case you're a fellow Twit.

2. Matt McGill has started his fourth blog - Much Better Than More Than Dodgeball, which of course, is much better than More Than Dodgeball.

3. I Care About the Aprroval of Men Too Much

4. Pray for Gman

5. extending your youth ministry to families

6. 5 Reasons Muslims Convert

7. 1 in 4 teen girls has an STD

8. Seven Deadly sins of Youth Ministry

9. Recovering from Fetus Fatigue

It appears that millions of evangelicals, especially younger ones, are experiencing fetus fatigue. They are tired of the abortion issue taking center stage; it is time to move on to newer, hipper things--the sort of issues that excite Bono: aid to Africa, the environment, and cool tattoos. Abortion has been legal since they were born; it is the old guard that gets exercised about millions of abortions over the years. So, let's not worry that Barak Obama and Hillary are pro-choice. That is a secondary issue.

After all, neither could do that much damage regarding this issue.Evangelicals (if that word has any meaning), for God's sake, please wake up and remember the acres of tiny corpses you cannot see. Yes, the Christian social vision is holistic. We should endeavor to restore shalom to this beleaguered planet. That includes helping Africa, preserving the environment, and much more. However, the leading domestic moral issue remains the value of helpless human life. Since Roe v. Wade, approximately 50 million unborn humans have been killed through abortion. HT2 Tim Ellsworth

10. Red Sox-Yankees: The Rivalry of a Lifetime
It all began in 1920, when one man would start a rivalry between two teams. Those two teams would build up their rivalry to have the strength to go on for what’s been 90 years.

Who would have thought that the trade of one of the most prolific baseball players to ever play the game had the power to start something that would continue even after he was six feet under?

11. Last Surviving U. S. World War I Vet Honored by President

Frank Woodruff Buckles was just 15 years old when he joined the U.S. Army. Soon, he was deployed to war and headed overseas on the Carpathia -- the same ship used in the rescue mission of the Titanic.

He drove ambulances in Britain and France for soldiers wounded during World War I.
A few decades later, Buckles was in the Philippines as a civilian, on December 7, 1941, the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. He was taken as a prisoner of war for 39 months in Manila, eating his meals out of a single tin cup.

More than 60 years later, he still clings to that cup, the one that sustained his life. Weathered with age, the cup has flecks of white paint chipped off. He keeps it as a reminder of his sacrifice for the country he so loves.

12. 6 Temptations Dad's Face
by My Buddy & Yours, Chuck Swindoll

First, the temptation to give things instead of giving ourselves—our presence, our personal involvement.

Second, the temptation to save our best for the workplace.

Third, the temptation to deliver lectures rather than earning respect by listening and learning.


Newz 2 Laugh @

Another police trainer said Chuck Norris was a role model for the police in Falluja, which until 2007 was an al Qaeda stronghold and the scene of fierce battles with security forces.

"I've seen his videos, he's a hero. He saves the city, he protects women and children and he fights crime wherever it is. We should all be like Chuck Norris," Khaled Hussein said.

From Chuck Norris is the only WMD in Iraq, look out, insurgency


It's Coming

One of the things I'm working on is an area/regional youth ministry training event in Lubbock. It's going to happen in Sept and we're bringing Chris Folmsbee in. If you can, pray for Chris and his family as they become bi-lingual.

Don't have a name yet for the event but thrilled that others are on board on the local level and we want it to have a local emphasis as we aim to encourage and equip youth workers in our area.

I met a youth pastor from New Mexico at the Ignite Conference and he's ready to drive the hour and a half to bring his volunteers to this before even knowing too many details. There just isn't much in our region, so if you are in Dallas, or another mega-hub of a city, be glad for all the opportunities that you have that you may take for granted.


Misc Links

1. California court: Parents have no constitutional right to home school their children

Crazy even by California standards.

2. Externally Focused Church: Free Webinar
Join Eric Swanson (author of The Externally Focused Church) and Rick McKinley (pastor of Imago Dei in Portland, OR) as they discuss the key principles that Imago Dei has applied in reaching out to their community.

HT2 Chris Mc.

3. Pray. Use Words if Necessary

So glad Doug is blogging regularly, again.

4. Starbuck & Training Principles for the Church

Some Blog Love for YS

Before I even wrote the book, I was a big fan of Youth Specialties. (BTW, my book's Amazon.com Sales Rank is 553,200 in Books but #82 in Amazon's Youth Ministry books, sounds so much better. ) But since selling them the concept and initial content for the Student Weekly Newsletter, writing the book, speaking at one of the conventions in 02, and getting to know many of the crew I'm completely bought and paid for so here is some blog love for YS.

1. Mindi had a great post on thoughts from a volunteer small group leader: a few things i've learned as a volunteer working with parents:

2. Still loving the YS Parent's Newsletter.

Here's how I use mine

Our Purpose statement as the header:

Our Youth Ministry exists to KNOW Jesus, LOVE Jesus, SERVE Jesus and ENJOY each other.

Short thought to parents: Here's last weeks.

I wrote this on my blog a few hours ago and shared it with Roger in person and figured I’d share it here, too.

The Lost Art of the Phone Call

I strive to always be authentic but I’m not where I need to be. But God is still working on me and you too. Let your students know that God isn’t finished with them yet, mistakes happen for everyone, the key is to get up, and keep going.

Or as the contemporary theologian, Alfred the Butler, said in Batman Begins, "Why do we fall Master Bruce? To get back up!"

Keep Getting Up,

Links to my online activities - I need to add the blog, just striving to be open with nothing to hide:

Len’s MySpace
Len’s Facebook

Upcoming Events/Announcements:

News Items you need to read:

Misc news stories, most found in YS Update, Walt Mueller's CPYU newsletter, homeword's newsletter and other sources.

On the Lighter Side
Something funny. Typically one of the daily Zits cartoons that I subscibe to.

Last Item is the full Parent's Newsletter with more great info.

3. I'm going to work on something to be in the YS Underground, hopefully I can send Jay the cleaned up version by April 1.


Rediscovering an Old Friend

Well, they weren't lost and it's not a person but I found a quote that I loved today and remembered to put in on my quote blog. Last one was in August so hopefullly it'll be more frequent, from now on.


I Voted My Conscience Today

Marko and Tony have spoken about their support for Obama. My opinion won't change anyone's mind and though I'd truly like seeing him as president, it's not going to happen, this year or ever. He's way too conservative.

My vote went towards a guy who only got .6% of the republican primary votes.

Mr. Alan Keyes. Someone said, 'Alan Keyes makes Obama seem like Don Knotts'

So give Alan a little bit of your time and read his article, Endowed by their Creator and read Why Jesus would not vote for Barack Obama, which is one reporters recollections of the 2004 Senate campaign between Obama and Keyes.


Made Me Laugh

Imagine a tan mini van with racing flames like these. That's what I saw in a grocery store parking lot tonight.

The ultimate suburban dad driving machine!


Let's Get Ready to Rumble. . . . .

Thank you Hank "Little Boss" Steinbrenner for saying:

"Red Sox Nation?" What a bunch of [crap] that is," he said in an interview with The New York Times' Play magazine. "That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans.

"Go anywhere in America and you won't see Red Sox hats and jackets, you'll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We're going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order."

Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino responded with:

"I don't deny there are Yankee fans everywhere. But it's blind of him not to see the phenomenon that is Red Sox Nation. I expect he will become more aware of the passion and breadth of Red Sox Nation as long as he is actively involved in baseball. I do appreciate that he has picked up on the Star Wars metaphor, though. He said he was happy to be Darth Vader and we are happy to be the Rebel Alliance."

This is why you can buy Yankee Haters gear, there is a bird who hates the Yankees, and most importantly, never, ever forget

So Hank, on behalf of Red Sox Nation, thank you for helping us enjoy the anticipation even more being The 2007 World Champions and being favored to win in 2008.

What's the Deal With Brian Schulenburg?

I've yet to meet Brian but I'm looking forward to it when we get the chance. I discovered his blog a few months ago and have enjoyed it and our occasional interaction.

Brian's a real youth pastor (who does parent seminars for his community ) who happens to have written a couple of books and speaks occasionally. He's not a writer or speaker who happens to be in youth ministry. Big difference in my mind. I'll let you be the judge of which Youth Ministry Guru's are which.

I bought What's the Deal with. . . a couple of weekends ago when I was at The CORE. Gotta love all the Invert Books being 50% off @ $5 and this one selling for just $7. I bought one invert book for each of my 5 students who were there.

Our Sunday night high school group is the ideal setting for using this sort of book, I believe. We typically have 10-15 high schoolers on Sunday nights, maybe less, maybe more but it's in that range.

I've been doing less lessons and more discussion on topics on Sunday nights for the past 2 months anyways, so this is the perfect fit for what they've become use to. I want to give the student 4 points and an application, I like that. I know 100% where we're going and I think they need to know the truths I have to share but it's better when we discuss topics with me guiding the discussion rather than dominating the distribution of information.

We discussed 3 questions in about 30-40 minutes. The format for the 500 questions is "What's the deal with TOPIC?" and then one follow up question. We talked about the Bible, Denominations and Homosexuality. You know, the easy ones.

It's best if you plan out which questions you want to cover an have an idea of where your convictions are and definitely where the church's convictions are. You do not want some wacked out idea that a student shares to come across as the official position of the church if it's totally opposed to what your church actually believes.

They joy of using the Socratic Teaching teaching method is that when students form a conviction, it's from within and not just a command to blindly follow. The intertweaving of epistemology and sound theology is vital to any youth ministry and Brian's new book is a great tool to help you do that, but it won't do it for you.

In case you don't have the ca$hola now to buy What's the Deal with. . . . you can use some of Grahame's great FREE Discussion Starters.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com