Thursday, December 27, 2007


This is the score of Noah and Josiah's first Nuggets game that they attended. The Nuggets won impressively yesterday over the Bucks! We had great club level seats and had a great time with Grandpa Larry (my dad)!

We do a "Guys Night Out" once a month. Last month is was Anthony's Pizza and Glow-in-the-Dark Putt-Putt. Josiah calls these nights "Guys At Night!" He cracks me up.

Whatever he calls it, my youth ministry skills are coming in handy being a dad! Next month will probably be Ice Cream and Fat City!

The Teenage Brain

Frontline has a great video,

Inside The Teenage Brain,

that's worth a look and passing on to leaders and parents in your student ministry.

Monday, December 24, 2007 funny

We have a "You Might Be a Redneck If..." calendar on our kitchen counter that has provided us many chuckles this year. I thought the December 15/16 entry was worthy of the blog.

You Might Be a Redneck If...Your pastor had to deliver a sermon titled "Stealing a donkey from the church nativity scene is wrong."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What would you ask for?

Taken from wondercafe.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Emerging Adulthood

This week I read a great article on Emerging Adulthood, Getting a Life - The challenge of emerging adulthood by Christian Smith from my Christianity Today Books & Culture email. Christian Smith is the author of Soul Searching, which is a must read for every student ministry pastor.

He asks two important questions student ministry pastors and the rest of the pastors in their church should answer based on his conclusions, "How does or should American Christianity speak to emerging adults as people and emerging adulthood as a cultural fact? How can the church faithfully speak the gospel to 18- to 30-year-olds?"

I passed this on to our pastoral staff and we are going to address these two questions at a staff meeting in January.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Building Bridges to Your Senior Pastor - 1

Historically, one of the top reasons student ministry pastors leave churches is due to the fact that they are unable to relate to their senior pastor. Not wanting this to be a reason for me to leave my church (hey, I've been here since 1996 with the same senior pastor) I decided to be proactive in my communication with him. For example, every message I teach on a Sunday morning to our high school students, he sees a short outline of my message. I put a copy in his box so he can take a quick glance at it before he files it in the trash (the best filing cabinet in his office).

The brief amount of time that he takes to look over what I'm teaching helps to build trust and potentially opens the door for him to speak into what I am presenting. Plus, if a parent speaks to him it keeps him in the "know" with at least a general idea of what is being taught in the high school ministry.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

State of our Seniors in Student Ministry

After Kara Powell came and evaluated my high school ministry this past spring I've been reading everything she writes. After reading, What Type of Students Are We Developing? The State of our Seniors, I decided to use her questions with my seniors.

I have the data and will report back soon what I find!

Monday, December 17, 2007

A clean desk

I read this blog and it led to this picture. There is no question that the two hours I spent to clean off my desk were two of the greatest hours I've spent in my office. Bottom line...I get more done!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Touching wet ground

I came across this quote this morning from Henri Nouwen and I stopped to listen...I touched wet ground,

"Every time you listen great attentiveness to the voice that calls you the Beloved, you will discover within yourself a desire to hear that voice longer and more deeply. It is like discovering a well in the desert. Once you have touched wet ground, you want to dig deeper."

I want our students to graduate having heard this call and then walk into college with the desire to dig deeper. But I wonder how many times our students have touched wet ground when we've gathered on Wednesdays and Sundays?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Southwest Connection Student Ministry Network

Yesterday I met with other student ministry leaders in my community, the Southwest Connection Student Ministry Network. I love being a part of this network. We poured over an article from Kenda Creasy Dean, Assistant professor of youth, church, and culture in the field of practical theology and Christian education at Princeton Theological Seminary, "Getting out of God's Way Freeing Our Inner Theologian" and it started some great conversations. I love her writing. She articulates what my mind thinks and how my heart feels about student ministry. I can't wait to go to Princeton in April.

She is arguing for student ministries to wean themselves from "unreflective pragmatism" and start leading student ministries as practical theologians, "reflection on practices that reflect God."

Here's her summary, "practical theologians approach youth ministry with this question: "Do our actions with young people reflect the self-giving love of God?" This is a very different question from the pragmatic one: "What works to win young people to Jesus (or maybe to us)?" GULP! AMEN!

I am praying for this change to be even greater in 2008 in our student ministry. What about you and your ministry?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Being fully present in student ministry

How different would student ministry look in the church if student ministry pastors and their leaders were fully present with students during their gatherings? So many student ministry leaders are always talking about who didn't show up and missing who did.

Being fully present means we are not walking around wondering why so and so didn't show up, bummed that our attendance is low, etc... Rather being fully present has to start with thinking about who did show up, and praying that God would open a door for this to be the gathering where they respond to His love. Being fully present means that the students who do you show up get our full attention.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

words of a killer

"You Christians brought this on yourselves, I'm coming for EVERYONE soon and I WILL be armed to the @#%$ teeth and I WILL shoot to kill."

"Feel no remorse, no sense of shame, I don't care if I live or die in the shoot-out. All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you as I can especially Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world."

- Words from the gunman who is responsible for killing four people this Sunday at YWAM and New Life Church...actually they are almost a direct quote from Eric Harris, one of the gunman during the Columbine shootings.

Chilling. What can our students learn from this? Matthew 10:22 might be a good place to start this Sunday.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Teaching on success in student ministry

According to this poll, "The majority of teens surveyed (71 percent) say they feel fully prepared to make ethical decisions when they enter the workforce. Yet 38 percent of that group believe it is sometimes necessary to cheat, plagiarize, lie or even behave violently in order to succeed."

Our students need to be challenged with Joshua's definition of success,

"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." - Joshua 1:8

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mind mapping in student ministry

A tool I've been using for the past few years to help me me get out of a rut when I am preparing a message or a small group is a mind map. I have a blank piece of paper next to me with colored pencils. When I get stuck in my preparation to communicate an idea, I mind map. This discipline has also benefited me when I take notes, plan elements for a retreat, my own family vacations, etc... It's truly amazing what emerges. This would even be great to have students do during the message you are teaching or the small group you are leading.

Next time you get stuck in preparation for your message or small group discussion, grab a blank sheet of paper a follow these steps. Or you can watch this video for an overview.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry 1

I am loving this book! Here are a few quotes and thoughts from the introduction:

"There is no 'third thing', no 'end' to which the relationship should lead...the relationship is the end. Ministry, then, isn't about 'using' relationships to get individuals to accept a 'third thing' e.g. the gospel, rather, ministry is about connection, one to another, about sharing in suffering and joy, about persons meeting persons with no pretense or secret motives. It is about shared life, confessing Christ not outside the relationship but within it." - pg. 15

I want a student ministry full of leaders who will live the gospel with our students. Furthermore, I want us to wrestle with Andy's words, "Ministry is not about helping these kids be better Christians; it is about helping them be what God created them to be - human. Ministry is about suffering with them in their dehumanization, celebrating their human endeavors and in all things pointing to the true human, Jesus Christ our Lord." - pg. 15

I am beginning to realize that I've failed in my student ministry to point our students to regularly to the true human, Jesus. My ministry has pointed them to Jesus being 100% God, but rarely being 100% man. I want a more incarnational student ministry!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

7 places

Today I realized that if you were trying to find anyone on our student ministries staff you could probably find us in one of seven places:

1. Office
2. Denver Seminary
3. Starbucks
4. Costco
5. Panera
6. Walmart
7. Home


EFCA Mentoring Retreat

Sunday through Tuesday I was in Summit County with with 8 other student ministry pastors for our annual EFCA mentoring retreat at this house! It was awesome! We went to The Mint and grilled our own meat! We spent our time discussing Chris Folmsbee's book, A New Kind of Youth Ministry. Awesome read! This is a must read!!!!!! We got through the intro and first two chapters! Plus, Chris did a 40 minute conference call with us! What a guy! Thanks bro!

I love networking!!!!! My take, every student ministry pastor should be in a network, one in their denomination and one in their community! We are better together!!!!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

College students on Christmas break

I love Christmas break! We take a few weeks off from meeting on Wednesdays (still meet every Sunday) which allows me time to catch up with our college students when they're home! Most of our grads move out of Littleton. I emailed them last week (the ones that haven't changed their email addresses) and told them to look me up when they're home. Several of them emailed me back and I can't wait to hear their stories. It's important for our students to know that we're still thinking about them and praying for them even though they aren't a physical part of our community.

Fuller's Center for Youth and Family Ministry has a good article with some great thoughts about what kind of questions could be asked as you, or your leaders meet with your sheep who have moved on. Thanks to Kara, Cheryl and Brad for your work.

You Make the Call: What College Freshmen Need to Hear from their Youth Pastors