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Tag: discipleship

You’re a Better Youth Pastor than I am

I was on the phone with a parent awhile back and found myself making this statement as they were expressing a desire to do more for their kids in the realm of spiritual formation:

“I think you’re a better Youth Pastor than I am.”

I have this same feeling when I watch Coach Taylor in Friday Night Lights (one of my favorite TV series of all time!), but that’s another post.

I’m constantly aware of how my time and influence are limited.  Over the many years of doing youth ministry, I have often wished I had more time to spend with students or more time to put myself in places to meet and get to know even more students.  In reality, I’m often limited to pouring into a handful of students and trying to raise up leaders to pour into the others.  I imagine you feel this way as a parent at times.  You know the desires you have for your kids, but between work, their activities, household stuff, and (hopefully) time for yourself or your spouse – you are left wishing you could do more.

During that phone conversation with the parent, I realized they were doing more youth ministry than I was.  I absolutely believe it too.  Between carpools, going to sporting events, plays, etc.  They were getting to know more students and having more significant time with them than I’m able to do.  This got me thinking:

  • What if many parents are actually doing youth ministry and don’t even realize it?  What would happen if they realized the amount of influence and opportunity they had?
  • What if I could help them see a new way to view carpool or sitting in the stands at a sporting event?
  • What if parents could do a few small, easy things in the craziness of life that had BIG implications for their kids?  Implications that are much bigger than the time and “know how” required.

I’m not talking about starting a bible study in your carpool or trying to get everyone to sing along to 105.9 (or your favorite christian radio station).  But, what if you made a conscious decision to pray for each kid in your carpool as you drove them to school and overheard their everyday life conversations?  What if you simply took what you heard and what you desired for these few students to the Lord in prayer as you drove?  I imagine God would surprise you with His goodness in ways you never expected.

Take it one step further and let your son or daughter know that this is your practice.  Let them know that you care for their friends and pray for them as you drive.  Since faith is often “caught more than it is taught”, I imagine they would catch your eyes in the rearview mirror knowing what you are up to.  I can only imagine that this would make a huge impression on them knowing you care and you actively live out your faith, even in small ways.

Now, I know it’s summer, but summer is even more open to opportunities to be intentional in relationships and ministry to friends and family.

Here’s an article I came across after my conversation and added fuel to the fire…enjoy!

What is one way you can view your everyday life with family/friends as an opportunity for ministry?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Fine China vs. Everyday Dishes

I recently heard Carey Nieuwhof (Pastor of Connexus Community Church and author of Parenting Beyond Your Capacity: Connect Your Family to a Wider Community (The Orange Series) (a book I hope to review on this site.) frame the nature of most families conversations around God in an interesting analogy.  He compared the way parents/children, brothers/sisters, even husbands/wives talk about God to “fine china”.

I remember vividly the times in our home growing up when my mom brought out the fine china.  It was an event full of ceremony and fanfare.  They were in a special cabinet and when they came out, immediately, everyone was on edge and felt the need to be a bit more formal.  They came with a set of expectations about how to act.  We would carefully and anxiously eat our meal, doing our best to maintain good posture and proper manners.  Of course, they had to be carefully hand washed, dried, and put away to be brought out again a year later.

In comparison, everyday dishes are a normal part of life.  Sure, sometimes they are ignored in place of the ease of paper plates, but for the most part they are a part of every meal, every conversation, every day.  Even though they are just as fragile as the other dishes, we aren’t afraid to use them and take the risk of allowing them to interact with our daily lives.

I’m curious – in your family, do spiritual conversations feel like pulling out the fine china?  Does everyone instantly become anxious, nervous, and a bit more formal?  What would it take to move the conversations around God and life out of the special cabinet and into the daily rhythm of your day?

I’ve often wondered why it’s easy for me to pray with friends and strangers, but difficult to go before the Creator with my wife?  Or why in our families these conversations can feel, well…awkward.

Hopefully this blog will provide us with resources and space to consider how in our homes, we can treat God less like fine china and more like the everyday dishes.  God wants to be a part of our everyday life.  He wants to show up all the time.  He doesn’t require the ceremony and fanfare we often feel the need to conjure up.  In fact, God is present in our every day moments, maybe we just need to begin to acknowledge Him.

Feel free to interact with these thoughts in the comments below.

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