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Tag Archives | guard your heart

Be Careful What You Show

Courtesy of envisiondotnet/Creative Commons License

Courtesy of envisiondotnet/Creative Commons License

I live in Baltimore, but I’m not a Raven’s fan.  That can be hard because the Raven’s are big here.  It can also be the reason why people miss church or our Sunday night middle school program.  While I’ve grown used to it last year’s playoffs was another story.  As the Raven’s got closer to the Super Bowl, volunteers and teens found more reason to miss program.  My anger, resentment and frustration began to show.  I was not careful with my emotions and I found every opportunity to rain on people’s parades.

Authenticity is essential in youth ministry.  Teens will love you if you are transparent; however, there have to be times when you are careful with what you show.  You might have had a fight with the pastor and you want everyone to know.  You might have been chewed out by a parent and feel justice needs to be served.  There is a lot of battle in youth ministry but before you engage in war consider the causalities that might be occur.  Before you let everyone know how you feel be sure to:

  • Find An Outlet: You need someone you trust and an activity that allows you to get your angst off of your chest.  The reason you need both is because they fulfill different needs.  A person can hold you accountable to move forward and give you feedback.  An activity will allow you to expend any energy that might be pent up.  Make sure you release anything that’s built up inside.
  • Name The Sin Beneath The Wound: If not careful unaddressed sin can lead to unnecessary wounds.  Before it gets serious lean in, name your sin and address it.  That might mean confessing it, and seeking out professional help.  No matter how hard you try to do it on your own, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed.
  • Guard Your Heart: The only way to be prepared for spiritual battle is to work on your spiritual disciplines.  That means scheduling in time for prayer and diving into scripture.  The more you guard your heart the more you’ll be able to catch yourself before you go too far.  Granted you’ll still be attacked, but you’ll be more careful.

There will be times when your emotions and feelings get the best of you.  Before you unleash them on the people around you pause, reflect and think.  What you do in the heat of the moment might last for a life time.  Trust in God to lead you, take a step back and allow yourself to cool down.

How are you careful not to let your emotions get the best of you?

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A Culture of Honor

The Assemblies of God national youth director, Heath Adamson, talks often about creating a “culture of honor”.  Being a child of the 80’s, the first thing I thought of when I heard that phrase was the Karate Kid movies and everyone’s favorite sensei, Mr. Miyagi.  Japan is certainly an example of a culture where honor is an important value.  But what does a “culture of honor” mean to you and me?

One danger facing young leaders is our tendency to neglect honor and default to flattery. Flattery rears its ugly head when we leverage seemingly kind words and overstated compliments in an attempt to advance our agenda. Flattery is self-serving in purpose and selective in distribution.  On the other hand, honor displays a humble attitude and employs gracious genuine words (or strategic silence). The gift of honor is extended to leadership positions, not just persons in leadership.

As a leader you will always have other leaders to serve and follow.  Often leaders expect the individuals following them to trust them in ways that they themselves are not willing to trust the leaders they have been called to follow. At best, that is inconsistent. Agree or disagree with our leaders, we are called to honor them and not just to their face. It’s very easy to attack and critique leaders, it’s very godly to protect and honor them. I’ve learned that my commitment to honor those over me is not truly put to the test until I disagree with them on a matter I care strongly about.

I am thankful for the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit as He guards our hearts and joins our conversations. I am thankful that Jesus never failed as a leader and that his perfect leadership record belongs to and speaks for every believer!  I’m thankful that the Father knows and judges the motivations of all men, so I don’t have to.

How do you go about creating a culture of honor in your ministry settings?

David Hertweck serves the Assemblies of God in New York as the state youth director. He has been involved in local church youth ministry since 1999. Check out his resources on DYM right here.

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10 Steps for Maintaining Moral Boundaries

This is a guest post by my good friend Marv PennerMarv is a global youth ministry leader, the author of several books, a professor, leader of Youth Specialties Canada, and prayer warrior. You can follow Marv on Twitter at @marvpenner.


I’ve been doing youth ministry so long that I’m over 40 years older than most of the students I work with, but every day I remind myself of my own vulnerability and recommit myself, by God’s grace, to walking as far from the line of moral compromise as I possibly can.

In yesterday’s post I outlined a number of warning signs that might indicate that we are compromising our boundaries in our relationships with students or co-workers. It’s important for us to know the symptoms, but it’s even more important to be proactively preventative in our commitment to personal holiness.

Here are some practical steps you can take to guard your heart:

1• Acknowledge your vulnerability. Don’t EVER say, “That could never happen to me.”

2• Maintain your fundamental spiritual disciplines: Bible study, prayer, active involvement in a faith community and perhaps most importantly; the lost discipline of Scripture memory.

3• Intentionally cultivate solid same-gender friendships. Your social circles should not be made up entirely of teenagers.

4• Invest consistently in your own marriage and family. If you are a man, choose to courageously lead your wife and children spiritually.

5• Develop strong accountability around pornography, online activity and media consumption. It can be a powerful disinhibitor. (Install X3Watch on your computers–it’s inexpensive and powerful accountability.)

6• Be especially vigilant during times of unusual ministry effectiveness and success. The feelings of entitlement that often come with the euphoria of those moments make us especially vulnerable.

7• Don’t be stupid! Avoid any and all situations that have even the appearance of compromise.

8• Recognize it as spiritual warfare and use the weapons of warfare given to us in Scripture to do battle

9• I hate to have to say this… but if you are aware of a personal vulnerability to inappropriate relationships with children or teenagers, please voluntarily step aside from ministry, confide your problem to someone you trust and get the help you need.

10• Count the cost… consciously, intentionally, write it down – who will be impacted by my failure … and regularly review the implications of slipping down the slope of sexual compromise in your ministry. There will be more on this tomorrow.

It’s all about intentionality! Boundaries can only be maintained when a commitment is made to taking every step necessary to guard one’s heart. When it gets right down to it the call is not simply to avoid sin, but to pursue righteousness and choose holiness.


Question: What specific steps would you challenge other readers to take to ensure that there is no sexual, emotional or inappropriate spiritual entanglement in their relationships with the people they are called to serve or serve with? Chime in here.

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