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Every weekday morning (okay –  almost every), I head to the gym to do a little of that crazy thing called exercise.  Today was no different.  I woke up, ate breakfast, took my daughters to school and then headed to the gym.  Parked in my usual spot.  Walked into the gym and proceeded to scan my card.  Here’s where it gets a bit interesting – the display on the card reader was reading “invalid card”.  

Thinking the scanner misread my card I scanned it again and I got the same response from the card reader.  A few thoughts started to pop into my head, “did I pay my membership?”, “have I been kicked out of the gym?”, and the ever popular “3rd time’s a charm – scan it again!” – so I did.  Same response – “invalid card”!  Then I noticed the reason…I was scanning a supermarket key tag instead of my gym key tag…oops!

This little lesson this morning reminded me that we can be doing all the right things and not getting the results we expect because we’re using the wrong tools.  So often in ministry we fight hard to build a ministry or even a great program so students will want to come to our church and/or programs.  Once they’re there we’ll talk to them about what God has done and how awesome Jesus is – hoping they come back.
That’s totally different to the way Jesus did ministry.  Jesus went to the people and talked with them not to them.  When He met with people, He helped them experience the love and grace of God.  John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood.” (The Message) NOT “The Word became flesh and waited for everyone to come see Him”. If we put our energies into “us going” instead of “them coming” we just might get the opportunity to show more students the love of Jesus.
  • Maybe during the weekend take a cooler full of ice and water and some of your youth group to the park to give water to the kids playing basketball.
  • Head to the high school with a few pizzas and invite students to join you for lunch
Doing little things like this show them that you are willing to “move into their neighborhoods” and live life with them.  You never know what a simple act of love will do to someone – they just may meet that Jesus you keep talking about!
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Nate has been in youth ministry for 10 years. He’s not famous. He hasn’t saved the world from impending doom, but he knows and loves a guy who did…and that guy is Jesus. Nate is the youth pastor at Flora United Methodist Church where he helps students AND parents through the journey of life together…with Jesus. He loves to teach/preach the Bible. Nate lives in Flora, Indiana with his wife Heather and their two awesome daughters, Riese and Sarah. Nate also blogs at:[/author_info] [/author]

Be a “Yes” Person

We’re taught to say “no” a lot in ministry. I’ve been told countless times that you need to say no more often so you don’t spread yourself too thin and become ineffective. As youth workers this a good principle because we are constantly confronted with good opportunities that would drain us from the things we need to be doing.

Taken to the extreme, this can lead to a mentality where we only focus on the things directly within our ministry and job description. We see church ministry like an assembly line where we focus only on our widgets. The problem with this is that the church is a family, not a factory. A family where the parts are connected. That means we need to say “yes” from time to time to ministry opportunities in other areas of the church.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve said yes to serving other areas of our church that don’t directly effect my ministry to teens. One with a singles’ mission trip and another with a young families father/son retreat. Both are completely outside my job description. So when I was asked by leadership to take part, I could have declined. I said yes because I believe it makes ministry better.

Saying yes makes the Body healthy. The members of God’s body are interdependent. We should care about the health of the single’s ministry of your church, because it is just as important as yours. Both contribute to a healthy church body. I accepted the role of leading a single’s ministry mission trip because they needed someone and I was available. Saying yes means I am contributing to the health of the church at large, not just my own ministry.

Saying yes gives you opportunities for growth. When you step outside your normal ministry realm you get stretched in new ways. As part of the father/son retreat I had to speak to both dads and young sons. I have little experience teaching to either audience. It was challenging to come up with talks that could work for both an 8 year old and a 40 year old. Saying yes meant I learned to be a better communicator.

Saying yes shows your leadership you are ready. Many youth pastors, including myself, don’t want to get pigeon holed into one role. While ministry to teens is our main passion, we have other abilities to offer. Sometimes this helps leadership see you in a new light that might open doors in the future.

I’m not saying that you should say yes to everything. But maybe God is calling you to say yes to something that is outside your normal ministry. It may lead to an unexpected ministry experience, but you’ll never know unless you say yes.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Kevin Libick is a Middle School Pastor living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Kara and her two cats. He is a novice banjo picker and expert Hawaiian food eater. Kevin loves to connect with other youth workers and equip them to live out their calling in God’s Kingdom. Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @kevinlibick[/author_info] [/author]

Spiritually Leading Teenagers

Last Sunday I had the awesome opportunity to preach to our adult congregation.
My topic: Spiritually Leading Teenagers

Watch it and let me know what you think!

Flip This Family – 2nd Edition: The Teen Years from LifePoint Plano on Vimeo.

If you like something you hear…steal it, use it, preach it!

Two sources I reference:

Sticky Faith – Powell, Griffin, Crawford
Soul Searching – Christian Smith


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava & Ben, Student Pastor at LifePoint Church in Plano, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask, Email David.[/author_info] [/author]

Want to keep track of your students?

Want to keep better track of your students? Want to keep a better record of your students?

Ever ask yourself the question where has that student been in a while

Why has that student stop coming?

Then do this…

Have a Round Up time!!    (Round your students up!)

-Have a time twice a year (April, Sept.) where you or your volunteers/small group leaders sit down and facebook/email/text/call the students you haven’t seen in a while to find out where they been. (Make a chart w/ students name, how were they reached, reason haven’t seen them in a while)

-If they don’t answer or respond after you have tried at least twice don’t get discouraged. Sometimes they will respond. Sometimes they wont. But you can sleep at night knowing you did your job by reaching out to them.

-Let the student know you have missed them and wanted to know if everything was okay. To lighten the mood if they feel uncomfortable, ask them if anyone has said anything to offend them and if you need to beat someone up. You can even ask if they have started attending another church…if you feel comfortable.

Find out why they have stopped coming. That student could help you resolve issues that might be going on in your Student Ministry.

-After you have finished, you have lightened the load of a leader or helped a student come back!

This idea came from my pastor Kenny Hibbard and I think could help out your Student Ministry tremendously!

You are able to find out where that student has been! Maybe they started going to another church, moved, or maybe had a conflict you were able to resolve, just following up with them! Go for it!

Hope this helps!!

Student Pastors, keep allowing the front door to be WIDE OPEN, but also keep doing a great job of keeping the back door SHUT. Make sure your students are sticking.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]

Michael Hux is the Student Pastor of Team Church in Matthews, NC.

Connect with Michael on Twitter or Instagram: @_Hux


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Is it not enough?

What do you do when someone else gets recognition, more responsibility or a promotion? There are days in ministry when what we have been given is enough, but all too often there are days where it isn’t.

The longer I’m in middle school ministry, the more often I see people around me getting promoted and advancing up the chain of command. If I’m honest, I get jealous of them because I want to be recognized for my good work. We in America place a lot of importance on titles and position. We preach the false gospel of meritocracy, “those who are more talented and work harder deserve to move up.” So when you are a 35 year old youth worker, you start to believe that you deserve more. More authority, more recognition, a bigger sandbox.

In Numbers 16, three Levites named Korah, Dathan, and Abiram led a rebellion against Moses. Their complaint was that Moses had acted as if he were greater than everyone else by being their leader. We all know how ridiculous this claim was. Moses RESISTED  being a leader. He told God “no”, but God insisted. Korah had it all wrong. It wasn’t Moses who exalted himself, God did. Their beef is with God, not Moses.

Moses’ response is convicting to me. He says, “Is it not enough that you are Levites? Is it not enough that you get to take care of the Tabernacle?” Korah, Dathan and Abiram had their ministry. God had given them a place to serve and yet it wasn’t enough.

In student ministry we can spend a lot of time worrying about the “low” place we hold in the church. We feel as if God has forgotten us or that those around have left us out intentionally.

My response to you is this: Is it not enough that you get to disciple teens and leaders? Is it not enough that you are able to teach the Bible, minister to families, and watch kids grow up? Stop longing for more power and prestige when God has given you a place in His kingdom. Be thankful for the ministry and season God has put you in. Stop striving and start enjoying.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Kevin Libick is a Middle School Pastor living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Kara and her two cats. He is a novice banjo picker and expert Hawaiian food eater. Kevin loves to connect with other youth workers and equip them to live out their calling in God’s Kingdom. Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @kevinlibick[/author_info] [/author]

Followship of the Disciples

Have you ever noticed how dumb the disciples are portrayed in the gospels?

It’s almost as if they are on a downward trajectory until the resurrection. Think about it. It must have taken GREAT faith to drop their nets (the family business) and follow after Jesus. This new, unknown, Rabbi preaches a sermon near the lake they fished and when He invites them to be His disciples, to follow Him, they immediately leave their trade. This is nuts! It would have taken great faith and a little nerve. What do you think was going through Zebedee’s head when his two boys (James & John) jump out of the boat and take off (Matt. 4:21-22)?

He was probably hacked off! Who is going to help him man the nets/boats?! Leaving to follow Jesus would have taken great faith. But let’s look a little further into their followship…

In Mark 8:31-38 Jesus lays out plainly what will happen to the Son of Man. He told them that He must “suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priets and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). Peter’s reaction?

He rebukes Jesus! He rebukes the man who has walked on water, fed 4,000, healed the deaf, cast out demons, and calmed a storm. What?! WHY would he doubt the intentions and words of Jesus? Has He not seen the power behind Jesus’ words? This is a royal example of Peter missing the point. A chapter later in Mark 9:30-34 Jesus again foretells his death and resurrection. The disciples response? Fear. Which this somehow parlays into a conversation about which disciple is the greatest. Again, the disciples miss the point. Now let’s look at the disciples followship shortly before the crucifixion.

In Mark 14:43-50 Jesus is in the garden praying before His arrest. The disciples who know Jesus is stressed, somehow fall asleep. When they wake, Judas is on the scene having Jesus arrested. One disciple begins to defend Jesus, but Jesus prevents the fight. We would think that the disciples would be faithful. That they would offer themselves over as well. “If you are going to take Jesus, you have to take us also!” But verse 50 states, “And they ALL left him and fled.” They ran. A few verses later, we find the story of Peter denying Jesus.

The closer to the cross we get, the dumber the disciples become. However, after the resurrection, the disciples begin to proclaim Jesus with boldness, courage, and faith that would inevitably lead to their deaths. 

I encounter many students who are in different stages of followship. I see newbies demonstrate great faith and lifelong followers miss the mark completely.

May we as youth workers use the disciples to encourage our students. May we praise those who drop their nets to follow Jesus, but may we also prepare them for the difficult road ahead. When they fail, and they will fail, may we point them to a Savior that lives. A Savior who doesn’t want selfish conformity, but rather humble warriors on mission to make disciples by offering life through Jesus Christ.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava & Ben, Student Pastor at LifePoint Church in Plano, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask, Email David.[/author_info] [/author]




Overworked & Underblogged

Whew! If I didn’t LOVE what I do, this would be a rant post where I rail about all the things I have going on in ministry that have prevented me from blogging consistently.

BUT, I love what I do! Getting to serve my church body is life-giving. In addition to my normal, weekly, youth ministry activities (including planning for summer! already?! what?!) there have been two major things taking up my time.

1. Multi-site – Our church, is in the process of replicating ourselves in a multi-site. I am super stoked to be a part of this process as we seek to further God’s Kingdom through the vehicle of the local church. To accomplish this, our weekly MLT (Ministry Leadership Team) meetings have doubled over the past month. That’s 2 half-day meetings per week! Yet, when I realize what God can/could/will do through this process, I’m elated to have a seat at the table!

2. Easter Picnic –  Each year the student ministry & children’s ministry work together to pull off our annual picnic. This is no small task when you are expecting 3,000+ in attendance. Food, games, seating, music, egg hunts, gospel presentation, volunteer coordination, guest booths, parking, staging, it’s amazing how many small things come together to pull these things off. And it honestly couldn’t happen without the whole staff pitching in!


While these two things have taken up A LOT of my time, it has been an absolute blessing to serve our congregation. I could whine, I could complain, I could make excuses, but this is the task the Lord has entrusted to me, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). And this is something I want to do not with bitter heart, but rather “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2-3).

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava & Ben, Student Pastor at LifePoint Church in Plano, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask, Email David.[/author_info] [/author]

To the Church in…

“To the church in Fort Worth.” That phrase popped into my head this afternoon. Far too often I forget that the Bible was written to specific people living in a specific time. It certainly does apply to my life, but I wasn’t written specifically to me.

The New Testament books are written to the churches in cities like Galatia, Rome, Ephesus, and Philippi. These are geographic locations that had streets, local hangouts, city governments and places to eat. When Paul or John writes to these people he is addressing specific problems that Christians are having in these cities.

This got me thinking. What would a letter written in my day to my city look like? This is the city that I love with the people that I love. What would be included in a letter to the church in Fort Worth?

If I sat down and wrote my letter, it would include hopes and dreams that I believe God has for my city. I would want certain things to change and other things to stay the same. I have certain people in mind when I think about my city, just like Paul and John did. My letter would be different from your letter because your city and people are different from mine.

Each day we have carry the weight of translating the Gospel of peace into a language our students and our city can understand. Because we live in different communities our translations look different. This is the process of contextualization, where we translate the timeless truths of Scripture for a specific people, time and place.

What would you include in your letter? Where is justice needed? What needs aren’t being met? What powers in your community need opposing? Who needs someone to stand in the gap for them?

You are called by God to translate the Gospel for your community. If you don’t, who will?    Go ahead, get writing!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Kevin Libick is a Middle School Pastor living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Kara and her two cats. He is a novice banjo picker and expert Hawaiian food eater. Kevin loves to connect with other youth workers and equip them to live out their calling in God’s Kingdom. Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @kevinlibick[/author_info] [/author]

Best Decisions I’ve Made in Student Ministry

If you are in a position where you can choose the direction of your student ministry and help guide it, this can be one of the most rewarding and sometimes frightening places to be. You feel the weight of shepherding this ministry you have been entrusted with. In the proper frame of mind, this will cause you to listen, pray, and spend time with the Lord. Sure, there are egomaniacs out there, bent on running the ministry in the way they see fit with little guidance outside of their own minds, but hopefully this is not the common case.

These decisions are sometimes large ones (what programs or services you will offer, vision of your ministry, etc) and sometimes small ones (stage designs, to have donuts or not to have donuts, etc). Some people think through every decision, while other people have more of a “Hey, whatever!” mentality, I find myself in the former camp.

This fall I was working on restructuring our small groups and finding ways for our teaching to coincide with them. In the past, our small groups had been some what autonomous in their teaching, with leaders picking different studies they found intriguing. I wanted to streamline this process, focus in on Scripture more, and really dig into certain passages to help them stick in their mind. Side note: I believe that students will not remember much of what I say in my sermons five years from now (maybe five minutes?), but if I can teach them to study and understand their Word, then this is something they will carry with them for the rest of their life.

I started to feel that I wanted my students to really grasp the Gospel of Jesus in a holistic way. If Jesus is the central figure of Scripture, our Redeemer and Salvation, then I wanted my students to grasp His life and hopefully fall deeper in love with Him. I started to feel pulled towards teaching exegetically through a Gospel and I naturally started to look towards Mark. I say “naturally” because I love the flow of Mark and the straight forward nature of it. A professor at seminary had opened my eyes to Mark in a profound way, and I’ve never thought of it the same since then.

This was a big undertaking though, it meant over four months in the book of Mark to teach it adequately in the way I wanted to. It meant not teaching through some of our regular fall series. What if the students got tired of going through the same book? What if staying in the same chapter all week long meant they would check out of groups? I know these may seem silly to you, but these were my thoughts.

I trudged forward with Mark in spite of my doubts, we are three weeks away from finishing, and it has been an awesome Spirit-led decision. I devoured books and studies on Mark. We didn’t skip over the difficult parts of Mark, but tackled them head on. We asked tough questions and didn’t shy away from God’s truth. Our students have come to grasp the life of Jesus in a way they never have before. They read ahead to get a better picture of what’s coming up. When students have gotten saved over the past few months, I tell them to read Mark, knowing that we have a group of students that can walk and guide them through their readings. It has helped to galvanize our ministry and the adults are learning a lot too.

All of this to say, don’t be afraid to teach God’s Word. Don’t be afraid in student ministry to engage the Word in a deep and meaningful way. Make it fun and ask the tough questions. Our students have gotten the most out of the misunderstood passages like the Rich Young Ruler. God’s Word will change you and your ministry. God’s Word is awesome…

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Brandon Weir is the Student Pastor at The Fellowship Round Rock near Austin, TX. What does Brandon love? “I love my wife Jules, my dog Ranger, Texas Tech, being outdoors, the Texas Rangers, camping, hiking, reading, Torchy’s Tacos and I love me some Jesus.”

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