Truth In LOVE Wins!

Ephesians 4:15

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 

Recently I had to speak truth into a students life.  It was about something that I knew would be kind of devastating to them, but I also knew it would help them grow.  Tough conversations with students (those you care about) are never easy.

(What I’ve learned to help ease these inevitable conversations.) Investing in a deeper relationship with your students as a spiritual mentor and not just the cool adult makes speaking the truth in love easier.  Meaning, solicited and unsolicited (leading of the holy spirit) truth should be spoken into their lives when the opportunity presents itself regularly, not just at times when its earth rattling.  Conversations on natural things are great but you cannot forget engaging in the ones about the spiritual aspects of life.  I’ve found that how I interact with them dictates the level of access I have to speak into their lives.  So I must balance friend/cool adult with youth pastor/spiritual mentor.  We never sacrifice our youth pastor/spiritual mentor hat for the friend/cool adult.  When we do that we become neither. In fact, I would venture to say we become more of a stumbling block. -This also is a tip for believers in general. You can become a stumbling block for others when you decide to sacrifice what you know to be right for selfishness.

So here are some thoughts of mine on speaking the truth in love:

  • Speaking the truth in love is caring about how you convey the truth that must be spoken. 
  • Speaking the truth in love (how you convey) is not allowing the change the truth of what you have to say.  Speak the truth.
  • Speaking the truth in love is putting the truth in a way that it doesn’t tear them down but builds them up. 
  • Speaking the truth in love is caring more about them being freed by the truth, than you not seeming cool, or creating weird tension.
  • We speak the true in love because we believe God’s word is true.  We believe its part of becoming more like Christ which is our goal for their lives as well as our own.

I’ve only posted a few but I would love for viewers to chime in and leave a comment on what is speaking the truth in love to you…




Hope it Helps: Hand Shake Hi to a Hug Goodbye!

I love connecting with students one on one.  I believe that it’s a huge part of moving students from the weekend crowd into community within the ministry.  When a student feels known by the ministry they feel apart of it.  Whether it’s by a student leader, volunteer or staff member it’s important that they are known by someone.  Here are just a few things I think about when I’m interacting with students.

  1. I want to be super intentional. – I want to make the best of every opportunity I get to effect a students life.  My intentions are to share Christ love for them through our time of interaction.  I do not apologize for my ulterior motive.ha
  2. I make sure they have my attention. – I want them to know that I understand its important that they are here.  So for however long I’m with them I’m completely engaged.
  3. I make sure I’m being myself. – The worse thing you can do is try and be your version of hip and cool.  You will come off super cheesy and weird.  You will be known for being that guy/woman who is super cheesy and to new students visiting for the first time they will tell every other student they know.  So just be yourself.  Remember you are not just representing yourself but you are representing the ministry.
  4. I ask follow up questions. – this just says to the student “I really want to know how you are doing”.  You show their importance/your concern with follow up questions.  Even if they just say fine I move to a specific area of life like school, family or sports.
  5. I always try and greet them goodbye. – If I wasn’t able to find a way to follow up with them in the initial greeting I try to do it in the goodbye after service.  Facebook has made it super easy for me to follow up with students.  If you’re not a Facebook type of person you need to make sure they have some type of information about the youth ministry or a way to contact someone in the future.  Follow up is SUPER important.

My goal is to go from hand shake hi to a hug goodbye.  I never push the conversation piece, I want it to be super natural and not forced.  I know there are some students that will be super closed off and that’s OK. You will probably have to give them some space. Making sure they know you’re glad they are there and exchanging follow up info becomes your goal.

hope it helps.

Grandma’s Turkey

I remember when I was younger we would spend thanksgiving with my grandmother.  She would start cooking the day before thanksgiving at around 11pm and would cook all night long.  The house would smell so good it would be hard to sleep.  When it came time to eat my mouth would water as all the food made its way to the table.  One of the last things that would come to the table would be the turkey.  The turkey would be huge, my dad would carve it and from there we would eat turkey for the whole week.  Meaning my grandmother would find ways to use the leftovers.  She would make turkey sandwiches and turkey salad.  Even the neck that came inside the turkey she would use, she wasted nothing.

As I was reminiscing about my grandmother and the turkey it made me think about my life. God has used every part of my life.  Even the things that I thought was useless.  I’ve had some great moments in my life, and I’ve also had times in my life where I could’ve been labeled a screw up.  I’ve come to learn that just like my grandmother with the turkey God doesn’t waste anything, but he uses it all the good and the bad.  I’ve seen God use parts of my life that I was kind of ashamed of.  He used it to help others that was going through the same thing.  I’m not giving you a green light to do the bad, but I really want to encourage those who have messed up.  Which would be everyone if we’re being honest.  You might feel or even see yourself as worthless but God sees you as priceless, and all the hurt and pain you’ve been through He can use to help others.  So if you’ve done things that makes you feel useless and/or unwanted.  I really want you to know that God still loves you and your life still has PURPOSE.       

Trust God with your life
love u all

Youth Leader Tips:Monday: Parents (MY CHILD IS ?)

Every Monday I will be posting “Hope it Helps” tips about youth ministry. Here is the first of many 🙂

I receive calls from parents all the time concerning their children acting out rebelliously and out of control. There is never a quick fix answer in these cases. We also don’t counsel the children as a psychologist would. Our job is to come long side the parent and assist them in guiding their children spiritually. I’ve seen miraculous changes take place in students lives who decided to start a genuine relationship with Christ.  I have a list of strategic questions I ask parents when they call which helps me better in assisting them.  I would love to share them with you.

Questions about the student:

  1. What’s their name?  It’s just polite to call the student by name and not (kid, the child in question, defendant or perpetrator while in conversation with their parent ha!
  2. What grade are they in? Knowing what grade they are in helps me gauge what pressures they are feeling in school.  While most pressures are the same for all grade levels, I have noticed a few are different. For example, Freshman-trying to fit in; Sophomore-I’m not a Freshman but I’m not a cool Junior either; Junior-school work and college readiness and workload schedule; Senior-oh crap this is it whether I did good or bad…it’s over and real life begins.
  3. Which school do they go to? It helps me to know if the student goes to one of the schools that makes up our youth ministry.  Side tip..It is very helpful knowing the spiritual culture of the schools that makes up your ministry.
  4. How are they with the family? When I ask this question I’m looking for isolated incidents of conflict with one family member or if there is conflict with everyone.
  5. In the past, how much trouble have they been in? This question really helps me gauge the severity of the students behavior.

Are they in counseling? FYI

Questions about the parents:

  1. Has anything happened in the home such as divorce, layoff, tragic death, anything that would push them in this direction? Gotta know what your up against.
  2. Do you all belong to a church? This helps me gauge the families priorities.
  3. How often do you attend church? Gauging how important they think attending church is.
  4. How active are they in the church and are they in a small group? If they answer the first two questions with (yes) and (all the time), I ask this follow-up question because it will be important that the child see the parents being active if we are going to advise them in doing the same.

If you are thinking these questions might be to personal I would say that if they are reaching out to you then they need help.  You need as much info as possible so that you can assist them and know what you are up against.  I’ve had parents talk for an hour about how angry their child is and how he wants nothing to do with God only to tell me at the end that her and his father are going through a rough divorce. My advice, control the conversation with questions so that you have a better look into the situation before you even begin engaging in the conversation. Hope it helps!

Angel Hat Example Finally!!!!!!

Have you ever had a friend or know someone who always has to one up you?!  No matter what it is they have something better or they play what you do down if they can’t top you.  It’s like there is always a comparing competition going on with this person but they are the only one who gets to play. They are waiting eagerly for you to say what you have or what you did so they can top you.  Of course if you can’t think of someone it could be you….in which I say “STOP IT” just kidding…not really.

It’s crazy to think but if we’re honest we’ve all done the same thing. Maybe not to that extreme, but we’ve all found ourselves on a few occasions comparing ourselves to others.  Usually when we compare ourselves to others we have these responses:

  1. Glad we don’t have it as bad as the person we were comparing ourselves to.    
  2. Mad because they have something we don’t have or that they can do something we can’t do and for some reason we feel like they don’t deserve it and it’s mostly because we don’t have it.
  3. You begin to ask the question why them and not me or why me and not them.   

A lot of times we try and justify why we feel the way we do, but if we’re honest comparing ourselves to others has more to do with us then the people we are comparing ourselves to.  It is more about us being validated and feeling worth something than anything else.  Sometimes we need other people to validate us and make us feel special.  So we do what we think would accomplish that goal for us.  We also go down this path of comparing for ourselves.  Maybe we’ve made huge mistakes and feel like if we’re doing better than (a person) it makes us feel better about ourselves.

If you know me you know I love the Angels throwback fitted new era baseball caps.  Well, not too long ago I purchased two.  When I went to go buy them to my surprise they had went up in price.  Now there was nothing different about the hat, it was exactly the same but cost more.  It actually made me think.  At the same time I was feeling over charged..haha…I believe God was teaching me something.

What I learned that day was the creator sets the value of the created.  If you find yourself relating in any area of this post I want you to know that your life’s value has already been established.  Unlike my hat in which the creator determined the value of the hat by the materials of the hat, our value is determined by our creator and according to our creator’s love for us. Which our creator’s love for us has us valued at to die for(John 3:16) and that’s exactly what happened.  Jesus Christ loves and values us so much that he gave his life for us just so we can be in relationship with him forever(John 17:3).  Our value is not determined by what we do or what we have its determined by our creator, based on our creator and his love for us. You are more valuable than anything you could posses or do.  So there is no need to impress anyone including yourself.  God loves and values you the way you are and wants to be in relationship with you.   

leave a comment or any questions just email me at:

Create opportunity for students to share their struggles!!!

I was reading a tweet about teens and porn that was really heart breaking. It was basically talking about how much porn has a grip on this culture. You can read it here at  DougFields

In my small group we set aside time every week to talk about what has tempted us this week or which temptation we have fallen into. We call it “Confess Sess“based off of (Gal 6:2) and it’s a time that the guys can express some things that they struggle with in community. I have seen my guys grow stronger individually as well as together as a result of it. Among many here are three benefits to our Confess Sess:

  1. Openly confessing a struggle one to another – This is a spiritual habit we all must learn not to neglect. Sin grows in isolation and feeds on the person’s silence. The longer you keep it to yourself the more time you give it to grow and infect multiple parts of your life. The sin you struggled with in one area has now spread and you will look up one day and say “how did I get so far off the mark?”. Two things we must know when it comes to life’s struggles.
    1. We will have struggles. (1Peter 4:12)
    2. We must confess them.(James 5:16)
  2. Meeting weekly in community – Students need accountability and support. It’s important that the culture of the community is conducive to them feeling free and safe to share anything. They can be held accountable to the things they shouldn’t be doing but also to things they should be doing.
  3. Some guidance from their small group leader.
    1. Make a big deal about them being able to be open and share.
    2. Ask open-ended questions. Engage the whole group in convo.
    3. Allow the group to come up with the actions steps in strengthening their lack of self-control. Allow the students to take ownership in the things they need to do.  The leader should guide the conversation but not come up with all of the solutions.  
    4. Always use scripture when guiding. I know we are saying exactly what the bible teaches, it’s just good for the students to see and even read it for themselves.

I’ve seen statistics that suggest 1 out of 10 boys between the ages of 12-17 has visited a pornographic website and it’s not to much less for girls. Having conversations about our struggles can be tough.  Building it into a part of what you do as a group can be very helpful in getting your group accustom to talking about tough issues.  I think we need to be ahead of the game and expose the scheme of the enemy. I hope this is helpful.

    Serving locally is a BIG DEAL!!!

    Students can be completely detached by the poverty that plagues the city that surrounds them, as we all can sometimes. That’s why it is so important that we give them the opportunity to serve others locally.  Missions is huge and great and I love seeing students lives changed from a trip across the ocean. That is what makes our local serve projects such  big deal. Students need an outlet locally where they can express the passion that was sparked on the mission trip. Therefore, I’ve added some info about a serve project our high school ministry just did.  I hope its something you can use or at least spark an idea about serving locally.

    HSM Grocery Giveaway from HSM on Vimeo.
    Last weekend our students served our local city with free grocery’s. We partnered with our church food drive program. It was a great project and very easy to get students excited about it. About two weeks before the event we blanketed the city with flyers targeting the poverty stricken areas right in our own backyard. It was very eye-opening for some of our students to see that poverty was closer than they had thought.

    On the day of the event we had broken down our serving opportunity into 6 areas:

    1. Grab a small group of students and adult volunteers, send them out to pass out more flyers. They shouldn’t go out too far either. They can stay right around the general location.
    2. Students holding signs at the entrance directing cars where to go.
    3. Student Hosts (this group is all about going the extra mile).
      1. The line for the giveaway got very long so we dispersed students with trays of water into the lines just handing out water.
      2. We also had an area where kids who came with their parents could color or play simple games while waiting (duck duck goose, ninja, simon says, etc).
      3. Box/bag carriers – helping anyone who needed help carrying groceries.
    4. Students distributing the food.
    5. Since this is a one day event making sure there is an alternative place for help is important. Especially if you do the project at a location that doesn’t give away free food every week. Students handed out fliers about our church food pantry at the end letting them know that if further assistance was needed that is where you could go and get help.
    6. Students to pray for those who came to get food.  At the end, students talked about the food pantry and the invitation for prayer was made. I was amazed at how many people our students prayed for. It was an awesome sight to see.

    Serving locally is a big deal your youth ministry will be just as excited about it as you are.  So get excited… hope this helps.