Saturday, December 30, 2006

Student Ministry's Primary Concern

I've been reading Presecence Centered Youth Ministry by Mike King (more on that later) the past couple of weeks. He points us to a chart in Robert Webber's, The Younger Evangelicals, which summarizes the state of evangelicalism in the last 50 + years. You can find the chart HERE an article. For the student ministry section, Webber says this about what student ministry is primarily concerned with in each era :

Traditional Evangelicals - 1950-1975 > Church centered programs

Pragmatic Evangelicals - 1975-2000 > Outreach, fun programs

Emergent Evangelicals - 2000 > Prayer, bible study, worship, social action

I've been thinking about this chart in the context of our church and denomination. I think it's safe to say that all three categories valued what each one holds dear. I wonder what this looks like among denominations, church's in our community and the history of our student ministry?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Whiter than snow

Another blizzard has set in tonight. How much? Who cares? At leasts another 2 feet. I've been thinking tonight about this blizzard and the previous one two weeks ago and I couldn't help but turn to these words in David's journal in Psalm 51:6-8,

"6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice."
They are resonating in my soul tonight. Profound words to ponder while I am shoveling all day tomorrow with Noah and Josiah.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Who's coming to town?

Josiah and I were cleaning up the gift wrap and tissue paper on the floor this week during one their four Christmas gatherings and he added a new twist to a classic song,

"He's making a list, checking it twice, going to find out who's naughty and nice, Santa Christ is coming to town!"

I mentioned to Josiah that it was actually Santa Claus who was coming to town, but he wouldn't buy it. We're guessing next year it will be Jesus Claus!

Preach the Word in 2007

The clarion call to Timothy should be resonating in the hearts of every pastor of students for 2007,

"1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction." - 2 Timothy 4:1-2


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Santa came to my house

Saturday, December 23, 2006

3 minutes of silence

A couple of weeks ago I took part in the annual retreat with our denomination for our Rocky Mountain District with 11 youth pastors from our region. There were several highlights but there was one big low light that I have been thinking since I got home.

During the retreat we were given 3 minutes to be silent and I couldn't do it.

It felt like an eternity. I couldn't remember the last time I sat in silence. I hate silence. I actually started to sweat. The whole time I was thinking, "When is this going to end?" I wasn't finding God during that time. The only thing I found is that I hate silence. I hate being alone. I found myself talking almost in a whisper so I could hear myself.

2007 is going to be the year where I begin to develop this discipline. I am reminded of the model Jesus set for me in Mark 1,

"35Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

I am also haunted by what Henri Nouwen said, "Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure."

I will not miss a game

That's right. With "The Answer" in town I won't miss a Nuggets game the rest of the season. It was awesome to watch Allen Iverson play last night. It wasn't awesome watching us miss 14 wide open three point shots!

Welcome to the Mile High City Allen, your wife and four kids!

I can't wait for J.R. Smith to return and then Melo. We are going to have some exciting basketball to watch!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Transforming prayer - early a.m. Sunday

Recently I have been more committed to praying on Sunday mornings than running around the church like a chicken with it's head cut off! David's prayer in Psalm 119:18 is transforming my Sunday mornings,

"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law."

I pray this for me! Then I pray it for my students,

"God, open the eyes of our students so they may see wonderful things in your Word."


Thursday, December 21, 2006

I'm so glad it's the shortest day...

I shoveled some serious snow! The highlight of the day was spending time with my oldest son, Noah, who apparently lives to shovel. What I learned today about being a dad is that we didn't need to have any significant conversations, but we just hung out. We shoveled. We built a snow tunnel that collapsed and turned it into a slide. We ended our time in the hot tub!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Elf Yourself

Hey! It's a blizzard today! We're locked in expecting 24-36 inches at the in-laws. Wifi, HD, tons of food and a hot tub! The boys are shoveling Nana's long side walk every hour!

With all of the extra time we are "Elfing ourselves!" It's priceless!

Let it snow!

Crappy Pants Song

Yesterday Josiah exclaimed, “I want to listen to the crappy pants song!” We were puzzled. We started to laugh. We replied, “What?” From the back of the pimp minivan we own, we hear the words get louder and the sentence gets shortened, “THE CRAPPY PANTS SONG!” It took a minute and then we got it.

On the Relient K album, The Anatomy of Tongue and Cheek, they wrote a song with the title, Sadie Hawkins Dance. I’ll put some of the lyrics from the song next and you can guess which words Josiah messed up.

“The Sadie Hawkins Dance
in my khaki pants
There's nothin better
oh oh oh
The girls ask the guys
it's always a surprise
There's nothin better
baby do you like my sweater?”

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pursuing God the wrong way

I've realized this past week as I've been evaluating my life and ministry that I'm making a huge mistake in my relationship with God that has to stop! I am pursuing God the wrong way. I am pursuing Him through doing. What I am finding as I look back is that it's not wrong to pursue God through what we do, it just can't be the only way we pursue Him.

Part of my pursuit with Him must include being with Him.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The future is now

A moment of silence please.

Yesterday, Broncos fans witnessed the birth of their new leader for the next 15 years. It's only one game, but I'm not overstating it. Key play that proves this point. The touchdown to Rod Smith. Cutler dropped back, his eyes were on the other side of the field when he hitched, and then eyed Rod Smith on the opposite side of the field and sailed a touch pass right over the defensive back. Touchdown.

The future is now - playoffs or no playoffs!
We have our leader.

Cell phone distractions

It was brought to my attention that the use of cell phones by our students during my messages on Sunday morning are becoming a distraction. I'll be making my first announcement about it on Christmas Eve Sunday as we study Isaiah 9. There's a first time for everything!

What's funny about this is that I haven't noticed it. Sure, I'll see a couple of students using their phones, but it's pretty quick and I don't think it's a distraction. I am excited to address this with our students on Sunday. If you get a text at 9:45 a.m. from your friend who just got up, you can wait until 10:10 to let them know that you were up WAY BEFORE THEM! I also think it will be good for our students to start a discipline of not always having to multitask in every setting.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

9.4 million lighters

The United States Census Bureau just released it's Statiscal Abstract for 2007. It's worth a read. Why would you try and take a lighter on a plane?

This stat stood out to me among others,

Nearly half (47 percent) of college freshmen enrolled in 2005 had earned an average grade of A in high school, compared to 2-in-10 (20 percent) in 1970. The majority (79 percent) of freshmen in 1970 had an important personal objective of “developing a meaningful philosophy of life.” By 2005, the majority of freshmen (75 percent) said their primary objective was “being very well off financially.” (Table 274)

In our student ministry we are fighting a battle against the idol of education. This stat proves to be true in our student ministry culture as we find students who are incapable of participating in spiritual community on a consistent basis because they are overloaded with homework.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The disturbing baby Jesus

Matthew 2: 1-3,

"1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." 3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

The wonder of this disturbing gift of a baby who was born to die so I might have life.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Distorted Reality of Beauty

In the 31st chapter of Proverbs, the writer boldly states, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

Beauty is fleeting.

Our culture obsesses over it that which is fleeting. Our youth ministries need to be saturated with the Bible's view of what makes a woman worthy of praise.

Click on the link below. It will blow you away at how the world makes a woman worth of praise.

Distorted Reality of Beauty

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Left Behind - Eternal Forces - Video Game

I read about this on 9news tonight. I almost fell out of the chair.

Post-Rapture Warfare Training. Now that's a goal for youth ministry!

Where does this game fit into your student ministry model of making disciples?


Evaluating where I spend my time

Every December I look back at the year and evaluate how I have been spending my time. I always look at the Covey Time-Management Matrix to refocus my evaluation. I need to be dedicating most of my time to Quadrant II. It’s takes time to evaluate, but I feel like every year I am taking small steps towards being more effective.

I like how Covey paraphrases Peter Drucker, “"Effective people are not problem-minded - they're opportunity-minded. They feed opportunities and starve problems. They think preventively."

Youth ministries need spiritual shpherds who know where they want to take their flock!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The key commodity in ministry

I was reminded last week that discipline would be the number one commodity bought in ministry. It was a great reminder and one I will be thinking a lot about on my personal retreat day.

A wise youth pastor who used to drive the church van home, eat French Onion soup on Wilderness Trips, say “Oh my golly,” start prayer meetings at 10:30 p.m., had over 70 fish hanging in his house, and had the most disorganized office I’ve ever seen, besides the missions pastor, told me something I will never forget,

“Within discipline lies freedom.”

Not sure where he got it, but I’m sure it was on a piece of paper in one of the 40 piles of papers in his floor file cabinet. You were right. I long for more freedom in so many areas of my life!

A year ago on this date

I got a new ACL in my left knee. I don’t want to have another one!

Monday, December 11, 2006

What 2 things define you?

This week we began our new series looking at the prophecies of Jesus’ birth in Isaiah – Homecoming King. In Isaiah 11:5 we find a beautiful picture of this King who was to be born that would change the world.

5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

When you strip away everything else, what two words define Jesus? Righteousness and Faithfulness. “These are Jesus’ most intimate garments, his underclothing.” – OswaltWhen all is stripped away, what two words define you? When all is stripped away, what two words would the person who knows you the best choose to define you? When all is stripped away and we are standing before our Maker, what two words will He choose to define you?

“Well done, my __________ and ___________ servant!”

Saturday, December 09, 2006

24 Prequel

Take 10 minutes and watch this 24 Prequel for Day 6. I can't wait for January. If you've never watched 24 this 10 minutes will give you a great sense for what the whole 24 hours is like!

Christmas Coffee House

On Wednesday we closed out our fall schedule with our annual Christmas Coffee House and Talent Show! We gave away tons of prizes. We ate lots of cookies. We drank tremendous coffee and we had outstanding talent. Matt's Math Dance took the cake! In addition, we talked about the birth of Jesus and talked about how his birth was "The Gift of Death." To close our time Brianne tried to put into words how much a relationship with Jesus means to her and then we played I Celebrate the Day by Relient K.

What blew me away was the number of students I didn't know. I found myself overwhelmed with the number of them as I wanted to sit down with each of them and their friend from our group who brought them and hear their story. I love meeting students in our community who don't go to church. I am so excited to follow up this week with our students to see what's going on in the lives of their friends so we can be praying that the Word they heard on Wednesday won't return void. I can't wait to encourage our students to move towards having a Reaping conversation with those friends they have been Cultivating and Planting with all semester.
It's so exciting to see our students falling in love with God and loving others!

Friday, December 08, 2006


I had my first MRI today in this exact machine. I felt like I was being sprayed by M16's for 30 minutes. The noise was that loud while they were doing the scans. I will be scarred for life. I hate tight and confined spaces. I was sweating profusely.

I've got a tear in my Superior Labrum in my left shoulder and the MRI will tell me if I need surgery.

What did I learn today? You can overcome your fears. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true. I was scared to death. They had to pull me out the first time. As I was walking out I remembered this quote I found from Eleanor Roosevelt,

"You must do the things you think you cannot do."

Warriors for Christ...I'm tired of it

I received a publication in the mail yesterday that used these words, "Warriors for Christ!" I'm tired of this. I am tired of youth events that want me to jump on board making my students WARRIORS! Where is this in the Bible? Why do we use it with students? Why do we want warriors in our public school systems? Can you imagine Jesus sitting down with his disciples yelling at them, "Take this town, your a warrior in my name!" Why is so much advertising in youth ministry emotionally driven and creates pictures of being aggressive? What the heck is a Christian warrior?

I'm tired of the warrior theme being used in youth ministry. I don't want to make warriors. I want to students to follow Jesus.

In the fruits of the Spirit...where is the warrior mentality?
Deny yourself, take up your cross...where is the warrior mentality?
If you want to share in Christ glory you must suffer...where is the warrior mentality?
Peacemakers will inherit the earth...where is the warrior mentality?
The meek will inherit the earth...where is the warrior mentality?

Jesus wasn't a warrior for His Father. Jesus wasn't a warrior for His own glory. Check out Philippians 2! Can you imagine a family doing advent with the focus on Christ, THE WARRIOR?

Jesus was the Prince of Peace...He wasn't a warrior.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Clicks for Cans

This is a great idea! I voted for the Broncos...of course.

Clicks for Cans

What's your student ministry doing to fight hunger?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

RMD Retreat

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I spent time with youth pastors from the Rocky Mountain District (RMD) up in Summit County! It's our annual retreat with Jeff from the Efree home office! It was a great time of fellowship, encouragement and training. I'll be sharing several things from that time over the next couple of weeks.

It's good to rub shoulders with guys who are pursuing God, family and the goal to see students become faithful followers of Jesus Christ. I was reminded again over the past couple of days that there is no "proto-type" youth pastors. Were all different in our gifting, personalities, life experiences, and churches, but we share the same passion - to see students ambushed by the passion of Jesus that drove Him to the cross!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

11 years ago today was a Saturday

I know that because it was the day I asked my girlfriend to be my wife.

I love you Julie!

It's a joy to be your husband and raise these kids!

We're all praying that they turn out like you! :)

Mitch is a state champ

Congrats to our own Mitch Sturm, sophomore at Columbine High School, on being 5A State Champs in football today!!!!

Nice job buddy stripping the ball away inside the 10 yard line in the first half!

Looking forward to the next 2 years!

Friday, December 01, 2006

How many students are in your group?

I love getting this question from other youth pastors. It's probably the most asked question in youth ministry circles. Why is the question asked? There are many reasons, but one of the primary ones is they want to know how successful you are based on the number of students you have. You say your number, then they start evaluating your effectiveness, their effectiveness, etc... I want to suggest we stop talking about our whole group numbers and start talking about the number of students in our group that have an adult fighting for their soul. I think we'll stop think so much of ourselves and start depending more on prayer and the recruitment of men and women in our church to fight for our student's souls!

Here's the answer I'd like to start being shared,

"That's a great question. It's one that I am praying over every single day. Currently in our ministry we have 22 (?) students who have an adult fighting for their soul. We have a long way to go. Sure we have X number of students, but were not even close to making disciples of every student God has blessed us with. Would you be willing to pray that God would grab the hearts of the adults in our church to fight for the soul of two teenagers? How about you? How many students have an adult fighting for their soul?"

Keyword for young 20 something's is...


according to this report in USA Today.

Part of our desire in student ministry is to equip our seniors with an understanding of how fast your debt can pile up. It will be the focus of one of our sessions in our senior study this Spring.

I am excited to spend time with our seniors talking about money, savings, credit scores, etc...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Right Question to Ask

This past Sunday our senior pastor preached a message that I will look back on in 10 years and say, "That sermon changed me." Out of this message I walked away with what I believe is the right question to ask ourselves everytime we meet with a student in our ministries.

What is God's loving interest in this person right now?

Oswald Chambers wrote that God tells us to "Identify ourselves with God's interest in other people, don't try to identify God with our interest (or disinterest) in other people."

And before we ask this question with our students we need to first ask this question when we are with our families and our friends.

Cutler is in the air

Everywhere I've been the past three days everyone is talking about Jay Cutler. This morning in Panera as I walked around every table in the place had the paper open to the sports section and talking about the change at quarterback. Grannies, pastors, high school name it!

You gotta love living in this town!

My predicition for Sunday - Broncos 27 Seahawks 24. Cutler will be 19-28, 214 yards, 2 touchdowns (one running, one throwing) and an interception.

I can't wait to go to the game!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

10 is the new 15?

Thanks to Alice for pointing me to this article. It's informing us that 10 year olds in our culture are the new 15 year old.

How is this happening?

Marketing! Tweens are becoming a primary target consumer for retailers.

"Advertisers have found that, increasingly, children and teens are influencing the buying decisions in their households - from cars to computers and family vacations. According to 360 Youth, an umbrella organization for various youth marketing groups, tweens represent $51 billion worth of annual spending power on their own from gifts and allowance, and also have a great deal of say about the additional $170 billion spent directly on them each year."

What are the implications, if any, on the church that has pumped millions of dollars into student ministry for 7-12th graders? Do we need Tween pastors in the middle of the Children's Pastor and the Middle School Pastor?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

God Helped Me Kill a MONSTER

This past week my boys and I have been reading selected stories in the Old Testament and they've all had one common element - KILLING! It hit me last night when I read a story out of 2 Chronicles and I asked them this question, "How has God helped you?" Here are the first things out of their mouths.

Noah's answer - "Dad, seriously, God helped me kill a monster. I picked up the gun and shot him in the face. He died."

Josiah's answer - "Dad, I am like David. I took my fruit roll-up (fruit by the foot), I swinged it like this and put a rock in it and killed Goliath. It was awesome."

I just sat there in stunned silence. Who are these violent children?

Where did these kids learn about killing? Who's been talking to them? What have they been watching on TV? Have they been playing a game on that's violent? Who are Noah's friends at school?

Then it hit me...there learning it from the Bible. The first story after sin entered the world is about a brother killing his brother. Up until last night I had never thought about developing a theology of death and having to teach my 3 year old and 5 year old about it, especially from the Bible.

Tuesdays get me ready

...for Sunday! I've found that spending Tuesday mornings in my second office (Panera) preparing for Sunday gives me enough of a start to know where I am heading for Sunday so I can live in my message. I'll read something, talk to someone, or watch something that prompts me to interact with the message in my own life before I put the final touches on the message Friday and early Sunday morning!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mondays make me ready

Mondays are great days in ministry for me. The office. Getting the week lined up. Most of the admin for the week done. Prayer email sent. Student email sent. Email cleaned up. Meetings set. Office interaction with staff. NO STRESS! NO PRESSURE!

I'm ready for the week. I learned last year that part of my hurried state of life was due in large part to the fact that I didn't have a set time to do admin during the week. Making it on Monday has allowed me to be "more present" the rest of the week.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A BIG Sunday in Denver

The Broncos aren't playing today but it's a HUGE day. The Denver Post is reporting that tomorrow morning the Cutler era will start. No pressure Jay, your first game in the NFL is on National television!

Now I can go buy my boys #6 jerseys!

Sunday night should be a wild ride!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Away from work

Yesterday was an amazing day. Why? Because I had the day off and the next day wasn't Sunday. I think the last time I had 2 straight days off at home was last August. I'm a idiot.

Yesterday made me realize that the pace and rhythm I set for this past year wasn't good enough. I need to spread my vacation out and give myself periods during the year where I am home for two straight days. Here's the big reason why...I can get projects done! The garage is clean. Why is getting projects done important? For some wierd reason it lowers my stress throughout the week. Getting the project done in some crazy way renews my energy.

All of this to say, I think there's a good reason to be away from work (at home) for more than just one day at a time in 2007.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Plummer vs. Cutler

It's so fun to live in a town with a quarterback controversy...especially in a town that once had John Elway as their quarterback. Here's my one cent on the controversy.

Either way were hosed! Jake's looking over his shoulder and knows he's not going to be the man next year. Jay's going to be like a deer in the headlights. He hasn't played competitive football (that counted) since November of last year!

On a side note it was so painful to watch the Broncos double their loses in 96 hours this week!

I can't wait for the Seahawks on Sunday night, December 3rd.

The Buffs

It's been a brutal season. The Buffs ended one of their worst seasons in school history today getting trounced by the Huskers. 2-10 stinks. Next year there is hope. Our recruiting class for next year is in the top 20 in the nation. Cody Hawkins should give Jackson a fight for the starting quarterback. I love this team. I remember following them in middle school and high school passionately. One of my good friends from high school chose CU over Notre Dame in 1993 and played football as a Buff! My dad owned a business in Boulder for 27 years!

I can't wait for next season!

Go Buffs!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

2 Thanks


Psalm 106:1 "Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."

Second, the chance to live out goodness and enduring love in the lives of Noah, Josiah & Adah

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It's what HE did for you

We can't forget to communicate to students that a relationship with God doesn't first start with creating a list of what your going to do for Him, but meditating on what He did for you. Students must be summoned to the great fact that God is crazy about them and longing for them walk by faith into a radical love relationship that will change their identity and give them a new home. He's so crazy about them that His Son was killed and raised from the dead on the 3rd day so they could be adopted into His family.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I am not an entertainer...

As a pastor of students I am not an entertainer of students. What’s more, I am not director of programs to entertain students. Our doors aren’t open to entertain.

As a pastor of students, along with those I serve with both paid an volunteer, we open our doors to be shepherds. We are spiritual guides and we take our cues from the Word of God. Specifically 1 Peter 5:2-4,

“2Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

12 inch talking Jesus

CNN reported on this “HUGE” story last week. 4,000 talking Jesus dolls made their way into a Toys for Tots. This Jesus scares me…he’s white!

This doll got me thinking though about the truth that when the Word goes out it doesn’t return void. Will God use this doll to draw someone to himself? I can hear it now in 20 years,

“Yeah, when I was growing up we didn’t have much. Toys for Tots hooked us up with some toys one Christmas. I remember getting three toys. A Woody, a Buzz Lightyear and a Talking Jesus. I’ll never forget one day when I was using all three of these toys to battle each other. The Talking Jesus destroyed Woody and Buzz Lightyear and it was at that moment I heard those words from Jesus’ mouth 'I am the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE and no one comes to the father except through me' and committed my life to Him.”

God can use anything!

Monday, November 20, 2006

My view of the game from the seats

I got last minute tickets to the game last night. Do you like my view from the seats? I went with my senior pastor, a guy from my wife's Sunday school class and his friend. Frustration is the only thing I feel this morning! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

On the positive side I got to see the dad of one of our girls at the entrance of Club Level!

What a week this could be...the chance to be the second best team in the league to maybe being a wild card. AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

National Adoption Day

Today is a wonderful day, it's National Adoption Day! Today we celebrate the grace bestowed to us for the gift of our adopted son, Noah.

His eyes captured us the moment we walked into the room!

It moves us to tears, literally, to think that some of the over hundred thousand foster kids that don't have parents in this country today now have a mommy and daddy!

Cruise...Holmes & the Bible?

Today Tom Cruise is marrying Ms. Holmes. I was reading this article on msn detailing the event. We all know Mr. Cruise is a scientologist, but I found it interesting that the Bible made it into the ceremony! In this article made it a point to talk about something very specific to scientology ceremonies,

"Scientology ceremonies contain many elements of traditional weddings, including rings and vows. But they also include certain Scientology fundamentals, including vowing never to go to bed without communicating about any differences."

While it may be a unique vow in a scientology ceremony, it's not founded in scientology! The priniciple is found in the Bible.

Ephesians 4:26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry."

Thank you Paul.

Games - connecting on their turf

Last night we had the privilege to watch our own Jake Spitzlberger play in his final game as a Bear. He went down on the third play of the game with a knee injury. Unbelievably he came back to play the whole game and put up 487 yards and 5 touchdowns (one rushing). They lost the game. On a side-note, Mitch plays today at 2 and I can't make the game!

What stood out to me was the number of SGC people at the game. You can't underestimate the power of attending a game to build community. Sure there wasn't any deep conversations, but it was a chance to connect with families outside the context of the church facility. It was a chance to make a small deposit that communicated you don't always have to come to the church to connect. Our worship pastor and senior pastor showed up too. Games, name it, provide opportunities for us to connect on their turf! Basketball season is just around the corner.

Friday, November 17, 2006

1,990 lbs

The food drive that our high school students ran at our church to benefit Compa Food Ministries brought in 1,990 lbs of food!

Proverbs 22:9 "A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. "

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A youth ministry is grieving

A local youth ministry was without their youth pastor last night. They met and they were grieving a horrific truth - their youth pastor was having sex with a student. A buddy of mine from Denver Seminary served alongside this high school pastor and I have yet to contact him. I couldn't sleep this morning and turned on the news to help me get back to sleep at 5:30 a.m.

This was the first story.

My heart is grieving. I'm going home and hugging my wife. Hugging my kids. I'm going to ruthlessly inspect my policies that I have given to my leaders about contacting the opposite sex. I'm getting on my knees for this community and praying for healing. I'm going to check my heart and see if there is any offensive way in me. I don't want to be the lead story at 5:30 a.m.

I don't want to wake up in prison.

Students collecting food

Last night was our Compa food collection night at the church! Al, from Compa, drove the big truck to the church and we loaded all this food that we were collecting in our high school room the past six weeks! Our students did a great job running this food drive and getting the whole church behind it! One of the highlights of the night was hearing two of our juniors say in unison, "Just wait til next year, we're going to collect more!"

There's nothing like getting the most passionate poeple in the church excited about looking beyond themselves to serve the community. I can't wait for next year!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Catch them doing something right...the skies the limit

I learned early on in youth ministry to catch students doing something right and tell them about it! Too often we're telling them to be quiet, sit down, pay attention, confronting sin, etc... This isn't bad, but if it's all we're doing in ministry the life is going to get sucked right out of us and the students we are serving!

Catch students doing something right this week...especially those that you view as a problem. They aren't a problem, they are an opportunity to bless!

I have been thinking about this as it relates to my 3 and 5 I can find plenty to correct, but I am now looking for more ways to bless! And the way I see it, the skies the limit with them and out students in our ministries! It's so fun to see their faces light up when I stop, get down on their level, look them eye 2 eye and say, "Way to go!"

STOP looking for clues...we have IT!

Time published this article a couple of weeks ago, "How to Get Teens Excited About God - Youth ministers are seeking clues in the results of a new survey of teens and the church, which shows a spiritual longing that is often not fulfilled"

I can't remember the last time I saw the words "youth minister" in Time so I had to read this article. It goes through Barna's recent "poll" about what students want when they come to church. The overwhelming data shows that students want to make a connection with God - that's a no-brianer.

What got me thinking was what are youth ministers excited about in youth ministry and why are they looking for clues? I am not looking for clues! We need to stop looking for clues! To me, it's obvious what we need to be excited about for students to connect with God. Whatever we are excited about they will be excited about! So I'd like to offer the number one, TOP thing for youth pastors to be excited about, so their students can connect with God and the clue finding can stop.

THE BIBLE! Youth ministries need to first be staturated in the Word of God for students to connect with Him! Sundays filled with God's Holy Word! Small groups wrestling with God's timeless Truth!

I want what captures the hearts of my students to be the thing that keeps them in my ministry and when they go to college.

The psalmist exquisitely details in Psalm 119 this number one desire! Here's what verses 9-16 say about the Word! I want students to be excited about this:

9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to our word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 12 Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees. 13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

When they come to church to connect with God I want it first to be through His Word! Now that's exciting and we can stop looking for clues because we have IT!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Fresh eyes and hearts

Yesterday we had five new students in our midst that you could tell wanted to be there as we started our new series on "The Lost Experience." You could see it in their eyes. They sat up straight. They didn’t talk to their friend who sat next to them. They were nodding, looking up the verses, participating in the discussion. They wanted to be there. There thoughts during the discussion about what it means to be "Lost and Afraid" in high school showed their hearts were engaged.

Sunday hasn’t been something they’ve done their whole life. It was something new. They had fresh eyes and fresh hearts. There was a gleam in their eyes. There was sensitivity in their hearts. They heard about the limitless love of God, the sacrifice of Jesus and the promise that perfect love casts out fear.

Our youth ministry needs new life. It’s so exciting to see our students, for whom our community is their spiritual home, reaching out to bring their friends on Sunday mornings! I can't wait to see what will happen on November 19th!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Team Airforce at the Cornmaze

Julie took the kids to our local cornmaze and just as they were about to enter the cornmaze she looked up to see Team Airforce from Treasure Hunters! Needless to say Julie and the kids lost as they raced toward the treasure at the end! Mommy Airforce was getting ready to have their third kid. Julie was happy to find out they were waiting until the birth to find out whether or not it was a boy or a girl! It's the only way to roll!

Living together forever

Today I met with a local youth pastor in our community. There church has grown from 400 to almost 2800 in attendance in the last three years! This guy has a heart for Jesus and longs to see students meet the KING!

What should be my response? Our church has been declining the past 5 years.

My response is one of PRAISE! Not jealousy. My philosophy of networking in youth ministry is that we are all going to live together forever so we might as well get used to it here on earth! I rejoiced with my brother today. We were celebrating what God is doing in our community. I am not competing for market share. Jesus is building the church.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Celebrating small "wins"

This week I’ve been reminded that I don’t celebrate the small “wins” in my ministry enough. One of our i2i groups reached out to a new gal who just moved into our community. One of my leaders is already thinking about the sixth graders being freshmen. I finally met with a student that I’ve wanted to the whole semester. My student ministry team at the church is doing great! Our volunteer leaders in both high school and junior high are amazing. I had an unexpected conversation in our welcome center that touched my heart and soul. The video screens in our room work!

I could go on and on…and I think I should and we should! Sure there is so much that is wrong, that can be tweaked, reworked, better said, more thought out, and better planned, but I’ve been missing the little things that are going on around me that keep my feet planted in ministry here in this community! I want to start celebrating more!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Teens aren't wired for sound judgment

This article is a must read - "Scans of Brain Suggest Teens are not yet Wired for Sound Judgment" for youth workers, parents, teachers, volunteer leaders, senior pastors...everyone!

Here's a quote that gets the article rolling, " brain imaging research indicates that teens sometimes act the way they do - making bad choices, failing to see consequences and acting impulsively, because their brains are simply not finished growing. It may not be that the devil made them do it, but maybe that their frontal lobes and white matter did "

This article got me thinking about how necessary it is for youth workers to be continually challenging our students toward developing critical thinking skills in their minds. What's more, our greater challenge is to get them thinking critically from a biblical perspective. So how are we doing? Sundays orWednesdayss...whenever we are meeting, is there a clear call to our students that is grounded in the Word of God and forcing them to look at this world critically. Are we sharpening their minds? With what? Are we taking real life examples in the world from the news and teaching them how to look at the world through the lens of Scripture?

Student ministry can't be about behavior modification. We can't force them to "look the part" anymore! We've got to start with the head and heart and work from the inside out!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Thanks Jon

This weekend I was away with a group of buddies up in Winter Park and Jon stepped in to teach our students on Sunday morning. Thanks for standing in the gap Jon so I could get away. I do realize that my vacation time put a burden on your time and created something extra for you to do last week while I was relaxing. I think in the past I’ve been to “lax” when it comes to understanding and realizing that my time away creates more of a burden in the lives of my leaders who step in to teach and lead. This morning I am grateful for your sacrifice this week brother and your faithfulness to the task gives me great motivation to serve you greater this week…plus I’ll buy you lunch! :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The mindset of a senior

I was reading list that Beloit College produces which depicts the mindset of the graduating class of 2007. It's fascinating to look at what they know and what they don't know. Here are a couple that caught my attention.

- Computers have always fit in their backpacks.

- Peeps are not a candy, they are your friends.

I am finding more and more that I graduated along time ago...not really, but 1993 seems like an eternity ago, especially when I look at what they know and don't know. This list reminds me that I must be a student of their culture. This list reminds me that I need younger leaders in in our high school ministry who are going to be able to connect with this group of students. This list reminds me that I am going to say "goodbye" in May to another class that I have loved. Seniors do RULE!

When a family leaves the church

This morning I met with one of our parents about their decision to leave our church. It was a great time! That's right! While my heart breaks that I won't be seeing them on a consistent basis I am glad that I could have such a meaningful time connecting and talking through why they made the decision to leave. It was great to sit across from each other and talk about our personal lives, kids, ministry, job, etc...and know that the break in their attending the church didn't mean a complete relational break. I am not a big fan of not following up on families leaving...I think we can learn a lot about what we do and who we are when we go the extra mile to listen.

I am grateful for these situations where there is no animosity and the desire on both of our parts to stay connected at some level! We'll be playing golf this spring!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Seeing the WORD sink in

Tonight I saw a picture in youth ministry that would be classified as a Rembrandt! A young lady who came to our community on October 4th for the first time was carrying a Bible to her i2i group and has been reading the book of Luke the past two weeks. Her face was electric as she spoke about the WORD sinking into her soul...renewing her life and giving her life meaning.

One month ago...she didn't have any of this. One month ago...she didn't have a Bible. One month ago...she wasn't reading Luke. One month ago...she wasn't part of a Christ-following community. One month ago...she wasn't being challenged by a spiritually mature adult to consider that Chrst will never leave her. One month ago...she had no clue how new life is sustained by letting the WORD sink into your heart, soul and mind.

Oh how a life and change in a month and what a privilege it is to get a front row seat - seeing the difference the WORD makes in the life of a student.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A WORD soaked home

The past two weeks of being a dad have been awesome. I've started reading the Bible with my boys before they go to bed every night. We analyze the picture before we read the story (of course the fruit on the tree was an apple). We read the short story. We talk about what happened in the story. They each give an example from their own life about how it applies, and then we pray. They pray forever about everything...thanking God for their bunkbed, every animal in their room, every friend, every family member, dinner, the walls, and it's hillarious to hear them pray about the Bible story in their lives!

I've realized recently that my passion for a WORD soaked youth ministry wasn't a priority in my home. It's never to late to start doing what's right.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A WORD soaked youth ministry

Youth ministry needs to be soaked in the WORD! Everytime we meet with students and leaders we need to open up the Word! We celebrated Reformation Sunday yesterday! I am so grateful to have the Word! I am privileged to teach the Word! We opened up Psalm 8 with our students yesterday. The Word went out! Everytime it's opened it doesn't return void! We can't get better odds!

I am excited to read along with Scot McKnight as he blogs on Psalm 119 - HERE! If you need to be encouraged and refreshed to make the Word a priority in your life and in your ministry this is going to be worth putting in your google reader!

Sunday, October 29, 2006


What a game! What a game! I love football! Bottomline - the Colts offensive line was amazing! Darrent Williams got worked. There is no quarterback controvery in Denver...Jake is the man!

I can't wait for next week against the Steelers!

I love football! It cracked me up this of our senior guys prayed after we read Psalm 8 and he ended his prayer asking God to let the Broncos's wrong...I know...but I laughed inside!

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Season 1...done. Season 2...done. First 4 episodes of this year...done! Now we can go to bed before midnight and we've got one more way to connect to a group of our high school leaders who are completely addicted to this show.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Mitch vs. Jake

It was soooo much fun last night in the freezing cold to watch a couple of our students battle against each other in the Bear Creek vs. Columbine game. Jake's quarterback for Bear Creek and Mitch plays on the D-line for Columbine! It was a great game for the South Metro league title which went to Columbine after a 28-21 win!

I love going to sporting events as my schedule allows to connect with students and families, not to mention supporting our students who are playing on the field! I think getting to sporting events, plays, musicals, choir concerts and games are a critical part of doing student ministry in our communities. The challenge is getting to at least one thing each of our students participates in.

Great game fellas!

I'm looking forward to the playoffs!

Thanks Ryan - GO CU!

I want to say “thanks” to Ryan Miller from Columbine High School! I am thanking him for choosing CU over Notre Dame! On Wednesday he signed with Hawkins and the Buffs. I watched him play last night against Bear Creek and he was impressive on both sides of the ball playing on the line! ranks Ryan as the number 16 football recruit in the nation HERE. He’ll be playing offensive line for the Buffs! It’s interesting that he chose not to go to Notre Dame as they have the number one recruit in the country, Jimmy Clausen, who’ll be playing quarterback!

Thanks Ryan!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

God knew them before I did

David recorded these words in Psalm 139, "13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 4 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

God loves these kids more than I do!

Living what you teach

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

This past Sunday as I was praying through my message on Psalm 139 I realized that I hadn't done what I was going to challenge my students to with the above two verses. I had not spent time letting God search me...knowing my heart...testing me...knowing my anxious thoughts...searching for offensive ways in me and crying out to lead me in the way of the everlasting.

As a means of accountability to the's my post to tell them that I spent the time with these 2 verses yesterday before 5 p.m.

I learned this past week that I can't challenge my students to respond to the text if I haven't first repsonded myself before I stand before them. I must live what I am teaching.

You can't give away what you don't have!

If Christ is the head...

...then what are the pastors in a church? And for that matter, where are the people who aren't pastors?

This LINK provides a picture that you can get on a t-shirt.

What do you think of the t-shirt? Is it right?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I can't wait...

...for 24! Thanks to Chris for pointing me here today for the trailer!

I can't wait for the new season!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hiding it?

This week I have been deeply convicted with the sin that is so pervasive in my life. I been reminded by my sons this week how to fight sin. I need to hide God's WORD in my heart. Josiah's memory verse this week is "Don't be afraid...your prayers have been heard!" - Luke 1:13 and Noah's been belting his out and I don't know what verse it is but it has something to do with "Strength and courage is the Lord."

It hit me this morning...we are walking downstairs for breakfast and Noah is belting out this verse. After breakfast with Noah I woke Josiah up and as we walked down the stairs he was belting out his verse.

Simple, but profound for me this morning.

I need to start hiding God's word in my heart so I won't sin. How can I ask our students to do something I don't?

Monday, October 23, 2006

the Word and the Supper

I had to write this for our staff as a part of our study on the Lord's Supper. I was commissioned to write something about the relationship between the preached Word and the Lord's Supper - why we need the Word when we take the Supper.

What I read about this relationship really moved me.

The preaching of the Word and the Supper are identifying marks of the church. We preach the word because it is living and active and God uses the Word to change people’s lives (Hebrews 4:12). We celebrate the Lord’s Supper when we “eat His body” and “drink His blood” and in doing so we are physically and materially confirming that we are placing our faith in the promises of His Word. The Supper allows us to take hold of the promises of God with our bodies. The Supper incarnates the spoken and written Word we’ve poured over and points us to the original incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

As a result of our study we're done taking communion only once a month and now doing it twice month! Every other week has been absolutely refreshing for my relationship with Jesus!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Networking in youth ministry

Yesterday I met with men from our community as a network of youthworkers! I can't express the joy that filled my heart - seeing the pastor of students in our community making it a point in their schedules to connect with each other. We had two great conversations around what see happening in our community as it relates to youth ministry and what it looks like to teach the Word with passion. I am excited about the men God has brought to our community to reach students with the GOSPEL!

Networking is a must among youth workers as it is our role to model for the students in our community that we are going to live together forever so we might as well start acting like it here and put away any sense of competition!

Did Jesus die for this?

My friend Charlie pointed me to this here. Here's my response to his blog!

I am so glad you found this board game. I've been reading the New Testament with my five year old and three year old and we came across these verses in Luke 9:23-24Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."

We then came to Paul's words to the Romans in chapter 8, verse 17, "Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."So I am thinking about how I can make these verses come my kids can have there best life now...and then I read this blog!

I've got it! Your Best Life Now - the game! We can sit around as a family and not just talk about these verses, but we can actually play a game that will lead my kids down the path these verses are calling us to follow! NO WAY!Jesus didn't die for your best life now, he died for your best life never...on this earth, but with Him in eternity! Jesus didn't die so we could be happy. He was born to die as a sacrifice and I want to strive for that in life.

Denying self, taking up your cross, sharing in his sufferings...This isn't a prescription for your best life now, it's a prescription to prepare you for your best life never on this earth. It's a prescription to quit making the story about us and shine a light on the Author of the story! It's about leveraging our lives for out in front of our kids denial of self, sacrifice, and embracing suffering!I wonder how this game makes taking your cross up come alive? Joel's gone to a new level too Charlie - the pulpit has his initials!Whose the story about Joel?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tween/Young teen pastors needed has identified four trends that highlight the online transition from tween (8-11 year olds) to young teens (12-14) here.

The four trends are: Socializing, Multi-tasking, Expectation of media anytime/anywhere, and growing influence on family purchase decisions. This quote caught my attention, "The tween/young teen demographic group has great potential for online marketers," says Ms. Williamson. "They are forming brand preferences, and they have comparatively less skepticism about advertising than older teens and adults."

This quote got me thinking that the church had better "belly up to the bar" and start hiring full-time, well paid Tween Pastors. If the marketing world is targeting them with their resources, why do so many churches neglect money and staff to this age group. High school used to be the place to dump it's in the Tweens!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Senior Sneak Relationships

Tacos. Ice Cream. Chips. Pop. Blueberry pancakes. Eggs. More chips. Queso. Grilled cheese. Tomato soup. Clam Chowder. Chicken Noodle. Sitting in the hot tub in the snow. Laughing. Tommy Boy. Louie Giglio. Prayer. Sharing. Football. Downtown Breckenridge. Lots of coffee and Chai tea.

There was more, but one thing stands out for me over the weekend – relationships. I got the chance to talk to half of our class in a way that wouldn’t be possible in their busy lives. I got the chance to hear their dreams for college, our high school ministry and ending well with their families. This weekend reminded me why I love my job – relationships!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Senior Sneak

This weekend we are heading up to Breckenridge with the class of 2007. We'll be resting, sitting in the hot tub for at least six hours, eating pizza, staying up late, sleeping name it! We're also going to be going through a few things to get them thinking about who they are and what they are going to do with the rest of their lives. We're going to watch a talk Louie Giglio gave at Challenge in 2004 tomorrow morning and it's going to rock their worlds! You can order the dvd of this talk (I think) from Nextstep Resources.

My goal for the weekend is to relax with them and spend individual time with each of them talking about who they are and where they are headed. I can't wait!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Teaching with passion

Seth Godin has an interesting post on teaching that I have been thinking about for a little over a week.

Here are a couple of his thoughts that caught my attention.

“If you teach--teach anything--I think you need to start by acknowledging that there’s a need to sell your ideas emotionally. So you need to use whatever tools are available to you--an evocative powerpoint image, say, or a truly impassioned speech.”

“If it’s worth teaching, it’s worth teaching well. If it’s worth investing the time of 30 or 230 or 3330 people, then it’s worth investing the effort to actually figure out how to get the message across.”

One of the thoughts that’s been going through my mind is how many youth pastors teach the Bible with passion! If a guy selling Oral B toothbrushes to a dentist can’t get enough of his product and makes a passionate speech to a group of dentists to buy his product, how much more should those who get the opportunity to teach the Word of God be filled with passion to impart the living Word into the hearts of students? I'm not talking about screaming to them, I am talking about pouring over the text until it's seared into our hearts so we have something from God to declare. I am talking about teaching from the viewpoint that this Word is so worth your time right now because of what it has been doing in my life all week as I have been thinking about it and praying over it! I am talking about preparing to teach well, not just get through a message or a series!

Students are the most passionate people in the church and they are longing to hear from their leader the passion of the Christ as revealed in His passionate Word. Students are longing to see that the Word we are teaching has first taught us. Students are looking for us to call them to a radical faith worth dying for every time we get the chance to stand up in front of them and teach.

We aren’t selling Jesus. We are simply opening up the GLORY of God revealed in His Word (Ps. 19:7-9), and passionately proclaiming to this next generation that there lives must be first saturated in the Word of God because there is nothing sweeter and no greater reward,

“10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. 11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Who I am called to disciple first

I am realizing more and more in ministry that my passion for discipleship must begin in the lives of these three gifts from God. I can be replaced in the lives of teenagers by another youth pastor. These kids only get one dad!