Monday, November 16, 2009

Big Event Youth Ministry

I woke up this morning feeling like I had been run over by a MAC truck (and then it backed over me for good measure!) This weekend, we hosted a youth rally for almost 200 teenagers...and I am drained.
If you're in youth ministry, you will need to learn some thing about administration. The vast majority of church members have little to no idea the many hats a youth minister wears during a big event.
Take this last weekend as an example. At one point or another I was...

A/V technician
Kissing Police
Worship Leader
Answerer of All Questions (AKA "Fountain of Knowledge")
Host Home
Youth Minister
Parent Minister
Director of Crisis Management
Complaint Department

Along with all this, the youth minister is expected to maintain his composure and integrity. He is to look like Jesus to everyone he crosses...even those who are yelling at him.
If it sounds like I am complaining, well...maybe I am a little. :) But my hope is that churches (and youth ministers) can learn how to de-stress these big-event situations.

Note to Youth Ministers: Obviously I am still in elementary school when it comes to event planning. But I am learning that it's helpful to find people who are good at the above-mentioned roles to take the load off of you. It's no wonder we have youth ministers burning out at a terrible rate! DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP! Evaluate after each event, and learn from your mistakes. Above all, be encouraged that you are planting seeds for God in the hearts of young people.

Note to Church Members: If your youth minister is in the middle of an event, here are the sweetest words he could ever hear: "I'LL TAKE CARE OF IT!" As you can see from the above list, he already has SO much to do! Trust me, he will REJOICE if you take initiative and be totally grateful. If you're already helping in another capacity, feel free to delegate the job to another person. Tell your youth minister about it and get a free hug!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

As a Christian parent, what should I teach my child on the following: "What should you do when a bully approaches and pushes you down?"

So far, I have taken the typical American father stance... "Get up and punch 'em in the face!" The main goal of this approach is to inform the bully that you will not be a pushover.
Other parents may say, "Go, tell an adult." While I hope that my boys would tell me if ever this situation arose, I imagine the time will come when an adult is not handy...even on the playground.

And then I read one of the hardest teachings of Jesus (from Luke 6):

27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

The way I read it, Jesus NEVER retaliated when someone attacked him physically. He was never involved in any kind of war, and He was not a brawler. He never went looking for trouble, and when it found Him, He depended on God and His teachings to get Him out.

If I am to believe the story of Christ, I MUST believe that it takes MORE strength to LOVE your enemies rather than getting revenge. I MUST believe that God will sort it out one day. I MUST believe that non-violence will achieve something better than violence. I MUST believe that LOVE (even love for my enemy) will win in the end.

And I MUST believe that this is right for my kids, too.