Thursday, March 31, 2011


If you've been around church a while, then undoubtedly someone has asked you to take a spiritual gifts test or asked you what your "spiritual gifts" are.  This "test" tells you how God has specifically gifted you as a Believer to help do Kingdom of God kinda stuff.  The results are usually framed in language through one of several "spiritual gifts sets" listed in the Bible and therefore will most likely tell you is that you have some variety of the 3 most famous Bible "giftings" lists...

which since I didn't feel like trying to figure out how to do html and make the chart myself, I gaffed and modified slightly one from an article on wikipedia here.

Spiritual Gifts
Ministry Callings      
 Spiritual Gifts
Romans 12:6-8
Ephesians 4:11
1 Corinthians 12:1-14
  • Prophecy
  • Serving
  • Teaching
  • Encouragement
  • Giving
  • Leading
  • Showing mercy (compassion)
  • Apostolic
  • Prophetic
  • Evangelical
  • Pastoral
  • Teaching
  • Wisdom
  • Knowledge
  • Discerning various spirits
  • Speaking in tongues
  • Interpretation of tongues
  • Prophecy
  • Faith
  • Working of miracles
  • Healing

If you really want to take one of these tests to find out your mix, just google it, there's a gazillion of them.

However, as clear as the Bible is that "gifts from God" come to Believers in one of the above forms, those same tests rarely ever ask you about your abilities or skill set.  They separate "spiritual gifts" and "talents".  One is ultra-spiritual, the other is "normal".

But this is not true.

I was reading Exodus the other day and notice how what God says about craftsman as they built the tabernacle or tent they used to worship God....

(Exodus 35:30–35)
“Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,  and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—  to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,  to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts.  And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others.  He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.”

Therefore... music and art and photography and an eye for design and craftsmanship and jewelers and an ability to build stuff and an ability to speak lots of languages and the capacity to crunch numbers and so much more can be called and are "gifts" from God.

So, when you're looking for how God has gifted people to serve in ministry, don't look to 3 new testament lists only. Open your eyes. There are more ways that God wants to use people. Cuz the truth is...
  • THOSE GIFT LISTS ARE NOT EXHAUSTIVE.  God has and does gift us in lots of ways that are outside of those three popular lists. God surely can and does use those spiritual gifts.  But he uses other stuff too, namely those things that are most often labeled "talents".  But they are gifts from God for the benefit of the Kingdom of God when we submit them to the Spirit's leading just the same. 
  • WE DISCRIMINATE THOSE LISTS AND WE NEED TO STOP.  If you read the lists again, some people will say that God no longer does some of those things through people any more.  Hmmm, that's interesting.... and false in my opinion. We need to open our eyes to ways God is working that don't fit the test results box we are comfortable with.  
  • WE NEED TO CHALLENGE PEOPLE TO CONSIDER ALL ASPECTS OF THEIR PERSONALITY, TALENTS, AND ABILITIES AS REFLECTIVE OF GOD'S UNIQUE DESIGN FOR THEM.  God wants to do stuff in and through people. They just need to hear from those in leadership, that they can be used by God outside of the "spiritual gifts" box they are so unsure about anyway. 


Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I gave my mom a knit beanie I bought for myself several months back as inspiration.

I told her, this would be fun for her to make.  Your grandkids would enjoy them.  You should make some.

So my mom did.

She bought a bucket of yarn in various colors. Then she set the various colors in front of my kids and I, and said, "Pick some".  We each picked colors and wallakazu - wallakazam, several weeks later my mom had knit us all beanies.

I love homemade stuff.  But I think that in our internet visa card buying culture, homemade has become the product of but a rare few people. But homemade is where it's at.  There's no way I'm bloggin' that we all got beanies if my mom bought them all at walmart. 

I think in ministry, you can get a lot more mileage out of homemade stuff too.  Way more than the stuff that costs real store bought money.  Here's some homemade ideas that win every time.
  • THANK YOUS: a handmade card and hand written note will trump an e-mail or a facebook wall birthday wish every time.
  • MEALS: handmade meals with friends, coworkers, or students win the day over a menu item at a restaurant chain.  Skip the professional caterer for your next volunteer training meal and make a meal together.  It will become team building and will be way memorable if you do. 
  • MUSIC: if you can sing a song written by someone you know vs. one hillsong wrote, hands down it wins the day every time.  
  • SPEAKERS: use your team to speak to your team.  Try having 3 volunteer interns speak at a retreat instead of hiring in the big gun speaker.   You might be surprised at home much more bang for your buck you can get out of a home grown team. 
  • OUTREACH:  we've found that open mic night and talent shows are the thing of today.  Thank reality television or whatever, but bottom line is this: students will come to see their peers homemade reality tv show long before they'll come see my professional skateboarder I hired, paid a huge price for, and bought a hotel room to put up for the night.  
  • ILLUSTRATIONS: stories about stuff that are fresh and from your life win the day over anybody elses story or stories from news pieces.  Be authentic.  Tell your own homemade story. 


Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I ask this question a lot.

The answer I get to this question depends on where I am, who I asked it of, and how honest they want to be with me. Here's the most common answers I get from high school students on Sunday AM and how I interpret them.

TIRED:  I think they must be running all day or they stay up too late reading my blog :), but they are always tired.  Crazy thing is, if you ask them what they did yesterday, they almost always say, "nothing".

  • my interpretation: sunday morning is a sleepy time for high school church and "nothing" is a very tiring activity.

BUSY:  I heard the other day that busy is the new "fine".  Seems about right.  Everyone is busy.  My students are all busy.
  • my interpretation: Sabbath and Stress are perhaps the most culturally relevant discussion topics ever in a student's life today.  Might just be the most perpetually relevant to my life actually. 

FINE: This means nothing to anyone, not even the person who just uttered it.
  • my interpretation: 1. I don't want to talk to you.  OR  2. that is the dumbest question ever so I'll just give you the dumbest answer ever.  OR  3. I'm too tired to think. OR  4.  You look as old as my Dad, so I'll tell you the same thing I tell all old people... fine. 

NOT GOOD: At least 3 times in the last 2 months I've walked up to a girl sitting by herself in our ministry in a room filled with people on a Sunday AM and said, "It's good to see you... how are you doing?"  To which they say, "Not good."  I respond, "Oh no, what happened?" and put my hand on their shoulder. This starts a flood of tears and intense sobs they evidently had bottled up and will as quietly as possible let loose of right here in this big room as they cover their face.  The pressure releases all at once as they tell me through tears the immense weight they have on their shoulders at that moment.
  • my interpretation: We need more adult leaders in our Sunday program- especially women evidently.  I should never ever assume that students who look "fine" are really just fine.  Students lack healthy physical touch. Oh.. and it's evidently very possible to be very lonely in a room full with people. 


Monday, March 28, 2011


If there's 20 seconds on the game clock and you want the ball so you can score the game winner, do you call it ambition or arrogance?

If there's a key vision to be cast in your organization and you say, "I'd like to give that keynote speech to the team", do you call it ambition or arrogance?

If there's a problem in the world that you think needs a new perspective to solve, and you start an organization to do just that, do you call it ambition or arrogance?

What about if it's not you, but it's your peer?  What about if it's someone who answers to you? What about if it's someone who could do your job?  What about if it's something you think is expected to be your job, but you know would really be better done by someone else in your organization... at least this time?

I don't think this is a hypothetical question.  I don't think it's a rare occurrence either.   I think all day long, in all kinds of business places, relationships, and playing fields, people are doing a dance:  longing to fuel their personal ambition and accusing others around them of prideful arrogance when they long for it too.  I think as a high school pastor, I am constantly trying to decide which of these two I see in myself, my peers, and the students I work with as we dream big dreams.

Here's the difference:

ARROGANCE: is a selfish promotion of me for my own internal benefit and external reward.

  • so if you want the ball for the camera, it's arrogant.
  • if you want the speech for the applause, it's arrogant. 
  • if you want to start the organization to prove yourself better than others, it's arrogant.
AMBITION: is an intense desire to make a difference to a degree that it often propels the individual into influence by default.
  • so if you have proven yourself to be the best scorer, it's ambition.
  • if you are a communicator who is passionate and clear on the vision for the speech, it's ambition.
  • if you are the one who can't sleep at night because of the problem, it's ambition.

think about it.

Moses wasn't called humble for telling God he wasn't good enough to do the job.  Nehemiah wasn't called arrogant for wanting to rebuild the wall and asking for money and personal leave time to get it done.

So pray about your vision. Hold it before God with an open hand.  Then run after your dreams.  Go pitch the book proposal.  Go score the goal.  Go play the song or start that band. Go run the race.  Go make that phone call.  Go pour gasoline on your ambition and cold water on arrogance.

Please don't just sit there, GO CHANGE THE WORLD!


Sunday, March 27, 2011


After you've been doing youth ministry for a while.  There are days when you wonder if it matters at all.

After the thousandth student has come through the door and is never to be seen again.  After another student on your leadership team you've poured into decided to leave the faith behind.  After you have been crying and praying and sweating and waiting for a spiritual breakthrough and instead all you get is broken and no through... those are the days you wanna quit and go get a "real job".

But then there are those days.  Those other days.  Those few and far between days when it all seems worth it.  When the long term fruit of seeds planted 10+ years ago shows up.   Yeah, the last few days have been like that for me.


Aparna and Burton both made a decision to follow Jesus in and through high school and a student ministry called Powerhouse I cut my ministry teeth in.  Then they chased each other and Jesus all the way through life's ups and downs and ended up at the altar.  Last Friday I got a chance to officiate their wedding ceremony.  Now Burton is training to be an airline mechanic and pilot who flies missionaries and supplies into remote areas of the world.  Aparna stepped in and helped lead Powerhouse in the years after I left.  She is passionate about making a difference for Jesus everywhere she goes and married a man who humbly shares that passion.  So proud of them.

In the wedding party and the audience were two other couples that grew up in our ministry and are now serving as youth pastors in their own local churches.  There was a couple I'm doing the wedding for this summer who are loving God and serving in a local church plant.  Two former volunteers have chosen to go to seminary for more training to reach more students. I talked with a dear friend who told me she has remained faithful to a commitment she made as a freshman before God... like 15 years ago.  There is a former intern who is serving foster kids.  I mean the list could go on and on for pages.  I did not have one conversation the entire reception that did anything but encourage my soul.  Not one.

What an amazing gift this day was.

I have a good friend and former student from our high school ministry who serves as the Area Director for a Young Life club in South Central LA. He literally was told on his first day at Fremont High by a cop to get off the campus and never come back because he didn't want to do the paperwork for his dead body.  That was years ago now.

I was on facebook tonight and I saw this 16 minute video.  I watched it through tears.  What an epic example of a life well lived. So blessed to be a small part of this story.

If you know Kyle Cummins, you should definitely watch this video.

If you don't know Kyle but you want to be inspired by real student ministry that changes real student lives, then you should watch this video.

If you just want to donate some money to a ministry that is rockin' the inner city and that can't survive without outside support, well... watch this video. 


To all the Powerhouse and Encounter grads that are loving Jesus still today!  You Bless Me more than words will ever say!


Thursday, March 24, 2011


If you work in a non-profit, then you need volunteers.  Lots of them.

But not just any ol volunteer.  You need lots of good ones.  Cuz a bad volunteer can cause as much pain in your life as a bad hire.  Maybe it's worse because we somehow tend to tolerate more cuz you don't have a paycheck to hang over their head.  I was talking with some former students of mine, who are now youth pastors in their own churches tonight and it reminded me of one of my most recent learnings about volunteers and saving ourselves a ton of headache because they just don't "get it".


Most youth ministries I know of ask people to commit to a set of behaviors to be on their volunteer team.  Here's a sample set:

  • go to our adult church services on Sundays
  • adhere to some moral standard
  • support the vision and doctrine statement of the church
  • come to our student ministry mid week.
  • lead a small group
  • prepare for a small group before you lead it
  • show up for our leader meetings "x" number of times a year
  • pray for us.
  • be consistent
  • etc.... 
I'm done asking my leaders to sign this kind of commitment.  It produces compliance, not ownership.  It enforces rules, not vision.  Instead, I'm working towards stacking hands on this kind of stuff.
  • We value teaching students how to think above what to think.
  • We value grace, because failure is part of life and learning.
  • We seek to mentor students, not manage them.
  • We love God first, students second.
  • We are committed to face to face relationships and value coming together.
  • We humbly listen to God and one another. 
  • We value process learning.  There is no fast track to discipleship. 
  • etc...
The second set, may result in some of the first set.  But I'll stack hands on vision every day a thousand times over before I stack hands on rules and regulations.  I don't want to manipulate behavior, I want to lead into mission.

And if I need to correct a volunteer or have a hard convo about a behavior... I want to discuss the values that are the root issue, not the circumstance that is the current subject.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011


We ended our "FLIRT" series on sexuality and dating and such last weekend. We called it "Talk to me about Flirting" cuz it was a "4 couple panel" made up of one engaged couple and three married couples: the youngest of which had returned from their honeymoon the day before and the oldest of which was 8 months into this gig.  They responded to some predetermined questions to get us started and then to some written by students on cards.

The result was some very fresh eyes for students on the end game of the dating world and some powerful stories on hope and regret and healing too.  The most interesting part I asked them about was why they all chose not to live together before getting married, even the one couple where one of them had been previously married and even the couples where "virginity" was no longer still being "saved".  All chose to not go the common route and all experience significant pressure towards that from friends especially.  This choice is super rare today and they had such powerful words to share and in ways I never could have said them myself.  Honestly, it was one of my favorite mornings in a long time.

It also gave me another chance to remind our students of my four fold process and I wanted to encourage them to find truth in.  It's my "how to think vs. what to think" filter of sorts for finding or discerning the will of God in their life.  I've been processing it for a while and have landed on 4 B's as my memory tool.  This week was all about the third B.

I laugh every time I share them because I have a friend who sends me e-mails to "BBBB", which he says stands for Big Bad Brian Berry.  So I hear his voice in my head every time I share them, but here they are, with some cautions I tell students as well:

BIBLE: what does the Bible say about this issue or choice? 

  • caution: be careful with this question.  Cuz if you're looking for what the Bible says about texting, oral sex, abortion, sex before marriage, the internet, or any number of other topics, if you simply "search for those words" in some online Bible, you'll find them not in there. Therefore, you could say the Bible has nothing to say about those issues.  But you'd be wrong.  Asking what does the Bible say about an issue is deeper than this. 

BRAIN:  does this make logical sense?  Do I have to do mental gymnastics to endorse this? 
  • caution: sometimes God calls us to do that which makes very little reasonable sense. 

BELIEVERS: what do some people you respect, especially those in the faith who are older and wiser and farther down the life experience road than you..... what do those people say about this issue or choice? 
  • caution: be leery of getting your opinion validated by your peers.  

BEEN THERE: what does experience tell you?  
  • caution: there are only two ways to learn stuff in life: the hard way and from those who learned it the hard way.  the wise go to school on other's people's mistakes as much as their own.  Be a learner of experiences, both good and bad. Both yours and observed in others. 
If you like 'em, you should use em!!  BB's 4B's for finding the will of God in your life :)



Last Saturday we hosted a training day for parents at JCC.  It was the best one we've done yet by pretty much all accounts.  In case you missed it (or showed up at like 10am) or maybe you'd like to do one in your own church, here's the grand summary of it all in one post.

8:30 to 12:30 on a Saturday morning. 

It was free. Free training, booklet, childcare, light refreshments and coffee for adults, and a pizza lunch for the kids. 

Communicate, cast vision, and gain ownership on 3 core values:
  1. Parenting is Communal.   We can't do this alone at the church or at home. We need one another and we need to mutually own a vision.  Specifically that we are "Inviting a Generation to Understand, Own, and Live out a life changing faith in Jesus."
  2. As a parent, I am my kids biggest influence.  So leverage it by meeting one on one with your child regularly and face to face.  Read more about this here. 
  3. We are raising a generation of autonomous, Jesus-following adults.  So we're trying to work ourselves out of a job.  To this end we split up the groups into parents of infant through 4th grade and a second group of 5th-12th grade and talked specifically and practically about how we do that both at home and at church. 
We really really can't do this alone.  We need God's help, a parent's help, and ultimately we need the child or young adult's help.  

We tried to help parents understand the impact we can have on their child as a church in terms of time.   We asked them imagine if we get them an hour on Sunday for 9 months out of the year, for 29 years.  We broke this down into tons of different illustrations.  The most powerful of which was a rope.  If you take the statistics on this slide and break it down into a rope representing time.  The rope of their life you bring on stage will be 60 feet long and the amount of time you can color in to represent time spent in our church building will be 5.5 inches long!!!  

As a youth pastor, my image of doing ministry is a little more crass.  I often feel like the hour on Sunday is spent dumping spiritual chlorine in a pool at nascar pit crew fuel speeds. The problem is, the pool of a student's life is lined with relationships and a culture that are peeing in it, and until the student starts kicking some pissers off the side of the pool, this is a largely pointless endeavor.  An hour on Sunday is only as powerful as it is impacting the massively larger quantity of hours that are spent outside this space.   

If you missed the seminar day and would like to take the time to listen to each of the sessions and the final age specific breakouts, you can find them all on this website here for free. If you'd like to use he handout that we gave to follow along or read up about how to contact us or how you might serve in our Generation's Ministry, you can download that pdf document here. 


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Hey blog readers!

Today is WORLD WATER DAY.  Let's truly make the overflow start flowing!

SO, I NEED YOUR HELP.   Myself and 100+ other bloggers from around the world are joining hands to raise $10,000 to make the world a cleaner and brighter place.  How?  By each of us raising $100.  To do this, I'm giving $20 to the adventure project today to do my part. Then I'm asking at least 9 of you to join me.

There are thousands of places to invest in world water day today.  Here's why I'm asking you to join this organization.

#1. I am like 2 degrees removed from their cofounder and I have lots of friends that know her personally.  I can vouch that this organization is legit in what they promise.  You can read about their vision here.  You can check out cofounder Jody Landers' personal blog here if you want.

#2. I love what their doing and how they're trying to truly fix the situation.  They aren't digging new wells, they're TRAINING AND EMPLOYING LOCAL indigenous men and women in India to FIX DEAD wells!  Read the details below:

1/3 of all wells built in the last 20 years are BROKEN due to faulty hand pumps.

Over 4,000 children die every day from lack of clean drinking water and mine just runs happily down my sink, very very clean I might add. 

When you help adventure project, they help the locals repair broken wells. The well mechanics business in North India trains and equips men AND WOMEN to repair their region’s water wells. Instead of drilling more wells, we’re using our charitable gifts for something revolutionary – to train and employ handpump mechanics. The mechanics earn an income, bringing themselves out of poverty, and they save lives – turning water back on for thousands of people each year.  This is HUGE ground breaking opportunity for us to partner with them.

LETS DO THIS THING!  This blog gets about 100 readers a day.  Surely 9 of us can do this. Just say so in the comments and then give them your $20. 

Write in the comments, "I'm in" and then GO HERE NOW AND click the DONATE button anywhere on the page and GIVE YOUR $20.


Monday, March 21, 2011


If you work with students, I can't recommend highly enough the value of gathering parents together for training.  They are the most influential force in a students life.  Virtually every study ever done continues to prove this again and again.  Like this one will prove the point nicely.  As a result, training parents is one of the very best investments I can make into what is "normal" for the lives of students.

Our annual event was last Saturday in our JCC Parenting Summit that actually tries to connect with not just parents of teens, but of all ages in order to get a running start at what can be very trying teen years for many. You can read about session one here.  Our essential bottom line was... we as parents all need to be on the same page and to rally around our mission, "inviting a generation to understand, own, and live out a life changing faith in Jesus."

Our second session was all about what stands between us and success in this goal as parents. The question we posed is, "What is the biggest hurdle we have in raising children into young adults who are passionate about following Jesus with their lives?"  I invited Mark Oestreicher to turn a rock over and reveal the problem of extended adolescence.  A big reason we are having trouble raising adults in this culture is cuz someone keeps moving the finish line. To this end, Marko passionately challenged parents that not only have the teen years begun to become a lifestyle instead of a lifestage, but that both the life stage and the lifestyle are creations of our American culture at large.  For the vast majority of our human history, there were two stages: child and adult.  Check out this chart that shows how this hiccup between childhood and adolescence has been changing over time as puberty ages drop and pressures to become an adult extend.

But, the good news is, "IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY."  But if that's true and with adolescence extending indefinitely in our culture, how do we as adults make a difference?

We challenged parents that one of the key contributors to extended adolescence is the distancing and separation of adults from the lives of kids.  So an answer for us comes in this value:

CORE VALUE #2. I am my kids greatest influence.  

We cannot minimize this fact or dismiss it.  We must begin to leverage our influence against this rising tide. We need it to be normative that as a parent at Journey, we stack hands on a common mission and that we all meet weekly in one-on-one contexts with our kids.  If absentee adults are contributing to the extension of adolescence and parents are the single greatest indicator of a kids health in the future, then we need healthy parents meeting weekly with their kids.

Seriously!  Could you imagine how RADICALLY OUR YOUTH MINISTRY CONTEXT WOULD CHANGE if every student in my ministry was meeting one on one with their own parent once a week? WOW, what a difference that would make!!

Here's a brief video we made of several of our staff's kids and the influence meeting one-on-one with them makes.

I'm really praying this takes hold in our church and that we spark a revolution in Adult to Child connection points. 


Sunday, March 20, 2011


Every once in a while you stumble into a God thing.  The Journey Parenting Summit this last Saturday was one of those.  We were praying for a game changer- a literal shift in what is "normal" for all parents at JCC and the essential ethos of our culture to change in 3 key ways.

With my new job change last January, job number one for me was to try and get infants through twenty-something adults all operating under the same vision.  The chief way to do that outside of my staff team was to expand our annual student ministry parent's day into a Generation Ministries Parenting Summit.  Last Saturday was the culmination of months of planning and dreaming.

I was going to pump the 4 hours of material into one brief blog post, but I decided I'll do 3 instead: one for each of 3 sessions we had during the day.  Each session was taught by a team and served to build upon the last.  Each one tried to get us to stack hands on one of 3 values we were trying to champion.


We spent the first session driving home what is our generation ministries banner cry which over the last 3 years since we wrote it, has become my own personal motto.  This is not only what I try and do as a pastor, but it is the essential core of all of my parenting.  If you asked me what I'm trying to do as a Dad, I'd tell you this vision.  I believe it to the core of my being.  If you cut me, I bleed this.


I believe we are called as a ministry and as parents in this:  "inviting a generation to understand, own, and live out a life-changing faith in Jesus."  Here's how this breaks down.

  • INVITING:  not challenging, not pushing, not demanding, not calling, not urging.  As parents, we are inviting our kids to go on a faith journey with us.
  • GENERATION: this is not a kid thing.  this is not a teen thing.  this is not a part time thing.  this is a long haul, big time, massively epic calling as parents.  We're passing a baton onto the next Generation and if we screw that up, we screw up our kids and our kid's kids and beyond.  I have no other higher calling in life than to entrust my faith to my kids.  (ie: 2 Timothy 2:2 vs. Judges 2:10)
  • UNDERSTAND: in a largely Biblically illiterate society, it is of critical importance that we stop simply teaching kids what to think and we start teaching them how to think.  To this end, we must become masters at the craft of asking and responding to questions.  Too much parenting is essentially about behavior modification, which is NOT understanding, it is compliance... and it is a short term win and a long term loss I simply cannot afford.
  • OWN: nothing. I repeat. nothing changes between 17 as a senior in high school and 18 as an "official adult".  If we expect to raise young adults that honor God for the long haul, we must give them the reigns of their own life and faith long before they "become adults".  We must steadily shift from a control mindset to an empowerment one.  
  • LIVE OUT A LIFE-CHANGING FAITH: talk is cheap. I want my kids to make wise choices with how they live and implement their faith into their daily lives.  I want to model that for them and live it out with them.
  • IN JESUS: if I help students or even my own kids place faith in me, then this ain't gonna work.  Our lead pastor put it like this, "We must be very careful that we don't lead our kids to a Jesus we're going to have to unlead them to later." As parents, we are sometimes the Jesus we have to unlead them to later.  I'm not called to be Jesus.  I am called to be like Jesus and lead my kids to Him. There is a massive difference between the two.  
So, here's CORE VALUE #1: parenting is communal.

If we are to accomplish this vision, we must acknowledge two things about this massive task.
  1. THIS MUST BE A ME THING:  This mission must become MY mission.  I cannot expect the church to do this while I'm doing something else.  There's NO WAY that an hour on Sunday is gonna cut it! We all must bleed this in our homes and daily lives. 
  2. THIS MUST BE A CORPORATE US THING:  We must help each other do this.  My kids need other voices.  We cannot do this by merely providing childcare to kids on the weekend.  We cannot do this in our kids ministry when we only have enough volunteers to keep the kids "safe".  Safe is not my goal.  Safe is the lowest bar I have available.  If we're going to see our kids, our students, and our young adults embrace these values, then we need an all in, all hands on deck mindset. We need help!
I'll post the next 2 sessions over the next 2 days, and as soon as I have a link where you can download the audio from the sessions, I'll include that too.  


Thursday, March 17, 2011


If you're a parent at Journey Community Church, then you've already heard about our massive PARENTING SUMMIT we're having on THIS SATURDAY!

IT'S NOT TOO LATE for you to join the 450 parents who have already signed up. We'd love to have you.

WHO: all parents of infants through teens.

WHEN: Saturday, March 19, 2011, 8:30am - 12:30pm in JCC's main worship center.  Check in and doors open at 8:10am.

CHILDCARE and COST: childcare through 5th grade and it's free!

FOOD:  snack and lunch for your kids.  coffee and light refreshments for you.

WHY:  this will be an epic day of great training and stacking hands on the mission of raising our kids into young adults who love and follow Jesus on their own. Special training by me, Ed Noble, Mark Oestreicher, and our entire Generations Staff team.   Come learn, meet new friends, enjoy a power packed 4 hours, and be prayed for as a parent.

Gonna be an EPIC day!!  See you there!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


My first 3 church internships were essentially volunteer.  I was home from college for the summers and the church took an offering for all of us at the end of the summer.  It wasn't much.  I loved it. I wasn't there for the money anyway. 

September of 1993 I applied for a job as a youth pastor in Fremont after speaking at a water ski trip for their high school group, Powerhouse.  I got that job in February of 1994 and started work in April, just 2 weeks after graduation from UC Davis.  I stayed there for 11 years.

I then moved to San Diego and started my job here.  As of yesterday, I've been here for 6 years.  So if you're doing the math, I've been in full time paid ministry on a church staff in 2 churches for a total of 17 years.

When I first took the job, I thought, "Oh man, this is gonna be awesome.  I can't believe I'm gonna be paid to do ministry."  After I worked in the church for a while and after I'd heard enough people look at me and say, "No, I can't do that, that's what we pay you for," I started to wish I could go back to volunteering.  I actually think the best job in the world would be to have an income outside of the church- like some big inheritance or side business that I own that has employees that run it or something... then I could volunteer at church full time and wouldn't need anything to support myself. 

I really hate this piece of working at the church. I hate that the offering pays my bills. I hate that people think I'm "paid to do this". 

So at some point, this boils down to, "What is a pastor paid to do anyway?" 

Here's my take.  3 things I AM NOT paid to do and 3 things I AM.

I AM NOT PAID TO FOLLOW JESUS.  I am paid in part, because I follow Jesus.  But no one is giving me a salary to do that.  I have given my life to inviting others to give their life to Jesus.  Yet I call students and adults alike to do that just the same- regardless of where they do or do not get their paycheck.  I'm not paid to love God or read my Bible or pray or help the hurting or any number of things every Jesus follower is called to do.

I AM NOT PAID TO DO EVERYTHING.  Church is not the show of paid people.  I'm sorry that some have made it out to be that.  I'm sure some pastors have fueled this idea. I've probably been guilty of that from time to time. I however now know 2 things for certain.  #1. I can't do this alone- church is way bigger than me!  #2. This is not my church anyway.

I AM NOT PAID TO DO WHAT NO ONE ELSE CAN DO.  We have lots of volunteers who do lots of stuff way better than I do.  I tell my small group leaders, "you are pastoring students", and I mean it.  But we also don't pay them.  I have students that can out play me in guitar with one of their hands in a cast and blindfolded.  I suck at essentially everything musical.  Yet having music in our weekend falls under my "job responsibilities".  But I'm not paid because I can outdo everyone in everything. I'm not paid because I'm some superhero Christian. 

I AM PAID TO BUILD A TEAM. I believe first and foremost, my church pays me to help build a team around a shared and owned vision.  This will NEVER BE primarily a paid team.  I'm paid to primarily help the "not paid people" understand what it is we're called to do, why it is we're doing it, and how they can get involved.  I'm not paid to do all the work, but I am paid to make sure the work is getting done by those who call this local church their "church home".  

I AM PAID TO EMPOWER OTHERS.  I'm also paid to get out of the way.  Truth is, if my job is doable by me alone, then I'm doing a task, not being a pastor.  Pastors should not be the most important people in a church. Pastors should be like an orchestra director.  Sure, maybe you need them so the music sounds awesome and people work together, but in the end, very little of the actual concert was done by them.  They just encouraged and empower others to use their abilities to collectively make a more beautiful noise than they could as individuals.  That's what a pastor is paid to do.  

I AM PAID NOT TO DO ANOTHER JOB.  Huh? Just keep reading... Yes, I'm paid to do some stuff.  Yes, I think I bust my butt and earn a wage.  But for me, I think I'm paid to work for the church so that I don't go work somewhere else. Nothing wrong with working in an office building or on a tractor.  But in the end, my church is essentially saying to me, "Please don't do that other job, we want you full time here instead."  I'm not paid to do my job, I'm paid so I don't have to have a second job.  


Tuesday, March 15, 2011


So our pastoral staff had a meeting last week that pretty much was all about jackin' with reality.

It was about muddying the water of certainty.  It was about saying, "Hey, see that box your world's in, let's see if we can break it."  Not that we wanted to declare everything broken, just that we wanted to try and crawl outside our skin and look at this thing called church from a different angle.  So we brought in a friend who has been thinking and reading in a different vein and invited him to mess with us.

He started by asking us to write down the answer to this question:  "What are the non-negotiables for me in ministry?  Like practically or theologically or whatever, what would cause me to quit if my church told me I could no longer do it?"

We were given like 2 minutes. Here's the non-negotiables I wrote down in this brief time:

  • Work in line with my giftings and talents.
  • Don't settle for mediocrity
  • Embrace process more than product
  • Theology is active, informed by history, but not controlled by it. 
Then, for the rest of the meeting I just wrote down questions as they came up in my head or in the room.  It's the stuff that made me go hmmm??  Maybe it'll do the same for you.
  • Is proclamation a dead learning style today? 
  • Do people want what our ministry is offering? 
  • Is the church office space actually a hinderance to my mission?
  • Have we created a celebrity priesthood mindset in our church? 
  • Am I acting and behaving like a missionary to my culture?
  • How is the internet influencing the world in new ways like the printing press did in the 15th century?  Every historian will tell you the printing press changed the world and the church.  So how is this "universal and personal printing press" called the internet changing these two environments today?  When anyone can have a global audience, what are the implications for truth and.... hmmm? 
  • Can we disciple people into the Kingdom of God? 
  • Is there still a need for a central church gathering and why? 
  • Are we advancing the Kingdom of God or only advancing what we're selling? 
  • Do we intentionally rock the boat?
  • What can I do to get the gospel off our church campus and into our local community?
  • Does our budget reflect our values? 
  • Do we read the views of those we don't agree with? 
  • Is my view of economics more American than Biblically sound? 
  • How can we live and embrace the value of simplicity? 


Monday, March 14, 2011


Not really sure who keeps putting the curtain back up, but I'm pretty sure Jesus took it down. Read for yourself:

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split” (Matthew 27:50–51)
THEOLOGICALLY SPEAKING, in case you're unfamiliar: the jewish temple has always had a curtain in it.  A BIG BLUE/RED/PURPLE COLORFUL CURTAIN!  The curtain was there because God was sending an image of Holiness to the people.  There was an acute awareness that there was sin in the camp, God wanted no part of it, and it required a sacrifice to be made right.  Literally.  So the priests offered a sacrifice on their behalf and out of grace, God forgave them.  Once a year (on the day of atonement- Leviticus 16), this was done on the altar that was in the "Holy of Holies" (Exodus 26:31-35) Only the High Priest went in... and only cautiously at that.  Failure to do this right could literally cost you your life. (Leviticus 16:2)

When Jesus paid the price as the ultimate sinless and blameless sacrifice, this system was donezo. (Hebrews 9-10)  No more sacrifice. No more separation.  Now we can approach God's throne with grace and confidence because we've been forgiven in and through the blood of  Jesus. He was and is the perfect sacrifice and as our high priest, and in response, the CURTAIN WAS TORN IN HALF by God and gravity. (Hebrews 4:14-16, Galatians 3:26-29)

There's really not supposed to be anymore separation between God's people and the Holy presence of God. So much so that Peter destroys the priesthood of a few and elevates the priesthood of all believers. (1 Peter 2:4-9) So much so that Paul says the Holy Spirit dwells in us now, not in temples and behind curtains.  We're not only NOT separated, but we're the new temple.  (Ephesians 2:19-22)

PRACTICALLY SPEAKING, no matter how torn the curtain is.  There are always those who want to mend it.

PASTOR VS PEW:  This comes up all the time.  Some want there to be a curtain between the pastor and the pew.  We see this in architecture.  We see this in people's "us" and "them" language.  If you're on staff, you've been told "Yeah, but you're paid to do that."  If you're in the seats, you've probably been told a time or two that the "real followers of Jesus" are the ones who work full time at the church."  Both are garbage.  I've been working in a paid staff of a church for almost 2 decades now.  And I've come to hate the curtain.  I see it all the time.  For this reason alone, I loathe the term "pastor".  I hate what it often stands for in a lot of churches and most people's mind today.

COME ON IN VS CLEAN UP FIRST:  Some churches and youth ministries and families and you name it... some groups of Christians find themselves moving the curtain from the Holy of Holies right to the entrance of the building.  You can't come in here till you fix that thing you do.  Till you deal with that desire you have- and especially if that desire is a sexual one.  This is a holy place for holy people. Get a needle and thread, put the curtain back.

MALE VS FEMALE:  Some separate spiritual spaces, not according to integrity for modesty or confidentiality, but simply because you don't have the right body parts to be in this club.  This curtain is so thick in some places that lots of people believe God put it there on purpose. It's also way too thick to dismantle in this paragraph.  It's suffice to say that you'll find this curtain outside of some church office doors.  Mostly you'll find it in front of the stage.

POOR PEOPLE VS RICH PEOPLE:  This one's popular today.  Especially in America.  You'll find this curtain between the pews and down the rows.  Sometimes you'll find it around neighborhoods and in churches.  And both groups put this curtain up. The poor will mock the rich and the rich will mock the poor.  It's uber cool today to celebrate the inner city and mock suburbia.  We evidently are gonna put the curtain somewhere on the freeway off ramp or gate your neighborhood with it.

Get knife. I'm pretty sure Jesus will give it to you if you ask. Let's cut the curtain up again!

Oh.. and on a totally random note and just for the record. I hate curtains in general. If I had my way, window coverings would be banned from everywhere but your bedroom.  I love big open window. I really love them if they fold open and disappear. Fresh air and full light are both amazing.


Thursday, March 10, 2011


I got to thinking after my post yesterday that leaders really are readers.  They are readers of lots of things.  I thought of at least 4 things leaders read:

This is easier said than done.  On the one side, Proverbs 4:23 challenges us to guard our heart above all else, for it is the epicenter of our life.  However, Proverbs 26:12 says that only a fool is wise in their own heart.  So, put those two verses together and you have a necessary leadership task that no leader can do on their own.  Thus, wise leaders looking out for the dangers of pride, self-righteousness, and false motivation, but are also smart enough to know they need some outside voices to help identify them.

Leaders read.  They intuitively know they don't have leadership nailed and that the wisest thing they can do is learn from others. So leaders realize there is a massive wealth of these lessons in print form.  So they read. Everything. Leaders learn from the successes and failures of others recorded in old school books, magazines, and various online/digital formats... like blogs... like this one. HA!!

As a youth pastor, this one is constantly in my face.  People are always telling us that we need to be more of a student of teen culture and immerse ourselves in it so that we can relate to their world.  But that is not what I'm saying leaders do- not even youth pastors.  I'm saying that leaders realize they always operate inside a unique culture, regardless of where they go.  We have a national culture, a san diego culture, and church or workplace culture... etc.   Wise leaders learn to read their culture so they can speak accurately and profoundly in it.

This is an art.  But mastery of it is one the things that separates good leadership from great leadership in my opinion.  When a leader is communicating or even listening, they are also analyzing.  They do this when the audience is one person or 5000 people. They are always analyzing non-verbals, environment, audience participation, laughter, emotion, and so much more. The greatest leaders are the one who can not only rightly identify what an audience is communicating back, but respond on the fly to their changing needs as a result.

There's my four.  What else do you think leaders read?


Wednesday, March 09, 2011


I don't know who coined the phrase "leaders are learners", but it is an axiom I try and embody.  I think all great leaders are not only people who others follow, but they are people who strive to continue to be better at leading.  For those who want to lead in the church, this is essentially a non-negotiable in my opinion. I believe that a leader who stops learning, stops leading.

To this end, I have tried numerous leadership contexts for developing my own leadership.  All have their strengths and weaknesses.

BOOKS: "Leaders are readers" is also a true axiom. I believe that a key way to be mentored is to read the writings of leaders from multiple genres.  The problem is, no matter how well they are written, they're a one way communication device.  I can't interact with the author as I read, respond to his or her with disagreements, or ask clarifying questions of leadership premises.

CLASSES: I have taken several formal leadership classes from accredited institutions. I have read required reading, written papers on the subject, and logged hundreds of hours toward the goal.  Sometimes they are helpful.  Most of the time, the prof and/or material we discuss does not seem to see them through the lens of a $200 per session seminars that I do.  But their biggest problem for me is that their curriculum is based on an academic goal or requirement that may or may not produce a practical result in my own leadership context.

SEMINARS AND CONFERENCES: My most common and sought after leadership context is the seminar format.  I still go to them and I still love them. (I even teach at them) They allow me to get close to some leaders I could not financially afford to connect with on a one-on-one leadership level. It's in a topic the attendees self-selected themselves for and therefore is often surrounded in a learning context that lends itself to camaraderie and common goals. But they can be like "drinking from a fire hose".  Too much info crammed into too short a time.  So much so that if I'm honest, much of it gets lost.  Also, in as much as I can taylor my schedule of what I want to go to, I rarely if ever get to decide what content goes into the menu as a whole.

But, my most recently leadership learning was really not any of those categories.  In many ways, it was the best of all 3.  It was the Youth Ministry Coaching Program that Mark Oestreicher launched this last year and that 9 of us joined.  I don't say this lightly, or because Marko is my friend, but it seriously was by far, "THE MOST EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP TRAINING ENVIRONMENT I'VE EVER BEEN IN."

Here's 4 reasons why I'm not just using hyperbole:

  • IT'S CUSTOM DESIGNED: the overall content, the dates of our meetings, and even the agenda each month was spoken into by the constituents.  So I got to custom design the content, my presentations, and my homework to what I needed for my life and my ministry. 
  • IT'S EASILY TRANSFERRABLE: since you're meeting every 2 months for 2 days, there is ample information to soak up and ample time to integrate your learnings into life and ministry.  
  • IT STRETCHED ME:  yes I spoke into the content, but there was also content spoken into by the facilitator or by others in the group.  The consequence of this is that I was stretched and tugged in ways I would not have normally chosen.  I'm a better leader because of it.
  • IT'S HIGHLY RELATIONAL:  no other leadership context I've been in (excluding friendships I've formed over a decade+ of ministry together)... has produced the level of intimacy, vulnerability, and friendship that this experience did in a year. We literally did life and leadership together.  No conference, class, or book is designed to do that to this degree.  
Oh... and if this learning context sounds like you, well I'd highly recommend you dive in.  There are 7 of these Coaching programs being launched again this year and if you're in student ministry and looking for a leadership learning context to dive into for your own personal/vocational growth, then I can confidently tell you, this class transformed my leadership.

You can check out the video of our experience here.  You can download and get the full details here more info here. 


Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Today was my first full day home from the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Chicago. This was my second year at the conference and my first year teaching some workshops.  Dang did I have a great time.  I loved connecting with new and old friends from all over the country and even the world.  (I met a guy from Japan and another from Germany contacted me on Twitter- go figure!!)  Anyway, it fills and overflows my heart when something I'm processing or learning in life as a youth pastor can help someone else doing the same thing. That's awesome and feels like Kingdom teamwork to me.  Love that so much.

As much as I loved the chance to teach, I also loved the chance to learn too.  So here's my top 7 learnings from the conference... in no particular order.  (I started this post with only 5, but I kept thinking of more and more)  It's the stuff that has stuck with me and I've been chewing on for days now...

I was reminded that Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, welcomed the hurting, pissed of the self-righteous, loved the lost, and brought a new Kingdom with him. I was reminded that God wants to do that today.  I was reminded that I want nothing less than to join him in doing that in Student Ministry and I cannot simply settle for what is instead of what could and should be.

I was reminded through Spurgeon and Rick Lawrence that my goal in teaching is to live out 1 Corinthians 11:1.  I need to get out of the way and usher people to Jesus.  I don't want my own kids, my students, my staff, or my dog for that matter to worship me.  I want to be the guy who takes a passage of Scripture, rightly and relevantly teaches it, and every time... shows how it leads to Jesus.  I don't always do that last part well.  That's really unacceptable.  If people don't get pointed towards Jesus through my teaching, then I left them in somewhere less than where they need to be. 

This was a profound truth that Louie Giglio helped me to see with fresh eyes.  He reminded me that every time someone sees God in the Bible, their default response is falling on their face, true humility, and genuine repentance.  In the same way, when I see God for the Holy being God is, I also see myself the the truly unholy person I am.  Humility is not a character trait of the christian masochist, it's the trait of those who have truly met God.

This was the theme of Sunday night through a speaker I had never heard before, Glenn Packiam.  He inspired and challenged me that God put me here on this planet to bring the Kingdom of God into my day. It is the sole function of why I'm here.  

I was in tears several times this weekend at the amazing grace of God.  I'm so blown away at what God has done around me through what seemed like such a trivial decision at the time.  I deeply moved several times by my friend Doug Fields and his words to me personally and at times to me generally as a member of the audience. As I reflected on a series of small but life changing choices, I was blown away at how God has changed my life by the simple decision to move to San Diego. Wow, God does crazy things with small steps of faithfulness. 

The skit guys literally almost made me pee my pants several times I laughed so hard.  Gungor, a new grammy nominated artist group has epic sounds and played a concert on Saturday night and they did not disappoint. So good. You should check out their crazy sounds.  Then the next day when talking about the concert, Tommy from the skit guys said he'd never heard of them.  Then he said what everyone was thinking. He said, "I thought it sounded like a rash. I went to the doctor and he was like, you have Gungor".  Then I laughed and peed.  Oh man music and laughter are good for my soul. 

For months now God has been nudging me about some of the stuff all bottled up in me.  It's why I started blogging again in January... and more than I ever have.  Cuz it's time to write.  Seriously, I'm not exaggerating when I say that after my seminars, at least 10 attendees of those seminars have asked me to write a book. This was crazy and never happens. But this time, it was confirmation of some stuff in me already.  I made some goals for myself recently and this one was on my in the next 12 months list anyway... so I decided that it's time.  Pray for me.  I have 3 ideas and well, here goes... uh... yeah.  


Monday, March 07, 2011


I have been calling our family the Berrytribe for over a decade now. I love them.  All of them.  I'm super blessed as a dad. This is my Berrytribe.

But I've been spending the last several days with another tribe I'm connected to.  It's an amazing youth ministry tribe and as a community, they bless me beyond belief and fill my life in so many ways.  It's a tribe that I have very intentionally invested in, been poured into by, and walked with for almost 17 years now.  It's a tribe of friends and coworkers that spans the country, from all kinds and sizes of churches, and from a wide array of ages.  We don't often meet face-to-face, but when we travel to conferences, events, and missions trips to meet up, there is a kindred spirit and good times that fill my soul.

The common thread we share is a dual-sided coin of a love for Jesus and a love for Students.  This weekend I've been reminded how dearly I LOVE ministering with and to this tribe at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Chicago.  I have been blessed by the chance to teach some workshops and to be taught.  I have had countless conversations these last few days that have filled my heart and soul.

So to all those who love Jesus and Students, on behalf of our tribe, I want to say THANK YOU!!

  • If you've ever spent ridiculous amounts of time and money to plan and run a conference to minister to youth workers, THANK YOU.
  • If you've ever paid money and taken vacation and worked hard to get to a conference so you could grow in your ability to love God and love students, THANK YOU.
  • If you've ever said no to your student ministry so that you could say yes to your primary ministry of your family, THANK YOU.
  • If you've ever gotten out of bed and fell on your knees because your heart was so torn for a generation that you couldn't sleep and you had to pray for the students in your care, THANK YOU.
  • If you've ever volunteered to lead a small group, a large group, drive a bus, bring some food, open your home, or just be present in the life of a teen, THANK YOU.
  • If you've ever taken seriously the call of God on your life as a parent to raise a child into a God-honoring young adult, THANK YOU.
  • If you've ever encouraged a student and looked into their eyes as you said "I believe in you and I believe God has got a great plan for you. I see God in you", then THANK YOU. 
  • If you've ever been so hurt and so wounded by your church or ministry that you wanted to just throw in the towel and quit, but somehow you are still in the game, THANK YOU.
  • If you've ever taught a seminar, or led music, or acted out skits to encourage a youth worker's heart and inspire their own soul, THANK YOU.
  • If you've ever seen the potential in today's generation of young adults and intentionally taken the time to mentor and invest in them to be all that God has made them to be, THANK YOU.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU my youth ministry tribe!!  My life is richer, my heart is fuller, and my passion is deeper because of you.  You are my friends. You are my mentors and comrades. I would not be who I am today if it was not for you.  So from the bottom of my soul, THANK YOU!


Thursday, March 03, 2011


This is not a new question.  But it is still relevant.  

It was stirred up in me again as a I read this quote in my church history class reading:
"In a sense, what was at stake in the controversy over Pietism was whether the Christian faith should simply serve to sanction common morality, or should rather call believers to a different sort of life. Orthodox preaching took for granted that God requires of believers nothing more than correct doctrine and a decent life.  The Pietists insisted on the contrast between what society expects of its members and what God requires of the faithful.  This has always been an uncomfortable challenge for a comfortable church." p. 261
I wonder sometimes how comfortable my church and faith life is.  The more I read about the German Pietists... the more I think I would have agreed with them on several levels.  I really dig this guy named Philip Spener and love the stuff he pushed back on in his culture. 

However, I constantly find in me a struggle to be content without being complacent.  Contentment is a peace that comes from God.  Complacency is apathy that does not. 

I want to live a life with my family and ministry and kids that is content.  I don't want to be driven by consumerism and anxiety and busyness and the like.  Instead I want to live a life that experiences an unexplainable confidence in God's will and strength so that it can truly be at rest in the storms of life. But the truth is, I don't think I truly achieve this very often. 

I also don't want to be complacent.  I've rarely been accused of this because my drive in life and I tend to just go go go.  I have an internal angst for laziness and complacency when it comes to work ethic, so some of it is just not in my DNA.  However, that doesn't mean I'm not complacent.  I can get complacent towards working out. I can get complacent towards truly growing in my faith and not just sustaining.  I can get complacent in my parenting and marriage and ministry. I can get complacent towards the poor or towards the world around me.  And when I do, regardless of what I'm complacent towards... I agree it sucks. 

Sometimes, the best thing I can do is to embrace God's call into an uncomfortable challenge for a comfortable me.  


Wednesday, March 02, 2011


I was on facebook last night and a student posted a link to a music video.  I checked it out and harassed him about it's content.  I was only half joking when I told him it might qualify as porn.

This resulted in a random convo about random videos and obviously, the latest and craziest video from shock musician, Lady Gaga became part of our discussion.  It is as weird as weird gets.  It has had over 7 million views by the time of this post.  You can watch as much of it as you want here.

I'm not a big lady gaga fan.  But I work with students and I watched it to be in the know.  It was weird how current the ancient good and evil thing still is.  It was super weird how this video interprets it.  So weird, that you might be tempted to say, there's absolutely no good in it.

Then one of the students in our facebook convo found this.

And all of a sudden, I confessed my sin. This song can be really beautiful and its lyrics could even be argued to be Biblical.  Wow, what a difference a new set of eyes and ears can make.  I was convicted that so much of the time, I'm guilty of missing the diamond in the rough.  Tyler Ward found it here.  I need to dust off my spiritual truth metal detector. Evidently mine is busted.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Hey ministry friends.  Are you going to be at Simply Youth Ministry Conference this weekend?  If so, I just got my official teaching and panel discussion schedule from the conference queen bee.  Here's the scoop on me if you wanna run into me intentionally.  I'd love to see you.

If not, and you happen to be the praying sort.... here's when you could spend some time praying for me and I'd be ever grateful.

If you wanna create your own custom schedule thingy for your time, they have a gizzmo to do that on the web here.

Friday 3.4

10-11:00 pm
Participate as a panelist on the Peer Panel:
Addicted to Ministry: Shifting Your Focus From “Doing” to “Being”-Moderated by Dave Rahn (room: LAX)

Saturday 3.5

Participate as a panelist on the Peer Panel:
Youth Ministry on the Horizon: Exploring the Future of Youth Ministry, Culture and the Church—moderated by Walt Mueller (Room: Rosemont C)

Training Zone 2:  I lead a workshop called:
Moving from Leadership to Ownership: Creating a Student-Owned Ministry (Room: Lambert)

Sunday 3.6

Training Zone 3:  I lead a workshop called:
You Suck! Enduring, Learning From and Responding to Criticism and Conflict (Room: Vienna)

12:30-7:00pm  I'm taking my wife to Downtown Chicago for fun.  Shhhhh! Don't tell anybody.

Participate as a panelist on the Peer Panel:
#Epic Fail: Lessons I Learned from Messing Up in Ministry (room DFW) [or you could just come to my seminar at 10:30 this day and learn them first hand from me :)]

Monday 3.7

9-10:00 am
Participate as a panelist on the Peer Panel:
Innovative Ideas for Engaging Family & Parents in Youth Ministry—(room Vienna)



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