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First 2 Years: The Three Things I Thought I Knew

Thought I Knew

The past six months or so have made up one of the most transforming seasons of my life. The Lord has taken almost everything I thought I knew and turned it upside down. He had me ask myself some really tough questions and put me into situations that were way out of my comfort zone. Of course when you are in the middle of it the season seems crazy, out of control, and totally overwhelming, but as I start to come out of it I am seeing the incredible things that the Lord taught me. The way I see myself, the way I interact with Him, and the way I do ministry is completely different now. There are so many things that He has taught me recently but I thought I’d share my top three with you.

Myself- I thought I knew my strengths, my weaknesses, my spiritual gifts, and how I related to other people. I thought I had myself figured out—but the Lord disagreed. He made me face the parts of myself that I didn’t want to deal with and had me take risks that I thought I’d surely fail. However, in the midst of my journey, the Lord revealed to me gifts I never knew I had. He showed me the depth of my mercy for other people and the passion I didn’t know I had for different parts of ministry. I feel like I have started to come into my own and He continually reveals that to me in the fruit of this new perspective

Faithfulness- It’s in the middle of a hard season that the Lord shows you the clear difference between your will and His will. Naturally, I didn’t want to face any of this, but I knew that I was exactly where He wanted me. As tough as it was, God truly revealed to me the blessings that come along with faithfulness. I have learned so much, have had incredible ministry moments, and have been given opportunities that I never thought I’d receive. Overall, the Lord is good and will surely reward your faithfulness.

Community- I thought I had a good understanding of community. I considered myself a good sharer and wasn’t afraid to ask for help with day-to-day tasks. But what I started to learn was that when it came to the things that mattered, the last thing I relied on was other people. I hated talking about what I was feeling, how I was processing, or even saying that I needed something. The thought of being vulnerable and admitting that I wasn’t in control was the most terrifying thing I could think of. But I’ve learned that He uses people in your life to reveal pieces of Himself and things He wants to teach you. God has placed some of the most incredible friends and mentors in my life that have helped me learn to experience emotions and ask for help. It’s still scary and it’s still uncomfortable, but I now know that it’s not going to kill me.

As youth pastors, we will surely go through dark seasons. We will be tired, confused, and want to give up. But let me assure you that God is good and faithful. He will redeem the messy parts of life and, in time, reveal incredible truths. So take a deep breath and as hard or impossible as it may seem, place your trust in Him.

Have you gone through a similar season? What has the Lord revealed to you?

Colton [Email||Twitter]

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Scholarships Are Making a Big Difference

We’ve been so excited over the past 6 months to hand out some incredible scholarships to youth workers in need all over the world. If you haven’t been keeping track on the scholarship page and all that is going on, we’re thrilled to play a small part in blessing youth workers with DYM resources on a regular basis. For more on the scholarship details (to apply for one or to donate towards) click right here.

Here are a few of the stories that have been shared back with us:

What a surprise and BLESSING this generous gift will be for our youth program! I have the opportunity to formally announce this award to our church at our Christmas program Tuesday night, where we will give thanks to God as a community for His provision, as well as prayers of blessings for the businessman you mentioned who made this happen and for you and Download Youth Ministries for facilitating opportunities like these for groups like ours!

Because of this generous gift, we are squared away for the first half of 2014, and I’m more excited now than I’ve been in a long time! I feel like a burden has been lifted – the time we spent trying to assemble interesting (to teenagers!) curriculum will be better invested in one-on-one time, small groups, or other opportunities to minister to their friends.

We warmly and lovingly thank you.

Mark

Another one from Pastor Thad:

Wow! I’m blown away! Not only that I could get some help but that your response was so quick. I know that I shouldn’t be surprised by God’s blessings and peoples generosity but I still am every time. I have to admit that as I filled out the scholarship I didn’t really think that anything would happen just because I’m sure that there are people out there that need it more than we do. However, I feel totally blessed by anything that you can offer and personally, deeply encouraged that someone (that doesn’t even know our ministry) would help us out.

Thanks a ton for this! Now I’m off to do some DYM shopping!!!

And one last one that came in recently, too:

Wow that is awesome!! Thank you very much!! About the membership, I brought this before our church and there is no money to pay it all with the church account, so our awesome group of parents have agreed to pay a little each month to pay for our membership! So the church fronted the bill, and our parents are paying it back! God has blessed us with a great group of parents; as well as you all for giving us the coupon! And let our sponsor know that we are grateful for their donation!! That cash is going to buy a lot of curriculum!!

Love it. Helping youth workers win … that’s what we’re all about!

JG

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First 2 Years: What I’ve Learned About Speaking

This weekend I had the opportunity to speak for the third time. It was such an amazing opportunity and experience. God has taught me a ton through my few times speaking and I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve been learning:

Be yourself. I work with many talented speakers and I listen to talented speakers on podcast. It can be really easy to want to copy their mannerisms, but we can’t truly connect with students unless we are bringing our own personalities up there. Students can see through any act we try to put up. This is our chance to be real and transparent for 20-30 minutes in front of these students. We would be totally blowing it if we tried to be someone else.

Speak TO students, not AT them. I think there are a lot of speakers that can speak at students for an entire sermon but never actually connect with them. One of the things I have learned about speaking is that it is all about that connection you are making with them on an emotional level. With every sermon, you can address an underlying need within a student. A need to feel known, loved, understood, accepted, etc. Talk about those needs and you will have their attention and get them to care. Talk about those needs and you will tap into the potential for life change.

Never EVER take it for granted. Speaking is a privilege. It is God choosing to use us to communicate His truth to students through us. Gosh. We are so unworthy of that opportunity. Always remember that you are using a gift that is not your own. Know that this isn’t your time to prove how great you are, this is a time for you to serve the Lord and these students. Never ever take that lightly.

What are some things you have learned about speaking?

Colton [Email||Twitter]

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Give a Gift

Last week I took five devotional books, picked five students and prayed for them and wrote them a letter. Then I took these books and delivered them to each of the students personally. Just stopped by their homes, said Hi gave them the book then headed out.

These students were a mixture of students who I am close to and others who I see on rare occasion. But the same thing happened with each book delivery. The students face lit up and they were stunned that I thought of them and prayed for them and took the time to handwrite a letter.

By giving a simple $10 gift to 5 students, I spent $50 which for sure seems like a lot. But since then I have had some great conversations with those students and been able to speak into their lives. To me, that is the best bang for your buck. When I spend money and it means students will dig into the word of God and talk to me about it, it gets me PUMPED.

It is sometimes difficult to remember that our students don’t know we care about their spiritual lives in between youth group nights or Sundays. We might be at home praying for them, staying awake over the poor choices they have made or even be driven to tears. Giving gifts is a way to break down this barrier. Gifts create a feeling of sentiment and caring.

If you don’t have the ability to spend money on devotionals, you can print some out yourself and make a booklet, or you can simply write a letter with some thoughts about the students faith contained within.

It is the simple things that I believe make ministry powerful in the lives of a student, not the complex programs we put on, or the funny videos we show. It is the relationship building and the sharing of life which makes it great. And what is a better way to celebrate a relationship with someone than giving a gift and the bond which that creates.

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: kylecorbin.blogspot.com or Twitter: @CorbinKyle

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Prayer Journal Gift

prayer_journak

A small package arrived on my desk at the church today – it was a gift like I’ve never received. A youth pastor who I’ve been friends with for a few years sent me a prayer journal written in every few days since this past March. All of the prayers inside were about me! They were incredible, life-giving and humbling. Another youth worker was lifting me up in his prayer time and asking God to bless our plans, our summer, our events, my heart and my marriage. What an incredible gift of love and dedication from a friend. One of the best gifts I’ve ever been given!

JG

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I STILL can’t believe this is FREE!


I’ve written about this in the past, but I still can’t believe they can do this for FREE.

It’s true! So, what is “this” that I’m referencing?

The Life Book Movement (funded by Gideons’ International) will give your youth ministry 500–1,500 Life Books totally FREE… no strings attached.

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Besides FREE, here’s some reasons I love this:

1. The Life Book is God’s Word
It’s nicely designed and contains a short recap of the Old Testament, the entire Gospel of John, scriptural answers to issues teens face, and an easy-to-understand message on what it means to trust Jesus. You can view this online at: thelifebook.com/read

2. It gives your students a really cool gift to give their friends.
Your students simply become gift-givers. Anyone can give this as a gift… from the shy to the outgoing.

3. It’s a simple tool that begins a faith conversation.
If those who receive The Life Book have questions, there’s now a friendly face connected to the gift. We found these as a simple way to invite their friends to church/youth group.

For 2+ years, I keep waiting for there to be “a catch”… nope! Actually, there is a catch—they want you to give away the amount you receive (that’s fair that they don’t want them wasted).

Did I mention that they’re FREE? They are! That’s why I love pointing youth workers to this site. In less than 3 years, over 6 million Life Books have been handed out by students to their classmates.


Question: How have you used this in your ministry? I’m fascinated and want to learn more. Share your stories here.


[Are you getting Doug's daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it’s real easy–go here.

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Size Matters… 25 ways to go small

As part of the debut of my new series, “Be her hero: how NOT to suck as a husband” this week’s posts will focus on marriage.

During the junior high years very male learns the phrase “size-matters” and it becomes the source of many male-oriented jokes and innuendos long into adulthood.

Let me set the record straight–size DOES matter.
Research points to the fact that women prefer small.

Women prefer their husband to become proficient at mastering the small… but meaning acts of service. Small acts of kindness, service, initiative that add up to being a big deal.

Marriages grow distant because one or both spouses stopped doing the small things that really matter.

  • It was the accumulation of “little things” that led to big problems.
  • It’s also the little things that can also lead to big change.

When I was preparing my series “Be her hero: How not to suck as a husband” I asked wives (via Twitter/facebook) this question: “Ladies, what are little things that make a big difference in marriage?”

Here are 25 answers they provided:

1. Taking initiative… seeing what needs to be done and doing it.
2. Knowing my favorite radio station and turning it on when I’m in the car.
3. Occasionally surprising me and bringing home my favorite drink.
4. Randomly making our bed while I’m showering/getting ready
5. Holding the baby when he gets home from work
6. Turning off the TV/putting down the phone
7. Compliment me about the job I do with the kids
8. Tell me I’m pretty even when I’m not dressed all fancy
9. Noticing when I’ve changed my hair or am wearing something new
10. Calling me during his day just to ask how I’m doing
11. Bringing me small, inexpensive gifts
12. Writing cards with words of love (I’ll treasure these forever, seriously)
13. Helping out with chores without me having to ask
14. Leaving his stuff where I ask him to leave it
15. Leaving me alone when I’m reading a good book
16. Plan a surprise date (even a FREE picnic would be fine)
17. Watch a few minutes of a TV show he doesn’t like just to be with me
18. Surprise me and drive the kids to school for me
19. Listen, even when you’re tired
20. Tell me you prayed for me
21. Call on your way home to see if you can pick anything up
22. Be my cheerleader in front of the kids/friends
23. Occasionally, empty the dishwasher
24. Listen to me without being on the laptop or phone
25. Hang up your clothes

These are SMALL ideas! She’s not asking her husband to: (1) cure cancer, (2) paint the house, (3) write a book on why you love her.

Refresh your marriage by doing some of the small actions that we know we ought to be doing that we’re not doing.

When you set out on a journey and you get off track by a small amount… over a long period of time you’ll radically miss your destination. I know many marriages have missed their intended marriage destination!

Pay attention to your marriage and get back on course by doing the little things today.


Question: What would you add to this list? Share it here.

If you’re interested in the 4 part audio series: Be her hero: how not to suck as a husband, go here.


[Are you getting Doug's daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it’s real easy–go here.

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10 reasons I’m thrilled there’s another Fields’ in youth ministry


30 years ago today (Sept. 1, 1981) I was an 18 year-old, college freshman who started his first day at work. I was hired to work on a youth ministry team as an intern at South Coast Community Church (now called Mariners’ Church).

Today, my 22 year old daughter (Torie) begins her first (post college) job. Guess where? Yep, Mariners’ Church. 30 years later another Fields’ debuts in a youth ministry experience. How fun is that?







Here’s 10 reasons I’m thrilled that my daughter is in youth ministry:

1. I’m thrilled that she will have incredible impact on young lives.

2. I’m thrilled that she will learn youth ministry from one of my best friends on the planet—Matt McGill. He’s a great thinker, he knows youth ministry, he’s fun, and he will be able to build on Torie’s strengths and help her in her weaknesses. There are also amazing, veteran women leaders on their youth ministry team who have so much to pass on.

3. I’m thrilled my daughter loves the church (big “C” and little “c”).

4. I’m thrilled that she’ll have a job that Cathy and I know something about (as opposed to fashion) and we’ll share in rich conversations.

5. I’m thrilled that she will get to use her gifts in a way that will bring glory to God.

6. I’m thrilled that she’ll develop new gifts. I’m so excited to see new areas of her life flourish.

7. I’m thrilled that she’ll be put in situations that will stretch her faith and increase her dependence on God’s power.

8. I’m thrilled for the people that she’ll meet.

9. I’m thrilled for the incredible leaders at Mariners that will rub off on her.

10. I’m thrilled for the time she’ll be spending in God’s Word and thinking about how to communicate to teenagers.

Obviously, I’m thrilled!

For those with younger kids, hang in there, cherish your family time, put them before your ministry, and prepare to be amazed at what God can and will do in their life.

If you’re interested, Torie and I will be doing a seminar at the Youth Specialties National Youth Worker’s Convention on “Raising Kids in Ministry.” And, Cathy and I are doing a couple of seminars on “Ministry and Marriage.”

We’d love for you to join us. If you want a discount, enter the word “podcast” under “discount code” and you’ll save $25.

Question: What’s your current prayer for your children?

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VALENTINE’S DAY: don’t make excuses…just do “something”!

One of my pet-peeves with ministry folks is when they schedule conferences and/or events over Valentine’s Day. I know a lot of people don’t think it’s that big of a deal…and, to me, that’s the problem. It is a big deal! It’s a big deal to the “ousted” spouse who feels like ministry “won” again over family.

I’ve heard all the excuses that Christians make for why Valentine’s Day is no big deal:

  • “It’s a Hallmark conspiracy”
  • “It’s a secular promoted day”
  • “I’d rather spend my money on something other than chocolate & flowers”
  • “It’s a waste of money”

I’m not advocating a once a year spending spree, but I am a big fan of couples taking time to pause to value one another. And, if you do that every day with intentionality…it most likely is no big deal. But, since it probably doesn’t happen enough for the majority of marriages, why not have a day (or more) that initiates that type of focus? Marriages are in trouble and unfortunately faith-based marriages aren’t doing much better than non-faith marriages. Something is broken and needs to be fixed. We don’t need more excuses about why it’s a silly day, we need action.

Last week I did a podcast with three ministry wives (including my wife Cathy) and all three said, “Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a big deal, it just has to be something.” Amanda said, “We can’t afford to do anything special right now, and I don’t care. I just want Jeff to make me a card that shows he is thinking about me.” Megan said, “My husband asked me if he wanted me to take the day off on Valentine’s Day and it meant the world to me. That’s what I want, I just want to know he’s into me.” It was loud and clear: “just do something.”

Just do something!

If you read this and feel defensive and/or guilty…well, you’re probably someone who needs to be doing something. And for those of you who are–way to go!

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