7 Ways to Lead Younger People

By | Business, Church Planting, Leadership, Youth | 27 Comments

I wrote a post recently about how to lead people older than you. (Read that post HERE.) Recently I was meeting with Ben Reed and another gentleman who kept referring to how young Ben appeared to be. It bothered me and I realized I needed to write the opposite post. Ben is a phenomenal leader and agreed to help me with this post.

Here are 8 ways to lead people younger than you

Read More

Reaching Millennials — Is There One Way?

By | Call to Ministry, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Youth | 4 Comments

This is a guest post by my son Nate:

My name is Nate, and I’m a millennial.
That means I must love liturgy, hate big production in church, want to ask really hard questions about faith all the time, go do organized “social justice” every Saturday, am nowhere near shallow enough (or I’m just far too clever) to attend a church with a hashtag campaign, want a pastor who preaches messages that are “on point” and filled with “authentic, hard truth”, think that the majority of Christians I grew up with were hypocritical bigots who suppressed all of my doubts, love Jesus but question institutionalized Christianity, yet simultaneously desperately desire a church that will help me get back in touch with the “historic roots” of the Christian faith.

So, church leaders… if you want to reach me and all my millennial friends, decipher how all of that fits together, then get busy changing to become exactly like me so that I can have a church that’s perfect for me. But make sure you stay “authentic” along the way, otherwise we will see straight through you and discount you completely.
Heew. What a difficult task you have. Unless, of course, that’s not true for all (I might even argue, most) millennials.

The last couple weeks, there have been several articles posted about how the church can reach millennials. Below are just two examples.

Want millennials back in the pews? Stop trying to make church ‘cool.’

Dear church: An open letter from one of those millennials you can’t figure out

These kinds of posts have been rolling out for a few years now. The reason I’ve decided to write this post is because several older believers and pastors I deeply respect have been sharing the articles, almost as if their ministries are completely irrelevant and headed toward extinction.

I simply don’t believe that’s true.

You can read the rest of the post by clicking

HERE

7 Ways to Minister to College Students

By | Church, Encouragement, Youth | 10 Comments

Recently my friend Guy Chmieleski asked me to write for his blog Faith on Campus. I wrote under the heading “If I were a college pastor today.” Here is that post adapted for my blog.

Living in a college community, I can’t imagine not investing in the next generation intentionally at that college. Austin Peay State University, our local university, is not only the fastest growing university in our state (Go Govs!), it’s also my alma mater. I also have two college-aged sons (one a graduate), which naturally draws me to the age.

I love college ministry, because it involves college students. Sounds like a fair reason, right? College students are confident, idealistic, and full of hope and passion for life. I love investing in them knowing they have years to carry out what they are learning. We have an incredible college ministry at Grace Community Church, led by Brandon Reed, a great college pastor, but I must be honest, sometimes I envious of his time with college students. I take advantage of hanging out with students whenever I get the chance.

So, while I’m not a college pastor, if I was one these days, I think I’d:

Help students understand their worth in Christ – When a student can operate out of this identity it will help them withstand some of the temptations they face.

Intentionally mentor a few superstars – I can’t reach all of them, but I can invest in a few. I would work to develop leaders who would in turn invest in others.

If invited, meet on their turf – I was invited to a college apartment recently. As they cleaned a place off the couch for me to sit and kicked various drink cans under the bed (which was in the same room), I was reminded that this was a special opportunity I had been privileged to attend. I felt I had enter the sacred grounds of college life again.

Feed them – I like to buy lunch for college students. Now if any of ours read this my requests will increase and I may have to say no, but it’s amazing how open students become when there is a free meal in front of them.

Let them be themselves – I think it’s important not to try to change them or conform them to a standard, other than Jesus. They are in a period of discovery. Let them explore and stay close enough to help steer them to Christ.

Be myself – Don’t try to “fit in” with college students if you aren’t one. Be the age you are and the person you are. They can spot an impostor quickly.

Have fun – College is a fun period of life. It should be less stressful. When you are hanging out with college students, don’t expect to be serious all the time. There will be times when they are very serious (even deep), but sometimes are just to hang. That’s okay.

I’m not a college pastor, but if I was…I’d love it! Anyone looking to hire one? (Just kidding…kind of…)

What would you add to my list?

The Best 3 Things I Taught My Sons

By | Children, Encouragement, Family, Youth | 9 Comments

I watched my oldest son make a life decision recently and it confirmed how proud I am of my two boys. He wrestled through it with wisdom and landed on, what I believe, was the best answer to his situation.

The title of this post may be misleading, because I don’t know if I taught wisdom to my boys or if they just saw me seek it and so it became a part of their life to pursue it, but either way, I’m glad they gained the practice.

Here are three things my boys have that I wouldn’t trade anything for:

The love of wisdom – My boys love to learn. They continue, into their 20’s, to seek wisdom from me and others.

The learning of wisdom – My boys not only listen to the wisdom of others, they seek it out from their own experience. They seem to realize that wisdom comes best through the experiences of life….good and bad…so they continue to learn from the decisions they make.

The living of wisdom – I have to be honest, my boys are two of the wisest young men I know. They truly take wisdom and apply it to their life, making wiser choices as they grow in wisdom.

I’m addicted to growing in wisdom. I’m so proud my boys seem to have inherited the practice.

Let’s talk wisdom.

Answer these questions:

Do you love, learn, and live wisdom as much as you can?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how wise are you these days? (Be honest with your assessment.)

Who is the wisest living person you know?

Addressing a Porn Generation

By | Christians, Culture, Encouragement, Youth | 35 Comments

When I was a teenager, if I wanted to view porn, I would have had to find a magazine. Honestly, even though I may have wanted to, I never had or found a stash. I knew everyone where I might have bought some and if my friends had their own stash of pictures, they never shared them with me.

I did a little babysitting as a teenager in addition to my grocery store work and I did manage to find some magazines at one of the houses where I worked late one night. Those images are still with me today. As much as pornography was probably a part of my generation, it wasn’t that accessible to me.

My boys have grown up in a different generation….

Read More

Orange Week: Churches Partnering with Parents

By | Children, Encouragement, Parenting, Youth | 2 Comments

It took years before I felt comfortable teaching about parenting. I don’t feel adequate to teach about parenting adult children now, since I’m still doing that, but I feel better about helping parents of younger children. Our boys have become healthy, well-adjusted, God-fearing children.

This week is Orange Week; a ministry of The ReThink Group. It’s a week to talk about the Orange strategy of partnering churches with parents, believing that the combined effort works better than either one of them working independent of each other. I’m happy to participate. Our church uses and believes in the Orange strategy.

We owe all our success at parenting to God’s grace, but…

Read More

Middle School Camp…Wish They’d Let Me Go

By | Church, Family, Youth | 3 Comments

The Grace Community Church middle school camp is this week. Thanks to our family pastor Michael Bayne for letting me grab this video from his blog. (I didn’t ask permission, so I hope he’s okay with this.) Our youngest son Nate is serving as student pastor this summer and so he’s at the camp and in the video. I wish they would let me go sometime. I’d show them a water party!

Read More

Father Influence Survey

By | Children, Family, Parenting, Youth | 9 Comments

I’m working on some blog posts, messages, and perhaps even a book on fathering. I’m especially interested in addressing the absence of a strong father figure in a person’s life, since I see it as a huge scar in many people’s life.

You can help me with this part of my ministry. Please consider completing my survey on fathering. It’s quick and easy and all responses are anonymous.

Read More