Posts Tagged ‘training’

Trial By Fire

Posted: November 3, 2011 in Leadership, Youth Ministry
Tags: , ,

Let me first start off by saying that I don’t get sick very often. Maybe one time a year and it’s just the sniffles. Recently, I hired an intern. He’s been working for me for about 2 months so I’m still getting to know him, his gifts, talents, etc.

Well, it was a Wednesday morning and I woke up sick…I mean really sick. I felt like I was laying on my death bed. I waited a couple of hours and let my intern know that he would probably have to lead the lesson that night because I was not going to make it that evening. His response? “Do you want me to continue with your series?” No hesitation on his part. This gains points in my mind for the success of this future leader. Granted I didn’t get to hear his message or watch his leadership, but from what I’ve heard so far, the night went well.

It really pays to have an intern! This was one of those “trial by fire” times.

But I also want to/have to say this. When I texted all my leaders about how I wouldn’t be there because I was sick and that the intern would lead the night…one leader responded, “Get better soon! We got it”. I truly have the best leaders a youth pastor can have. I hope and pray that they know how thankful I am for each and every one.

Thank your youth leaders today! They deserve it!


The longer I’ve been in youth ministry and the older I get the more I feel it. It’s called the “Generational Gap”. I think it happens to everyone, but I honestly thought it wouldn’t start happening already. It sort of depressing. Things in the culture used to come so easy, but it’s changing so fast that I struggle keeping up. The students are changing so quickly that as soon as I understand them and what’s going on…it’s old news.

That’s why I’m so thankful for my volunteers that are younger and deep in that culture. They relate so well and can hold those challenging conversations with the students. As opposed to my conversations which are all about explaining things to me. I also love the tools of CYPU, Group, and slew of other culture websites that I should be reading more of.

How do you stay involved in the youth culture? Where do you get your information? Maybe it’s a tool I can use.

Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future

For any individual who leads…this book is a MUST read. Andy Stanley does only what he can do, help up & coming leaders be better and more effective. This book was so good, that I read it in about one day. I could hardly put it down. Here are a couple of take away I got from the book.

-Courage: Leadership takes courage. “Courage is the willingness to strap on your fear and move ahead.”
-Competence: Do what only you can do.
-Even in your uncertainty, be clear about where you are going.
-Have certain, specific people willing to coach you.
-Be someone worth following.

This was the first book I read by Stanley, it won’t be the last. I love how his writing is exactly like his speaking. As I would read, I could hear his voice in my mind. It was kind of weird at first.

Please, if you have any kind of leadership role now or plan to in the future, pick up this book NOW.

Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future

I still can’t believe all that happened in 2 days. It’s a good thing I bought the Experience Pack so that I can go over this stuff again AND teach it to my volunteer staff. Today I heard from Scott Smiley, Craig Groeschel, Scott Harrison, Rev. RUN (from Run DMC), Matt Chandler, and Andy Stanley. 2 of these guys are guys that I consider heroes and that I try to model (other than Jesus of course). Those 2 are Craig Groeschel and Andy Stanley. Today I was standing so close to Pastor Craig that I could have reached out and touched him. I couldn’t because that would be weird. Plus, he was talking to someone who wanted his book signed. I couldn’t get the book to have him sign because I was running out of money. Someday, I’d love to meet him.

Anyway, what did I take away from day 2? Well…

I have no excuses with any of my faults. Captain Scott almost died and is blind and he still leads in the military! Currently, I believe I’m in the middle of the older generation and the emerging generation. So, I need to lead up by honoring those who have gone before me in the ministry and mentor younger emerging leaders. In my teaching and preaching, how am I proclaiming the Gospel? After all, the Gospel not only saves us, but it also sustains us and carries us. It’s the Gospel that sets us free! Finally, I must do what only I can do! Delegate the things that I am weak at and excel at what I am gifted at.

Well, the Catalyst experience is officially over. I truly hope to return next year (with my wife, hopefully) to continue this journey of leadership God has called me to.

OH MY….THE INSANITY!!!! Today was a day unlike any other. So much content, so little time to let it marinate, get happy, in my mind. To at least make sense of it. I heard from 7 incredible speakers. They were: Andy Stanley, John Perkins, Gary Haugen, Scott Belsky, Christine Caine, Donald Miller, and David Platt. How can I take words from these leaders and apply it to me? This is a tough challenge that is ahead of me. The only thing stopping me…tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day for hearing more great words from even more great leaders.

So in my best effort to condense it all into a good take-away…Here we go:

What story do I want to tell? What story do I want my kids to see? What courageous acts am I going to take? A single act of courage is the tipping point for something extraordinary. This can be, and is, dangerous. This vision God had given me, and in the process of giving me, how is it going to happen? Through organization (which needs a miracle of God), a team, and leadership. This thing called life and ministry is risky. Life is but a vapor, what am I going to do with this short amount of time I have on this earth? I can’t, nor should I, be safe about it. God is in control. Sometimes, the most tragic things, the most difficult things we/I will go through are the starting points toward greatness. It’s God preparing us for incredible things ahead that we can’t see. We just need to go one step at a time. One foot in front of the other. I, we, don’t have time to waste. I/we have a great mission placed in front of us.


I can’t believe the day that I just had. It was incredible! I heard from some of the top church leaders in America and learned SO much already…and I still have 2 more days of this. So the big question is, “What am I going to do with all this knowledge?” Well, I’ll deal with that at the end of the conference. One of the cool things that happened is that I filled my first moleskine journal. Tomorrow I crack open a brand new one. The first speaker tomorrow is none other that Andy Stanley. Can’t wait.

Below are my take-aways from the labs that I sat in.

Opening Session – Scot McKnight

He opened up using the the story of “Leaf by Niggle”. My big take-away was this…I/we need to let our BIG dreams be subverted by Jesus. Meaning this, sure we might have big dreams, but it’s the little things that we do that get us there. Let Jesus take our big dreams while he gives us the leaves that build that BIG dream.

Lab 1 – David Kinnaman

This will be hard to summarize, but I thinkI heard 3 things that we need to do in our church to reach the Mosaics (20’s & 30’s). 1) Teach the authority of Scripture. 2) Teach how the scripture relates to all vocations. 3) Have a relationship with them! David use 3 “A” words: Access, Alienation, Authority.

Lab 2 – Chris Seay

This was interesting because there was a MAJOR thunderstorm hitting us during this teaching time. Made for some fun dramatic sounds with the discussion of Heaven. We ran out of time to talk about Hell. Chris basically taught 4 passages of scripture: Colossians 3, Revelation 21, 1 Corinthians 13, and Matthew 7. His main point was that we need to be teaching more on the topic of Heaven.

Lab 3 – Michael Hyatt

What a great communicator. His big take-away was if you want to be a GREAT leader…lead with your heart. There is so much to unpack there, I just don’t have the time right now. But look into it and you’ll find it to be true.

Closing Session – Mark Batterson

He taught from Numbers 11. He asked 2 big questions: 1) Does your vision add up? 2) How big is your God? To answer #1, our vision shouldn’t add up. To answer #2, Well, my God created the universe in 6 days by just his voice, I think he can take care of my vision.

Well, that’s enough for today. Looking forward to what I’ll be learning tomorrow. I’m sure many of these teachings will come at later times on this blog as I get the opportunities to let them soak in.

I am so excited about what starts tomorrow…CATALYST!!! I came a little early to get into the LABS. I’m hoping to follow this schedule:

1:30 – David Kinneman “Post Christian? Myths and Realities of Culture and Ministry”

2:45 – Chris Seay “Heaven and Hell: Why a Biblical Vision of Eternity Can Lead a Church to Vitality instead of Irrelevance”

4:00 – Michael Hyatt “The Leadership Edge: The Little-Known Secret that Separates the Great Leaders from the Merely Good Ones”

At the end of the day (and hopefully a hard WOD at Crossfit Plano) I’ll post my thoughts and notes. I have a brand new moleskin just waiting to be used for this conference. Ready, set….