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Author Archive | Justin Knowles

4 Tips On How To Leave Well

Starting the new position tomorrow at Christ’s Church of the Valley as the Lead Next Gen. Pastor. I’m anxious but exited. I have been off for the best few weeks and let me tell you, time off is great! But with time off I have been able to do a ton of thinking. I have made two transitions from two teams in my ministry calling. One was “eh” and could have done a better job and one was so smooth. When the time does come to transition out of your current position I would hope you would do everything you can to make it a nice, easy, smooth transition for you and for the ministry you would be leaving.

Here are 4 easy things to remember when transitioning out and to transition out well:

  1. When the stirring rises, let people know. My first transition I didn’t tell anyone when I was feeling something and I feel like I hurt some people by doing so because it took them by surprise. The one out of Saddleback, the moment I had an inclination that this was happening from inside me, the next day I talked with Josh and told him what I was feeling and I didn’t know what it meant. To know that he was in this whole process from the beginning was an amazing feeling. We talked, we prayed, we maneuvered through it and it was such a weight lifted off my shoulders because I knew someone I trusted and looked up to, knew and was able to talk me through it.
  2. Talk the ministry up. Whether you are leaving on good terms or bad, in public you talk the ministry up. There is no point going down swinging. If you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say anything negative. But in public, to people, and to those who ask why you are leaving, let’s be people who build people up. It says in Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
  3. Their timeline is priority. If you want to leave the people you have been working with in a huge bind, only worry about yourself and get out of there. If your new position can allow for it, ask your supervisor what would be the best timeline for you to be out of your position so they can have enough time to begin to look and scramble to fill your spot. Do whatever you can to respect their timeline. CCV (Christ’s Church of the Valley) was so awesome in making sure Saddleback HSM’s timeline for me leaving was priority and man, it makes a difference.
  4. Set people up for when you leave. Don’t just throw up “deuces” and leave. Chances are you were responsible for a ton of important items. In the time you have left do your best to get another staff member or volunteer and train them in how you did what you did so when you leave, the ministry doesn’t leave with you. Set people up for success. Before I left, I had quite a few meetings with some teammates and walked them through my plans, my thoughts and any items to help them take on what I have been taking on. It shows respect and shows you care for the ministry as a whole.

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A Ministry On Its Toes

Fantasy Football draft is coming up for me. I love the NFL. I love the fake football draft. It’s great. I remember playing organized football for the first time going into my freshmen year of high school. Everyone was running around and the coaches were doing different drills to see what skill sets everyone has so they can put them in their proper positions. I remember the hitting drill. I remember it because at first, I was awful. The first time ever hitting someone with pads in a drill was against one of the biggest guys on the team. I stood there, on my heels, as the running back ran towards me and got pummeled. DE-STROY-ED! The coaches pulled me aside and explained to me that if I were to wait on my heels and react rather than being on my toes and go towards whats coming at me, I’m going to be flat on my back every time.

Some of us in ministry, are on our heels. Things go as they go and we react to situations rather than plan ahead and act upon it. Sometimes we wait for God to open a door for our ministry to go forward when many times I feel God is just waiting for us to move forward to He can lead us where He want to take us. I am about to jump into a new role and I know God has called me to move forward. I don’t need to apologize for it. I’m going to move until God tells me, “No”. Sometimes, we assume God’s answer is automatic “no” and we look for a “yes”. Sometimes I think God is saying “Yes” and we just don’t see it and we assume the answer is a “no”, therefore we are stuck in our current place.

As leaders, we are called to be on our toes. To be leaning forward. To be on the go, always moving forward. the enemy is coming at us with everything he has and if we are caught on our heels waiting to react we will find ourselves flat on our backs. God is faithful. God is good. We are called to take our ministries forward in whatever that means for you.

Maybe it is:

  • Having that difficult conversation with that student or volunteer you have been avoiding.
  • Getting rid of a volunteer who is cancer to your ministry.
  • Starting a small group ministry but you know it’s going to be a ton of work so you have been putting it off.
  • Planning a few months ahead because right now you are just week-t0-week and you are procrastinating.
  • Changing the “sacred cow” in that ministry because you know that model is not working in your context anymore.
  • Being active in making sure the rest of the church knows what God is doing in your youth ministry because no one seems to care because most likely they don’t know.
  • Talking to your senior pastor about how you need a raise.

What is it that you have been playing on your heels for too long with? Move forward and onward because God provides for those who have enough faith to take that tough step forward.

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Too Much Change Too Fast Vs. Doing What You Got Hired To Do

As leaders we want to move forward and want results. But as a teammate with your staff and volunteers you want to be healthy. Coming in as the new guy there is the fine balance of changing and moving forward and not being “that guy” who comes in and does a complete overhaul on the ministry within the first few weeks. You don’t want to ruffle feathers too quickly (because I think leaders do and should ruffle feathers eventually because moving forward will scare people sometimes and leaders move forward) but you also do not want to sit on your hands and do nothing because the people who hired you didn’t hire you to do nothing. Chances are they hired you to do something and expect some sort of change in the ministry. So how do you balance this? How do we walk that tension?

Here are some thoughts about how I am going about it:

  • You are the leader and you are there to make decisions. Decisions fall on you and it’s up to you to make decisions on where you feel God is leading you and you don’t need to apologize for this.
  • I’m not making any big transitions right off the bat but I will start to meet, hang out with, coach, train our leaders to make sure we have the right people on board and we are all headed in the right direction. If I work from the inside out then when change does come on the big level, leaders will be on board and be your biggest cheerleader.
  • People are going to question decisions. It’s part of the game. What I hope is that I have communicated the vision of the ministry clearly so while they may question the decision, they would never question my intentions.
  • Change comes with resistance. Leaders push through resistance because they can see what things can be and help people to get there.
  • Leaders care for the team. They are willing to hear out, listen and be there for those they are leading, helping them to get on board with where the ministry is going. We are leaders, but we shouldn’t be ruthless. Pastors are shepherds, they gather, they move forward, they correct and they love their flock.
  • Respect the past while still moving forward. Great ministry has happened before you get there. Honor it, don’t just push it aside but don’t live by it. God has placed a vision and a passion on your heart and choose you to lead it in this time so move towards it.

If you have ever stepped into a ministry with a firm foundation, what are some things you have learned? What are the must do’s? What are the big no-no’s? How do you balance this? Comment below?

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Help Me Understand…

As I am getting settled in my new house, new city and getting to know my new staff I still have been meeting with people. I technically do not start my new position for another 10 days, but as of last week I still have been hanging out with my direct supervisor and every single person on the team in which I will be overseeing, as well as some great key volunteers. One, because there is only so much I can organize the house and sit at home and two, because I think it is important to get to know, see how people feel and ask them certain questions so I do not go into this new position blind. I want to be able to have somewhat of a pulse on the team and the ministry in which I am joining.

I think one of the most important things any leader will ever do is ask questions. Not only ask questions, but know how to ask good questions. Whether you are hanging out with a student, with a leader or joining a new team, asking questions allows for you to know them and them to know you. It gives them a sense that you care about what they have to say and that you are listening to them. Who doesn’t want to feel like they are being heard?

So here are the questions I have been asking everyone I meet with in some way, shape or form:

  • How are you doing right now? (Are they tired, excited, nervous, anxious, overwhelmed?)
  • What are you most nervous about the future?
  • What are you most excited about?
  • If there was only one thing you could change right away what would it be?
  • If there was one thing you think should not change because it’s really effective what would it be?
  • Can you please help me understand _________ (In conversation if there is something that does not make sense or catches you off-guard you can clarify. I always want to give the benefit of the doubt).

I’m sure there are more, but these seem to be the go-to ones for me at this point in time. Now don’t just ask the questions and that’s it. Take value, take notes and engage in conversation so when time does come for change, you know, value and understand where people are coming from.

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Fear Of Failing

So I have completely transitioned about of Saddleback HSM (just in case you missed this news, click HERE to read what has been going on in my life and ministry). It has been bitter-sweet. Sad to leave people I love but excited to work with some amazing people in the near future. This means the last 10 days I have had plenty of time on my hands. We have moved, we are setting up the new place but for the past few days have had no computer or internet at our house. There has been a lot of great quality time with my wife but there also has been a lot of time to just sit, reflect, think and pray.

A lot.

Maybe not a lot, but more than I am used to on a regular basis.

I don’t know about you, but when things get quiet, things that we tend to repress and avoid because we are busy tend to pop up and be a louder voice than usual. I think for any leader the voice and fear of failing on whatever next venture is (whether is a new position, next event, next service, etc.), is something we will always have to deal with. This is where the enemy loves to sit, fester, and try to pry in our lives cause doubt in our lives where God clearly has called us.

No one wants to fail but it is a constant fear, admitted or not, it is there. So how do you move past it? I have been asking myself this over and over the past few days as I am about to embark on a new adventure in which I know will bring challenges I am not used to.

Here are 3 things I have been constantly reminding myself of when these feelings of fear of failure seem to creep into my life:

  1. Remember what God thinks about me. I think we say this to our students all of the time but we as leaders forget to believe it sometimes ourselves. I need to be reminded daily that I am His child, His friend and that He is for me… even if I fail.
  2. Remember I sit in God’s grace…always. Even if the people around me show no grace, I am always in God’s grace. And this should be enough to pick my head up and keep moving forward. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For though a righteous man falls seven times he rises again.” This is the beauty of God’s grace.
  3. Overcome temptation. When it comes to leading there are many temptations. The temptation of if I fail, to get down on myself. The temptation of if I succeed, to become prideful and lean on myself only. The temptation to rely on me only and steamroll the team in which I work with. The temptation to try to do it all by myself because I know how I want it. As leaders, we need to over come these things and is something I have been in prayer about constantly.

Leadership is a great thing. Failure is not. But sometimes it takes some failing to make some great leaders.

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4 Things To Do Before Starting A New Position

So this is my first week not in my former position, but it does not mean I am not working. I don’t begin my new position for a few weeks and I am definitely going to take advantage of it by taking my wife on vacation, but until then, I have been and am going to be hanging out with my supervisor and future team of people to get a run down on the current state and feel of ministry. There will be a time to turn off, which I’m planning on doing, but I also want to be prepared (somewhat) for this new position that I will be taking over. As I have been thinking through the meetings I have had already and the ones I know I’m going to continue to have, I have been processing the following:

Ask Questions – I have been meeting with some great people from my circle who have been leading for a long time and have been picking their brains about certain things regarding the new position. The last thing I ever want to do is assume I know what I’m doing at all times. We can all be learning something from someone and I have been asking leadership questions from some great leaders whom I know and love.

Ask More Questions – I have been meeting and hanging out with the executive pastor who I will be reporting to. He is a great leader with a great heart who cares for the ministry. We went to lunch and I got to ask him a ton of questions about the ministry, the good things and the things that need improvement. I asked about expectations, office hours, performance expectations, where do they want to see the ministry in 5 years? Question after question after question. I figure, the more I know coming in, the more I can prepare myself to make decisions and be effective right away.

Learn How To Ask Good Questions – Don’t just ask to ask. Be intentional with who you are asking and what are you asking. I want to see where volunteers are at so I ask them certain questions in certain ways. You want to see where students are at so you ask them certain questions. There is nothing better to help prepare for a new spot than asking the right questions. Learn how to do this and you will be walking in more confident.

Listen – Instead of thinking about the next question or meeting, actually listen. Staff, volunteers and students want to feel like they are being heard. When we ask questions we allow them to voice what they are feeling. Wrong or right, how they are feeling is real. So lean into that, listen, and adjust when necessary. One of the best things a leader can do coming into a new spot is be a great listener and slow to respond. Gather information, pray about it, discern and you will be able to take action when you need to when you come in being caught up on the ministry instead of coming in cold.

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Weekend In Review: Volume 253

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Weekend Teaching Series: Stress Out
Sermon in a Sentence: When you are anxious and stressed, God cares for you.
Service Length: 85 minutes

Understandable Message: This was a 1-off message the weekend of HSM Summer Camp. I decided to speak on a subject I felt we do not talk about often but more and more students are coming to me with wanting to know how to combat stress and anxiety in their lives. The message went through 4 ways we can overcome stress and anxiety in our lives and how do we allow God to comfort us in those times (This will be out on DYM soon).

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We started off the service with a great live action movie trailer of Dora the Explorer, really funny. It was fun to see the student’s reaction when they realized what it was for. We played In Touch with Your Emojis 3 (which will be coming out on DYM soon but to check out all the hilarious games by Travis, click HERE). It is such a clever game and the students always love it. There were some tough ones on there and it kept it challenging and there was a ton of laughing and yelling out of answers.

Music Playlist: This Is Amazing Grace, How He Loves, Sinking Deep, Your Great Name

Favorite Moment: My favorite moment was that since it was summer camp weekend, the guys who usually run our weekends were on the early crew for camp and they were gone. So the summer intern under them, Chloe, stepped up to the plate and programmed, organized and ran the entire weekend herself. She did incredible! It was so fun to see her take on the beast of a weekend and do so well at it. It was flawless.

Up next: Summer Camp Stories Weekend (1-off)

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Hold Your Plan Loosely

So I have been processing a ton of things lately. One of which is how we make plans and how God can and sometimes will call us away from our plans so we can live out His plan for our lives and ministry. It is just up to us whether or not we, as youth workers, will discern what He is calling us to do and where. Where ever you are in ministry, these are things to always keep in mind when doing God’s work in ministry. Hope it is helpful.

Hold Your Plan Loosely (James 4:13-15)

Our lives are not ours.

This last weekend was my last weekend on staff here at Saddleback Church (If you missed that post, you can click HERE to read what is happening!) Now it was a part of my own plan to work here at this church in HSM for 5-6 years. In my head, I thought this would be such a great opportunity to learn from some amazing ministry minds, do some great ministry and I would buy a house here, have some kids here and plant some roots. This was my plan. God blew up that plan. I know without a doubt that me taking a position at a another church was something God had in his plan for me. Looking back at how everything went down, it is undoubtably God moving and prompting. I could have stuck to my own plan, fought it, held on tight and do my own thing and possibly miss out on the great things I know God is going to do through me in the future.

When we hold so tightly to the things that we want to do, we miss out on the things God called us to do.

If God is involved, it most likely will be uncomfortable.

Many of us want to be successful in the future if we think we are not already. The trap most of us fall into is thinking that God wants the same things we want. We start to think that God wants us to be successful just like we want to be successful. But here is the thing, God is not in the success business.God is in the refining business. God is far less excited to see you be successful, but He is constantly trying to make sure we are shaped to be more and more like Jesus everyday.

Usually when God is involved, it’s going to be uncomfortable because that is how things are refined. When things are refined, they are put under fire until it gets too hot to handle and then all of the impurities come to the surface and all the nasty stuff is revealed and then it makes the item a more pure version of itself. How do you know if God is prompting you to trust Him in His plan for you? It’s probably something that makes you a little bit uncomfortable and will take faith.

Seek God First, He Gives You What You Need (Matthew 6:25-33)

You can read the whole passage for yourself, but Jesus says when we seek Him first in our plans, God will give you and your ministry everything you NEED. Not want, but NEED.

What do you need to tweak in your life to make sure you are seeking the kingdom of God first in your plans?

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God Can Speak Through Your Spouse…

“I feel like we really need to be closer to family. It kills me a little bit every time we leave family and drive back here. I’ve tried to hold back the feelings, but I just can’t and I have to tell you and I think we should consider it.”

Heavy right? What does one do when their spouse brings up moving when things are going well? I’m going to be honest, it was not an easy thing to hear coming out of mouth of my lovely wife. If I’m going to be really honest, I was a little bit angry at first. I was thinking, “Why on earth would I ever consider leaving Saddleback and the HSM team? There is such a great thing happening here. I love the team. I love the ministry. I love the church. I love what I get to do.”

I remember going into the offices and having a conversation with Josh with tears in my eyes because I didn’t really know what to do in this situation. Neither did he. So we prayed and I had quite a few follow up conversations with Kristin to make sure this was not a one time thought. It wasn’t. I was praying the next night by myself, I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me saying, “If you felt called to go to a church in Montana, Kristin would be open to have a conversation and be prayerful about what I am doing in you, don’t ignore what I’m doing in her.” Dang.

So I started to pray for her… for us.

It’s amazing what prayer can do. God can change a heart, a desire, and open up doors in which you thought would never open. Prayer is powerful and God loves to answer prayers. Over the weeks as we have been talking, praying and discussing where we feel God is leading us, we are taking a huge leap of faith. I know I am called to lead a ministry. I know I am called to lead a team. Saddleback HSM has been an instrumental part of helping me understand how a healthy and effective team. Josh and the team have showed me how to love students and run an effective student ministry. They are incredible people and amazing pastors.

This is why I have decided to accept the lead Student Ministries Pastor position at Christ’s Church of the Valley (Shift Students) in San Dimas, CA. I worked here for a few years right after college and I’m really excited to be back doing ministry in a city I love, where we will closer to both of our families, and get to work alongside some great friends. I will be overseeing Junior High and High School ministry and leading a team of great people to reach students for Christ. I am really excited/nervous/anxious for what the future brings and I am excited to see how God is going to use both Kristin and I in this new season of ministry.

Just a few things that I have learned through this process:

  • My wife is one of the bravest people I know. She had the courage to speak her mind even though she knew it would be a tough conversation.
  • I couldn’t just let this conversation pass and sweep it away because my wife would not feel comfortable with bringing up tough things again in the future.
  • When I read passages like the ones from Ephesians 5, it challenges me to love my wife, putting her needs in front of some things that I really like or enjoy, and see how God can bless those decisions.
  • Praying with your spouse is super powerful and very encouraging.
  • God knows what he is doing and looking back in the process, I can see His presence in every step of the way.
  • It’s really easy to leave things are tough, but it’s really hard to walk away from something that is really good and going well.
  • It sucks saying goodbye to people and students you have been with for years.
  • Taking leaps of faith is frightening, but God wants to bless those who put their trust in Him and follow where He is leading.

My time with DYM will still be the same and I’m excited to share my learnings and what I will take part in during this whole new process. I would appreciate any prayers you can offer our way. This is going to be quite a journey.

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My To-Do List Can Wait

I got nothing done in the office today.

I’m not going to lie to you, it is a little bit frustrating. I’m the kind of person if my to-do list is not completed it’s all I’m going to think about until it’s all crossed off. I love the summer. Summer time is when students are off of school and when they are not at the beach, movies, or eating they all seem to end up in my office. Most of the time they are bored and they don’t want to go home. Sometimes it’s to hang out with the staff or they are meeting someone later. But all of the time they are in my office, sitting on my couch, hacking my phone or computer and eating my snacks while I’m getting nothing done and my to-do list is growing while my time to do it is getting shorter.

But here is the best part about this entire thing.

While I’m not getting anything done, the most important thing is getting done. Relationships.

Do I have stuff to get finished and ready by deadlines? Absolutely. Do I have emails and voice mails to tend to? Of course. Do I always have time to stop and take time to spend time with the 4 teenagers that are sitting in my office? No, I don’t. So I have to stop and remind myself:

  1. My stuff can wait.
  2. Ministry is about a relationship.
  3. They could be anywhere else on their summer days but they choose to come hang out with you.
  4. God will bless this time.

As youth workers, we know investing in relationships is what God uses to open doors in students so we have the opportunity to speak truth into their lives. It’s the relationship building that allows opportunities for students to be open to hear what God has to say, through us, in theirs lives. Taking this time could be a catalyst in a student’s relationship with the Lord. Take advantage of this time and invest in some great relationships before the summer is over.

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7 Requirements Of A Small Group Leader

We are gearing up for another round of life groups. As we speak, students are signing up for life groups and leaders are letting us know if they are returning with us for another year. New leaders are joining the team and things will be rolling really soon. As we begin recruiting new leaders for this year, here are a few things we look for in a small group leader:

Committed follower of Jesus - They need to know Jesus in order to lead students to Jesus. If they are actively seeking Him then we know they can help students do the same. We find out how they do this through our interview with every volunteer before they officially jump on with us.

Attends our church - They need to attend and call our church their home church. It does not make sense to attend one church and serve in another. You are splitting devotion. We want our leaders to bleed not only our ministry, but our church.

Has time - Leading a small group takes time commitment. It really is more than 2 hours during the midweek. Leading a small group is leading group during designated hours, plus the conversations, hang outs, games, Starbuck’s runs outside of group time.

Decision making - Leaders need to know how to make many decisions. What to do in a group setting when things get awkward, heated, silent and decide on what is the best thing to do to help push the group closer to who Jesus is.

21 or over - Our ideal leader is over the age of 21. This provides enough distance between seniors and the leader if they were to lead a senior group. Sometimes we have seniors who are leading a jr. high group and when they become freshmen, we will evaluate the leader and usually place them with a co-leader who is over 21.

Knows how to be real - One of the most important things about a small group leader is the capability to lead in discussion (not preach) and lead in being real and authentic with students. When leaders do this, students will do the same and allow Jesus to change their lives.

Knows how to have fun - Small groups with students need to be fun. There needs to be teaching, Bible, discussion and all that, but fun is a must. We want students to want to come and enjoy being there and a leader must know how to add fun in the mix. Fun breaks down walls and allows for students to be real.

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3 Mistakes We Can’t Fall Into With Small Groups

As we just opened up Life Group registration after summer camp, I’m thinking about the mistakes I made last year with small groups. These are 3 things to be aware of when small groups are in season and I hope you can learn from them like I have:

Not saying “no” to leaders who are not ready to lead students. This is not easy. I know the need for volunteers is always a thing. This doesn’t mean we can just take anyone in who wants to lead. We need to make sure the leader we do get are capable to lead a small group well and for some reason we don’t think they are ready, we say no. We let them know why and that in a year we can come back to this point and re-apply and re-evaluate.

Overseeing too many groups, alone. Leading leaders can be a great thing. But it’s much like a small group. You have too many to keep in contact with it can get harder to make time for all of them and make sure they are good. When we take on too many leaders to take care of, they can slack because they require equal care. When it gets too much, find another staff or volunteer to help take on the load and make sure everyone is cared for effectively.

Not making a marketing/promo plan. This one is overlooked the most. Many think small groups and the excitement for them just happens. Making a plan to get students in the small groups is huge, or if anything, makes you think ahead. I just submitted a marketing/promo plan for our team as we are rolling towards launching groups for the year. We know what videos, what testimonies of students, what social media details we will be putting out and when to make sure we are hitting key areas and key times to get students in groups. Momentum takes planning and being aware of what is going out.

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4 Things To Remember When Dealing With Parents

So this week is HSM Summer Camp. I’m going to be up front with you, I have nothing to do with the planning of it. But the week before we head out, its all hands on deck fro answering questions for students, leaders and mostly parents. For the most part, summer camp runs smooth, but there always is the dreaded “putting the cabins together” and not everyone is going to be happy with everything. That is okay, it is part of it.

All this last week, I would say I spent a good 2 hours on the phone with upset parents. These parents were not out of control; they were just worried because they were looking out for the best interest of their child. My phone calls with parents were great and it got me thinking about how we as youth workers deal with parents and some things we need to keep in mind.

When dealing and communicating with upset parents we need to:

Listen- I have heard of horror stories where parents don’t feel like the youth pastor actually listens to them when they are upset about something. I think one of the most important things we can do is just to listen. Stop talking. Hear them out whether they are being rational or not. Most people think they will get backlash right back so when we don’t respond and hear them out, it automatically lets them take their guard down and allow you to say what you need to say in a loving but clear way. Parents want to know they are being heard.

Affirm – Whether you think so or not, how they are feeling is a real feeling to them. We may not agree with what they are feeling or why they are feeling it, but regardless, it is how they feel. Saying, “I can see how you can feel that way” or “I understand where you are coming from” shows that you are listening and hearing what they have to say.

Inform – Remembering that their feelings are very real to them, we still need to explain why something is a particular way. If it was an oversight, we can apologize and fix it if necessary. If there was a reason you made the choice they are upset about, this is where you would lovingly explain to them why it is that way.

Encourage – We are to partner with parents. We want to listen to them, affirm their feelings, inform them, and then encourage them. If you do the first 3 things, usually the end of the conversation is much different from the upset beginning. It allows us to cool down the confrontation and then turn it into a conversation about the most important thing (and the reason why they are calling you so passionately) their child. We are to speak life into their family whenever we can.

Granted, some conversations don’t always end so nicely. Hopefully you will be able to figure the best way to represent Christ with a passionate parent. But I feel remembering these things while talking with an upset parent will help us get through a difficult conversation and turn it into an encouraging one.

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Fun Twitter Campaign Idea For Summer Camp

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This weekend we leave for HSM Summer Camp. It honestly is one of my favorite things we do all year long. The staff is pumped. The students are pumped. Our volunteers are pumped. I think it is easy to say, everyone and their mother is pumped for camp. One thing we have been trying to get pumped up (because we have not really focused on it besides the last few months) is our @SaddlebackHSM twitter. If I’m honest, we have neglected it but that has changed recently.

As I’m sure all of you know, many students are online in some way, shape or form. We have noticed many students have made the transition to Twitter so we want to communicate to them and get our ministry Twitter up on its game. So with camp coming up, I decided to launch a Twitter campaign of “100 Awesome Things About Summer Camp”. The goal was to get students to interact with it and in a way spread the word about HSM twitter to other students and friends while promoting our stuff. So we started to make a list of things about summer camp and used the hashtag “#100AwsomeThingsHSMCamp” and went to town.

I would have to say it was a success. Students “favorited” or “retweeted” many of the tweets and it was a really fun way to get students excited about camp. Go check out the rest of the tweets by clicking HERE.

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What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

There are times in ministry (and life for that matter) where I come upon a situation and I really do not know what to do. I get a very angry email from an upset parent and my first response will probably not be the best. There is a leader in which I know is not working out and I need to ask them to step down. There is a student in which seems not to get anything I have been teaching or saying and they just keep doing the same thing over and over again. There is a decision that only you can make but you don’t really want to make it because you know you are going to get back lash. I feel like I have been in a season of all of these things happening at once and I find myself just standing scratching my head thinking, “What do I even do here?”

Here is a few things I do when I do not know what to do:

Stop. Relax. Chances are it’s not the end of the world, it just feels like it. One thing I know for sure, the best decisions are not the ones out of immediate reactions of anger and annoyance.

Forget about the overall outcome. Many times just the thought of what is going to happen down the line will freeze us in making a right decision, or any decision for that matter. When we don’t get too ahead of ourselves, we stop and think, we can make the best leadership decision.

Think about the next right, immediate decision. So instead of thinking so far in the future, ask “What would be the best next decision now to get towards the solution?” We can worry about whether or not this is going to pan out and stay stuck or we can think about what the next move is and move forward.

Pray about it. Sometimes I feel like it’s really easy to skip this step. We get so caught up in the anxiety, we miss probably the most important step. We know what Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” We have the power of the Holy Spirit to help guide us in decision-making. allow God’s peace to guard your heart and your mind. Give it to him.

Respond appropriately. When we give it to God and have spent some time in prayer about it, we can confidently know our decision is the best one we can make and we know we have gone about it the best way we humanly know how. Then respond appropriately and people will be able to see your leadership and how well you handle tough calls.

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