Stop. Drop. Pray.

stopdropandroll

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Do you remember the instructions you got in elementary school about catching on fire?

Stop.
Drop.
Roll.

As much as we talked about that I really thought I’d be busting into flames a lot more often in my life.

On a drastically different note, the other day we were having our MS Christmas party. I was running around trying to get things set up and ready. A few students showed up early (happens at every event ever).

So as I was running around, there were about five to six students who were goofing off and playing around. One of the students told me about a surgery that was upcoming. I knew about it and so just asked how they were feeling about it.

“I’m kinda nervous. I don’t like surgery.”

My reply was to just say, “You’ll be fine!”

“You’ll be fine!?”

Seriously?

Youth ministry fail.

That was my moment to stop, drop what I was doing, and pray with that student who was nervous about an upcoming surgery. Instead I kept rushing around trying to get everything ready for…ministry?

In doing that, I forgot one very important part of ministering to students: praying with them in their time of need.

Don’t miss opportunities. When a student shares something with you, stop, drop what you’re doing, and pray with them right there.

That other stuff can wait.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/RonaldLongpic.png[/author_image] [author_info]Ronald is a follower of Jesus who’s married to Bekah, father to two beautiful girls and a chronic writer. He blogs at ronaldlong.org and tweets from @ronald_long. When’s he has free time, he plays with his kids, goes for a run, or plays video games. If you’re interested in some of his bible study material, check out 128ministries.org. [/author_info] [/author]

Owed Some Favors

Instead of going to lunch the other day, I sat in my office.

I usually get out for a while, eat some food and breath the fresh air. I love to walk for a minute and clear my head so I can get back to the grind refreshed and strong.

It didn’t happen the other day though. Instead of getting out, I say at my desk. I ate my leftovers and read a book while doing a whole lot of nothing that I normally do during my lunch break.

Why?

I was covering for someone.

Our church assigns days for ministers to be “on call” so that if someone with a need comes in we can talk with them and pray with them and direct them to how we can best meet their needs.

Another pastor was on duty that day, but an issue came up and he needed to leave campus (which, when you’re on call, is something you can’t do). He asked if I could cover for him. The time frame ended up being the only available time I would have that day to take a lunch.

So I slammed my fists on my desk and told him it wasn’t fair and that NO, I cannot cover for you! Find someone else!

Yeah I didn’t do that.

I told him it wasn’t a big deal. I did him a favor.

In your church culture, do you do favors for those around you who need someone to help, or are you so bogged down with your own calendar and so tightly scheduled that you can’t offer a helping hand when its needed? Obviously there are those who may ask too much too often, but does anyone in your church owe you favors simply because you helped them out?

I hope you’ll get into the habit of being owed favors, so that when the time comes, you can call in a favor or two yourself!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/RonaldLongpic.png[/author_image] [author_info]Ronald is a follower of Jesus who’s married to Bekah, father to two beautiful girls and a chronic writer. He blogs at ronaldlong.org and tweets from @ronald_long. When’s he has free time, he plays with his kids, goes for a run, or plays video games. If you’re interested in some of his bible study material, check out 128ministries.org. [/author_info] [/author]

Quit and Go Home

The other day Bekah called me while I was at work. She needed me to come home. Not that it had been a particularly rough day, or that she was feeling sick. She just needed me home.

I had a million things to do.

I’ve never been able to look at my desk/computer/to do list at the end of the day and say “Well, that about wraps it up. I don’t have anymore work to do!”

It’s always some form of “Well, this will have to be where I stop today. I’ll pick it back up tomorrow.”

When Bekah called I had more than one thing I was working on finishing from the day before. I was getting swamped and a big retreat was coming up in the next few weeks.

But I went home anyways.

Did it mean I had a lot of catching up to do the next day?

Yup.

Did it mean that I would be staying up late after everyone had gone to bed to try to work some after hours?

Yes sir.

Did it mean that I would be worrying if I was actually going to make the deadlines I needed to?

You bet.

I showed one of her texts to a friend, the one that came before the call, the one that said “Please come home. I just want you home.”  What got me out of my office chair and into my truck were his words: “You don’t know how lucky you are man. I’m not getting those kinds of texts.”

My keys were in my hand and I was out the door.

To all youth pastors and other husbands out there:

Make your wife your number one priority. You’ll always have more work. You’ll always have another deadline. You’ll always need to get just one more thing done.

But you’ll never get another chance at making your wife feel loved and special TODAY.

Grab the keys.

Head on home.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/RonaldLongpic.png[/author_image] [author_info]Ronald is a follower of Jesus who’s married to Bekah, father to two beautiful girls and a chronic writer. He blogs at ronaldlong.org and tweets from @ronald_long. When’s he has free time, he plays with his kids, goes for a run, or plays video games. If you’re interested in some of his bible study material, check out 128ministries.org. [/author_info] [/author]

I Don’t Do Anything

I don’t do anything.

Most people assume that youth ministers truly don’t do anything. My favorite is when an eighth-grader asks me over lunch, “So what do you do all day? Play video games?”

Well sometimes my job does actually require that I play video games, that’s not really what it’s all about. But the other day a friend told me literally I don’t do anything.

I had a bit of concern for him and the future of his job when he finished his statement: I don’t do anything that I can ask a student to do instead.

That is brilliant!

So often youth ministers get bogged down in details and little tasks that they forget that part of their ministry is empowering students to do ministry!

What are the next five things you have to do for your ministry today? Are any of them things that you could ask a student to do instead?

Now don’t hear me incorrectly. I’m not saying that you should get a student to sort through your junk email box, or deal with an upset secretary, or even make that phone call you’ve been putting off for the last four days.

Don’t give students jobs that you don’t want to do. Instead ask yourself “can a student truly do what I am trying to?”

For a while, don’t have any limits on this. Ask yourself, “Could a student do my next Wednesday night talk? Could a student come with me on this hospital visit I need to make? Could a student write some of the devotional material for our next retreat?”

Don’t hog all the ministry yourself. Instead try to have the attitude of not doing anything.

Don’t do anything that you could ask a student to do instead and empower them for ministry!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/RonaldLongpic.png[/author_image] [author_info]Ronald is a follower of Jesus who’s married to Bekah, father to two beautiful girls and a chronic writer. He blogs at ronaldlong.org and tweets from @ronald_long. When’s he has free time, he plays with his kids, goes for a run, or plays video games. If you’re interested in some of his bible study material, check out 128ministries.org. [/author_info] [/author]

Guest Speaker

Surely I’m not the only non-spiritual person who has the tendency to check out of a morning worship service when there’s a guest speaker? At least that’s been my habit. Sometimes I’m all in but most of the time my mind wanders.

“Where’s my pastor this week?”
“What’ll be for lunch later?”
“Why is my fantasy football team so terrible?”

Ok. So maybe I think that when my pastor is preaching too.

This last week we had a guest speaker though who blew me away with a thought that had never crossed my mind:

He said that there have been two times in history when the entire world knew who God was. At first, I was skeptical. How could that be true? Then he hit it: in the garden and after the flood. So at some point, someone dropped the ball. They didn’t pass on the good news. I was so convicted I paid attention during the whole rest of the service!

Thoughts:

How are you ensuring you’re passing on the Good News about Jesus to your family and not dropping the ball?

And

What was something a guest speaker at your church said that really hit home?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/RonaldLongpic.png[/author_image] [author_info]Ronald is a follower of Jesus who’s married to Bekah, father to two beautiful girls and a chronic writer. He blogs at ronaldlong.org and tweets from @ronald_long. When’s he has free time, he plays with his kids, goes for a run, or plays video games. If you’re interested in some of his bible study material, check out 128ministries.org. [/author_info] [/author]