Posts Tagged ‘family’

Son Sitting In

Posted: January 8, 2012 in Development, Leadership, Youth Ministry

This week at youth group, my oldest son was having a hard time in Sparks. So they brought him up to me while I was leading youth group. This has never happened before so I was little concerned for my little guy. He sat so patiently in the back of the room just watching me “do my thing”.

In the past, I’ve tried bringing him with me to events and youth group only to find that in those times, he’s been needy and felt the need for me to hold him. That’s not really doable when you’re up front teaching. I was afraid when I saw him and his Sparks teacher come into our youth room that that’s what I would have to do.

Boy was I wrong. His behavior that night makes me second guess that I can’t bring him to any event. He is, after all 5 years old. I know many other youth pastors bring their younger kids with them. Maybe now I can.


Being on sabbatical, I’ve been with my 2 boys…A LOT!. They’re little (3 and 5). They fight with each other and with me, ask questions about EVERYTHING, want me to go with them EVERYWHERE (even the bathroom), and do exactly what I tell them NOT to do. You can probably understand that this tests my patience. I will confess that sometimes my patience runs out. But the truth is…I love my kids with all that is in me. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. In fact, I would die for them.

One day it hit me like a ton of bricks…just how patient Jesus has had to be with me. With all of us, for that matter. How many times do we fight with other people, people He has spent so much time building up and preparing for greatness? How many times have we thought we could fight against God Himself…and win that argument? How many questions have we asked about why He allows something to happen? I think we ‘test’ His patience ALL THE TIME.  Yes, He gets angry with us (just read your Old Testament if you think he doesn’t get angry). I don’t know, but maybe He gets annoyed with us for asking for the same thing over and over and over that He’s already said “No” to. We were just too stupid to hear what He had to say. I can’t begin to imagine what He thinks when we purposely do something He tells us not to. This I know for sure, even if and when we truly annoy Him, He is SO loving that he’s always there. He loves me, and you, so much, no matter what, that He died…FOR YOU!

That’s PATIENCE. That’s AWESOME. That is LOVE!

I just finished reading Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion. This is a MUST read for any leader…church leader. Holy Smokes! Wayne is a great writer who had been through a lot that we can learn from. We learn in this book what to do to help prevent burnout, depression, and the desire to quit ministry when times are low.

I will admit that going into this book, I was feeling low. For me, burnout was just around the corner. That was why I asked for this sabbatical. From page 1 of this book, I felt really good because what Wayne went thought seemed like 100 time more than what I was going through and feeling. This book came at just the right time to help prevent further dives into the depths of depression, feelings of worthlessness, or whatever else can come in those moments of weakness.

It seemed as if the entire book was written to lead up to chapter 10 & 11. Those were my favorite chapters because they were filled with concrete, practical ideas to implement into my life to prevent burnout and lead like I was called by God. Throughout the entire book there are great lines that are easily Twitter worthy quotes. If I were to have done that my twitter page would be nothing but Wayne Cordeiro quotes. Nothing of my own.

This book is a life saver to growing leader. I hope that you will pick this book up if you consider yourself a leader (a leader of your family, your business, your spiritual walk). You never know…you could be better now and in the future and lead a movement.

Every leader needs a cheerleader or two. I’m so thankful for the handful I have in my corner. I have my number one fan and encourager, my wife. She’s always there to listen to my struggles and pains. She’s also there to push me to be a better man and pastor. Along with her are my 2 boys. No matter what the day was like, nothing beats coming home with 2 little boys running to into my arms. I also have a friend that I call about every week to pray for and they pray for me. He’s always encouraging me. Lastly, is my mentor and his wife. They have stood by me through thick and thin. They understand what I go through because they were in full-time youth ministry at one point.

We need these types of people in ministry because we know that working with people is hard work. Everyone had their opinions about you, the way things should be done, and many times they’re not afraid to let you know. Or sometimes you have those nights where the students just don’t listen and frustrate you. BUT, we have these people who have our backs and help us keep going. They are there cheering you on all the way through.

Who are your cheerleaders?

My wife is a huge inspiration to me. She said something the other day that amazed me.

“If you want something bad enough, you’ll do anything you can to get it.”

Let me give you a little background information. My wife is a personal trainer and fitness expert. She absolutely  loves Crossfit (and so do I). She was telling one of her clients that if you want to do a specific exercise/skill well, you will do what ever it takes to accomplish it. Well, she took her own advice. One of her many goals is to do a muscle-up. (If you don’t know what that it go here.) So, she bought a set of gymnastic rings and had me install them in our living room! Yes, our living room. We put them there for a couple of reasons. One, they are alway there in front of you so you have no excuse not to practice. Two, it’s the only place in our townhouse where they would fit. Here’s a picture for you.

This idea hit me. If we want to know God, we should do whatever it takes! We will put a Bible in our car, in our bathroom, on the coffee table, in our brief case, on our cell phones and actually spend time with God. Not for creating messages/sermons/lessons, but for our own personal growth.

Do you want to know God so bad that you’ll do whatever it take to know Him more? What are you going to do?

Been Gone?

Posted: January 31, 2011 in Soul Care
Tags: , , , ,

I don’t know if you are a parent or not. I have 2 incredible little boys who are 4 and 2. They love to wrestle with their dad. And to be honest, I love doing it. Those 2 boys are my world, my life, my responsibility.

Every once in a while a parent needs a break and ships their kid(s) to the grandparents. It’s typically a great week(end). My wife and I do that on occasion. I have to be honest, though, I really miss them when they are gone. The idea of being away from them seems glorious as you plan it, but when they are gone…I miss them like crazy. I go into their rooms at night and stare into that empty bed they share. I listen to the quiet that fills the house. I notice the much smaller messes that cover the house. This past weekend, while my boys were gone, God spoke to me late at night. This is what he was telling me.

“If you think you miss them that much, just think about how much I miss you when you don’t spend a day with me.”

OUCH! How many of us have taken a trip the “grandparents” to get away from our Heavenly Father? Have you been gone from Him for a while? He’s calling for you to come back.

This season is my down time! YM slows down because of so many breaks…and I save up all my vacation time until this season. The reasons are many, but the most important reason is family. My wife and I have our families in Wisconsin and Illinois while we live in Minnesota. So most of my vacation time is spent traveling. It’s also a good time to step away from ‘work’ so it continues to feel like ministry and not something that I dread (like an office job).

I wonder what other youth pastors do during this season? Does your ministry slow down? What do you do personally?