Storytelling is a powerful tool for ministry that is underutilized today.
God is the master creator of our lives who is telling a beautiful story. The ministry that God is doing in our midst is worth communicating in a way that compels a response of life transformation towards Jesus.
Please check out the presentation I gave at the Drive-Thru Training Conference.
I have an 8 month old son who is obsessed with the TV remote. I even bought him a toy remote that sounds like you are changing the channel, but it didn’t fool him.
Now that he has started crawling, one of the greatest joys in my day is coming home, sitting on the floor, and waiting for him to crawl over to me. His smile leaks drool all over the carpet as he approaches.
Clawing up my shirt, wiping his nose on the way to a standing position, there is very little in this world greater than your kid crawling all over you in complete joy just to be with you again.
But then something happens.
His attention quickly shifts from touching my scruffy face to the TV remote on the coffee table. Like a puppy who just spotted a chew toy, my son is done with me and onto something else. This is the point I realize that I was being used…
He is not tall enough to reach the coffee table where he knows the remote lives. I sit on the ground and he has been presented the perfect launching point to get what he really wants. I am nothing more than a footstool that makes goofy noises to earn a smile.
Isn’t it frustrating when we are a stepping stone for something else? Its even more frustrating when I realize my relationship with God is often reduced to this.
The good news is that my son doesn’t know any better and I love him all the same. I think that we know better.
Lets make a deal with each other today: avoid using God to get what you want in life. More money, a less stressful job, and less homework are not what you need. Simply put, lets enjoy God for the Father that he truly is, sitting on the floor with us excited to be together again.
(this is not my kid)
I made the early drive to Blackies before sunrise to avoid the clutter of people in the water. Most times I found myself in the company of old men and girls, the mellowest of crowds, the most welcoming of sessions. As a beginner I craved this environment, the kind of environment that said my errors were a part of the process.
In working with staff and volunteers, I have come to realize how important intentional leadership is necessary. These are the 3 things that I try to do at every event, camp, and weekend service for my team.
- Encourage: be your team’s biggest fan. Motivate and create energy by lifting people up higher than when they showed for your event. Make them feel better about themselves just for being there. This attitude will then be passed to your students, creating an environment of encouragement.
- Affirm: whenever you see something done in the way that matches your ministry’s vision, take 10 seconds to affirm that person. Affirm the leader engaging the student sitting alone, the leader welcoming by the door, the person who gave a great announcement or led a game well, affirm your guest speakers, or the student leader who included a new student into their group of friends. Affirming an action that reflects your vision will guarantee it will be done again.
- Coach: when someone is not quite operating in the way you had hoped, take a minute to course-correct with a simple coaching moment. The key to this is to still keep it positive. This is not a time to reprimand or take out months of frustration on a leader. You cannot change a leader overnight, instead, give consistent feedback that gradually develops the people on your team.
Matt McGill is the Student Ministries Pastor at Mariners Church and he has been given an incredible opportunity that could involve you! Please read the following from him.
I’ve accepted an exciting responsibility from my senior pastor—probably the biggest project I’ve ever worked on.
My calling is to identify, challenge, and help develop the next generation of great leaders: people who will plant churches, become pastors at our regional campuses, or lead large ministries within Mariners Church.
The person that I’m looking to hire will need to fill the following general position: reach out to lost high school (or junior high) students, help them build their faith, and identify students who will become leaders. Would this type of ministry excite you? Might you be the kind of leader we need?
For you, does influence come naturally? When you walk into a room, no one wonders if you are a leader. You’re not insecure, you don’t have to be the center of attention. Instead, your confidence and convictions move you to motivate others.
Do you have a message that you’re bursting to share? You have the ability and the need to teach others. To quench this expression of your gifts would be to deny who God has called you to be.
You are always on the move, looking for opportunities to leverage. Failure isn’t an option, it’s inevitable because you’re constantly trying new things. This is a secret to your success.
For most people, rules are a wonderful necessity. But for you, rules are mere suggestions and the only way to discover a good rule is to break it. If you’re not given latitude, you’ll take it.
You’ll have plenty of time to hesitate and second-guess when you’re in a nursing home. Until then, life is all about TAKING ACTION. PROVOKING assumptions. INTERRUPTING the ruts. It’s all about making a massive impact for the Kingdom of God.
You aren’t just a self-starter, you have the ability to motivate others to become self-starters. You’re able to set things in motion for the kingdom.
YEAH, I KNOW: THE BAR IS HIGH.
Everyone can lead, because everyone can serve. This is, of course, is what Jesus taught. However, this position isn’t for everyone. I’m looking for leaders who lead leaders. This isn’t just BUZZspeak.
Our church is committed to developing leaders for the next generation and I’m looking for the right people.
The next step is to fill out an application at http://www.marinerschurch.org/job-openings.
Consider following Matt’s blog: http://lovegodlovestudents.com/
I have been thinking about lot lately about what I am good at. I am not trying to create a list of things that I can do, or what I like to do, but what I am truly gifted at. I believe that all of us want to grow, learn, succeed, become better at what we do, accomplish, and be the person that God intended us to be.
But how am I cultivating that?
A good portion of my life is wasted on things unnecessary and dreaming of schemes larger than I am able to grasp. I want to be one of those people who know who they are and, maybe more importantly, know who they are not.
I watched this video a while back and a single stood out to me. It was created by Patagonia, an outdoor outfitter and overall activist for ecology and simplicity.
“To be a citizen of the earth is to put one’s brief life to the use of one’s dearest gifts.”
The obvious question is “what are my dearest gifts?” Dearest is such a brilliant choice of words as well, I love that our gifts are dear to us and that some of them are more emotional than others. Life was intended to be simple. Busy with the right stuff. Complex in the things that you were created to be.
Let us not chase after fasle ambition, selfish desires, or delusions of grandeur. Lets be who we are. Lets love in a way that is surprising, be generous in a way that is compelling, and forgive in a way that brings us back to a posture of wonder.
Sometimes knowing what not to do is the greatest learning of all.
A few months back I was surfing at a local spot when a pro surfer paddled out with his posse in tow and decided that they now owned the ocean. They would sit in the prime position to catch all the waves and prevent anyone else from surfing. The only way to surf was to drop-in on the wave one of them was already riding, which would be breaking the cardinal rule of the water.
Sitting close to me was a beginner, it was obvious by his blue foam board and lack of etiquette. A wave was heading our way that he decided he was going to catch it, but the problem was that the biggest, scariest guy in the posse was already riding the wave. His thick beard dripping with salt water and his leather sun-scorched skin made him someone to be feared. As he approached the rookie dropping in on him, he lifted one of his legs and kicked the dude right in the face! I understand not dropping in on someone, but it doesn’t deserve knocking their teeth out!
In this complete injustice, I did nothing. I watched the guy paddle in ashamed and embarrassed…
The second weekend of Advent is about peace. When I asked our students to describe peace they used words like, meadow, clouds, silence, gentle and calm. But is this the peace that Jesus brought? The pronouncement from the angel in Luke chapter 2 paints of picture of God breaking into a broken world and challenging the Roman government. Where they promised Pax Romana for those at the top, the angel promised peace for those on whom God’s favor rests. It was a subversive message that promised a peace that no government could ever fulfill.
Peace is not passive; it’s an action. Ignoring injustice in our world, refusing to stand up for what is right, allowing friends to gossip, walking past a person being bullied in our schools is not creating the peace that Jesus left heaven for. Peace is the willingness to surrender your own position for the betterment of the world.
Where do you see injustice happening in our world? In your workplace? In your school? Are you passively or actively bringing peace to that place? This Christmas, lets honor Jesus by partnering with him in the advancement his kingdom of peace on earth.
***Bearded man pictured above is not the person portrayed in this post. I was too afraid to take a picture…
I love ordering items online so that checking the mail becomes something I look forward to every day. What was once a menial task in my day becomes a source of hope and anticipation. Anyone who has ever applied to a college and awaited an acceptance letter has felt the same.
Advent is a season of waiting for the church. We join our ancestors as they endured 400 years of silence from God, hoping that someday soon their savior would come. In the midst of oppression and pain, hope was all that Israel had. Stories passed down for generation of long-since prophets seemed like distant echoes. Would God ever fulfill his promise?
This Christmas, my prayer for our students is to hope. Not for presents, or relief from school work, but for Jesus to enter our world. We embrace the season of Christmas as a posture of waiting and refuse to be overwhelmed with the rush of consumerism that comes with December.
How are you feeling as Christmas approaches? In your deepest desire, what are you hoping for? Is your source of hope something worth waiting for?
I love when a student “gets it.” No matter how many hours I spend preparing messages or planning for events, God seems to move most when our students serve others. This is the story of 3 of our students who had the opportunity to serve Thanksgiving Dinner to a homeless community in Costa Mesa.
All the things that you are doing in ministry are important, but are you creating space for students to be with people that look different than they do?