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Are Youth Pastors the Biggest Hypocrites?

It’s tough to walk the talk, as most of us can confirm. It’s one thing to teach students how to live for Christ, but quite another to consistently put it into practice ourselves.

In that, we’re not alone.

Studies show that 800 out of 3,915 cops examined in Florida had speeded, many while off duty. That’s a whopping 20% of people who are supposed to know better. Continue reading Are Youth Pastors the Biggest Hypocrites?

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Are We Making Prayer Too Complicated?

Over the years, I’ve read a lot of books on prayer. Every book seems to have a ‘magic’ approach to prayer that ‘guarantees’ results.

You have to pray standing.

You have to state everything as if it’s already happened instead of asking for it.

You have to pray with someone else.

You have to follow the format of the Lord’s Prayer.

You have to walk in circles.

You have to have a prayer corner.

You have to pray in Jesus’ name only.

You have to pray kneeling.

You have to pray at least once a day, but preferably continuously.

You have to spend as much time giving thanks as praying for your issues.

And when we teach about prayer we give much of the same advice. Do this. Don’t do that. Read your Bible and pray every day. We teach rules instead of a relationship. Continue reading Are We Making Prayer Too Complicated?

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Youth Pastor Failures

It’s not a topic we like to talk about: our disappointments, failures, and mistakes. As a youth pastor, we’re in the spotlight. We’re supposed to be a role model, to live a life above reproach, to be an example in everything we do.

Yet we’re also human.

We’re also sinners.

But how much space is there to be who we truly are, including our failures? Continue reading Youth Pastor Failures

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Is your life your message?

My life is my message.

I love this quote from Ghandi. It’s the more poetic form of the well know saying that actions speak louder than words. Don’t get me wrong: we need words, absolutely. I’m not a big fan of the ‘we should preach the Gospel at all times and use words when necessary’ attitude.

We always need words, because you cannot explain the Gospel without words. You cannot teach the Bible without words. Jesus Himself used words to explain the Kingdom of God.

But words alone are not enough. Continue reading Is your life your message?

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Reading and teaching the Bible as more than soundbites

This video shows why N.T. Wright is such an influential theologian at the moment. In just seven minutes he explains how you should read the Bible: as a whole, not as a collection of soundbites. His analogy of listening to only a part of a symphony instead of the whole thing is as brilliant as it is understandable. I also love that he especially wants to challenge students to read the whole Bible, whole books and not just verses and soundbites.

 

N.T. Wright on How to read the Bible

(embedding was disable for this video, so you’ll have to watch it on YouTube)

Continue reading Reading and teaching the Bible as more than soundbites

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Why youth ministry is (extra) stressful

In the previous post on The Stress that is Youth Ministry, we saw some shocking statistics about pastors and stress. But let’s face it: even though the scope of responsibility may differ, being a youth pastor isn’t that different from being a pastor. Especially in bigger churches, leading the youth ministry can be a lot like leading a church. Which means that those statistics may very well be or become a reality for youth pastors as well.

Continue reading Why youth ministry is (extra) stressful

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Why God’s promises can cover a multitude of our sins in teaching

God’s Word never returns empty.

It’s a great promise and an encouragement for youth leaders who are trying to reach students with God’s words. But it’s also one of those promises that can cover a multitude of sins. Our sins in bad, lazy teaching for instance. Our sins in not building deep and true relationships with the students we minister to. Or our sins in failing to apply what we teach in our own lives.

Continue reading Why God’s promises can cover a multitude of our sins in teaching

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Creative ideas for memorizing Scripture

In the church I grew up in, we spent quite some time memorizing Bible verses. We always had vacation Bible weeks for kids where we were taught one or more verses, we did the same every Sunday in Sunday school and even the teen ministry gave it a shot.

But after that, I didn’t devote much attention or time to memorizing Scripture. In the last few years however, I’ve become more and more convinced of the importance of knowing verses, passages and maybe even whole chapters or books from the Bible by head. Continue reading Creative ideas for memorizing Scripture

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It was never supposed to be easy

If I reminded of one thing in this week before Easter, this Holy Week, it’s this: it was never supposed to be easy. Life isn’t easy and being a youth leader isn’t easy and that’s how it is supposed to be.

Too often we hear that if you just give your heart to Jesus, everything will be just fine. Or that if you just pray hard enough or believe good enough, everything good will come your way. It’s a lie.

Jesus told His disciples that whoever wanted to follow Him, had to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him (Mark 8:34). He never promised us a rose garden, as a matter of fact He promised us tribulations, hate, betrayal, and even death (Matthew 24:9,10).

It was never supposed to be easy.

Continue reading It was never supposed to be easy