Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Youth Ministry... How'd this happen for me?

As of this post, I've been doing youth ministry on staff for 4 years, and before that I was a volunteer for 5 years. It all really happened by accident. I never had it in my 'gameplan' to be in youth ministry at all. I graduated from college fully intending to have a long and prosperous career in computer network engineering. Of course we all know that sometimes God changes our plans. Right after college, my wife suggested we volunteer with the youth ministry at Columbia as she had mentored some girls while in College, and so I decided it would be a good opportunity for us to do something together. Thus began our re-entry into a world that we both desperately tried to escape: Teens.

Fast forward a year and a half and both the Minister of Students and Senior Pastor at the time took other positions, and our church began the road of refiguring out who God would want us to be. In our student ministry, we started 2 years of interim student pastors. At one point we had a youth minister search team and a final candidate. That candidate fell through and thus our team entered into the struggle to figure out the direction to go with the search.

At the same time I was thrust into the arena by a number of factors that I resisted at first, however after 4 months of serious praying amd struggling through different areas of my life, both my wife and I felt that God was leading us to this radical change in our lives to go into full time ministry. Major lessons? 1. Trust God with everything. If there's anything holding you back from totally giving up your entire life to Him, he will continually bring these issues up until you're ready to release them into his hands. 2. God can use you for his purposes anytime, anywhere even if its an area that you totally don't feel skilled / trained / or even confident doing. What's your role in all this? Be prepared and ready to go when he calls you.

This is really the short version of how we got into this. It was a long process of discovering what God had in store, and didn't hit us overnight.

How has life been since then? Well of course its had its up and downs, but I'm continually reminded to keep focusing on God, and I'm continually reminded that this ministry isn't mine, but its God's, and I just have the opportunity to take part in what He's doing!

Coming up: My philosophy of ministry and other thoughts...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Foray into Blogging

Well enough of you have talked to me about blogging, that now is the time. I'm jumpin in. I've always got thoughts about different things in life and so here's my opportunity to pass on, ideas, thoughts, and experiences so that hopefully at best you can be blessed by them, and at worst, have a view into the crazy world that is mine.

My hope is to update this about once or twice a week and to include things that would be beneficial to the students in our youth ministry, parents of our students, as well as other youth ministers that I know. At times this may include articles and books that I've read, passages that have been convicting or just general thoughts that I have.

My next couple of posts will I'm sure be longer as I'd like to share with you my thoughts on Youth Ministry and what its really about at its core, as well as what we do (or hope to do) at Columbia, and why. This is to help parents of our students know why we do what we do and what we're about.

I can also say that these are of course thoughts / ideas / sometimes stream of consciousness, and at times may seem inconsistent with other of my posts. I'll try to be as consistent as possible and let you know if I'm thinking about something that changes my thoughts somewhere else. I know I don't have the corner on knowledge, and this provides me a way to think about something 'outloud' as I tend to do.

One thing I can also promise you is that I will be praying for you as you read these posts that God would use these posts to impact your life, and be a blessing to you.

See ya!