Never Say Never (Or Say It and Join the Club)

by on in Leadership.

Wanna know how I ended up with a preferential option for people who are in middle school?

It started when I took a job working specifically with 9th-12th grade students. Five years into ministry, I became a high school pastor. (Exhale.)

It wasn’t that I didn’t like middle school students. They were great, but I thought focusing on high school ministry was my chance to really get to know the students who were more like me.

(SIDE NUGGET: One of the false assumptions I made early in youth ministry was that my students were like me. Every student is different. When I was 21 years old, leading 18 and 19 year olds, even then I was in a different place than they were.)


Strategic or Spiritual?

by on in Strategy.

I don’t know where this comes from…

Sometimes it’s a question about the business books on my reading list.

Sometimes, after a discussion about strategy, people ask… “but where does prayer come in?”

Very few people, if any, have ever framed it this way but it seems they want to ask me…

Are you strategic or are you spiritual?

Over the years I have developed an answer to that question.


On-The-Spot Pumpkin Carving Contest!

by on in Experience.

Here’s the idea.

When we begin our program, we introduce that day’s Showdown and choose two students that want to battle it out (usually a guy and a girl). We give them each a pumpkin (already hollowed out and seeded) and 15 minutes to prepare.

After 15 minutes, we called them back and watched them carve their pumpkins live in front of our group. We chose the winners by letting the crowd cheer for their favorite.

And of course we needed a cool prize, so Elle carved a pumpkin with our logo in it.

If you’re looking to do your own On-the-Spot Pumpkin-Carving Showdown, here’s what you’ll need for each battle


8 Simple Steps for Remodeling Your Calendar

by on in Leadership, Strategy.

Have you ever remodeled your kitchen?

Think for a second about when you moved into your current home. Think about what it was like to unpack your kitchen.

That looks like a good place for the silverware… the cleaning stuff should go there… let’s put plates and bowls over here.

But then life in your new kitchen started. You loaded and unloaded the dishwasher a few times, you got up early for the morning routine of packing lunches and getting the kids off to school, you cleaned up a few times at the end of the day, and then you realized…

There was probably a better way to organize this.


Romancing Parent Ministry

by on in Parents.

So we have taken some big strides in our Parent Ministry (follow us on Instagram @parentministry and @marinersjhm if you’re interested) and its been a fun journey. We just had an event that was very well attended. It was a Parent Learning Lab on Social Media with Adam Mclane from The Youth Cartel and co-author of A Parents Guide to Social Media.

It was a big moment for me, for our ministry at Mariners Church, and for me as a leader. Some parents commented on how highly attended this event was. Others talked about parent events they’d attended in the past that looked more like ghost towns. So how did we find success? Well I’ll be honest, we had to “romance” our parent ministry.