A door isn't actually closing, but a new blog is opening! I am in a different place than I was when I first started this blog...and I think that's a good thing. After a blogging hiatus, I have decided to start fresh. So if you still care, you can find my ramblings on life, student ministry, and me at...
The Wave Student Ministry at Church by the Glades is wrapping up it's last week in the series Taboo. I have really enjoyed Taboo - we challenged students with the thought that nothing is taboo anymore, but there are things that definitely should be. Matt Boone started off the series with a bang talking about subjectivity and objectivity, discussing how God's word is objective, and the world is subjective. The rest of the weeks have followed the flow of "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil." I think the coolest part of the whole series has been that it really transformed. The original thought was to tackle taboo topics head on, but while brainstorming for a video idea, our video guy came up with the whole monkey closing his ears, eyes, and mouth, and we thought that maybe we should just start with that. There is definite value in tackling subjects head on, I think it is often neccessary, but at the same time, if you start with a solid foundation or purity of thoughts, words, and things your letting into your mind, the bigger topics are a little easier to handle. I have really loved the media for this series as well. It is definitely up there with one of my favorite graphics and bumpers.
This is the video bumper we play in between worship and teaching as a transition:
And this is a video we played before worship to kick off the night. We made one for each week, hearing, seeing, and speaking no evil.
So - I have a confession, I'm not a good reader. Not like, I can't read well, I'm just not good at reading. I don't like it, I get bored, I loose interest, I don't make time for it. But things are changing. I'm making progress. I finished a book in a week! To be honest, I'm pretty sure that's only the second book I've actually finished. But I've turned over a new leaf, I'm reading on a regular basis now. So, I will continue to read, and then blog about my thoughts.
I have another confession...I forget to blog a lot too. So that book was about 3 weeks ago, I might have forgotten a thing or two, but I will do my best to track my thoughts, even though I have horrible memory on things like this, and I gave the book to a friend.
The book is called "Developing the Leaders Around You" by John Maxwell. I was given the book by a former boss/pastor/friend of mine when I first started interning at my old church, and never got into it, but I dug right in and fell in love the second time around. Maxwell takes the time to talk about the best ways to develop strong leaders, leaders who aren't afraid to take risks and initiative if it means the possibility of success. I want to be that kind of leader, and I want to be able to develop those kinds of leaders. A lot of the principles he discuss are basic leadership principles that most people know, but just need to be reminded of. I came away thinking a few things...
1 - Leadership is ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS - I know this seems really obvious, but I really felt challenged with this thought. So many times I find myself running around 'doing' and I never stop to find the time to invest. There are two times that the leaders within my ministry are always around: during our Wave service and during LifeGroups. I spend time outside of those times with a handful of them, but thats because they are my friends. But the others don't always come around in times other than the expected. So I realized that I need to make sure my job is as done as possible before the leaders show up so that I can stop and talk to them, see how life is, and see how I can help them be more successful.
2 - You can't hold your leaders back out of fear - I have insecurities. There, I said it, it's out there! I like to be good, no, amazing at everything. I am intimidated by people who are better at things than me. I want to be the most successful I can be. After a couple months at the church I am serving at now, they brought back an intern that I had heard about nonstop. I was a little scared, they liked him...a lot. They raved about his photoshop skills, and teaching skills, and relational skills, and so on and so on and so on. I was scared. I didn't want him to be liked more than me. I didn't want him to be better than me. I wanted to be the top dog. After all that is said, I realize how out of control and prideful that all is. So many times, we can be afraid that if we develop our leaders too well, they might make us look bad, or pass us by in the ladder. That is ok! Actually, that is great! It reflects well on you, and why would you want to hold someone back from reaching their fullest potential? Why would you want to hold someone back from helping your ministry's fullest potential? That's just silly!
3 - Developing strong leaders is NOT managing - There is a big difference between a manager and a leader. A manager is task oriented, a leader is goal oriented. A manager cares about numbers, a leader cares about people. A manager leads people who need to get a job done, a leader leads people who want to see something cool happen. So many times as a leader, you can start to get caught up in what is going on and just manage the people around you, but completely forget to invest in them, play to their strengths, or bring out the best in them. As leaders, we need to find people's niches, encourage them, pour into their lives, and create an environment where that happens, all while seeing results come into fruition.
This book was a great read, and a great reminder as to how to do ministry with people, because that's all it is....God's people doing God's work!
A couple of months ago, the team and I were sitting around trying to solve the problem of announcements. You see, we try to create a very exciting energy-filled environment during our student services. The problem is, they tend to hold onto that energy when someone is on stage and just talking. But we noticed that they paid attention to videos....I'm not exactly sure why, but we decided to take advantage. So, we put our heads together and thought of a announcements/weekend update type video featuring TC (the intern) and yours truly. We have definitely learned what students respond to, what makes them laugh, and what grabs their attention. Here is our very first video:
We then decided to mix it up one week and have Travis, a student pastor, and Adam, a summer intern impersonate TC and I. It was very funny...but we learned it was funnier to us and the leaders who knew us well than it was to our students, and if you were a first timer, you had no clue what was going on!
This was last weeks:
We are constantly trying to get better, learning from the crowds response, and trying our best to keep it simple, sometimes that's all it takes. We have had moments of 'pop culture updates' and 'guest stars' and reoccurring characters, and there is a time and place for all of them, but usually they are the best when TC and I are just being ourselves. It has been a really fun project that TC and I have had the opportunity to own and develop on our own...now we just need to find a way to take it to the next level....or even replace ourselves...just a thought.
We launched our brand new series to kick off the school year Wednesday night and it was unbelievable! Save the Humans was the brain-child of our Student Pastor, Matt Boone, and the thought was that there are a million causes in the world: Save the Trees, Save the O-Zone, Save the Pandas - but as believers, the one cause we are called to carry out is to Save the Humans. That is what Jesus commanded us to do, so we are just continuing what Jesus did 2000 years ago through the lives of students!
For the start of the series, we really wanted it to be fun and interesting, an environment students would want to invite there friends to. We equipped students with materials to blanket the town with business cards and flyers, each leader had a "Save the Humans" tee shirt with a funny black/white pic of their faces on it, free pizza and soda was given to every student, we made custom spray painted shirts for students, the student with the most first time guests received $100 (a 6th grade from my LifeGroup won!...shut it down!), picket signs were made for leaders to carry around before service (the rain stopped this one, but the thought was good), an awesome video bumper featuring the downfalls of humanity was made by our awesome video guy, the band played Linkin Park's 'What I've Done' and killed it, we did our 'What's Happening' announcement video live from the center of the stage, and Pastor Matt brought the word strong! The night was filled with energy and excitement. Our leaders caught the vision and created a gust of excitement, and our students sucked it all in and were an explosion of energy. By the end of the night, the team was exhausted, but energized by all that had happened, and 38 students took a step towards the cross by accepting Christ as their personal Lord and Savior! That was only the first night of Save the Humans....I can't wait to see all that God has in store for the students of Coral Springs...next week we are making more custom shirts, giving away another $100, TC is bringing the Word, and were having free ice cream sundaes! I cannot wait!
The event has come and gone, and I find myself reflecting. Three weeks ago from Friday, my church's student ministry hosted a high school girls conference called Love Movement. I had the pleasure, and honor, of being a part of the team to lead it up. God gave Summer Boone (amazing woman who loves God and students, and happens to be married to a super cool student pastor) the vision, and she gave me the charge. She put me in charge of it all - graphics, materials, curriculum, advertising, programming, decorations, leaders, and the list goes on. It was an amazing experience, and a HUGE undertaking. We invited over 300 churches in the local area, and prayed out butts off. At the end of the day, God reminded me (often) that it was His event, and He would do with it as He wished. When all was said and done, He made stuff happen, and in the meantime, I had to do my part to make sure everything went well. The day was flawless....I didn't do a thing that day but hang out with students and leaders. From this, I learned a couple things when it comes to running an outstanding event:
Plan, organize, and plan again! I knew that it would be a long day with a ton of little details, so for about a month, I walked through the day, and all that it would entail, and wrote down everything that had to be done, and set a date for all of the prep-work to be done by. I made sure that by the day came, there was no stone left unturned. I asked all the questions imaginable, and found the answers. I got to relax and watch the event run itself because I made sure to answer the questions and provide the supplies before there was even a need.
Drop the perfectionist attitude the second you wake up! The day of the actual event, I told myself 'what's done is done!' I even told my leaders and chaperones that I was done doing stuff in the early morning meeting. If something was missing, it would stay missing, if we missed a cue, too bad, if everything went wrong, I watched it happen. The thing is, while I strive for excellence in everything, from the smallest detail to the biggest ordeal, and I want everything to go well, if things don't go as I planned the day of the event, it is too late for me to fix it with excellence, and I'm probably the only person who notices. Freaking out does no good, especially to those you're leading, and being able to laugh at the things that go wrong will ease your day, and make it a lot more enjoyable for you, and those around you.
Enjoy the process! You know how they say people can hear your smile over the phone? I think it is the same way when planning an event. If you put love into it and enjoy the process, it shows. It shows when you enjoy doing the graphics and set up and stage decor stuff. It shows in the breakout sessions. It shows in your leaders, who get the vision, and want to carry it on. What a waste to put so much effort into something, and hate the process! And if you enjoy the process, it will show the day of. Being stressed and unhappy the actual event is like going to the party of an angry person - fun for no one!
Get out of the way! God made it very clear that He had His hand on this event. There was no doubt in my mind that He would do with it as He wished, and for me to try and control every little detail and do things just as I wanted would be moving God out of the drivers seat - and that's just dumb! By the time the event came, a lead speaker canceled, a key worship element pulled out, the weather did not cooperate, and only 3 of the 300 invited churches showed. But that was God's doing! If I tried to control that, things probably would have only gotten worse. God knows what He's doing, and when He provides a vision for something, it is our job to do all that we can, and let Him take care of the rest.
Love Movement did not go exactly as I dreamed, but it went exactly how God planned and was a spectacular day! Doing great events is very possible in the world of student ministry, as long as you understand who is in charge!!!
The weirdest thing has been happening to me lately....I've been learning from people I feel I should be influencing. I just got back from middle school camp and while there I had the pleasure of getting to know two of our interns a little better. TC and Juan are two of the nicest and coolest guys I've ever met, and we all talked the whole way to and from camp, as well as spent a lot of time together at camp. They are interns, both younger than me, both with less experience, and both people I feel the need to influence. But everytime I hang out with them, I find myself learning from them. I am honored that God has put these guys in my life, and love the fact I continually learn from them. It makes me so excited to see God working in their lives, and am honored to be a part of it all!