Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hope Fest

We had our Hope Fest. I thought our Children's Pastor did an excellent job in putting it together. We had great help all around. It only gets better from here.

I found myself in the dunk tank on three occasions. Now that doesn't mean I got dunked three times. I got dunked probably about 100 times and to top it off it wasn't a hot evening either. Thank God the cold front doesn't blow in 'til tomorrow.

Kudos goes out to our Praise & Worship Pastor, Jane Bearden and Sr. Pastor, Rod Young who found their way into the tank via a fundraiser...

Course how did I end up doing it for free??? hmmm...gotta think about that one.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Absolute Most Funniest Thing I Have Read

...and you don't even have to know Tony Morgan to think so. Read Panic At The Hotel complete with cartoon.

Just Flat Out Excited

Well I'm really excited about some recent things.

1. The Longhorns came through on Saturday. Yep...you heard it right. Huge Longhorn fan am I. Down 21 to zip in the first quarter. Colt McCoy and the Texas "D" came through big time. Huge win in my book. Things go right we might be looking at a Ohio St. rematch come January...

2. Heroes is getting better and better each week. "Save The Cheerleader...Save the World"...Now I know what your thinking..."Jason you must not have much of a life if that excites you"...ok, ok...but I like the show...There have been some huge quotes in it...especially last week when Hiro came back from the future and talked to Peter on the Subway...man...

3. The first podcast for Elevate went online today...oh yeah...we hit the 21st century. Read the blog.

4. I have the best family in the world. A wonderful wife who I love alot and three of the best daughters a Dad could have. You gals are the best.

5. Elevate just keeps getting better and better. The best teens and the best team any Pastor could have.

Elevate Podcast #1 - True Worship Never Dies

This is the inaugural podcast for Elevate Student Ministries. You can click the title above or click here for the live feed. We feel this podcast is not only geared towards teens but every age in general.

We are so excited about the Unquenchable series because we believe it is a great reality in most people’s lives. Most people’s lives are empty…their lives are crying out for something bigger than themselves. That is what pushes all of us to fill our lives with something.

In this Podcast we discuss the meaning of "true worship", giving three practical ways to have true worship in your life.

1. Keep Your Heart Right.

Ps 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. (NIV)

2. Connect with the Creator.

Ps 119:10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. (NIV)

Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' (NIV)

3. Live a Word Filled Lifestyle.

Ps 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (NIV)

True Worship…Worship that is from a Right Heart…Worship that Connects with God…Worship from a Word Filled Lifestyle…is the authentic worship that comes from a heart that is open to God and that kind of worship never dies.

P.S. I'm still working on setting this up for a podcatcher like itunes so be patient. Until then MP3 Download Here or click here for the live feed.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Do Ministry of Purpose

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog on The Principles of Our Youth Ministry. The first principal that I wrote down was that we "Do Ministry On Purpose."

There are many churches and people that "do ministry." There is a huge difference in doing ministry "on purpose."

I first learned this principle when I read about Saddleback and Rick Warren. Saddleback was one of the first proponents of a "The Purpose-Driven Church."

Pastor Warren writes in his book, "Strong churches are built on purpose! By focusing equally on all five of the New Testament purposes of the church, your church will develop the healthy balance that makes lasting growth possible."

Probably one of the best books I have read on youth ministry which I account to much of the growth we have had was "Purpose Driven Youth Ministry" by Doug Fields. This book is one of the books that has developed our ministry "DNA."

Drawing on two scriptures, "The Great Commission" and "The Great Commandment" Pastor Warren developed what he believed were the five purposes of a church. Even coining the phrase, "A Great Commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will grow a Great Church." The five purposes are evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, ministry, and worship. Much could be written on these purposes and I will try to bring them out in greater detail in further blogs. I will also show how our planning process, which is another great component of our ministry, is tied into fulfilling those purposes.

As we sat down and developed the purpose of our youth ministry we looked at crafting a purpose or mission statement that embodied those five purposes. For us it came down to merging the vision of our church into those purposes. Our youth ministry, Elevate, has the following mission statement: "We exist to RAISE up teens to REACH the world RESTORING them to SERVE others and OFFER their lives to God.

RAISE - Discipleship
REACH - Evangelism
RESTORE - Fellowship
SERVE - Ministry
OFFER - Worship

These five purposes have helped us to have a balanced approach to our ministry. They keep us on a biblical track and allow us to build a healthy ministry. Too often youth ministries and churches implement programs and events that don't truly further the growth of their church. They will even blame God to an extent saying that "God just hasn't called them to be a large church." (Too that extent I'm not saying God has called us to that either as their are many models out there of successful churches.) Anyone that reads those two scriptures though has to agree that God has called us to more and it is time to make sure we are "purposeful" about what we are doing.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Making Difference Makers

I wish I would have realized this communitity out there many years ago. Of course I was coaching so I was really busy...not much time for blogging. This has really helped me in my growth. I love to read...so blogging just fits my personality perfectly.

I feel like I have many Pastor's mentoring me in my journey. Their thoughts on leadership, pastoring, teamwork, along with many other categories including some of their mistakes along the way have stretched my growth and thinking levels.

I feel that I think and look at things through another light now. I think I am starting to look at things more strategically and within the context of the bigger picture.

To this end I am striving to bring great content on what I am doing and learning to help others out there. I am also sprinkling in some personal notes on our ministry in the hopes that there may be some Youth Pastor's or even Pastor's out there that I may help. I feel I have always been about influencing and developing others to make an impact in their world. To that in I am about ... making difference makers...raising up a generation that will change the face of the church and bring a culturally relevant perspective on doing ministry.

As the people that are challenging me and are helping me to grow it is my hope that you grow as well..."As iron sharpens iron...so one person sharpens another" May we sharpen each other and become a generation of differece makers.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Technorati Test

Well, tonight I am utilizing and trying to figure out what Technorati is all about. I am claiming my blog by posting this blog claim.

Technorati Profile

As I learn more about several tools to improve my blogging I will be posting some of my results.

Stage Design

Clark Promedia could be a great resource for any pastor looking to become more cutting edge. (No I don't get any kickbacks, just thought the look like they do an awesome job.

Even if it is to look for some
creative ideas on stage design take a look at what they are doing.

A Collaboration of Great Minds or Be A Little Maverick

I was reading an interview that Guy Kawasaki did with Polly LaBarre who is the co-author (with Bill Taylor) of the newly released book called Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win.

Turn that model on its head and you get Pixar’s version of the right way to make movies: a tight-knit company of long-term collaborators who stick together, learn from one another, and strive to improve with every production...

This model tackles one of the most enduring people problems in any industry: How do you not only attract wildly talented people to work in your company, but also get those wildly talented people to continuously produce great work together? Or, as Randy Nelson, dean of Pixar University puts it, How do you do art as a team sport? That question lies at the heart of Pixar’s design for work-and the answers include turning the workplace into a canvas for the work and putting everyone in the organization in a position to learn together.

When I read that I thought wow...this is a great picture of how a church staff should function. I always bring up the movie Ladder 49 when I think of how a church staff should be. When you watch that movie you see how a group of firefighters becomes family.

A church staff should be a collaboration of great minds thinking and working together to reach the lost of a community. There should also be a bonding as a family. To often this is lost in today's church world. Most staffs aren't structured to bring this out as well as most Senior Pastors have not learned or were taught to make it happen. Instead of a collaboration we have Sr. Pastors who just want to implement their game plan. (Which by the way is done well by some.) But a collaboration of minds can bring out so much more. I think so many ideas are lost. Ideas that tweaked by a group could be great.

This is what I have been searching for. For years I have been looking for a place where I can bring my creativity and passion to the table and be surrounded with others who will drive it even higher. I guess in some ways either I want to be or am a little "Maverick" at heart.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Life of Worship

Last night we started a new series. I am really excited about it. It is called Unquenchable. Going into it I knew it was going to be about worship but I didn't know which direction it was going to go. There is so much about worship and you can't say it all in a service.

So the direction we are going with it is based on John 4 where Jesus speaks to the woman at the well. This is one of my favorite verses because Jesus tells us what worship is all about.

John 4:23-24 in The Message Bible reads like this: (highlights are mine)
"It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration."

I love that part where Jesus say the Father is looking for those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. So many people put on so many masks in their lives. They put on one for work. One for home. One for their friends. One for church. One when they pray.

So many masks...but Jesus says we should simply and honestly be ourselves before him in our worship. That doesn't mean only when we come to church and sing. Worship is more than a song and a service. It is a lifestyle.

It is us loving God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds and all our strength. Simply being ourselves and offering Him all parts of our lives. It is worshiping Him through our work, through our home, through our friends and at church.

The Tally Sheet

Here is how Elevate went down last night, October 25th.

Worship Set:

  1. What the World Will Never Take

  2. No One Like You

  3. Shout Unto God

  4. From the Inside Out

  5. This Is Life


We are so excited about Unquenchable because we believe there is a great reality in most people’s lives. Most people’s lives are empty…their lives are crying out for something bigger than themselves. That is what pushes all of us to fill our lives with something.

Sermon Title - True Worship Never Dies

Sermon Scripture - John 4:23-24 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth...

Big Idea - True worship…worship that is authentic comes from a heart that is open to God and that kind of worship never dies.

Three Ways to True Worship

1. Keep Your Heart Right.

Ps 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. (NIV)

2. Connect with the Creator.

Ps 119:10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. (NIV)

3. Live a Word Filled Lifestyle.
Ps 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (NIV)


Total Attendance-60, Total Teens-52

Service Notes:

The service was really awesome. Frontline, our worship band, was in full force. We showed a great video clip as a teaser. The altar was filled with teens committing their life to God.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Youth Too Dependant On Youth Pastor

Are teens too dependent on their youth pastor's? It might seem so according to an article in Christian Post.

Here's an excerpt:

Studying the current state of seniors and the type of students youth ministries are developing today, the College Transition Project received responses from high school students around the country for wave one of the milestone study.

Surprisingly, the top reason students go to youth group is because of their youth pastor. According to the responses received, 162 of which were usable, 68 percent said it is "very true" or "completely true" they go to youth group because they like their youth pastor. The second most popular reason was "I learn about God there," which was followed by 58 percent who said "It's fun."

Other reasons listed as "very true" or "completely true" by at least 50 percent of the students included "I feel comfortable there," "I've always gone to church/youth group," "It's a place where I can learn to serve," and "It feels like a real community."

Some youth workers expressed ambivalence about the top reason students listed but they also raised the question if it's possible that the students have become "too dependent" on their youth pastors.

"Interestingly, seniors' connections with their friends at youth group don't rank as highly as many would have guessed," noted the report. "By average score, seniors ranked the options regarding community and a sense of belonging seventh, eighth, and tenth."

The least likely reason students listed was that their parents make them go or that they feel guilty if they don't go.

Props out to Josh Griffen for discovering this article. Click Here For The Full Article.

Unquenchable Teaser

Be the first to see our video teaser for our new series starting tonight. Our series is called Unquenchable - True Worship Never Dies.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What Every Youth Pastor Wishes Their Senior Pastor Knew

I just discovered this blog by Perry Noble. It's a little old but definitly worth the read...especially for any pastor's. The article is and link is What Every Youth Pastor Wishes Their Senior Pastor Knew.

Great Read.

5 Questions For Today's Youth Pastor

Today I start a new blog that I hope to do each week. It is a blog where I ask youth pastor's across the nation 5 questions to help us get a little incite into what they are doing.

For this first one I started with a friend of mine Josh Joines, from Victoria, TX, who is the youth pastor at Faith Family Church.

Side Note: I have a lot of respect for what Faith Family has done in building a great church. In a county of 85,000, they are a church of 3,ooo to 4,000, which is an awesome feat. That is over 4% of the county population. In the time of the mega-church, there are only a handful of churches across the nation that have reached that feat especially in small counties. I know cause I did the research project for it.

But enough about that lets get to the questions.

1. What are your details? Located, church, website, name of youth ministry, how long, etc…

Faith Family Church – Victoria, TX – http://www.faithfamilyvictoria.com/, Crossfire Youth Ministry – I have been the youth pastor for 1 year.

2. What do you see as the state of youth today?

Teens today are desperately seeking unconditional love and purpose. Bombarded with the culture’s negative messages, teens are struggling to discover their identity and purpose for living. When introduced to a powerful relationship with Christ, teens are passionately embracing the truth of God’s Word, finding the love and purpose they have been longing for, and living out their destinies. This generation will change the world!

3. What is your unique way of doing ministry? What do you focus on the most? Examples: small group, technology, dramas, worship, speaking, creative, etc….

Our youth ministry is comprised of small group environments on Sunday Morning and throughout the week with a big emphasis on our mid-week service on Wednesday night. We have a separate Junior High and a Senior High Service. Right now 350 teens are attending this midweek service. This service is student led through worship band and singers, dramas, videos we produce, and tons of multimedia and special effect lighting. God is doing an amazing work at this time in our youth ministry.

4. What kind of technology do you utilize most in your services?

As far as media goes, we utilize videos and lighting for the most part during our worship services.

5. What’s your favorite Mexican Food restaurant?

My favorite Mexican food restaurant has to be ‘El Rodeo’. It’s fast, it’s good, and it’s cheap!

Another Side Note From Me: If you're in Victoria...go to 'El Rodeo' especially for their breakfast tacos...Mad Props for them.

Great Answers Josh...Blessings to your ministry...I'm out.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Making Up For Lost Blog Time

I have to admit...I am some what of a newbie to blogging. When I first started it was when I was leaving my previous church, Faith Family Church. I wanted to be able to have friends and family be able to track what I was doing. A friend of mine, Jeff Allred, was blogging and I was keeping up with him through it. So I thought...hmmm...it really didn't take me that long to say I'll do it as well.

I had no idea there was this whole blog community out there.

From Tony Morgan to Cory Miller and Mark Batterson to Josh Griffen with Simply Youth Ministry

I tell you what it has opened up a whole world of personal and professional development in my life. I feel that I have learned so much from reading other blogs. I have gotten creative inspiration, more marketing savvy, strategic, and have learned so much from cutting edge Pastor's. It makes me wish I had been on board for a couple of years. But I am making up for lost time.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Ministry of "Auto Mode"

Last night, I watched "Click" starring Adam Sandler. I don't often watch movies with him but I was interested in this movie. Pretty good movie...dropped a couple of words so I would not recommend children watching.

This movie got me thinking about how easy it is to just let time slip by...and the value of time spent with family can be. I know I have a tendency to just get in "auto mode". Work, work, work...do, do, do...Church especially when you are in the ministry can be like that. And then you wake up and your kids are all grown and you are like "what happened.

Ministry for a Pastor is about family first. If we keep driving forward, going from event to event then we will miss out on what is most important and perhaps lose it. Time spent is lost forever. You can never get it back. When I was a teen, I spent many years running away from my relationship with my family. I can't get that back especially now that I have my own family.

Value time, value family and above all else get out of "auto mode."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The New IE 7 Is Out

For those that live under a rock and may not be aware. The new Internet Explorer 7 is out. You can download the new IE7 at Microsoft’s site. It took all of about 5 minutes and an obligatory restart of my system.

I have been using it for a couple of days. I am still trying to get used to it, there are some new features, but my initial reactions are:

  • I like it.
  • It’s a sleek looking.
  • It uses tabs, which are an improvement in efficiency once you get used to them. Quick tabs are very cool as they give you screen shots of all the windows you have open at once.
  • RSS feeds can automatically be detected on a page.
  • There are little icons for the most often used tasks (home, print, tools, etc).

Friday, October 20, 2006

Beauty Is Only ??? Photoshop Deep

If you have not seen this video...you will be shocked...especially when they stretch her neck..

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Would I Live With My Mom For That

I was at the mall today and I saw this book called Freakonomics.

It had some pretty interesting chapters in it. The chapter I read while I was there was called "Why do drug dealers live with their Moms?" It was about a sociology study a guy did on a gang that in the end showed how the gang was economically structured like a business.

I thought it was a great chapter and one thing stuck out to me...the lower level drug dealers that were structured in the gangs made roughly $3.30 per hour. (That was the reason they lived with mom...how much they were paid.) My thought was that these kids line up with the thought they are going to get rich and are so passionate about what they do especially in light of the study that there was a 1 in 4 chance they would die.

I wonder what the world would be like if we had that much passion about what we believe in.

Facing The Giants

I don't know if anyone has heard about this film called Facing the Giants. This was put together by a Church for $100,000 and on its first weekend topped $3 Million. I haven't seen it yet but the trailer looks so awesome. It is not showing in Corpus. I am hoping it might. It is a great story.

Shows you that when you put your mind to it and God behind it...anything can be possible.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tonights Service

Tonight we had a full band...first time in a while and it was totally rockin'. Two electric guitars, one acoustic, bass player, drummer, keyboard, and singers...man it was so good...We even went a little free flowing with our worship after our 4th song...the team did an excellent job...they rode the waves of worship tonight. Definitely the best worship service we have had since I have been here.

We concluded our series with a great sermon called A Life Well Lived...this series has been good for me. Good one because it has really got me thinking about never wanting to be ordinary anymore...even as a Pastor sometimes we get in a rut just like everyone else. Even though we are doing something for God we can still go through the motions. I don't want that to happen for my wife and I. I want our lives to be significant. I want what we do to be significant. I want everything we do to show that we are living a life that has been Rescued From The Ordinary.

John 10:10 says a better life than you've ever dreamed. Let my life be so beyond the ordinary that it just emanates Christ.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Back At It Again

Well, I thought today I might have gotten more accomplished for my message tomorrow but it seemed like we spent the day in graphic design mode. Most of the staff and I have been designing banners for our ministry. It is not something that just kind of pops out in a minute or two. or three...

I was quite invious today...our children's pastor did a excellent job on hers. I had minimum imput...just little tweaks throughout the day...makes me want to remake mine...lol...

Tomorrow is the last of our Rescued From An Ordinary Life...ala Doug Fields...with some personal tweaks...it has been a great message and I have enjoyed teaching it...today I put the finishing touches on an email postcard for our next series and have been brainstorming a video teaser for the kickoff...I was thinking about shooting video of people worshiping stuff...

I have been trying to think of some ways to make this blog not just informative about my life but helpful to those in ministry and in their walk with God so be on the lookout for some stuff.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Book of the Week

I've been reading a great book this week.

This book is so relevant and has me thinking about synergy. If all the people in the church would utilize their gifts in what they are passionate about calling on their attributes, personality, and experiences, we would create a synergy unlike any other. I would recommend this book to anyone.

I am using it as the main inspiration for our S.H.A.P.E. conference which we will be holding at our church Nov. 11th.

Great Reading! Posted by Picasa

Principles of our Youth Ministry

It has been so fun to do youth ministry over the years. I have assimilated lots of things from lots of other ministries that I believe form the Ministry DNA of Elevate. I am in deep thinking about putting them in book form...probably will be like an internet book...I would like to know if it would be something others would get and possibly read...

Anyway here they are:

1. Do ministry on PURPOSE.
2. PLAN for success
3. Create USER-FRIENDLY environments
4. Foster a spirit of EXCELLENCE
5. TEACH for change
6. Add the WOW FACTOR
7. Develop highly productive TEAMS

These are what I believe we do a great job at...some better than others. They are principals that we have put in effect to see our youth ministry double in 6 months since we have been here at Church of Hope.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

GET IN THE GAME (update)

Well…usually I start out with something like “a long awaited update.” This time I won’t do that….it is more like “a very long awaited update.”…LOL…I have been so, so, so, so busy…along with the youth ministry which is doing great…this past week 54 teens with over 60 people in attendance (still slowly growing, which is how I want it) my life has been busy with so many other things.

We started a new series in our main service called “Get in the Game” which was my idea. It is about people getting off the bench and getting involved. We decorated our sanctuary like a football stadium with our stage being a football field. We had a tailgate party on our launch date. I also did all the graphic design for our mailouts…that took me about 3 weeks. It was the first time I have done anything like that and I feel they were great except for one detail…but if I ever do another I will fix that. We are also going to have a ministry expo and have a booth…so I tried my hand at editing a DVD that will run at our booth…It came out great. Then I designed a banner for our youth room…All this graphic work is time intensive…We are also going to do a small conference at the end of our series called S.H.A.P.E. It is designed to help people find their gifts for service.

Below are some pictures from our first service on our launch to show you our stage. Our second service was packed due to the tailgate party.



Through all of this I have tried to keep myself from not being overwhelmed with work. It is easy for me to do that in ministry because I have such a passion for service and for excellence. And the reality is that excellence takes more time. But it is time that is well worth it in the long run. Make sure that all of you are finding your spot in ministry at your churches and doing what you can to make your dreams happen. I told our youth ministry this week that everyday I think about eternity…A life that has been rescued lives for eternity. My perspective is that I want to do everything that I can so that one day I can look into Jesus eyes and hear Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

That is only made possible through service. And I believe that a person who uses their gifts in the area of their passion relying on their personal attributes, personality and experiences will experience a true joy that goes beyond description. Jesus said He wants to fill our cups to overflowing. Experience that today…GET IN THE GAME…