Archive for February, 2008

The Next 10 Days

Crazy busy, fun days. Here’s what I’m looking at over the next 10 days…
* Prepare for and present youth leader workshop for Stuck in the Middle conference in Kansas City at my pal Sean’s shindig. Can’t wait.
* Do a two hour middle school conference call for 40 youth pastors. Love it.
* Help accounting department prepare for church business meeting and board meeting. Just ok.
* Help prepare for Youth Leader’s Coach board meeting. Will be a party once the work is done.
* Ramp up for March 17-18 Prestige Advance. Fun stuff, worth the work, Jeanne’s fun to watch in action. When we do the front end well, the event is a piece of cake.
* Ramp up for the next 8 videos for Uncensored.
* Work on a gazillion other product development ideas.


Group Conference Wrap Up

The last day and half of the Group Conference rocked, here were my highlights…

* Jeanne let me have the mic for about 15 minutes in one of her sessions to talk about middle school small groups. I felt like I got promoted for a game in the big leagues (especially when Jeanne took me to a gathering of the big dawgs) … even if just for a few minutes, it was a blast.

* I stopped in at the PDYM gathering to see some old friends and stole some books. Went out with Josh and some other guys afterwards. I know I saw another female start out with us, but it must have been my imagination. It was a little awkward at first being the only female, but the guys were great and the conversations as well.

* Greg Stier is just plan the bomb. He tore it up Sunday night talking about “Challenging Conversations.”

* While I had heard of him before, this seventh grade boy named Austin was priceless. He’s already helped to build a school and medical clinic in Zambia. He’s done more by the age of 13 than most people do in a lifetime. How did he do it you might ask? By creating a fundraising deal called “Hoops for Hope” where you shoot basketballs … my kind of fundraiser.

* Ok, I can’t remember the climber dudes name, but he was incredible. I loved the way they ended the conference this morning with some of his video stuff and reflective questions. It messed me up. It was a nice change from the speaker/worship leader one-two punch. I wonder if they did that every morning? (we were prepping during the morning session for the small group track, so this was the first morning session we hit)

* The interactive clickers used were awesome.

* There were a noticeable lack of laptop computers amongst the audience. What does that mean? During the evening session, Jeanne, Mike, Austin and I looked like freaks among the masses with the glow from the computers on our face.

* We busted it until 3:30 a.m. the day of the conference, then drove 7 hours, to get the DVD small group curriculum there by registration. It was so worth it. We sold 125 of the 140 copies. While we’ve got a lot of tweaking to do for the next set, I’m grateful Jeanne had buy-in when I pitched the idea to her back in July. My boss/friend is truly amazing, encouraging and empowering. I can’t tell you how many times she “lent me her status” this weekend.

* I introduced Andrew to Kurt Johnston and Scott Rubin. I am continually amazed at Kurt and Scott’s humility.

* Mike and I had a great ride on the way home. I hit him about five times while we were brainstorming what “our conference will look like one day.” Ok, we were dreaming but we had such good ideas that I got overcome with the desire to hit something, so I chose him … seriously, they were really great ideas.

* Jeanne is so stinkin’ brilliant. She had the MC students call/text the people at each of their tables during the first lunch on Saturday. On the ride back, a couple of them texted Mike and thanked him for helping to make the session great. The other cool thing was watching the MC students make the finish line (or in this case starting line) deal where you cheer people on. So many of the youth leaders loved it, they went back out of the room just to re-enter it.



I’m not as good at caring as I want to be.

Faith Blockers

Personal insecurities I live with … they come to top, then I don’t see people like I should.

1. Fear. What if I don’t have the right answer?

2. I am too pre-occupied. Everyone adds something to my to-do list. It prevents me from having God-empowered conversations.

3. I feel uncomfortable. It’s draining. Certain skills I don’t possess.

I hide it all because the show must go on.

When Doug asked if anyone else had dealt with any of the three faith blockers, the entire arena stood up.


He went on to share in the Bible how Joseph was one of many that went “by faith” when it came to Mary and the baby.

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen.

Then Doug read from Hebrews where it talks about the Biblical Heroes of old who walked “by faith”

He concluded by having everyone take the sheet of paper under their chair write their name and the area in which they struggled. We wadded the sheets up, pitched them in the air and took the one landing near us. Doug asked us to pray for the guy/girl’s paper we got. I picked up a guy named Andrew who deals with fear.

Lord, may you give Andrew the confidence and assurance he needs to realize he has more wisdom than he thinks … and perhaps to even know that we don’t always have to know the right answer, just simply know where to get them. May he hunger and dive into you Word, where true wisdom is found, like never before.

On a side note, the thing I love about Doug Field’s is that he practices what he preaches. I saw him later that night at the PDYM late-night session. I just stopped in to get my PDYM fix and see some old friends. From the front, Doug gave me a shout out by name and stopped by my table to say “hi”, give me a hug and tell me we needed to catch up because he had hear my world had recently changed.


The guy in the hat had the most hilarious embarrassing moment story. He talked about how he had eaten a couple of things that didn’t go together and his stomach started going nuts. He ended up in the restroom doing his business, but found that he had to puke, and you know what, at the same time. While sitting on the toilet, he proceeded to vomit in his shorts. He threw his underwear in the trash and had to borrow a pair of his senior pastors shorts.

Do you have a most embarrassing story? Post it in a nutshell and Josh Griffin has given me permission to giveaway a digital download version of Power Play Vol 4 from Simply Youth Ministry to the funniest. Don’t be shy, give it a shot.



Most groups have identity crisis.

You have to figure out what your ground zero is.

We are not a youth ministry “with” small groups, but “of” small groups.

How does the new kid in your ministry find a niche of relationships?

Discipleship thrives best in the context of relationships. It’s not simply going through a series of books.

John Wooden had a 61 game winning streak…
1964 got their first championship
1948-1963 John worked with UCLA Bruins in relative obscurity.
People would repeatedly come and ask him “what was the magic moment.”
He repeatedly said, “There was no magic moment. I spent 15 seasons doing the
non-glamorous things and just refused to give up.”
We need to do the same with small groups … over time, discipleship will happen and numbers will grow.

Small groups are not another small church service, it is…
1. Discussion oriented
2. Interactive
3. Life on life times

Jesus took on flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood. The Message

No matter how powerful the preaching is, people tend to not remember what was said. Most of the time you can’t even remember what you said.

You may want to run a small group with your leader just to show them what you are looking for.

Some of the greatest revenge you can pay on Hell is perseverance.

Discipleship happens best through Frog Kissing. [Jeanne did an awesome skit illustrating the Art of Frog Kissing. All of the characters knocked it out of the part, but by far the Dancing Star had the most skill].

Example, Jesus with Peter. Jesus saw past warts, even changed his name from “little pebble” to “giant bolder.”

If you don’t get the heart behind this, then the pragmatics will not be sustained. I want you to get the heart of this thing. You have to model frog kissing.

Small group helps your youth ministry by shrinking the holes in your attendance net. If we can get them in connected, the chance of losing them goes way down.

Small groups create a culture of friendship while most of the church world just talks about it.

Jeanne told the story of the Buddhist exchange student who would go to church with her host family. One Sunday after a pastor’s message, she gave her life to Christ. The pastor asked afterwards, “What did I say that helped you make this life-altering decision.” She said, “It was nothing you said, but all these months, Barb, my adopted foreign exchange sister has been building a bridge from her heart to mine and today I just let Jesus walk over it.

Remember walking into a room where you don’t know anyone is awkward. It was awkward today as you walked in. I know it’s awkward. We need to love well. Remember, “Actions of love will always create feelings of love.”

1. Choose to be an authentic encourager. Give away to people what you wish you had yourself.

2. Cash in on moments of pain. God whispers in good time, and shouts in pain.

3. Talk less and listen more.

4. Prepare to be hurt and taken for granted, Jesus was. Discipleship is the closest thing to a “love-hate” relationship.


It was a P-A-R-T-Y. I have the privilege of being in my boss’ and great friend’s session on “Small Groups that Really Work. We began with a quick scavenger hunt, above are some pics.


It was a crazy day, we finished reproducing our last piece of product at 4 a.m. Friday morning, loaded it and jumped in the car to head to Cinncinnati. We arrived at 11:30 a.m. and the it was “game on” … for everyone else … I went and took a nap. Woke up in time for the evening General Session. It was amazing, especially looking though new Youth Leader’s Coach eyes.

Started out with a hilarious video with Josh, Matt and, an upcoming star, “couch.” It was really funny, you can see it on Josh’s blog (just click the link on the side)

Doug came on talking about the goals of the conference, Group’s desire is that the youth pastors/leaders know that…
1. You are not alone
2. God is using you
3. You can get practical help

Thom and Joani were introduced with a fun video. The audience voted with cool clickers on whether they wanted them to…
1. Answer an awkward question
2. Share a heartfelt welcome
3. Kiss Passionately

It was close, but “answer an awkward question” won out over “kiss passionately.”

Worship was kickin’ with a little ancient-future modern day remix of a couple of old hymns.

Tony Dungy Intro
Doug had Andrew intro Tony Dungy by telling the heartfelt story of how Tony personally stopped by his house to talk to his friend with cancer. [It was a great way to intro a speaker, much better than the rant of accomplishments you normally hear.]

Tony Dungy
After reading Josh-Judges, I get a little nervous. In chapter 24 we have Joshua saying, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” But by Judges 2, after Joshua and the elders died, the next generation didn’t serve the Lord.

How did that happen? God’s Word didn’t get passed along to the next generation. It’s meant to be passed on through the family.

God’s design for passing on His Word is breaking down. Some of it we can’t help because of…
1. Children being born outside of marriage.
2. Divorce at staggering rate.
But some of it we can help.

Tony went on to tell us during the Football Combine (currently happening in Indianapolis, how do I know this … because I just spent $139 day to get the cheapest rental car I could on Tuesday night), when they are scouting new players they get the opportunity to interview each player for 15 minutes. 4 out of 5 interviewed didn’t grow up in a two parent home. When Tony asked, if you didn’t have a dad who helped you … it’s always a junior high, high school or college coach. They were the first person to care, show love.

His question is, “who reaches the non-athlete, who is helping them grow spiritually?”


Parents words are more impacting when reinforced by another individual. Tony talked about how he kept trying to get his son to get up more than 10 minutes before he had to leave in order to eat breakfast, instead of a Pop Tart on the go. He couldn’t get him to do it … that is until his coach asked him … at that point, everything changed.


Chuck Knoll told Tony his job was to “make our players better.”

Some players improved immediately while others improved over time. He talked about one of the Baltimore quarterbacks. Later saw him in passing one day and he said to Tony, “If you hadn’t been so hard on me I wouldn’t be married and have these kids today.” Tony said, “him saying that to me was better than any Super Bowl.”

Coach Knoll’s advice to Tony, same advice to us…
1. Learn your craft. You’ve been a player, now you need to learn to be a coach.
2. Make it personal. Be yourself. Those natural things God put in you need to come out now. Take an interest in the young men. Every player is a little different. Your job is to help ALL of them. Bad teachers can help an “A” student get an “A”. A great teacher can make everyone an “A” student.
3. January in football can be a down, kind of depressing time. There is usually only a day or two off between July and January.
a. Need to rely on Christ. It’s not me, but God working through me. Proverbs 21:31, we prepare for battle, but the victory is the Lords.
b. Focus on the Lord (Joshua 1:8).
c. Trust the Lord with setbacks. They tend to bring you closer to the Lord, increase faith. It allows me to encourage people during similar times. I can’t do that if I am winning all the time. Tony’s got more letters of how his story helped after he got fired from Tampa than from the Super Bowl. Paul, “pressing forward…” Never know when the next person crossing your path, you’ll get the opportunity to help change eternity.

I think they did the slap video after Dungy. It was hilarious.


Recognized volunteer John Allen at Saddleback.