Youth Worker: A Response To Justin Bieber!!!!

No signThis is really nothing new. I’ve seen this so many times where the young star comes out and caters to the parents of young fans by playing the role model part.  When it’s time to grow their career up they start with racy behavior.  Cathleen Falsani who is an award winning writer wrote a blog post to Justin Bieber concerning the recent video of him smoking weed.  I thought it was pretty thoughtful and insightful so I’m sharing it.  Read below and then head to her site for the rest.

“…Last year you reached a milestone when you turned 18. You are living in a liminal state, standing at the threshold between childhood and adulthood, still more boy than man.  Times of transition and change are difficult for anyone, never mind someone whose every move in public is chronicled by relentless paparazzi and other members of the media. You must be gentle with yourself as you navigate these new waters, but you also must be diligent to guard your heart and mind more now than ever.  Whether you’ve partaken of the “sacred herb” just once or burn more cabbage than Tommy Chong at a Furthur show is not the issue that most concerns me. Click here to READ the rest!

Do we talk at all about things like this knowing that our students are buying their music and going to their concerts? I would love to hear your thoughts on how you approach these types of things with your students!!

A Desicion We Have To Make Everyday!!!

Had great opportunity to share this video in our weekend service.  The main point was that if we follow the voice of Christ, we effect others and ourselves for the better.  Check it out!!

I can only image what would’ve of happened that day if I would’ve listened and followed the voice of Christ.  When we follow the voice of Christ it’s always in the best interest of everyone.  Because the  saving/healing/restoring/loving/forgiving/affirming/etc… affects of you following Christ are infinite.  We just have to trust him and lean on his track record, which points to the fact that we can become a gift to this world when we choose to follow Christ.

hope it helps


For Students: Kayla Johnston – Five Learnings From High School!!

Student guest post #3 is from Kayla Johnston, a former member of my youth group. She is a freshman in college at APU.  I asked her to share some learning’s from high school. Check it out!!

Be All In – Looking back, I always tell people that my biggest regret was never getting involved in anything at my high school. I wish I had pushed myself to be a bigger part of my school, whether it was running for a position in ASB or starting a club with my friends. I see now that there were so many missed opportunities that I could have taken advantage of that would have allowed to make more friends or leave a lasting impression on my high school.

I thought that going to weekend services, small group, and events was enough to consider myself “involved” in my high school church ministry, but I wish I had taken more time out of my schedule to become a bigger part of the ministry. I regret never volunteering in the children’s ministry or junior high departments because I feel like I had so much I could have contributed to younger people but I was held back by the business of my high school schedule. I never fully took advantage of the many ministries that my high school ministry had to offer!

Care More  – There were only two teachers throughout all of my high school years that I distinctly remember having good conversations with and being closer with than any of my other teachers. I was always the girl who wanted to get my work done, leave class right away, and go see my friends rather than stick around and ask how my teacher’s day was going. As a student, you have such a great opportunity to reach out to your teachers, and most people don’t even realize it. I wish I had taken the time to get to know more of my teachers throughout high school.

Care Even More – My little brother and I only went to high school together for one year, but I wish it had not gone by so fast! I miss driving him to school in the morning and seeing him around campus throughout the day. Whether it is a younger sibling or just a younger student who you are close with, try to take time out of your week to spend time with them! Bring them lunch or meet with them after school to do homework. You have such a huge impact on younger students and I wish I had realized how much I loved going to school with my little brother.

Take Risks On Relationships – All of my best friends that I had grown up with went to different high schools. I had a lot of friends at my school, but never a group of people that I would consider my best, closest friends.  I wish I had taken the time to get to know more people on a deeper level at school rather than only spending time with them during the school day. I always hear people talk about their “high school friends” and I realize that I will probably never stay friends with kids from high school because I never gave them a chance to be close to me. Even if you have a great group of friends outside of school, like I did, take the time to seek out deeper relationships at school, too!

HS Relationships – I’ve learned from the experiences of others in this area and took their advice, If you’re going to date in high school, date someone that does NOT go to your school!  Of course, there are relationships that work out great that way, but it is important to have time apart, make separate friends, and live a portion of your own life away from the person you are dating.  Don’t date at the same school and you won’t have to deal with stupid arguments over why my boyfriend chose the prettiest girl in class to be his lab partner or why I walked to class with another boy. Dating is a big deal and should not be taken lightly. Of course, not dating at all in high school will save you from a lot of stress and arguments as well!

For Student: One Huge Mistake I Made In High School!!!

Student guest post #2 is from Taylor Jacobs, a former member of my youth group. He is a Sophomore at the University of Washington.  I asked him to share one mistake he made while he was in high school that affected him in college. Check it out!!

I found that during high school, I had made my community my god, instead of allowing God to shape my community.  When I was taken out of my community, my relationship with God suffered because I had let my community define how I interacted with God, instead of letting God define my community.  I had fallen into the trap that many of us do. I had elevated a gift from the creator above the creator. When we start making the gifts of God an end, instead of a mean, we miss out. Because the true end is life in Jesus Christ.  I was abusing the gifts that God had given me because I didn’t understand who I was in Christ or God’s gift of community. I had to realize that Jesus cares so much about me, he has given me gifts so that I am pointed to Him! Nothing God gives lacks purpose.  If He has given it to you it must be for a purpose.

We must view our relationships through the eyes of Jesus. Because He is in perfect union with God, and He is the living Word of God and every time we choose to follow his way we win.

There is a good example in Scripture of idolizing things that are of God, but incomplete.  All of Colossians 2 pleads with people to find their identity in Christ alone. Read the passage.  Our identity must always be rooted in the “soma (body, reality, fullness)” of Jesus Christ, and never in the good things that God gives us. In order for community to be for you what God intended, you must make Christ the facilitator of community in your life. Within Christ alone lies the fullness of life!

As high schoolers, it is very easy take community and idolize it without even realizing it, even within a church community! We start allowing our community to replace our daily relationship with Christ, we stop reading about him, talking to him and ultimately we stop listening to him. Then, when you are taken out of that community, you feel like you are not loved or accepted by God anymore because there is no perceptible(capable of being perceived by the senses or the mind) acceptance, encouragement, or praise! But the truth is you must look to Christ for those things and not your community.  Learn from my mistake and keep the gifts God gives you in their proper place.

Bryce Kelley-Five things I wouldv’e done different in highschool!!

I’m trying something new.  I want to allow students to speak to their peers and share some very relevant wisdom.  My prayer is that a student is encouraged or inspired by whatever is written.  My first student guest post is from Bryce Kelley, a former member of my youth group. He is a freshman in college now and is actually going to school to be a youth pastor.   I asked him to share somethings he would’ve done different in high school.  Check it out!!

Six weeks.  I’ve officially been at Point Loma Nazarene University for six weeks now embracing every moment of this new chapter in my life.  I am loving working towards my major in Youth Ministry and minor in Non-Profit Business. Even though I am in college now, through friend’s posts on Facebook and Instagram’s, I feel very much connected to Trabuco Hills High School still.

To say I enjoyed high school would be an understatement.   I was involved with sports, clubs, student government, and academics to the fullest.  With all this going on, I was still able to balance a life in church as well.  I led a small group for junior high boys for two years, went to my own personal small group, and attended multiple services every weekend.  I was known as one of those “very involved kids” and I loved it so much.

When I think back to experiences in my past four years of high school, I am very blessed because these situations and events helped shape me to the man I am today.  But when I see stuff my younger friends are doing, every once in a while I say to myself, “I wish I would’ve done that in high school”.  Here are my top five things I wish I would’ve done in high school:

  • Procrastination – I wish I wouldn’t have developed the habit of procrastination in high school because believe me, it does catch up to you.  Any student reading this: do not get in the habit of procrastination!  Even though I wasn’t horrible at procrastination, it did cause me some late nights that could’ve been avoided.
  • Befriend Younger Students – Looking back, especially now, I wish I would’ve befriended some of the underclassmen at my school.  I was Student Government President my Senior year, so most students knew who I was.  I knew the majority of the Juniors and Seniors, but I wish I could say I knew most of the underclassmen too.
  • Stress – I am a very stressed person by nature.  I always tried to micromanage everything in my life.  It wasn’t until about senior year when I fully realized that God was in control of my life.  I wish I would’ve given everything to Him in all four years of high school, not just the last one.
  • Road Trip – I’ll admit this is cheesy, but I always wished I had gone on a road trip with some of my friends to wherever!  Some of my buddies and I had made plans to go on one, but plans always fell through.
  • More Comfortable – I feel like the majority of believers my age tend to just keep their faith to themselves.  I’ll be the first to admit, I always felt awkward shouting my faith to others!  I was still good at it and have done in it in the past, but I wish I would’ve worked at it, so it would come up more naturally, not me shouting about how involved I am at church, or how spiritual I am.

So there you have it! The five things I wish I would’ve done in high school.  If one student or youth pastor reads this and takes advantage of it, then it was worth it.  Please learn from my mistakes and benefit yourself.  God is working and doing amazing things in this world, and I only hope I am being a vessel to His Kingdom.

Blessings –

Bryce Kelley

For Students: Who am I?

This past weekend a guy name Travis spoke at our weekend high school ministry service.  He’s on staff with me at Saddleback Church.  He spoke on the topic of  “When I don’t know and when I do know who I am”.  I thought he brought up some very interesting points and so I thought I would share them with you all.  Here are my thoughts on three points that I took away from his message.  I’ve also added some questions for you to ask yourself as you think about who you are in Christ.  These are some of the questions I ask myself when I’m doing a spiritual checkup of my life.(John 1:12)

1. When I don’t know who I am in Christ, I try to be someone I’m not. – You begin to identify yourself by your life experiences (parents divorce, sexual abuse, being bullied, bad boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, etc…), and by the words of other people (verbal abuse from your parents or people you trust).  I believe before Christ we all lived in this world and some of us even after we accept Christ.  Here you have to ask yourself:

  • What’s motivating me to be who I am are trying to be?
  • Who am I trying to be?
  • Am I living for the approval of others?

2. When I know who I am in Christ, I understand the importance of my life. – You walk in the knowledge that you were not created to live for self.  You were created for a purpose that deals with the eternal and not the temporal. When you realize who you are in Christ, you realize that you are a blessing to the people that are in your life.  You realize that God created you to be loved by him, and in return love others the same way.  You can live completely honest.  ask yourself:

  • Who do I belong to?
  • Why was I created?
  • What does my life mean to the others?

3. When I know who I am, I can fulfill my purpose in life. – When you know who you are in Christ, you understand the power that comes with being a child of God. You understand that you are empowered through Christ to do amazing things, so that people may know Christ and his love.  Through Christ’s life, death and resurrection we received the power to live a life pleasing to God and a life full of value and purpose.

My prayer for you is that you would know and understand who you are in Christ.  I encourage you to ask yourself do you know who God created you to be?  Then spend time reading your bible.  Don’t believe the lies of Satan who says you have to be enslaved to your past or mistakes.  Read expose it talks more about the lie. Ask yourself one question:

  • What does God want me to do with my life?

hope it helps

For Youth Workers: God Changes the Heart!!!

I think sometime this concept can easily be forgotten.  A lot of times we know the answers to a student’s problems before we know the whole story or the cause of the problems.  So we stop listening and we start focusing on our response.  We start trying to lay out our response so that it touches the very core of the issue.  Meaning we are trying to recall every sound bite that has had a high impact in our lives.  We want what we say to touch the students so much that they start to cry and scream out “ I’VE HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LORD AND I AM FINALLY ON THE RIGHT PATH”. Haha….

So what’s the issue with that?, you might ask.  Well, one point I made earlier is that you stopped listening.  The very thing that the student needed you to do, you stopped doing.  When we intentionally sit and listen to students, we say to them that they are more than just someone broken in and needing to be fixed. Listening intentionally to a student says to them:

  1. Someone cares about me.
  2. Someone thinks I’m important.
  3. Someone thinks I’m worth their time.
  4. Someone cares about my feelings.

Listening intentionally will earn you the right to speak the truth of God’s word into their life.  I advise when meeting a student for the first time that you are going to give guidance to, that you don’t even give any guidance on the first meeting.  Allow the first meeting to set the tone for the rest of the meetings.  Here is how you listen intentionally:

  1. Listen with great eye contact and body language. It makes a difference.
  2. Ask questions about the things they really care about in the situation. Even if you think it’s silly or  shouldn’t matter as much as it does.
  3. Affirm when you can. You never know how many people have already made them feel stupid, crazy or ashamed before they spoke to you.  Affirming them doesn’t mean you have to agree with them.  It just means you validate the fact that the issue they are going through is something that should be dealt with.
  4. Start and End with prayer. Let them know that you are working on behalf of the only one who can actually help them.  God changes the heart.Ezekiel 36:26-27

The bible talks about how we can do nothing without Christ.John 20:15:5  If you really think about it that should take a lot of pressure off of us, knowing that we have to rely on Christ to power and orchestrate the life changing work we get to be apart of.   We are just vessels being used by God to spread his love, mercy, kindness and grace to students.  I’ve learned that when I don’t remember this I screw things up.  Because my focus is not on doing my job as the vessel, it’s on being the power source.  The vessel’s job is to house the power and give it something to do.   So when we try and be the power that changes people lives we frustrate ourselves when things don’t work out the way we think it should.

There has been times when I have forgotten that God changes the heart, and I feel the burden to be perfect in that moment so that students are changing.  I must rest in the fact that God wants to use me to do one thing and that is to spread the gospel (God’s message of love) to students.  He did not call me to do his job (which I can’t even do in the first place).  So I would encourage anyone in ministry to be at peace knowing that changing the hearts of students is not your job.  God commissioned you with sharing his gospel (God’s message of love).

Any thought?

hope this helps!