My Wife Writes About Her Mom @daytonmomsblog

My wife has had several of her posts published on Dayton Moms Blog. While I think all of her posts are good, I really appreciate this one because I know this subject is especially close to her heart; she writes about her mom.

My mother-in-law has been struggling with the effects of Alzheimer’s for the past several years. Much of what I have learned about her is not from experience, but from stories about her from my wife. This post reflects that.

I have seen the influence of my mother-in-law on my wife, especially in how she interacts with her children. Here’s a portion of what she wrote:

My mom taught me to go above and beyond. My mom is a smart woman and as valedictorian of her High School class she expected us to be just as academic as her and do well in school. My brothers followed in her footsteps, but I struggled in school. She pushed me and pushed me to do my best and then she would say, “Do extra”. I’ve instilled that in my own children and have encouraged them to do extra and go above and beyond what is expected of them.

I’ve seen my wife put that into practice in her life and encourage that in her sons.

Take a few moments to read 5 Things My Mom Taught Me. It’s worth the time. We all have things we can learn.

Two Helpful Youth Ministry Blog Posts

reblogThe internet is full of blogs about a number of different topics. You can read a blog about just about any subject imaginable. Look, you are reading a blog post right now about blog posts!

One of the benefits of youth ministry in 2015 is that there are a lot of free resources, articles and training tools online. Some of them come in the way of blog posts. I had two links come into my email today that pointed to two helpful articles. One is for youth ministers/volunteers in general and the second is for those who work specifically with junior high/middle school students.

Whether you are a paid youth worker or an unpaid volunteer, we all benefit from hearing from other voices and gleaning information from those who serve students and families.

The first is titled “What I Wish I Knew” written by Josh Griffin. He reflects on what he has learned in the past 20 years of serving in youth ministry. While all the thoughts he shares are good, I thought the point he made about youth ministry being about students and adults was on point. You can read the article below or by clicking the link above.

The second post was called “Top 10: 5th-8th Grade Years Transitions” and was written by Dan Istvanik. I think this is the first time I’ve visited his blog, but I thought what he shared about students transitioning into junior high/middle school was helpful. Sometimes we forget what it is like to be a student who has to navigate the junior high years. His article was kind of a quick bullet point list of the transitions students face. Check it out below or by hitting the link.

Thanks to all who share your wisdom on blogs, websites and social media!

WHAT I WISH I KNEW – JOSH GRIFFIN

I’ve been in youth ministry for 20 years. That’s still a crazy thing for me to write – I still feel sometimes like I’m just getting started and know very little. But the truth is, I’ve been living this out for a couple of decades. I still love it and still love being in the trenches of youth ministry (and serving youth workers through DOWNLOAD YOUTH MINISTRY) if I could go back and talk to my 21-year old self a few things about youth ministry, here’s what I would say to that eager, exciting just-graduating college young man:

IT ISN’T ALL GOING TO BE FUN AND GAMES.
Youth ministry over the next 20 years of your life is going to be SO fun. You’re going to laugh and play so much. You’re going to smile a ton, and just love doing what God has called you to do. You’re going to make memories all over the world and impact teenagers at a crucial point in their life. BUT, it is also going to be really difficult. It is going to test you. You’re going to see things that discourage you. You will be frustrated. You’re going to be pushed to the edge of your patience and the edge of your faith. It is going to be SO fun, but it is real work and you’ll battle real spiritual warfare, too.

YOU ARE GOING TO BE IMPACTED.
You think this thing is all about students – but YOU are going to grow a ton. As you lean into the Scriptures for guidance as you teach, counsel and help others, you will grow so deep in your faith. Of course, the temptation is to do this in your own strength, but that doesn’t end well. Your life will be changed because of youth ministry when you walk with Jesus.

IT IS ABOUT STUDENTS AND ADULTS.
When you think about youth ministry, you think about youth. But it is so much more than that. Yes, it is about teenagers making decisions for Jesus. You do get to help serve them in this crucial life stage. But it is also about parents and adult leaders. It is about the team you get to create and do life with. It is about the moms and dads you get to equip and encourage. And you’ll grow from single youth worker to married parent in the process of this whole thing and realize more than ever when you’re in the thick of it just how important youth ministry is to your family, too.

IT IS THE MOST REWARDING CALLING EVER.
Through the ups and downs, through everything, there’s no better calling on the planet. There’s nothing more rewarding to give your life to. Stay the course, stay close to Jesus and after a while you’ll realize just how incredible it is. You’ll think about your teenagers … now adults and watch them flourish (and some flounder still trying to find) their faith as followers of Jesus. You’ll look at your own children and smile as you reflect on them growing up loving the church.

What would you go back and tell yourself when you started youth ministry?

TOP 10: 5th-8th GRADE YEARS TRANSITIONS – DAN ISTVANIK

10. One Classroom to Multiple Classrooms.
Going from the elementary school, one maybe two main classroom setting to the middle school/Jr. high setting of a homeroom and changing classrooms for every subject.

9. Stable to Emotional.
With changes all around them and internal, hormonal changes. Middle year students may go from being stable, consistent emotionally to having ranging emotions from highs to lows often inside a short period of time without much real cause or warning.

8. Dependent on Parents to Independent of Parents.
Middle year students with the various changes in schedule and personality will also move from childhood dependence to a maturing need for more freedom.

7. Arranged Friendships to Chosen Friendships
Friendships go from parent arranged “play dates” to students choosing their own peer groups based on mutual preferences and interests.

6. Innocent to Knowledgable.
With social education, media access, and parent’s having “the talk” the middle year are marked by a stage from a more innocent view of the world to a more knowledgable, realistic view of life.

5. Fearful to Risk Taking
Along with the move from innocence to knowledge and the transition from dependence to independence to knowledge the middle year are time of being fearful to taking risks socially, emotionally, and even physically.

4. Sexually Unaware to Sexually Aware
More specific in the innocence to knowledge transition, these are the years of becoming aware of sexuality, others and their own. Often leading to some questioning and identity awareness.

3. Concrete to Abstract Thinking
A black and white, right and wrong simplicity of thinking moves to a processing of grey areas and synthesis of understanding and thought.

2. Child Body to Teen Body
Growth spurts, puberty, and sexual discovery are the physical transitions in the middle years that move a child into being a teen/young adult.

1. Family Faith to Personal Faith
Where the role of middle years ministry and importance of a church providing a solid middle year specific ministry becomes so paramount. Belief moves from what parents believe and teach to what a student personally discover, question and claim as their own. The reason we do what, we do as 5th-8th pastors/director/leaders/volunteers!!!

Jimmy Fallon and the Worship Leader

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon - Season 4I have to admit that I don’t normally stay up late enough to watch The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. (If I am up that late, I’m probably catching a basketball game.) I have been known to watch some of his lip sync battles online and I marvel at the caliber of TV and movie personalities that Fallon is able to get on his show. I watched (after the fact) his Super Bowl of lip sync battles which featured Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell. There was a surprise appearance by Drew Barrymore. Needless to say, it is apparent that Jimmy Fallon has connections in Hollywood.

Last week I saw a link on Facebook to an article about Jimmy Fallon as one of the best worship leaders in the world. The title captured my attention, but the content was solid. The writer of the article, Josh Maze, made some great points that apply to those who lead worship. He made five observations that I found myself thinking about this past Sunday during our service. It is definitely worth reading. It is posted on Josh Maze’s blog and I have pasted it below.

5 REASONS JIMMY FALLON IS ONE OF THE BEST WORSHIP LEADERS IN THE WORLD

No matter the guest, they’re the “absolute best” on the “absolute best” TV show or film. Isn’t it amazing that every. single. night… Jimmy’s “favorite” person is on the show… and we believe him? I believe him. I follow him. All the way to the desk where he is absolutely enthralled by the special guest. Completely engaged. As a matter of fact, he’s so engaged – I’m engaged. I’m engaged through him. All the sudden I find myself interested in the guest / the subject / the conversation. Through Jimmy’s excitement & passion, I find myself involved. I never knew that I could become such a fan of some random C-list celebrity… but seeing Jimmy as such a fanatic about this person, here I am. Participating.

Here are 5 things every worship leader in the world should learn from Jimmy Fallon.

1. He’s always smiling.
This may be the most important and underrated aspect of Jimmy’s career. He smiles. A lot. Like… constantly. And that’s really good because, he’s in our living rooms and our bedrooms. And we want happy / positive people in our home. Smiles break down barriers. Smiles invite you in. Every worship leader who doesn’t smile while singing about Love… Grace… Hope… Jesus… is completely missing the mark. If you’re not smiling, you’re not winning. If you’re not smiling, you probably don’t look friendly. You might even be coming across too serious, overly spiritual, or arrogant. Let’s avoid that at all cost.

2. He’s got great energy.
It’s rarely hype. It’s always excitement. He loves what he does, and it’s obvious. But check this out… Jimmy Fallon has bad days too. He’s a human being. But you may never know it. We don’t see it. He presses through and does his job… making us feel at home. People need a confident leader to bring the energy to the room. Energy is contagious. Bad / low energy is contagious. Great / high energy is contagious. Be yourself, yes. Be vulnerable, of course. But get excited about what you’re doing!

3. He’s humble.
I’ve heard a ton of different people make comments about Jimmy. “He’s awesome… He’s the best… I love him… I have a crush on him… He’s literally perfect…” (And those are just from my wife… 😉 But I have never heard anyone say anything about his ego, his pride, or his arrogance. Yet – he’s one of the biggest stars in the world. He’s self-deprecating. He knows his strengths – He knows his weaknesses. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s quick to laugh at himself. That’s endearing. I like being around people like that, don’t you? With his ratings up 27% in the households & up 40% in the 18-49 demographic. Yes. You do. We do.

4. He’s prepared.
Monologues, singing, dancing, bits, sketches, dialogues, interviews… he does it all. And he’s ready. We think we have something to get ready for on Sundays? Once a week? Imagine having to be fresh, funny, smart, & interesting 5 nights a week. He nails it. And yes, he’s got a great team around him that help him prep. What can we learn from this as worship leaders? What can we take away? Very little excellence happens in life without proper preparation and planning. Let’s do our part to prepare, and let God do what only He can do.

5. He’s relevant.
‘Relevant’ isn’t my favorite word ever. But let’s remind ourselves… It’s a real word:

Relevant adjective rel·e·vant \ˈre-lə-vənt\ relating to a subject in an appropriate way

If I tried doing what we do at Highpoint at the big Episcopal church down the street, it wouldn’t work. I’d be dead in the water. You have to speak the language of the people you are speaking to. You have to relate. You have to know who is in the room and have an idea of where they are coming from. Jimmy’s show is so relevant, it’s ridiculous. The monologues are literally centered around the day’s news, the day’s gossip, and even the day’s tragedy. The interviews are centered around the film or TV show that just premiered or is about to premier. Why do so many churches miss this? We at Highpoint have decided to teach timeless truths in a timely way.
That’s a Non-negotiable.

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So, all in all, while Jimmy is leading us in the worship of the people he adores – like Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Tom Cruise, Justin Timberlake, or Brad Pitt, we still have a lot to learn. And if we are leading people in the worship of JESUS, how much more than should we be smiling, energetic, humbled, prepared, & relevant? Jimmy, if you’re out there, I for one, am inspired to be a better worship leader. Thank you.