Shotgun vs hand holding ministry

I am a fixer…

Though I know my limits (cars and things that cause expositions that could take off an arm), I really like making things better.  I don’t think that this is an uncommon desire.  If you see something broken or someone hurting many times there is a desire to fix it.

I am a guy…

I have a limited attention span, I missimplied meanings (ask my wife) and have to have things explained to me very simply.

Finally I don’t like the details…

The phrase “the devil is in the details” is used frequently by some of our staff.  Well that is fine, I think to myself, I am a pastor and should stay as far away from the devil as possible and therefore should only touch details with a ten foot pole

What do these three things add up to…they mean that I have the tendency to look for the quick fix.  If there is a problem I would like to fix it, move on and not worry about the little things.  this is where my shotgun imagery comes in.  At times I will blast out an e-mail, or make a decision that I know will fix or address a problem that is in my ministry.  I will throw a bunch of stuff at my target at one time and hope something sticks.  Have a problem the church is facing preach a sermon, the youth are going somewhere they shouldn’t lock that part of the building…problem solved.

I am quick to fix and move on to the next thing.  I like to make things better in one fowl swoop, but I know God (being relational) calls me to act and lead differently.  Look even at the way we find our salvation.  Not through a magic wand, but through the very personal and very relational life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

I have to be reminded that I can’t bombard a problem and them wash my hands of it.  In our ministry people are the priority, not just because they matter to us us because they matter most to God.  Rather than being the fixer, I have to slow down and journey with student, friends and family to see what they are really saying and going through.

When we are able to the a community (a church) that journeys together and holds hands through the hard things we are becoming the people God has made us to be.

How are you practicing hand holding ministry rather than shotgun programing?

Faith Lab: Most Important

The-Faith-LabWhat is the most important think in your life?  No really think for a minute and answer.  What is the most important thing in your life?

It is my prayer that it would be your relationship with God.  Please note that I didn’t write just God, but rather the relationship that you have with God.  When I was a kid I thought a lot about God, and in seminary we studied a lot about God.  Learning and thinking about God is very different that nurturing a relationship with God.

As a youth worker (and as a parent for that matter) we need to know what comes first.  As someone active in student ministries you need to be sure that you are Loving God and liking the kids that God has entrusted into your care.

What are you doing to make God number one in your life?  How are you working to see God in all that you do? Where is God calling you to reevaluate your priorities?

We can nurture our relationships with God through prayer, scripture reading, serving the poor and being willing to open ourselves up to our young people and journey with one another on the adventure of faith.



The other day I ordered some new confirmation materials.  The materials that I ordered are from the Lutheran publishing house.  The funny thing was that when I was about to finalize the order I got an email from the Methodist publishing house that was advertising a new confirmation set from the UMC.

Excited I took a look and it looked very outdated in both materials and in class format.  The Re:Form stuff has a method of teaching that is experiential and conversational.  It understands that confirmation is the beginning of a conversation and not a platform to set up young people to graduate from church.

I am stoked about the material that has great videos (wonderful graphic design), thoughtful questions and in a style and feel that we have been using for a while.

However my heart is sad by the disappointment of the Methodist materials have put out.  I feel like the UMC is a denomination that draws from a wonderful heritage with wonderful resources of both lay and clergy.  I would love for the UMC to take seriously the call to minister and resource the local church to tend to the needs of our young people (youth and young adult).

I hope that we do not wait much longer to hear the heart cry of youth and miss the opportunity to invest in the future of the church.

Katie’s FNP Article

Check out Katie’s Article
 The Frederick News-Post Online – Frederick County Maryland Daily Newspaper

It is Friday night and we are enjoying a night out on the town. (Well, as much of a night out on the town you can have when you live in Brunswick . Thinking back to college, this is nothing like the nights out I used to have living in Washington, D.C.)

My husband Chris and I have taken Eden to the Farmer’s Market in town and then to the local coffee shop. The eclectic vibe is able to both distract Eden and entice her parents — a difficult balance.

After ordering our dinners, we search for a seat in the crowded room as a blue grass band plays in the corner. They are teenagers — college students maybe. All girls. Playing the fiddle and the accordion. Which fascinates my toddler and fascinates me. I am not sure I knew what an accordion was when I was in high school, let alone had the desire to play it.

But now as the music flows over me I begin to daydream a different life.

I get lost in the music. “I could play the accordion,” I say to my husband who is too busy eating his dinner to respond.

“I could play the fiddle,” I whisper to Eden. With pizza in her mouth, she smiles a wide-toothed, sauce-covered smile.

“I could,” I think to myself as I take a bite of my salad.

No deadlines, no pressure, no diapers, no laundry. It had been a long day, a long week, a long month. So many changes, not so much success.