This last week we had the privilege of hosting one of our semi-yearly YP Lunches. At these we […]
It’s a weird day we live in. As a youth pastor, the struggle is constantly growing: how do […]
I kind of went the whole day today not really thinking about it… Today was Wednesday, so a lot of my day is focused on meeting with interns and preparing for youth. I mean, I thought about it a bit, looked at some pictures, shared my wife’s post… but it wasn’t until about 12:30am that it really hit me. I’m currently up late preparing for our Youth Pastors Lunch that we’re hosting (about 10 hours from the time I’m writing this), so naturally I’m thinking back to the one we did last April – the one where, just days before, we tragically lost some of our best friends, Josh & Vanessa Ellis, along with their baby Hudson.
A year ago today.
I guess I’m more vulnerable late at night… Suddenly I’m flooded with so many memories. The time Noelle and I preached some of our first messages ever at their camp 8 years ago (a camp at which they were both single – maybe I can take some of the credit for bringing them together? Maybe…). The time they told us at our house that they were pregnant. The time Noelle and I drove to their house – against their wishes – and told them we were pregnant. The many times we’d eat barely-decent happy hour and talk about our frustrations and joys with our youth ministries. So many good memories.
It sucks that we don’t get to have any more of these. No more Gibby whining that Hudson won’t play with him. No more hearing Vanessa’s super loud laugh. No more hearing Josh’s Homestar Runner voice.
But as much as Josh & Vanessa left us too early, they also left us with a lot. Every good thing about them was more than just a front, it was who they were. It was a disposition. As I’m reflecting on their lives and on this last year, here are a few dispositions they had that I’m reminded *again* to live by.
So one of my goals coming into 2016 was to blog more-ish. Every new year, I kind of […]
Don’t see Fifty Shades of Grey.
Ephesians 4:1-4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
So you’ve probably seen the video going around lately of “Cosby’s reaction” to Victoria Osteen’s short exhortation at their church. Some guy thought he was doing Christians everywhere a great service by adding an old clip of Cosby saying, “That is the studpidest thing I have ever heard” to the end of the video. And the response has been pretty overwhelming in favor of Cosby’s side. YouTube comments have ranged from “That IS the dumbest thing I’ve heard in my life” to “I need a paper bag,” etc.
What’s most alarming to me is not the poor choice of words of Victoria Osteen (yes, just a poor choice of words – NOT heresy as some want to call it), but the haste in which many Christians shared this video. I’ve had bible college friends, pastor friends, people from high school, etc. share this video, all thinking that they were somehow helping people in their walks with Christ by doing so. In reality, though, they were causing great damage and disunity in the Body of Christ.
I have a few thoughts on this that I hope you’ll consider before being quick to side with Cosby (I’d actually love to hear Cosby’s actual thoughts on this).
I like to hype things that I believe in. When I first saw Space Jam in theaters in 6th grade, I was BLOWN AWAY. It was the best movie ever (Bill Murray was brilliant), with the best soundtrack ever. And I hyped it so hard. I mean, so hard that I brought my boombox to school with my Space Jam Soundtrack tape (I had the CD too, but I kept it at home so it wouldn’t get scratched) so that we could all listen to it at recess. And I didn’t even like basketball. Space Jam was something I loved so much that I couldn’t help but spread the word. Truth is, it wasn’t about Space Jam, the brand. It was about the experience it provided.
As young leaders, we buy in to lies a lot. Here’s a few I’ve seen, even caught myself in (particularly in the youth ministry world).
1. This is the way it’s supposed to be done. I used to actually think that all youth ministries / churches were supposed to do it one way. In college I was involved in a great youth ministry (some of my close friends work there today). Unfortunately, though, when you’re a part of something great, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that what you’re doing is the way it should be done. I remember talking with some of our students a while back who had visited another youth ministry. They said things like, “They just don’t know how to do it right. They don’t get it.” I remember agreeing with them before realizing what I was doing.
So there’ve been all these posts lately talking about “things that 20-something’s should stop doing…” It’s easy for me to point out what people aren’t doing, but it’s probably more beneficial for us to think of things we should be doing… So here’s a list of 10 things (random and not in any particular order) that 20-somethings (this also goes for TEENAGERS, as well as those beyond their 20’s) should start doing:
1. Be a Mentor. You probably have a lot to give. You’ve been through a lot, you’ve made mistakes, and you’ve probably learned a lot of lessons. Go share that with someone who’s where you were just a few short years ago. Every Timothy needs a Paul.
2. Find a Mentor. You haven’t arrived. The things you don’t know outweigh the things you do know 10 to 1. All the successful people I know are not only investing into the lives of others, but they’re being poured into themselves. When you have a Paul in your life, you can be a Paul to someone else.
3. Tithe. I was blessed to grow up with parents who tithed, and even more blessed that they imparted the value of tithing on to me. Not only are we being obedient to God when we tithe, but we are investing into God’s kingdom, and that’s a pretty worthy investment. Don’t be “that guy” who enjoys all the benefits of your church, yet never contributes. Oh, and stop making excuses.
I graduated from Bible college and knew everything. I had my first 10 sermon series ready. I had all these ideas that I was GOING to implement within my first two days on the job. We were GOING to grow immediately. All my friends from Bible college were going to be jealous. People were gonna be like, “Noelle and Taylor are such great youth pastors. I wish I could live with them and have their awesomeness rub off on me…”
And then I woke up and realized how much of a cheesehead I was being.