Youth Ministry Reflections pt. 2

2. If it’s not an adventure it’s not youth ministry.

I’m a planner, and a worrier, I like to make sure that all my ducks are in a row before an event or outing, and then I worry that some ducks will wander into the street and get crushed by a mack truck. That’s just the way I am. So when things don’t go right I have a tendency to get totally bummed.

The funny thing is that in youth ministry there are so many variables that something is bound to go wrong. And it’s in these moments of . . . “where are we? what happened to . . .? So that’s how you replace a tire on a people mover.”

So what happens when your plans go to crap? Memories happen. As a youth leader I learned that the most important thing in those “oh crap” moments is to make it fun. Don’t take yourself and your plans so seriously that if anything goes wrong it’s a failure. It’s not a failure it’s a moment to make a memory.

I started serving in a youth ministry right after I graduated from high school, and in the ten years that I was working in youth ministry as a volunteer, part time, full time, I’ve never been wreckless, never lost a kid, never even had any broken bones. But there were plenty of moments where things went against my plans and I had a choice to make, worry, or laugh. And I found the better thing to do was laugh. If I’m worried, everyone’s worried, if I can find joy, then I can pass joy to others.

So remember, if It it’s not an adventure it not youth ministry.

Youth Ministry Reflections pt.1

Last night we welcomed Mike and Lisa Brandow into the student ministry at Creekside Church. I am so glad to have Mike and Lisa on the Creekside team. It’s amazing how God knits things together. But with Mike and Lisa coming on board, I am now able to focus my attentions on leading the Spiritual Growth, Ministry and Serving purpose areas at Creekside.

I thought I would take a little time this week to write some reflections on my time in youth ministry. I’ll try to write one post each day about something that I learned.

1. I can’t fix kids.
This may be the most important and most difficult lesson that I had to learn. No matter how hard I try I can’t actually make anyone behave any differently. I wish I could fix people, because I usually have what I consider to be a pretty sensible solution for people’s problems. If they would only do what I say, everything would be better for therm.

That rarely works however, and if it does work it’s not me. It’s the Holy Spirit working in their lives. As a youth pastor (or any kind of pastor) my job is to love Jesus, and love the people that Jesus has called me to serve. I can point people to truth, compel them to trust Jesus and live lives that honor him, but I cannot actually fix them.

It is so hard to let the Spirit do his job, but I need to, and I need to be ok with his timing not mine. It’s incredibly deflating when a parent asks you to fix their kid at a weekend camp. And I understand the parent’s heart for their kids, but I can’t fix a kid. The only response that I can give a parent in that situation is pray while we’re at camp. Pray, pray, pray.

But when you realize that you can’t fix kids it’s also incredibly liberating. I know that I will have multiple opportunities to invest in these kids, and I can begin to invest in them and encourage them and point them to Jesus. I don’t have to be in a sales mode for Jesus, I don’t always have Always Be Closing the deal for salvation. Which is a pretty freeing place to be. Instead of giving an altar call in ever conversation, the focus changes to walking a life long journey of transformation with students.

Questions from Sunday

On Sunday mornings we invite creekside folks to ask questions via text message.  Here are two from this week:

What about companies tithing?

When I was growing up our church did an annual blessing of the businesses.  We prayed for our local business owners and encouraged them to lead their businesses on biblical principles.  Many of these business leaders tithed off of their companies profits, and their companies prospered.  If you are a business owner tithing off of the profits of your organization can be a great blessing to your business, as well as to your self as the leader.

This is something that you should definitely pray about, and if you have a board of directors or any other governing committee you should definitely involve them in the decision making process.

Why does what jesus did only cover the sin of those who confess him? If faith is truly a gift originating in God, how is this just?

These are really great questions and I’ll try my best to answer them.  First things first though, behind this question there is a sense that we deserve salvation apart from God.  The truth is that without the Sacrifice that Jesus provided for us on the cross we cannot be saved.  We do not deserve Jesus’ grace.  Because Jesus is completely perfect, and we are completely imperfect.  Jesus’ dying on the cross provided a way for sinners like me and you to have restored relationship with God.

On the cross we are not getting what we deserve, Jesus is getting what we deserve.  That’s not fair at all for Jesus, that’s not just for Jesus but he did it anyway.  So our ideas of justice need to be changed because of what Jesus has done.  We want justice when we are wronged but we don’t generally want justice when we have wronged others.

Jesus provided grace for us when we didn’t even deserve it.  However, the Bible tells us that:

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

Confession is acknowledgement of our own sinfulness, and our need for Jesus grace.  If we don’t confess then we do not acknowledge God’s work in the world and we deny Jesus’ work on the cross, and we ignore the voice of the Holy Spirit that prompts us to salvation.

Now all of this sounds like God doesn’t care about the people who don’t confess, but he does.  God’s desire is that all men would come to faith. (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:3-5)  Humans in our sinfulness don’t think we need Jesus so we don’t have a natural proclivity to confess Jesus as Lord.  And for every single person who doesn’t confess a need, God’s heart breaks.

God’s justice in forgiving humans is all about the gift of grace which is available for all.  But sadly many people are not willing to open that gift.  The problem isn’t God.  The problem is us.

I would love to continue the conversation, please comment or email me jdeuman [at] gmail [dot] com

I Got to preach on Sunday

On Sunday I had the privilege to preach at Creekside.  I’m always honored and humbled when I get to preach on Sunday Morning.  The best part is to hear about the things that spoke to people in ways that I never intended, just more evidence that the Holy Spirit moves in people’s hearts, and as the person speaking, it’s not about me.

But as always I desire to improve, so If anyone would take the time to watch this I would love your feedback.

Between the PSA and my message there was another video but due to Copyright concerns I didn’t include it in our official video.  but I’ll post it here:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “I Got to preach on Sunday“, posted with vodpod

The Pastor’s Job

I read this today in John 21:

15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19(This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Here Jesus gives Peter, who would become the leader of the church two jobs.  Feed and Follow Jesus.  That’s it.  If we love Jesus, we will follow him, and if we follow him we will feed other followers of Jesus.  It’s that simple.

Just some thoughts.

Who Are You?

I just spent three days in beautiful Kelowna with Don and Damon. This trip went a lot better than I was anticipating, both for content and for fun. I really had a great time hanging out with Don and Damon, and learning together and being challenged together. As a result I am even more excited to be a part of the Creekside leadership team.

I am in a pretty big stage of transition within our church, and quite frankly this kind of transition where a leader steps out of one ministry, but stays in the church to develop another area of ministry is rare. Especially for a church our size. I’m truly blessed to be able to do this.

Part of my anxiety in my new role has been not really knowing what it was all going to look like. This week helped me to bring some shape to my future. And I am very excited about the journey our church is about to embark on as we we ask:

Who is God?

Who am I?

And what does God want to do in the world through me?

I’ve been learning for years about God. And the more I learn the more I realize there is to learn. God is a great subject for job security, there’s no end to what we need to know.

However, I have have not been really paying attention to the second question, “Who Am I?” I think about myself quite often and about my life experiences, but I know that I need to continually go back to ask God, who am I?

God is so much smarter than I could even fathom. This sunday I get to talk about Jacob and to share my learnings about Jacob’s quest for identity. Here’s a guy who never really knew who he was, and because of that he wrestled with himself throughout life. And I feel like I’m beginging to go through this wrestling for identity as I’m examining a new role, and a new future with Creekside Church.

I’m in a pretty amazing place if I can be honest with you. I get to let God define me, and tell me who I am. I get to start a new history chapter in my life. And this is who I know I am right now.

I’m a son of The Father.

I’m a husband to one woman.

I’m a father/steward of two beautiful children.

I’m a learner.

I’m a servant.

I’m a pastor.

I’m pretty happy with that definition. What else does God have for me to be?

On another note, who are you?