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.

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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.

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