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...