Friday, May 4, 2012

Get Small

I love all the ways we can share our lives in this day of social networks whether it is through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, texting or some other mode. I use them regularly to complement my regular face-to-face interactions. Unfortunately there is a temptation to abuse this for telling others a little too much about our strengths and lives as if others are living for our next post.

G.K. Chesterston, in his classic ORTHODOXY  was well ahead of his time in challenging us away from our need to over self-promote. This is a great call toward what it means to be humble and genuinely care for others:

"Are there no other stories in the world except yours; and are all men busy with your business? Suppose we grant the details; perhaps when the man in the street did not seem to see you it was only his cunning; perhaps when the policeman asked you your name it was only because he knew it already. But how much happier you would be if you only knew that these people cared nothing about you! How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Still In the Game

Alright, let's not count how many months it has been since I last posted.

This morning I wrote a response to a blog on longevity in youth ministry. Here is what I said:

"I’ve been in youth ministry for 32 years and 28 at the same place. Growing up as pastor’s kid, moving every couple of years I never would have dreamed of being at the same church for this long. When people ask me about tips for making this work in their ministry I list them under the following categories:


*I am very intentionally, a youth PASTOR. While I love youth the most I want to be a pastor to all the people of the church. I spend time with senior citizens, children and every age in between. I do funerals, weddings, make hospital visits and seek to be a great team player on our our pastoral staff.

*I work hard to be teachable. Years ago while leading a regional convention I recruited some of the best youth pastors I could find to provide leadership. One was a long-term guy who proceeded to shoot down or minimize almost every idea we had. I have told several people “slap me around” if I ever act like I know it all.

*I searched far and wide for long-term youth pastors to be mentors. These people are not easy to find but I have found a few and let them speak into my life.

*After three decades of youth ministry I still like middle school and high school students.

*I keep my relationship with God first, my family second, my ministry third.


*My senior pastor has been here for 36 years. One of our other associates has been here for 15 years. Long-term seems to be in the DNA of this church.

*This is a very healthy church. It is not perfect but is a place where communication is clear and encouragement abounds.

*This church loves youth ministry. They brought me here to begin a youth ministry. How often does that happen?"