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Setting OTHERS Up For Success

I love to watch coaches.  When most people watch sports they watch the athletes to see how they perform and that is true of me too.  However, as a student of sports there are many times when I find myself watching the coaches.  The fact of the matter is that teams take on the personality of their coaches.  One of the main reasons that I don’t like the 49ers is because I don’t like Jim Harbaugh and you can see him reflected in the attitude of his players.  Jim is known to fly off the handle and you end up seeing displays like this one.

Teams reflect their coach.  This can either scare the crap out of you or inspire you!  People are watching you and the people you are leading right now will pick up traits from you, for better or for worse.

See the role of a coach is to set other people up for success.  If you are a football coach, you do everything in your power to build a solid game-plan and set your team up to chalk up another W.  Ultimately if you can prepare your team enough this leads to trophies, better, pay, etc. There was a time when every coach was the player and they decided the outcome of the game but now it all comes down to how well the team executes.

Our role in student ministry is very much the same.  Student ministries will reflect the personality of their leader.  The tension we face as student leaders is that our “playing days” are over, so to speak.  I will assume that if you are a pastor or leader then you are saved.  With that said, your job now is to lead a student to the point of accepting Christ and praying that that student makes Christ Lord of their life.  You can script out the perfect “game-plan” but it is up to our students to execute it.

As I was reading my Bible today, I saw this play out at the end of King David’s life.

So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work. – 1 Chronicles 28:10 (NLT)

Then King David turned to the entire assembly and said, “My son Solomon, whom God has clearly chosen as the next king of Israel, is still young and inexperienced. The work ahead of him is enormous, for the Temple he will build is not for mere mortals—it is for the Lord God himself!  Using every resource at my command, I have gathered as much as I could for building the Temple of my God. Now there is enough gold, silver, bronze, iron, and wood, as well as great quantities of onyx, other precious stones, costly jewels, and all kinds of fine stone and marble. – 1 Chronicles 29:1-2 (NLT)

See David wanted desperately to build the temple but God wouldn’t let him.  David could have taken one of two roads here.  David could have sat around and moped for the rest of his days but rather he decided to set Solomon up for success.  King David realized all that it would take to complete the temple and he set up the best possible “game-plan” to help Solomon succeed as the new King.  David’s “playing days” were over but he saw the potential in Solomon and did all he could do to help him win.  David recognized Solomon’s faults and helped transition him into prominence as Israel’s new king.

We need to take action to set those around us up to succeed.  Who are you investing in and who are you setting up resources for?  Everyone reading this post (parents, students, youth pastors, etc.) has the opportunity and ability to coach someone up so what are you doing to invest in the future?



Fall Is In The Air

There’s something about August and September that is invigorating for me.  People are acquiring school supplies.  Stores are dishing out sales like it’s candy.  Sports camps are starting practice.  College students are moving in and out of the area.  Businesses are getting busier.  Football is getting back in swing.  Fall is about to arrive.

I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year almost as much as I love the fall (aka football season).  Similar to the New Year, everyone gets a new start.  This is especially true for students, whether they’re on their way to a new school or not.  What happened last year was erased by the summer, and everyone has done a whole 3 months of growing up, at least a little bit.  New topics are introduced.  New sports are attempted.  New friendships are formed.  And new memories are made.

So how does this all relate to student ministry?

Well, since this is the environment in which all students function, our ministries should be a reflection of this energy.  We need to know where our students are at, and respond in fashion.  Capitalize on the energy a new school year brings and harness it in such a way that encourages your students to strive for an ever-growing and ever-improving relationship with God.

Your, my, and our teens’ relationships with God will always have ups and downs.  Make sure to teach this to your students!  Don’t let them buy into the myth that healthy relationships with God are full of mountain-tops, though there are many.  If they believe this then they will quickly get discouraged and throw in the towel on God, and that is the last thing that we want for them.  Fall may very well be a “high” for them because of the energy of the season, but valleys quickly follow.  Following God is often a difficult, strenuous journey, and Christ made that very clear when He told us we’d have to take up His cross to follow Him.

Fall is no doubt one of the busiest times of the year.  Not only are sports super active and exciting, but before you know it you’ll be hit with the holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years back-to-back-to-back.  I say that to give you caution.  Our teens are incredibly busy.  I was too when I was their age, but it only gets busier as new generations come.  Please keep this in mind when you are strategically scheduling events.  Maybe that means you should schedule time in your families and ministries to have some “down time”.  Spend time building personal, deep relationships, not merely filling their calendars.

I hope you are all excited for the Fall season as I am!  I also hope these reminders about some of the exciting and dangerous things about the season will help keep you focused.  Now get out there, get pumped, and love on some teens!


Meet the Noodle

The Noodle

Meet the noodle!  The noodle is used for many different things in our youth ministry.  First of all, we use the noodle for games such as noodle hockey.  We also use noodles to keep our students in line (Ok no we don’t actually hit our students but it could come in handy).  Lastly, the noodle functions as a television censor.

Like many of you guys, our student ministry celebrated the greatness that is the National Football League.  We watched as the drama unfolded in round two of the Giants and Patriots saga.  Like any great football game, it came down to the very last play, and at the end we were all left holding our breath as Gronkowski tried but failed to save the day for the Patriots.  Eli Manning is now 2-0 versus the Patriots in the Superbowl, and Tom Brady is now 3-2 in the big game.

If you aren’t a sports fan, you still attend these parties.  While I sit to watch, analyze, and critique every move the teams make, many of you watch for the championship of advertising.  You trudge through the game only to watch the hilarity of the commercials.  I won’t go on and give you my opinion on the fact that the commercials are becoming less and less funny, but I will give you my pick of the two top commercials of the night.

My personal number one is Mr. Quiggly.  However, this next one came in at a very close second.

However, while there were quite a few funny commercials, our friend, the noodle, came into play more often than not.  Going from the GoDaddy commercials (which never stood a chance), to the reinvented couch (full of bikini clad women), to the seductive Fiat, to a seemingly naked M&M, we found the noodle in front of the projector time after time.  As we censored the ads in an attempt to keep our students as sexually pure as possible, I couldn’t help but hurt for the fact that this is what sells.  As the phrase goes, “Sex Sells.”

The fact of the matter is, the people in charge of making the commercials wouldn’t make a commercial that they didn’t think would sell their product.  My heart breaks because I know what it’s like to be a guy in this world of scantily clad women.  This post didn’t come spur of the moment but rather from various circumstances that came along.   First, I read this article from FoxNews about a sex scene in Miley Cyrus’ upcoming movie ‘LOL’.  Cyrus, who is 19 years old, plays Lola, a 15-year-old girl navigating the world of “High School Romance.”  The line in the video clip says, “Emily’s lie totally worked and I finally got to have sex with Kyle.” This is a movie that is going to be marketed to our students, and here she is promoting lying to your parents and having teenage premarital sex.  Second, I saw some girls in skirts that I would never, ever let my future daughter wear, and I would never want my future son to see.  The football game last night was just the kicker. I am not here today to blame the girls or to ask girls to cover themselves up (even though I do think that our female students and leaders need to be aware of what they are doing to their brothers in Christ), but rather to encourage you to protect your guys’ integrity.

Leaders, do everything that you can to protect your guys’ integrity.  That may mean that you cover up a seemingly “funny” commercial with a pool noodle because there’s a girl wearing a bikini.  Some people may say, “it’s just a bikini, they could see that at the pool,” but why do we make that an excuse?  Why do we allow the world to define what is right and wrong, when Scripture is so stinking clear?

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. — 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion. — Proverbs 11:22

I understand that most people are wearing bikinis at the pool, short shorts in the summer, and low-cut tops, but why are we afraid to be uncool?  I went to public school, so I know what it’s like to walk around constantly bouncing my eyes.  With that said, we need to provide our guys with the  resources and accountability needed to help them succeed.  It is not enough to just tell guys that they need to be pure.  Rather, we need to give them the ability to fight the fight.  Girls can do everything possible to help a guy, but a guy has to know how to fight when he’s alone with a computer at night and nobody is watching.  I wanted to give you a few ways to help you students fight the good fight.

Here’s are a few resources for you:

  • Covenant Eyes – I am not telling you to buy this for each of your students.  I would actually recommend that you make your guys buy this for themselves.  If the students are willing to buy the program then it means they’re serious about their purity and want to take the avenues necessary to protect their integrity.  There is also X3Watch as another option.
  • XXX Church – This is an amazing group that evangelizes to porn stars.  Talk about doing ministry in Sodom and Gomorrah! This is a website full of resources on battling porn addiction, and their sole goal is to create men and women who are spiritually pure.
  • Porn Again Christian – This is a FREE online ebook written by Mark Driscoll.  This ebook is a “Frank Discussion on Pornography and Masturbation.”
  • Eyes of Integrity – This is a book about the Porn Pandemic written by Craig Gross who found himself in more and more counseling sessions dealing with guys who were addicted and destroyed by pornography.

We don’t have an option, youth leaders; we have to fight this fight with our students!  This is a battle worth fighting for.

I made a covenant with my eyes
not to look lustfully at a young woman.

Job 31:1

– Jason

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