Saturday, April 30, 2011

Claymation History of United Methodism

I'm currently on our Confirmation Retreat with my students.
When I went through confirmation back in 1993, this movie really helped me understand what the Methodist Church was.
For the last ten years I have made this a part of my teaching to my students. I also used it in my Methodist history class for a project.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Are we too Connected?

Facebook, Twitter, Smart phones, Apps, Four Square, Linked In, Text Messages....and the list keeps going!  Are we too connected to the world?  When do we turn them off?  When do we say no?  When do we disconnect?

In ministry we use all of these to stay connected with our students, parents, and congregation!  But are we still staying connected with Jesus and our family?

There has been numerous times my wife has asked me to just set my iPhone or iPad down and just chill. She brings up a great point that too often I am too connected.

The first thing I do every morning when I get up is pick up my iPhone, check the weather, my email, twitter, and Facebook.  When I have a free second in the day I repeat the cycle, just to make sure I'm on top of everything.  And at times this causes me to miss time connecting with Jesus and my family.  I'm ashamed to type this, but its true.  And I know many other youth pastors who do the same thing.

I have been working really hard of late to just say no to being connected.  When my wife and I go out to eat or to a movie, I turn my phone off or leave it out of sight.  When I'm spending time with my daughter, I turn it off.  I have been working on waiting till later to return a phone call or text.  Its not the end of the world if I do not return an email, tweet, text, or Facebook message immediately.   I've just learned we have to take time for ourselves and UNPLUG social media and our phones.

Time with Jesus and time with my family comes first.  It is something I'm working to take back.  So if I don't respond to your email, tweet, text, phone call...know that I will.

So how connected are you?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

National Youth Workers Convention

Last night I talked with my adults and it looks like we are going to be bringing our entire team of volunteers to National Youth Workers Convention in Atlanta November 18-20.  I'm really excited about this, because I have always dreamed of having my adults see, hear and experience NYWC.  
Every time I go, I have information overload and it is hard to express and bring it all back to my adults and get them as excited about Youth Ministry as I am after being a part of an amazing weekend.
It is so awesome that Youth Specialties has lowered the price and the time frame to allow this to happen for not only my group but for others.  Thanks Tic, Mark, Adam, and the rest of the YS staff!

Who's at your dinner Table?

Yesterday I saw this at

Who’s at your dinner table?

Okay, you’ve got 7 spots at your dinner table. You can’t invite family. Invitees have to be alive. And has to be people you’ve never met. Who’s getting the invites?

So here are my Seven:

1. Doug Fields
2. Tim Tebow
3. Kid Rock
4. Kenny Chesney
5. Mike Huckabee
6. Jon Foreman
7. Francis Chan

Who are yours?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pictures in Ministry part I

I really love the age of digital pictures in youth ministry.  You can take hundreds of pictures on retreats and then post them on facebook, make digital albums, make a cool website, import them into iMovie and make a cool slide show with the latest cool Christian Music.  But oh not so long ago, we only took a couple disposable kodak cameras with us.  And then we would bring them back and pay the cost equivalent today to a digital camera in hopes that we might have half of them turn out good enough for us to make a scrapbook or collage to hang in the youth room.  I have a digital picture frame on my desk in  my office and have pictures of my family but also from every church I've ever served at.  And btw I am looking for old pictures from Asbury UMC and Tucker UMC to complete if you have some from that time, please let me know!

I'm going to do a part II to this post later today...but need your help.

How do you use pictures in your youth ministry?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Leftovers...Time with Family

Too often in ministry our families get the last of us.  They get the leftovers.  We give so much at times to our jobs in ministry and often our families suffer from this.  We give hours upon hours above what we are paid for at times to do "ministry" while our parents, siblings, spouse, and children get what is left of us.  And sometimes that aren't even lucky enough for that.  

I look back at the past fourteen years where I have put my family second or third too many times because I have been burning both ends of the candle in ministry.  I see that if I would have had better time management and delegation my family would have had more of me.

Yesterday, I had an amazing day with my wife and daughter.  We took a spontaneous trip down to the beach and to Charleston for the day.  We played on the beach, had seafood, shopped in the market, and finished the evening having dinner with Jessica's cousin.  It was an awesome day.  Jessica and I try to make one day a week where we spend time with just us.  A lot of times we go to the movies in the afternoon on a Thursday or Friday and have a meal together.  We both turn off our iPhones and enjoy each others company.

Ever since my daughter was born 18 months ago, I have worked really hard to make sure that my family doesn't just get the leftovers of me.  Sometimes it seems like they do, but I'm trying really hard to keep that from happening.

Here are a couple tips to keep from giving your family leftovers:

  • Use your time wisely in the office
  • Take your day(s) off every week
  • Divide your days into thirds and make sure at least 1/3 is at home
  • Set aside time for vacations
  • Turn off your smart phone when spending time with your family
  • Have weekly/monthly dates with your spouse
  • Have weekly/monthly dates with your children
  • Learn how to say No
  • Track your hours and how you spend them
  • Try to work only the hours that the church pays you (there is no need to work 70 hours!)
  • Have someone keep you accountable on this
If you have any others please leave a comment.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Monday...the Easter Hangover

On Easter I tweeted, "Will you let the story of the empty tomb of  be a story you hear every  or will you make it personal today?"
I also retweeted my friend Jonathan Pearson who wrote, " Easter is a great day to celebrate. If it ends the day after, though, we fail the One we celebrate"

Every church I that I have served at during the past 14 years, the Sunday after Easter is always the lowest attendance of the year.   For me it really blows my mind how you can experience an amazing service on Easter (and lets face it, every church amps it up for Easter and takes it the next level...its like Super Bowl Sunday) and then the next week have the lowest number.  It just doesn't make sense!
It's crazy talk!  It's just flat crazy.   How can you experience an amazing worship service that celebrates the greatest miracle of all time...Jesus raising from the dead and then the next Sunday not be jacked up about it?  

The Sunday after Easter really should be our highest attendance of the year.  Everyone should hear the Easter message and want to bring someone back the next week!  But sadly it often goes in one ear and out the next.  We fail to make it personal.  We fail to celebrate it on Easter Monday...instead we have an Easter Hangover.  And we become numb to what we just celebrated.  Maybe its too many candbury eggs and chocolate bunnies.  Or maybe we just don't get it.

I challenge you to continue to daily celebrate Easter and to invite someone this week to church.  Let's get past the Easter Hangover and introduce someone new to our Risen Lord!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I saw this remake of the Resurrection Video by Rob Bell.