Friday, August 31, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Being Bi-Vocational

I am a bi-vocational pastor. For those of you who may not understand that terminology, it essentially means I have two jobs. I have a full-time position as an elementary school teacher and a part-time position as a pastor at Charles Town Baptist Church.

There are positives and negatives to being bi-vocational. I would like to point out, however, that I am not complaining. I am very grateful to the opportunities that God has provided for me by letting me serve as a bi-vocational pastor.


  • Being in ministry is hard work. Some may wonder why this is a positive, but, for me, it is. I need to have that constant pressure to make sure that I am performing. I am easily distracted, so the requirements of ministry are good for me to make sure I am getting things completed.
  • Having a day job provides me some stability. Jon Acuff addresses this issue in his book Quitter. As a teacher, I have a stable paycheck and good health insurance that doesn't cost me as much as it would if I were to pay for it another way. This is really good because I have a houseful of children.
  • Working as a teacher keeps me in touch with the lives of real students. As a youth pastor, I get to see my students on Wednesday nights and Sundays at church. Of course, being at church, they are on their best behavior (at least we hope). Being with students all day at school, I get to see them at their best and at their worst. It keeps me fresh in regards to the issues and joys and pains that students experience.


  • Being in ministry is hard work. The astute reader will notice that I am using this point twice. Being a pastor is very draining and requires a lot out of a person mentally. We are made aware of the ugly side of life on a regular basis.
  • There is a large time commitment. I often find myself feeling guilty because I am not spending enough time doing on job or the other. There are so many things that I want to do as a youth pastor, but am unable to because of school commitments. I also find myself thinking about one job or other when I am with my family. I know it drives my wife crazy when I am with her, but not really with her.
  • I can't give 100% to either jobNo matter how hard we try, it is impossible to give more than 100% effort to anything. If you divide that between two jobs and a growing family, there is a great deal of frustration because you can't do more than you already are.

My goal is to turn these negative aspects into positives. I spend a good deal of time in prayer, asking God to make being bi-vocational a thing of the past. I do know, however, that I will continue to do this until the end of the school year. With that knowledge, I am doing what I can to put things in place to make full-time vocational ministry a reality.

The Lord is going to do great things and I can't wait to be a part of them.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Celebration - The Ten-Foot Ice Cream Sundae

I read somewhere that every youth pastor should keep a journal of how their activities went. I have yet to do it, but here is a recap of our activity from August 25, 2012. We built a Ten-Foot Ice Cream Sundae and the students had a blast.

We began the activity with some social time. After getting everyone settled, we watched two videos. The first was for a new series we will be doing in Awakening (our youth group service) called "Life in 6 Words." This series is a break down of the gospel and is designed to help students learn to share their faith. The second video was a promo for See You At The Pole. My prayer is that we will have a large number of students from our church participate and I am pushing it as much as I can.

After watching the videos, I spoke for a few minutes, using Acts 17:26 as my text. It is my desire for my students to see school as a mission field and I urged them to understand that, based on that verse, God chose this time and this place for them to live because of the awesome plan He has for them.

While we were watching and talking, the adult leaders were putting out the ice cream. I purchased a rain gutter from Home Depot and five gallons of ice cream from Wal-Mart. The leaders filled the gutter with the ice cream and the students then put toppings on the ice cream. Everyone then grabbed a spoon and dug in. Some students used chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and lots of cherries. One student brought bacon bits, but we gave him his own bowl.

Overall, I think the event was a success. We had about 20 students participate, including 11 of our students, 7 visitors (some unchurched, some from other churches), and 2 graduates saying goodbye to the student ministry program. I shared the gospel and will continue to pray that hearts are changed. I am looking forward to doing this event again in the future.

Here is a picture of the aftermath of the ice cream when all of the students were finished eating.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Book Review - Firing Jesus by Greg Stier

The other night I had the opportunity to be a part of a webinar hosted by Greg Stier, the president of Dare2Share Ministries. At the end of the webinar, we were given a link to download Greg's new book Firing Jesus.

The book is a modern day telling of Christ's ministry. It involves a youth pastor named JC Davidson and the church elders who either oppose or support the work that JC is doing with the youth group of the church.

An emergency meeting is called because some of the elders are opposed to the radical changes that JC is making to the youth department, including telling the students that they needed to get serious about what was going on. The elders proceed to run through a litany of complaints against JC, including his willingness to call the untrained, his extreme nature toward prayer, and his radical nature. Interspersed throughout this story are testimonies of individuals who are involved in the story, including a former bully, an elder's son, and a rich family.

Firing Jesus will change the way that youth pastors look at their ministry. It is a tough book, one that will call you to reexamine the way that we are doing ministry. Are we calling our students to a higher standard or are we simply trying to get them into the building in an attempts to boost our own egos?

It was a short read, one that took me about 30 minutes or so to read the entire thing. However, it was chock full of great stuff and it is a book that I would highly recommend. In fact, you should probably get several copies so that you can share with others.

Please visit Dare2Share Ministries if you would like to learn more about Firing Jesus or you would like to purchase a copy for yourself or your team.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Free E-Book - Firing Jesus by Greg Stier

I had the opportunity to participate in a webinar hosted by Greg Stier, the president of Dare2Share Ministries. I will be sharing some of the notes that I took during the webinar in a later post, but I wanted to get this into your hands quickly.

Not only is Greg the president of Dare2Share, he is also a prolific writer. His latest book is called Firing Jesus. The idea behind Firing Jesus is whether or not Jesus would make it as a youth pastor in many of today's churches. While I have not had the opportunity to read the whole thing, I have read the first two chapters and it is really good stuff. The book is fairly short (about 112 pages) and many have told me on Twitter that they read it in one sitting.

Because Greg is so gracious, he gave me permission to give out the link for the book. If you would like to get a free copy of Firing Jesus, you simply need to follow this link. In return for the book, you simply need to give them some information and get signed up for their newsletter. Dare2Share is an incredible ministry and their newsletter is always backed full of great stuff.

Go here to get your free copy of Firing Jesus.

If you have never taken the time to read Greg Stier's book Outbreak, I highly recommend you do so. It will give you a passion to train students to share the Gospel.

Why I Will Never Apologize for Reaching Out to Young Men

I was recently caught up in a disagreement about my desire to train and reach young men, as well as to develop adult male leaders. This is something that I will never apologize for doing.

this does not mean that I am a misogynist or that I believe women are inferior to men. God has blessed both men and women to serve the Body of Christ; we are all blessed to have different roles and abilities that have been uniquely given in order to complement those around us.

I will reach out to young men because I believe that God has called them to lead the church. We need young men who will step up to that responsibility. Too many men in our society (and church) have shirked their God-given responsibility to serve as leaders. I want to reverse this.

I will reach out to young men because God has called them to lead their families. While they may not have family leadership responsibilities yet, the training in the Bible they receive will assist them in the future.

I will reach out to young men in order to train them to be an example to others. I desire a student ministry that is a shining light to the dark world around them, and I want to see the young men stepping up and leading that charge.

I will do these things, but never to the exclusion of the girls. I will seek to disciple and train the young women to be godly young women. Of course, I can only go so far because I am a man. I can, however, train the young men to be godly men.

I will never apologize for doing that.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Why I Am About Numbers in Youth Ministry

A comment was made to me the other day that, as a youth pastor, I put a lot of emphasis on numbers. And it is a fair statement. I do emphasize number, but never to the detriment of the students who are currently attending.

Here are some reasons I put an emphasis on numbers.

  • Larger numbers of students mean more students are hearing the Bible. The more students we have in attendance, the greater the chance of growth in Christ.
  • Larger numbers mean more opportunities to share the Gospel and see students come to Christ. Statistically, there will be unsaved students in a large group. The larger the group, the more unsaved students we may encounter and the more opportunities we will have to share Christ with them in our youth group setting.
  • Larger numbers mean more students missionaries in our schools. As a youth pastor, I cannot be in our public schools (well, I can because I am a public school teacher, but that's another story.) As we see our numbers increase, it increases the number of students who are being trained to reach their friends.

So, yes, I put an emphasis on number. It isn't about me or my ego. It is all about reaching a generation for Christ.