Saturday, April 11, 2009


Today I turned 37. I spent the day being lazy with my family, shopping at the flea market, eating some lunch and ice cream, drinking too much java, watching my dog play in the waves, and stuff like that....

At lunch, for the first time, my kids asked me if I'd still be a youth pastor when they were in high school. I've always feared this transition, wanting my own kids to explore their own faith and OWN IT absent my leadership if they wanted. I've seen the "pastors kids" have great experiences. I've also seen them have horrible ones. I'm not willing to risk the latter at any cost. Having them beg me to stay is sweet. Some days I can't imagine why I wouldn't. Other days I think some subliminal youth pastor time clock will tick off before they get there. TJ is only 2 years away, so the reality is on the horizon. If God lets me stay for all of them to finish high school... I'll be a 27 year veteran before it's over, serving here at Journey for 16 years with Becky and Billy graduating in 2021!!!

Regardless, this month is 15 years in ministry. A milestone for me. (Shannon and I will also celebrate 15 years of marriage in June too.)

As I look back on these years, here's my top 10 learnings...
  1. Taking care of myself is not selfish, it is necessary. When I've failed to lead myself well, everyone and everything around me feels it.
  2. My marriage and family are not my most important ministry, they are my ministry. My ministry flows from my pursuit of Godliness as father and husband. If I fail at those, the rest will fall apart too.
  3. Leaders are learners and I have come to believe that there are only 2 ways to learn things: (1) the hard way and (2) from someone who learned it the hardway. The smartest thing I can do in ministry is keep learning- from my own mistakes and especially from the mistakes of others. It is a huge way that I can gain the wisdom to avoid doing or repeating them myself.
  4. Never ever ever let bad news surprise your supervisor. When you falter or fail (not if but when), be the first one in line to share and offer a solution. Supervisors hate surprises- especially when there's bad news inside- and especially when it's from someone else.
  5. More is not more. Deeper is more. I'll take quality over quantity every day of the week.
  6. Facebook might be the greatest gift I've ever been given in the effort to keep in touch with and pseudo mentoring old students. Without it, I would never hear from so many. I praise God for facebook.
  7. I suck at all things music, I hate managing money, I get distracted by both posessions and pleasing people, and I might be the worst name memorizer in the history of youth pastors. If I get fired- one of these will be why.
  8. 75% of a youth pastor's job is spent reminding everyone what it is we're trying to do, when we're doing it, and why it needs to get done.
  9. Work smart and hard. The people in ministry that I admire with longevity and a top notch reputation all have a solid work ethic and manage their time wisely- knowing when to take time off and when to work overtime. The longer I'm in ministry, the deeper appreciation I have for both of these character traits.
  10. There is no such thing as a relationship short cut. All relationships take time. The ones that mean the most to me also cost me the most. And know this, NOTHING I've done of any significance over the last 15 years has been done alone. I owe a ton of volunteers 15 YEARS OF THANKS!
The coming posts this week will have some old school pics from the last 15 years and some memories.

If I can find time, I have a bucket full of old powerhouse flashback videos I need to upload and host on facebook someday. I gotta make that happen :)


Adam and Andrea 1:28 PM  

Happy Birthday Brian!! :) I thought about you yesterday as I was hosting a house full of friends and family celebrating Savannahs 2nd birthday which is actually today!! :) Miss ya.


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San Diego, CA
Husband. Dad. Jesus Follower. Friend. Learner. Athlete. Soccer coach. Reader. Builder. Dreamer. Pastor. Communicator. Knucklehead.

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