Playing For Keeps from Orange on Vimeo.

One thing you will find out as you follow this blog, is that I love the folks over at Orange ( &!  There are many things we could take away from this video, but one of the things that influenced me most was attending a conference with Reggie Joiner (the guy in the video) years ago and realizing how limited I am in influencing the next generation.    In fact as Reggie mentions in the video, as a youth pastor, I have 40 hours a year to influence a student in a given year!  40 hours!

Let me back up a bit, I’ve been in vocational ministry for around a decade working with youth.  Early on in my career, I watched several youth pastors come and go in student’s lives.  Some say the average life of a youth pastor is 18 months.  More recently, I’ve seen 2 – 3 years.  Better, but not that much better.

At the same time, I was noticing and hearing from many parents that spiritual conversations with their kids were virtually nonexistent.  As I explored why, I found that many parents had completely outsourced the spiritual formation of their children to the church!  The church is certainly better than some other options, but ultimately the church (and the youth pastor) will fail at this task.

Again, if I’m lucky I have 40 hours in a given students life each year.  But there is no way I can do this for more than a handful of students.  So what about all the others that come through our door?  At the church where I serve, we believe that we must be reproducing ourselves by recruiting, developing, and equipping lay leaders.  If not, our ministry will be severely limited.  But even so, we are still limited!

This is why I’m so excited about this blog.  Just a chance to have an audience with the folks who have the greatest opportunity to influence their child’s life.  That’s YOU!

If you haven’t already, watch the video above.  I hope this video encourages and challenges you.  If you’ve “outsourced” your child’s spiritual formation to the church or a specific youth pastor, I hope you bring it back home.  I hope that as we realize how much time we have left, we become more intentional with the time we have!

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”

Psalm 90:12

So, how many marbles do you have left? 

How does knowing that number help you get wise about the days you have left? 

(Ok, it may produce a bit of anxiety as well, but sometimes anxiety is the thing that gets us to move from point a to point b.  Not all anxiety is a bad thing!  (here’s a great post if anxiety is something you struggle with  I should mention, anxiety is not something I’ve struggled with on a larger scale, but on this specific topic, I feel like a little anxiety might just be what we need.)

Also, here’s a link to the book Reggie and his team put together on this idea: Playing for Keeps/Losing Your Marbles