Archives For Leadership


Yesterday the sessions started with an per-registration meeting with Patrick Mead that I missed (boo) but I decided to go to Agia Sophia’s coffee shop (see yesterday’s post). After that I did a little detour to visit a couple of places…

Manitou Springs

This is home of Pike’s Peak Cog Railway which was, much to my dismay, closed. I wanted to go up to the top but it is closed for the winter so I looked around at all of the neat shops and happenings. It is a quaint little town that is like Gatlinburg minus the rednecks and fudge.

Garden of the Gods

IMG_3551This was a great find. I hiked a little and was able to be alone and still for a small period of time. As I was walking up and down the trails my mind was drawn to the students in our ministry and how they would love this place. There are trails, rocks to climb and beautiful scenery and for that pesky youth group kid their are even mountain lions roaming about. JUST KIDDING!

U.S.A. Olympic Training Facility

IMG_3554This was free as well. I just showed up and was able to get onto a tour quickly. The guide showed us where Olympic athletes train for shooting, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, wrestling, swimming and showed us the weight room. In the weight room we saw the University of California’s swim team and training with them was Nathan Adrian who won gold at London in the 100m Freestyle. Pretty cool.

Dinner Jack Quinn’s Pub

IMG_3572I loved this place for the Irish atmosphere and authentic Irish food. They are renown for their fish and chips and their Irish Boxtys (potato pancake with fillings) but I was in the mood for something else: Corned Beef and Cabbage. That’s right! Since my wife did not come with me I get to eat all the cabbage I want. I highly recommend this place that is located in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs.

Monday Night Keynote – David Skidmore @sycamoreskid – “A Few Good Aquamen”

Great lesson as he taught in metaphor which is a lot like what Jesus did with his disciples. He used aquaman as a template for youth ministers. Below are my (sporadic) notes and hope you enjoy them. I am off now to hear Mike Cope’s early session.

–       Job Description is crazy for youth ministers.

–       Prayed for Jason and Elyse. 2 months in ministry

–       This is kind of like that….

–       Tokyo Water Park

–       Bulls Eye Picture

–       Gas Gauge

–       Help is 172 km ahead

  • “Don’t let NCYM be a destination.”
  • “Let the overflow fill someone else up.”

–       Luke 8:29—“Driven by the demon into solitary places.”

  • How you get to solitary places.
  • Renew yourself.

–       Whale—frequency no other whale can recognize.

  • Most whales are making sounds higher but it is low.
  • It is never identified with other whales.
  • Your teens are on a frequency that nobody can understand and some of you youth ministers are on a frequency nobody understands. Parents are on different frequencies then we are.

–       2 Peter 1:8

  • Ineffective or unfruitful.
  • Do we bear fruit?

–       Super Friends

  • How lame was aquaman?
  • Every comic book…
    • A hero…
    • A problem
    • A question

–       Does he/she have what it takes to endure this?

–       Micah 6:8

–       It’s not just about depth but about distance. 20,000 leagues is not about how deep it was but how far they traveled.

–       Our churches will let us stay on the surfaces. If God (Satan?) cannot make you bad he will make you busy.

–       We are called to be a sycamore tree and not a savior.

–       1 Samuel 13

  • Running….
  • Hiding…
  • Blacksmiths…

–       “It is not within our power to place the divine teachings of God directly into the heart of another. We can only lay them on the surface of the heart, so that when the heart breaks, they are the first to fall in.” (Jewish Saying)

  • We are the only blacksmiths people have…

See the slideshow below of images from yesterday

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Creative Commons © BrandMill 

I have been thinking about my boys a lot lately. As a father I feel the pressure of leading my family spiritually, financially, and emotionally and many times the weight is almost too much to bear. Yet, God has given me these sons for a reason and it is incumbent upon me to raise them to the best of my God-given ability. I wanted to give you some things I believe sons need to experience with their fathers. They come in no particular order…

  • A son needs to hear from his dad those three words: “I love you” often.
  • Sons need to experience camping with their dads.
  • A son needs to hear from his dad, “You are a man!”
  • Sons need to hear stories about their father’s broken past.
  • A son needs to hear his dad cry.
  • Sons need to hear his father pray.
  • A son needs to watch his father show affection to his mother.
  • Sons need to sit down with their fathers and work on a budget.
  • A son needs to hear his father rejoice when the son does something amazing!
  • Sons need genuine criticism that points not to perfection but to become a better person.
  • A son needs to do mission work alongside his father.
  • Sons need to exercise with their dads if at all possible. ‘
  • A son needs to work alongside his dad.
  • Sons need to hear about what happens when we die and why we die.
  • A son needs to attend church with his father.
  • Sons need to be there when their fathers defend them when they are wrongfully accused.
  • A son needs to hear his father ask for his forgiveness.
  • Sons need to be able to cry in their father’s arms…
  • A son needs to be able to hug and even kiss his dad, no matter what the age is.
  • Sons need to be taught the basic skills of life like driving, working, and planting a garden.
  • A son needs to learn how to treat a woman from his father.
  • Sons need to watch their fathers wrestle in conflict and come out victorious.
  • A son needs to see his dad on his knees, when the father is not victorious.
  • Sons need to know that everything is going to be all right.
  • A son needs to hear Scripture read often and applied in daily life.
  • Sons need to hear sex talks (not just one) from their dads
  • A son needs their dad to interpret life in this world
  • Most of all, a son needs to look at a father and think, “I love that man. How great is the one who created him.”

What would you add?

Hidden Agendas

October 24, 2012 — Leave a comment

But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” 11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed. 14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

– Acts 8:9-19

I love how Scripture has a way of telling you something in a way that nothing else can. Simon the Sorcerer (not hat’s not his last name) was a character the apostles encountered early in their post-Jesus ministry. No doubt the church started with a bang (see Acts 2) and things were on an exciting level. I notice that when excitement comes there is a tendency to veer off mission and vision in order to keep excitement going. Simon is just an example of many who probably felt the way he did but simply did not voice it. I think Simon struggled with pride and greed and his hidden agenda for the Spirit of God was, like Babel in Genesis 11, an issue of making a name for himself. I love Luke’s language as he says that he told people “he was somebody great.” When true power came (another discussion might be that the apostles never discarded that the magic was fake) he wanted it but perhaps masked his desire to follow Jesus with a hidden agenda. He simply wanted the power. He was selfish. Go figure. In walks every human being to have ever lived. There is a lot to unpack here but for the sake of time and space I want to quickly think about hidden agendas.

Have you ever gone to a meeting thinking you were going to go discuss business matters only to be surprised by a hidden agenda you were not privy to? Or what about relationships where people only talk to you when they need something done or they want to use what you are good at to leverage power, prestige or notoriety in their direction? Hidden agendas creep in relationships which means they creep in churches. Ministers have hidden agendas, elders have hidden agendas, parents in youth ministry have their own agendas. The problem is that when there are all of these hidden agendas it blinds us from keeping our eyes fixed on what is most important: kingdom. A side issue with hidden agendas is that we are not open and honest with people enough to wear we can talk with them in dialogue. Why not disclose your agenda and let people who are wise handle it?

Hidden agendas affect your vision like cancer affects the body. Slow… methodical… poisonous…and always lethal if untreated. A way to get rid of hidden agendas is to have a leadership buy-in to a vision that is so Christocentric and God-honoring that any issue, qualm or quarrel can be avoided simply by saying, “That is not our vision.” When people adopt a specific vision then their hidden agenda becomes part of the churches overall agenda. They secretly are doing what they can to adopt the vision of the church. This will avoid that diplomatic elder or that pessimistic “money-holder” or that youth minister who is secretive about introducing “new things” without church approval.

Get a vision…

Make it clear…

Make it specific…

Make it accessible…

Make it doable…

Stick to it!

What do you think?


As I approach my eighth year at Main Street I have often wondered if there was a proven system of questions that I could ask myself that would help me understand that it was time to leave the ministry. Let’s parse this a little…I am not talking about leaving “A” ministry where you switch churches because God…<cough-cough> “the money”…called you there but I am talking about completely leaving paid full-time work. I think most ministers going through seasons where he or she considers leaving full-time work but how do you know? Well, based on some books I have read and conversations I have had with other ministers these are 5 signs that indicate you may need to quit THE ministry.

  • What once gave you joy, now sucks the life out of you. 

I remember a particular season in my ministry where every time I had an activity it gave me passion, joy and fulfillment. Then I went through a rough patch where every meeting felt like a task. Every time I wrote a bulletin article, answered the phone and every time someone e-mailed me it became tiresome and the thing that used to give me energy now sucks the life out of me. even reading Scripture became more of a job than a spiritual discipline. I hated it.

  • You start to look for reasons to leave saying, “If ___________ happens (or doesn’t happen) then I am leaving.” 

Call this, fuel to the fire. Just like money grows on compound interest so does anger on compound opposition. For example, spilled milk might not be a big issue but when you have to get the car fixed, you are late on three deadlines and there is no money in the bank then coming home to spilled milk might be your breaking point. Say you are frustrated about ministry and you are thinking about leaving and then you have a parent who did not like a recent youth activity you did. That’s all the ammo you needed.

  • Your family laments the fact that your in ministry. 

“If daddy wasn’t working on Sundays maybe our family would grow closer.” From an angry wife: “It seems that all you do is come home frustrated with all of these problems that occur at the church. to make matters worse you are always gone visiting that person, or going to this person’s ball game, or whatever. Then when we finally get a weekend to spend time with each other you have to go preach a funeral. I wish you cared as much about this family as you do about your stupid ministry!” Words of anger from a couple who have long extended their stay in ministry. Need I say more?

  • You are afraid to do anything else because of the money.

I get this. You have a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and a Master’s of Ministry and that means 97% of the corporate world could care less. The thought of quitting ministry scares you because 1) the financial climate makes jobs extremely competitive and 2) what could you honestly do anyways? You could get a graduate degree in something else but you don’t have the time or money for that so right now you are a little scared to leave which may be a sign that you need to leave.

And finally…

  • You have become angry, cynical and disillusioned with God (at God?) and the church.

Lillian Hellman once said, “Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth.” I am not sure I buy that but I do believe cynicism is unhealthy. The moment we get to the point where God becomes an object instead of the subject then we need to run for the hills…as fast as we can.

I don’t want to leave without offering you some hope though before you quit…

  1. Get help! Talk to a counselor, a minister or a strong Christian. Shoot…talk to all three. This may be a deeply embedded issue that was triggered by ministry and ministry might not be the cause of it.
  2. Take a sabbatical before you take off. I would imagine any eldership would understand the need for their minister to recharge for a month or a couple of months if you have worked there 5+ years. Any eldership that says no needs a gut check.
  3. Involve others in your work. Don’t do all of this yourself.
  4. Spend some time with your family.
  5. Don’t be afraid to leave. Jesus said, “Consider the lilies.” Not easy to do when you have bills and such but sometimes, as the quote goes, “stumbling may actually keep you from falling.”

Wrote this in my journal this morning:

God slapped me across the face this morning in my reading. Read through all of the allotments the tribes received from capturing the land in Joshua 16-20. Something I read and made a note on in my bible years ago was the allotment given to Joshua only after most of the tribes received theirs (Jos. 19:49-51). My note was simple, “Delayed Gratification.” Nothing fancy but very intentional. So often I minister with the immediate results in mind. Are results even important? How does one objectively quantify results anyways? I think we sow seed now to see the plan later. Now the plant may encounter weeds in the process but the plant still grows. Joshua made sure (maybe this was custom?) that his allotment came after everybody else. Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, identifies Level 5 executives (Those leaders who are able to lead the company to the next level) as those who, “builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will” (p. 20). For Joshua, it was about confronting the brutal facts (conquering the land, delegating the land) but it was also about working hard behind the scenes. A unique blend of humility with an insatiable desire to do what he was called to do. Powerful!

What if we approached youth ministry like this? Perhaps we would look like Joshua! Perhaps we would like Jesus.


August 25, 2010 — 1 Comment

Quote that I came across in today’s reading…

“Every path has a destination.  Direction, not intention, determines destination.  Divine direction begins with submission.  Information is not enough.  Insight is not enough.  We need God.”  Andy Stanley, The Principle of the Path, p. 95.

Usually I am against what I am writing about today but I thought that for a day I could impart some sort of wisdom to help youth ministers (or ministers) who may read this blog who actually want some encouragement.  I am not a fan of lists whether it is in sermons, books, classes or whatever.  I do not buy in to stuff like Joel Osteen’s 7 Steps at Living at Your Full Potential or like Beth Moore’s 90 Days with A Heart Like His because I do not believe spiritual growth happens in a step-by-step or time-contingent manner.  I mean what happens if I do not experience a heart like His in 90 days?  Am I not spiritual enough?  What if I follow the 7 steps and do not access my full potential (whatever that means)?  Does that mean somehow I have failed or maybe God is not paying attention to me?  It is a bit ridiculous because spiritual growth, like all relationships, is more like a path than it is a strategic plan.  Don’t believe me then read Psalms?  I doubt you will find any imprecatory psalms in Osteen’s theology.  Enough with my diatribe and on with the real issue in hypocritical fashion here are 5 “paths” that I think will give you encouragement and hopefully help you stay in youth ministry for the long haul.  Ready? 

  1. Tend to your soul/family!  You have heard this a million times, read it in cool Youth Minister books and heard many veterans say the same thing.  Yet, you have not done a good job at listening have you?  How can you feed other people if you yourself are malnourished?  The doctor told my wife (who is nursing) that she has to be careful what she eats and what she drinks because everything that goes into her body goes into my son’s body as well.  If my wife is not drinking/eating right then it hurts both her and my son.  Makes sense right?  What does that say about your youth ministry?  Speaking of my wife…why is it that we study hours each day, plan with meetings, pray with teenagers and parents yet we neglect doing the same thing for our families?  I am not a fan of left-overs as it just does not taste the same (except I do like stale popcorn…but…) as the original.  Do you think your wife wants your spiritual leftovers?  Is that fair?  Is that right for your children to go to devotionals at children’s church or whatever yet they experience none of that at home? 
  2. Read often! I have some youth minister friends who are some of the most well-read men I have ever encountered.  They read everything from N. T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope to Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like.  Just because you teach, mentor and mingle with teenagers does not mean you need to be on the same intellectual level as them.  Ignorance, in this case, is not bliss so purchase some books (ask your elders for a book fund) and read often and read well. 
  3. Experts shmexperts or the Fallacy of Expertise/Success!   This may seem like a direct contradiction to number 2 (sue me) but just because you read about the latest youth ministry strategy from Kendra Casey Dean or Duffy Robbins does not make it feasible (maybe even scriptural) for your ministry.  Too often we think things are so cool and we try to implement them so fast because it is, again, so cool and the idea tanks because coolness does not necessarily translate into kingdom.  Another thing that wears me out is the look-at-what-______________church of Christ-is-doing mentality.  I understand we can learn from one another but keep in mind we are not in that church’s location, socioeconomic status and we do not have their type of leadership.  Again, we need to do what works for our own unique body based upon the people God has placed in that family.  I am not saying we ignore ideas but I also am staunchly opposed to the everyone’s doing it mentality. 
  4. God is always at work!  I could not have come up with more of a trite saying than this.  Just mentioning it reeks of a Freed-Hardeman University commons devotional speech.  There I said it.  Sorry.  But you want to know something?  It is true!  In your ministry you will go through seasons of frustration and despair.  There will be times you will have amazing senior-high leadership and spiritual giants and then there will be times you will experience no senior-high leadership with nothing but junior-high drama.  There will be times the parents are committed to the point you wonder why you are even there and then there will be times when nobody is committed and you wonder if they even notice you are there.  The point is that God is always doing things and in spite of the angry parents, issues with elders, disinterested teenagers and, what seems, the bleakest of times for youth ministry, God is still doing amazing things.  Like teenage relationships, youth ministry can change in an moment.  Sit back, hold tight, pray hard and be prepared for God doing something amazing.  That sounded like a graduation speech…gross…I guess I should quote Jeremiah 29:11 out of context…sorry…diatribe over again. 
  5. Have some committment would ya? I understand circumstances are beyond our control and that sometimes moving is inevitable.  I get that.  But what about the teenagers who are stuck in the middle?  There is probably never a perfect time to move congregations but I would say it’s probably never a good idea to move every 3 or 4 years hopping churches like Florence Griffith-Joyner.  Sorry…bad analogy.  You know what I mean though.  If you love teenagers and love youth ministry then deal with the bad and channel the good.  Stick with those kids from the time their pimple-faced, brace-faced, squeaky middle school self gets into the youth until they graduate.  If you commit to them I would think they would respond and commit to you.  Most of all they will buy-in to your philosophy and perhaps commit to the Lord.  But if you view youth ministry as a stepping stone to some other amazing type of ministry or if you are always looking for a bigger-church (not that looking is wrong) then you will not be as effective as you could be.  Stick with it and have some committment. 

There you have it…5 paths that will hopefully encourage you.  If you are a youth minister reading this then I am proud of you for hanging in there.  Stick with it because it is never about us in the first place.

You probably know the name of the Titans’ running back who rushed for 2,000 yards last year.  You probably also know the other running backs in NFL history who are in the elite class as those who have rushed for 2,000 yards or more.  Those names are easily recognized by most avid football fans.  However, for every 2,000 yard rusher there is always an amazing offensive line and a stud fullback to pave the way for the running back.  Names you won’t hear mentioned on ESPN are Michael Roos, David Stewart, Jake Scott, Eugene Amano and Kevin Mawae (I had to look them up).  These guys all blocked for Chris Johnson and paved the way for him to have an amazing season. 

We have offensive lineman in the church as well.  In Scripture there was Epaphras, Epaphroditus, Phoebe, Onesimus and Philemon who all had small roles in the Scriptures but they were some of the unsung heroes who paved the way for Paul and his ministry to churches all over the Roman Empire.  In our churches we all have those people who do not get the recognition (they don’t want it either) and glory.  These people will not get mentioned in a sermon, they won’t lead a public prayer, you will hardly know that they are even their but without them the church would miss an important component. 

These people are the ones who will give you a check for hundreds of dollars to help pay for kids to go to camp.  These are the people who will cook you dinner when you are sick and incapable of doing it yourself.  These are the people who will write you a note of encouragement in the most depressing times of your life.  These are the people who spend all night helping with VBS but their name never makes it in a bulletin or an announcement.  Do you have these people in your churches?  Here is what you need to do…write them a letter thanking them for all of the work they do behind the scenes and thank them for that.  Without an amazing offensive line even the best of running backs do not make it to 1,000 yards and without those people in our churches we never grow and we never succeed.

A Charge to Leaders

May 12, 2010 — 4 Comments

Dear Elders, Deacons, Ministers and Church Leaders,

We are writing to let you know of the dire condition of the church and a desperate need for you to be the leaders we need you to be.  We need you at our baseball games and we need you at our graduations and we need you at the side of our bed right before we go into surgery.  We need that phone call when we are at the low moments in our lives and we need that correction when we are not doing what we are supposed to do.  We need direction from you guys because this world is convoluted with chaos and disorder and we need your stability.  We need you to be men of integrity who are not only willing to stand up for what is right but also to be flexible for change and open to new possibilities.  We need you to train us so that we can be future leaders of our churches because we just can’t do it by ourselves.  We need you to be open with us instead of conducting “business” behind close doors because the church is, after all, a family full of friends and our mothers taught us this when we were 5, “friends don’t keep secrets.”  We need you to stop the bickering with our churches and learn how to “live peaceably” with people even if you disagree with them.  We need you to check on us when go to college because these are such confusing times and it does not hurt to receive a phone call even if that phone call is a little awkward.  We need you to be honest when you fail and to have the “gusto” to admit that you are wrong and to, like everyone else, confess these faults freely.  We need you to give it all you got but not burnout and grow cynical at the way church is done.  We need you to work with our college professors at training young people theologically and to also check on them for sometimes being a “prof” is a lonely sort of occupation.  We also want you to know that we may be disinterested, apathetic and sometimes lukewarm but please do not give up on us.  Please do not use us as a punching bag and chalk us up as degenerates of this society won by the ways of this world.  We want you to be honest with us but also to never give up.  After all, Jesus did not give up on Laodicea and some of those churches in Revelation right?  Why should you give up on us?  We need you to preach amazing sermons and to teach amazing bible classes.  We need you to keep our ministers with us for a long period of time so that we can develop relationships with them instead of recycling new people every 4-5 years.  We need you to write blogs, to have podcasts and to do everything you can to present the gospel to us on our own turf.  We know this is not a replacement for going to services but sometimes we need to hear and see you at 2am when we can’t sleep and need a word from the Lord.  We need you to reach out to the poor more in your own communities rather than traveling halfway across the globe doing what you should be doing in your own backyard.  We understand that foreign missions is a necessity but that should not be done in detriment to the godlessness of our own starving communities.  We need you to open the church buildings to house the homeless, to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked.  We understand that the social gospel is a part of the gospel instead of the whole but it is still a part that needs to be done.  We need you leaders to be more humble and learn from the churches that are doing all of this that we mention and even more.  Kingdom is not about competition it is about cooperation and winning souls for the glory of God.  We need all the help we can get and pride, if we remember correctly, goes before the fall.  We do not accept the stagnate statistics that the churches of Christ are not growing because we believe that God can and will do things that we cannot possibly fathom.  The best is yet to come!  

But finally, we want you to know we appreciate you and all of the sacrifice you do for us.  We know you miss your children’s activities, you miss vacations, you take pay-cuts, you miss sleep, you cry, you weep, you mourn, you hurt and ache over our spirituality.  We know that and we thank you and love you for it.  We would not be writing this letter to you if it were not for your amazing influence on our lives.  We prayerfully put this letter into your hands in hopes that with your fervor and unrivaled energy we both can change our worlds!  

Blessings in the Hope that does not disappoint, 


I assume this is dangerous ground for any youth minister to encroach for just the thought of a youth minister giving advice to a pulpit minister is probably counterintuitive to what should occur.  However, I am in discussions with many youth ministers and hear of awesome relationships between the preacher and the youth minister (mine is one of them) but I also hear of stories where the relationship just did not mesh well.  I feel like youth ministers are instructed more on how to interact with preachers since, most of the time, the youth minister is a lot younger than the pulpit guy.  So what if I were to sit down and give some advice to a pulpit guy that would make our relationship better?  What would I say?  This post is the result of some conversations I would have.  ALSO, this post is the result of one of the greatest relationships I have ever been a part of and that is with my preacher, Joe Rushing.  Much of the advice I give to you is what he has already given to me through example and almost 6 years of being on the same team.  I am one of the lucky ones who has a great relationship and that is because of Joe being such an amazing guy.  Without further delay…

  • Be intentional about assimilating him if he was recently hired.  What I mean by this is that sometimes the pulpit guy can be a huge asset in showing the ropes for the youth minister.  The preacher can take him on visits and introduce him to members of the church and the community.  He can also (depending on your context) help you learn from what the previous guy did wrong or what he did right. 
  • Be intentional about supporting him.  Joe used to, on a regular basis, let the congregation know how hard I was working and how proud he was of the job I was doing.  He would support me from his bulletin articles, from his sermons and from his classes.  He let the congregation know that I was here to work and serve the teens and, from his vantage point, I was doing a good job.  Preachers, please support us because you have so much influence in the congregation and it helps when you are able to stand behind us. 
  • Be intentional about going to bat for him.   It is sometimes stressful enough for a 5 year youth minister to meet with elders but for someone who has recently graduated from college and this is his first position it can be very intimidating.  There were meetings sometimes where I would not say a thing because I was so timid.  Preachers, we need you to help in some of the planning we have for our programs and when you go to bat for us in an eldership meeting that says you are willing to support us no matter what.  It may sound good from me when I pitch an idea about a program but when a preacher speaks up and says, “Guys, I think this is what God wants us to do” that speaks volume.  I am not asking you to lie but when you know something is good, go to bat for the youth minister.  That may also mean helping the youth minister out financially.  When you see him doing a good job for a couple of years and it is quite evident he is gifted at what he does then let the leadership know that maybe it is time we pay the man for his work and give him a decent raise.  Why?  I guarantee there are other churches out there who would love to pay a guy more for being a gifted youth minister. 
  • Be intentional about feeding him.  We are not always good at this but we try to have a devotional as much as we can.  What good does it do for us to study in our offices and not help each other in what we are doing?  Sometimes a particular thought in the Scriptures hits Joe and he comes into my office to share it with me.  I particularly enjoy it when Joe and I get to sit down and pray together.  Those moments feed me and sustain me and is the water that makes me thirst no more. 
  • Be intentional about teaching him.  Believe it or not we do not learn everything we need to know about preaching from undergraduate school classes.  Show your youth minister how to craft a sermon or how to make a visit or how to conduct a funeral or how to have a bible study.  One of the greatest memories I had when I first started Main Street was when Joe asked me to go to the monthly Nashville Preacher’s Meetings.  I remember attending and listening to guys like Jerrie Barber, Dale Jenkins, Les Chapman and others who are so gifted at preaching yet understanding they were real people with real compassion was such a blessing to me. 
  • Be intentional about correcting him.  I know this throws you for a loop but maybe some ministers could benefit from a little 2 Tim. 3:16 where we are corrected and rebuked.  This is not a bad thing but when we need to be put in our place please do so.  It is better that the preacher does it beforehand than the whole congregation does it afterward.  Preachers can sniff things out a mile away and helping us from falling down that path would be beneficial for our ministries.  No you are not our babysitters but I wonder how many ministers react to a youth minister’s firing by saying, “I told you so!”  Where were you in that process where maybe that could have been avoided.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I know this is not an all-encompassing list but it is some random thoughts that came to mind the other day.  I also know that this does not apply to everybody but hopefully applies to a few.  Ministers sometimes have the greatest egos and we would all do well to humble ourselves (Phil. 2:5-11) and work together for the common good.  I thank God for Joe Rushing who makes my job so much easier and also has kept me at Main Street this whole time.  I can’t think of a better man to work with.  I have never felt from Joe that he was my “superior” since he was the pulpit minister.  He has always kept me as equal which is rare and a testament of his humility.  You guys should be jealous of me.