Middle School Ministry Made Simple

MSMMSWhen I started reading Middle School Ministry Made Simple by Kurt Johnston, I loved what he wrote about in the first chapter. He encouraged adults working with junior high/middle school students to remember their junior high years. That was a fun little trip in the way back machine.

I finished reading the book last week and thought it was an excellent overview of junior high/middle school ministry. In fact, I bought several copies for my junior high leaders at a great price (shhhh…don’t tell them – they haven’t been given the books yet).

A couple of things stood out to me from the book. The first was in the chapter on Planning Your Programs. He talked about the different types of students you have in your ministry. While I had heard these (and similar descriptions) before, it was a good reminder to me of the different students that make up a group. He identified these groups: Care Less, Curious, Caught, Committed and Contagious. I found it is easy to focus on just a couple of the groups and not consider all of the types of students when you program and plan.

In a different chapter Kurt wrote specifically to the leader of the junior high ministry and he defined several different roles the leader should take. Several stood out to me including Sell the Vision, Equip the Troops, Take the Heat, Pass the Praise and Beat the Drum. He elaborates on each role (you’ll need to get the book to see what he says), but it served as a good way to evaluate yourself if you serve as the point leader.

If you are involved in junior high/middle school ministry, this is a good resource for you and for your team.

No Greater Name

Apple_Podcast_logo-642x642While driving home yesterday, I was listening to an interview with Israel Houghton. He was talking about his new projects, being a worship leader and also moving into the production side of things.

While talking about leading worship, he spoke about the difference between the “get to” and the “got to” of leading worship. When he first started as a worship leader, he said he was excited that he would “get to” lead worship. As time went on and he lead on a more regular basis, he said he “got to” lead worship – like it was another task he needed to do. One day he recognized the shift that took place and that he needed to stay in the “get to” aspect of leading worship.

In the interview he made a great statement that was a good reminder to me. He said as a worship leader, he gets to lead people to lift up and sing about the great name of Jesus. Whatever you can name in your life that is a struggle or difficulty or trial, we can name a name that is greater than that.

It was a good reminder that God is greater than whatever we face. It is easy to become focused on our circumstances and not on the name that is greater than anything we face. I need that reminder. Hope it encourages you, too.

A Worship Leader’s Perspective

For the last couple of years, I have had the opportunity to lead worship at our Sunday morning services.  Being on the stage almost every Sunday gives a unique perspective that most church attenders don’t have.  I see when people are moved by what’s happening in the service, when people appear bored and even when people are texting or talking during the service.

This past Sunday as we were moving toward our time of communion, we used the song Jesus Messiah.  While our church family isn’t overly expressive in our worship (compared to other places I’ve been), I saw many of our people respond in a worshipful way during the song.  Some simply raised their hands.  Others stood.  Some did both.  Some smiled as they sang.  Others closed their eyes.

As I looked around our auditorium, I was struck by the fact that God loves and uses all different types of people. I know gathered that morning were sinful, broken, wounded people who were expressing their thanks that Jesus is our ransom, our redeemer, our rescue.  It wasn’t because the praise team was so good.  It was the power of the truth of that song.  It reminded me that God loves me in all my shortcomings and allows me and others into His presence.