In the last week alone I’ve had two churches ask me if I knew any good prospects for a youth pastor position. I’ve had another five ask me in the last month or two. Each of these conversations always led to the question: “what would you look for in a youth pastor?”

That’s a great question, and you’ll find a variety of scales and measures people use in their quest for someone to lead young people. Some are generic guidelines for ministry. For example, Bill Hybels “4 C’s” (Character, Competence, Chemistry, Culture) prove effective for many people, with an emphasis on ‘character,’ a quality that definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.

But I find that the search for a youth minister has several qualities unique to the position, something I might not search for in every ministry position. So my list, in total, is unique to a youth pastor.

Let me start with a “given.” This won’t even count as part of my seven; it’s the foundation, which the other seven rest.

GIVEN: The person demonstrates a strong walk with God through a growing personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

1. Tell us about your relationship with Christ and how it’s grown recently?

2. What are some areas you need to work on in your relationship with Christ? What are you doing daily/weekly to work on these areas?

Again, if the person can’t answer these questions… the interview is over.

Should always look for Humility/Teachability

Watch out for the youth pastor that always says, “I got this,” or “I got that covered.” That’s a red flag, a siren wailing that this person doesn’t want any help and thinks that he can do it by himself.

You want a youth pastor who is teachable. This as the delicate balance of self-confidence and humility (a tough balance). This person is a learner and isn’t intimidated by having to be teachable. The result is a youth pastor who is confident in their abilities, but completely aware where he got those abilities, giving God credit. “humility combined with conviction.”

This person will be a sponge, trying to learn from every situation. They want to be mentored and learn at every opportunity. They are self-assured, but welcome and truly consider suggestions.

The humble person also strives to understand his or her own strengths and weaknesses. As they grow, they’ll learn to focus on their gifts and allow others to step in where needed. Self-awareness goes hand in hand with humility. I’ve heard Doug Fields say, “You never lose with humility.” Yep, but pride kills.

Watch out for these red flags evident in the life of the “unteachable” youth pastor:
•Has trouble delegating and empowering. Wants to do everything himself.
•Is quick to dismiss certain methodologies that are contrary to what he has done.
•He won’t let a lot of others speak or be up front. Always in the center of any programs or videos.
•Doesn’t always recruit a lot of volunteers because he wants more control.
•When a supervisor asks him about certain methodologies, he’s quick to claim, “I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work.”
•Sometimes this person doesn’t use any resources from others, but insists on writing and creating their own. (Writing your own curriculum is not a bad thing. But some leaders are compulsive about this and don’t want to use anything else but their own. This person often wastes valuable time re-inventing the wheel.)

 

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Found this on Pastor Perry Nobles blog today:
#1 – Do not say “NO” for that someone that keeps popping into your head. You never know what is going on in their life and right now may be the BEST time to ask them.

#2 – Offer to buy them a meal either before or after the service. Who doesn’t love a good meal?

#3 – If they are single, tell them they might meet someone cute! (It has absolutely happened in the past).

#4 – Seriously spend time in prayer asking God who you need to specifically reach out to and invite to an Easter service.

#5 – Don’t feel like you have to be a theological expert and know all of the answers to all of the hypothetical questions you have imagined them asking you. You don’t have to know it all! You just have to know that Jesus saves and that’s what we’re going to talk about at church this weekend.

#6 – Don’t tell yourself you will just pray for them without pursuing them. YES…we should pray for people far from God, but we should also be willing to pursue them like Jesus pursued us.

#7 – Read John 1:43-51 and see that “Found People Find People” really is true.

#8 – Give yourself permission to be excited about church! If people can get excited about the Instagram picture of their microwave dinner then WE can get excited about people crossing over from death to life.

#9 – Understand that everyone really does spend eternity somewhere.

#10 – Realize that fear doesn’t come from the Lord (II Timothy 1:7)! If HE has placed someone on your heart to invite then He has gone before you and prepared them for the invite as well.

SEE YOU SUNDAY!

So You Want To Be A Pastor?

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This is a great blog post that I read today at Marshill.com

So you want to be a pastor, huh? Congratulations! According to 1 Timothy 3:1, you desire a “noble task.” But maybe you also know that this is something that won’t happen for a while. You need time to grow into the role. So what can you do today to prepare for tomorrow?

Tell someone who can help

The first step towards becoming a pastor someday is to let someone know today who is already a pastor. Scripture makes it clear (2 Tim. 2:2) that pastors are responsible for developing other pastors. And one of the best things I get to do as a pastor is helping other men move toward serving the church in the same way. Your request for help and guidance won’t be an imposition. It will be a blessing to the man who is responsible for developing you.

Start serving

One of the greatest myths among young men aspiring to be pastors is that there is a second conversion in which you transform instantaneously from being a guy to a pastor guy. The truth is that Jesus makes men into pastors over time. So there are ways in which you can avail yourself to his plan today. Pastor is an office as well as a function. So you can pastor others, within biblical parameters, without holding the office today. Teach a kid’s class. Lead a small group. Offer your volunteer services to assist your pastor so that he can better focus on the things only he must do.

Start studying

The best tool on the belt of pastoral ministry is the Bible. It’s what the rifle is to the infantryman. So master Scripture. Read it, study it, listen to it being preached, memorize it and meditate on it. Make it your goal to gospel the people you serve rather than sharing from your personal experiences or insights. Let the Bible speak through you to others and their lives will be impacted.

Start evangelizing

I believe this is the most unrealized aspect of pastoral ministry today. There are many, many pastors. But evangelistic pastors are few and far between. Maybe this is why the Apostle Paul exhorts young Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” While you aren’t yet qualified to preach, you are empowered by the Holy Spirit to share the gospel with those who don’t yet know Jesus. Go for it!

Keep repenting

Pastors don’t become pastors through their own blood, sweat, and tears. They become pastors through the blood, sweat, and tears of Jesus. And the best way to experience Jesus’ transforming work is through the repetitive act of repentance. Turn from your sin openly and definitively. Trust in him completely. And do this over and over again. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Then be useful in his hands by serving his people.

Thoughts of a former Student Pastor

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It’s hard to believe that I’ve been out of the student ministry world for a year and half now. 11 years in full time Student Ministry. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those pastors who says “I would never go back” “I’m glad to be out”… Nope, not me! I LOVE STUDENT MINISTRY! I didn’t view student ministry as a stepping stool to the big time senior pastor job.

I miss the awkward conversations, Lock-ins, dealing with parents, watching a student get it.

I sat down the other night as kinda a “look back” over the last 11 years in SM and I wrote down a few things that I learned (Some the hard-way) and made a list. If you are new to student ministry/youth groups (whatever you call it) maybe you are looking for some insight maybe these few things will help guide you. Here is a list of things I wish someone would have told me before I started. 

1. Students matter to God and warrant our efforts to extend the gospel to them.

2. The gospel of Jesus Christ must be presented in a way that is relevant to the culture of middle school students (Eph. 6:18,19) as well as high school students

3. Evangelism is a process and is best accomplished within the context of relationships. Not your sermon one night a week.

4. There are various levels of spiritual interest and Christian commitment among students.

5. Effective student ministry is done through the development of real relationships between believers and non-churched students.

6. Student ministry done with excellence reflects God and attracts students.

7. Student ministry is to be reviewed and evaluated for real effectiveness. CONSTANTLY! Just because it worked “that one time” don’t think it will work again!

8. Student ministry should be built on the team principle–not on the gifts of one individual.

9. Every student, once they become a Christian, is capable of and should be involved in the work of building God’s Kingdom.

10. Invest in Middle Schoolers. I say it again INVEST IN MIDDLE SCHOOLERS! (In 10 years when you have strong lasting relationship you can thank me)

11. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” A student would rather hear you say that than tell them a crap answer!

12. Please treat them like teenagers. Student Ministry is NOT children’s ministry. Don’t play pointless games, Don’t talk down to them on a dumbed down level. Understand they probably know more about certain subjects than you do.

13. Don’t try to be their best friend. Be their pastor.  The moment you become “BFF’s” you loose the credibility that you would have as their pastor. (That being said, know that eventually you will have some great friends that are former students. Invest in their lives and they will stick around!)

14. LOVE THEM. Don’t just treat them as a job. REALLY LOVE THEM. Show them. Tell them. (This is huge)

15. Always keep in mind… You are helping mold the adult they will be in a few short year.

16. Build a good relationship with parents. Parents are NOT the enemy they are your best line of defense. Student Ministries/pastors that have a good relationship with parents have a thriving SM.

Remember… Your student ministry is only as effective as your relationship with the parents is.

17. Don’t be surprised when you get stabbed in the back from: Your leaders, Parents, other Student Pastors, close friends. gotta put your big boy underwear on and go with it.

Remember: TRUTH never fears a challenge!

18. Always ALWAYS be open and honest with your senior pastor. Don’t surprise him.

19. DREAM BIG. And don’t allow the ministry/people to kill that dream!

20. Don’t give up!  Don’t quit!  Stay in the fight!!! 

God called you to be a warrior…and sometimes warriors get wounded.  BUT…wounds should not take the desire to fight out of us…but rather cause us to want to fight even more.

Don’t quit…don’t give up…fight the good fight!  (Galatians 6:9)

Pray, fast, preach, witness, memorize Scripture…and give satan a swift kick in the cookies as often as possible!!

But whatever you do…don’t give up!  He called you—He gifted you—He empowered you and He will sustain you!  (II Corinthians 4) – the WHOLE THING!

Don’t give up! To many are following you for you to throw in the towel and quit. KEEP GOING!

21. DO NOT give up on a student because he/she doesn’t “Get it” now or after they graduate and leave and are no longer part of your ministry!

Here is a freebie: Don’t burn bridges. You never know when you might need that bridge to walk over again.

God bless you.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Some of the most loved pictures from my Student Ministry days: 261296_515244725074_4328063_n300x300-5 216505_504256839884_8354_n

208074_504256849864_9051_n  207896_503433993874_6930_n 208570_504256884794_9712_n 217779_503433998864_7161_n 216112_503221574564_5056_n 217009_504256859844_9542_n 217056_504521040424_777880_n 217784_504521075354_2750498_n 208153_504521010484_6770595_n  205485_504521035434_8013040_n 208469_504521115274_2322156_n 215096_504521120264_3098843_n               269719_515224186234_3386690_n 224541_515566365504_6497290_n 198776_515566400434_5344500_n 168093_510565577124_803771_n 29657_508213291124_8094732_n 29657_508213306094_2133007_n 29657_508213266174_8178206_n 262244_515266606224_3625259_n557052_528516538254_1311651098_n 376583_528160197364_275215889_n 579939_528655424924_2014165907_n 395030_532472176124_815979423_n182228_598502733851_29007474_33765424_4282166_n.jpglknjm.jpgldgdfgfdg.jpg312294_517012377684_179300070_30349681_612176750_n523709_256279794477248_68486967_n 522322_203077739797454_1336478091_n 644574_277564252348802_1826250031_n314100_107882845983611_7570412_n 296933_107880982650464_5375126_n 296205_107881389317090_595176_n 301667_107881282650434_200313_n261958_515249720064_231899_n198328_510991398774_971843_n381878_518282487374_658274763_n 531991_523366124724_895101491_n 484198_526000131154_409494561_n 250964_526394610614_594522137_n 522521_526544041154_2121839567_n 403547_526585108854_1177377346_n428427_527403883024_2022707986_n 217814_528158001764_1920042835_n 292351_527408159454_330105570_nfullsdfsdfs fullfsdff asdfdsafadsfdsf fullasdfdwsfdsf fulldsfdfsdf fullfffffullfffssdfsdf adasdasd fullfdsfsdfsd dasdasdasd adsfdasfadsfds fullasdfasdfasdfadsfasdfadsfs fullasdfsadfadsfasdfadsfasdfadsf werwerwerwerwe xvdsfsdgadfgsdfgfulldfdsfdsfsfullasdfadsfadsf

Label me—-> “Family Man”

I am a blessed man! If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would have a awesome wife and 4 kid before my 32nd birthday I would have probably laughed at you. But now that I’m here I wouldn’t change a thing! I LOVE MY FAMILY! 1454867_550886808054_1502552960_nMy wife and I just got back from a long LONG road trip over Christmas with our 4 kids under the age of 4. It was one of the most Amazing/horrible/memorable/terrifying/awesome trips of my life. a 8 hour drive (one way) turned into a 15 hour drive (one way).

All 6 of us in one hotel room spreading some holiday cheer for the rest of the floor to hear!

Looking back on the trip it was one I wouldn’t want to do again… But, I will remember it!  Someone recently asked me on twitter (@JCGroves) how I prioritize my family.

#1 – Read good books

“Choosing To Cheat” by Andy Stanley is a great book that I highly recommend. Read one together and talk about it.

#2 – I Made It A Point To Prioritize My Family.

No one is going to do this for you…YOU have got to make it happen…and then guard your time with them with pit bull intensity!

Kym and I have a date night once every two weeks…and NOTHING is getting in the way of that…NOTHING!

I try to have a time alone with me and each one of my kids ALONE…and I don’t let ANYTHING get in our way.

I eat dinner with my family usually six nights a week (Sunday usually being the exception.)

Kym try to get away once or twice a year where it is JUST US, no one else…and that is a good thing! :-)

AND I MADE THAT HAPPEN! If your family is important enough to you…then you will put them on the schedule and dare anyone to try to move them!

Do we have to move things around occasionally? Sure…emergencies happen, one of us gets sick, schedule do change…but that is the exception…and an “emergency” MAY happen around three or four times a year!

#3 – I remind myself that “Loving One Another” MUST Begin With Kym, Kaden, Colton, Corbin & Kenzie

If I am going to be a fully devoted follower of Christ then I am commanded to love others. And…in order to love someone you MUST spend time with them.

One of the problem I see with pastors/people in ministry is that they spend so much time “loving others” that they neglect to love those under their roof. That simply can’t be! LOVE YOUR FAMILY!

#4 – Realize That the work will never be completed.

I’m a freak…most leaders are. I’m self motivated…driven…passionate…and always think that if I just devote a little bit more time to something then it could be better.
I would literally work from 7am to 9pm if I didn’t finally come to the conclusion a few years ago that I will ALWAYS have more to do than I can possibly get done…and being ok with that means that I am learning to trust in HIS abilities rather than mine.

My advice to pastors/ministry leaders is to set a time on your schedule that you are going to leave the office. Turn OFF (Not just on silent) the phone. Shut OFF the computer and go home and BE at home and then NO MATTER what happens…DO IT! Trust me…the work will be there when you get back the next day.

If you are “the best” in everyone’s eyes and not in your wife and kids eyes you ultimately fail as a husband and a dad.

BE the Husband God has called you to be.

BE the Dad your kids need you to be

BE all that God wants you to be.

Here is a link to a great book that I’ve read a few times. It’s from one of Pastor Mark Driscoll’s sermons “Pastor Dad” back_pastordad

GO. Be the husband and dad God has called you to be. And Remember they are watching you!

Poster Child for what could have been.

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Few of you have ever heard of Ron Wayne. A lot of you have used the products that stem from his creation.All of you need to know his story because it’s a warning to all of us.

Along with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Ron Wayne cofounded Apple Computer Inc. on April Fools Day, 1976. Yes, there was a third founder of Apple. But few people know that because just twelve days after he signed the agreement he himself drafted that would have given him 10% ownership of the company, he sold back his shares. For $800. If he had stuck it out, today he would be worth around $22 billion.

Instead he now sells stamps out of his home. And plays penny slot machines after midnight. A poster child for what could have been.

Ron bailed on Jobs and Wozniak because he wasn’t sure about the future. Jobs spent a lot of money that Ron was going to have to pay the tab for initially. Wozniak was non-committal. And the prospect of starting a computer company just seemed too difficult and taxing.

Basically, Ron was afraid. Afraid that the payoff wasn’t going to be worth the work. So he quit. And missed out on billions.

Most of us are never going to really experience Ron Wayne’s story on the level at which he experienced it. Most of us are not going to be able to say that we missed out on being responsible for the birth of cool.

But I am afraid that many of us are going to sell out and accept an $800 payoff when we could have made billions. Not literally obviously. But I worry that instead of putting in the hard work and pushing through periods of uncertainty and difficulty, you’re going to take the easy way out and walk away. From your marriage that is struggling. From the calling you know you have received but is tougher than you thought it should be. From the risk you’re supposed to take.

That’s not to say that some people aren’t sometimes called to sell back their shares. The wife that is getting beat by her husband should not wait for a payoff down the road. Sometimes God calls you to a different ministry or career. To move to a new city. To play conservatively.

But more often than not, we sell out before the big payoff because we’re scared. Or we don’t want to do the hard work. Then we use God to justify a decision we have already made out of fear or apathy. And we never know what could have been down the road if we had kept persevering.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your story is not destined to be a cautionary tale of what could have been. God would rather raise you up to be an example for others of what can be. Of the incredible marriage that is possible through God’s grace and power. Of what God can accomplish through people who stay true to their calling.

God has a much larger payoff for you than the one you’ll receive if you give up now. Persevere. Stick it out. Push through. When the payoff comes, it will be worth the work and the waiting.

www.stevenfurtick.com—-Steven Furtick is the Lead Pastor of Elevation Church, in Charlotte, NC. This was a post on His wall.

Sinless Jesus, Sinful Genealogy

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I came across this blog early this morning on www.theresurgence.com

Name-Dropping

It’s what we do sometimes when we want to seem bigger or more important in another’s eyes. “I know so and so” bolsters our reputation with someone else’s name.

You never drop names that would hurt your reputation. In junior high, you don’t want to be caught hanging out with that kid. One day in school, I wore the same pants as that kid and there was no end to the mockery I endured. No, you don’t drop that name. You do whatever you can to distance yourself. You even go home and change your pants if you have to.

That’s Not How Jesus Thinks

At least, that’s how our fallen minds think, but it’s not how Jesus thinks. He is not ashamed to call us brothers (Hebrews 2:11). He is not above associating with those from whom we’d rather keep our distance. That’s good news, because the fact is, every one of us deserves to be shunned by God for our sin. Instead, Jesus associates himself with us and in so doing, makes us acceptable.

Last night, my four-year-old daughter climbed up on my lap and asked me to read a page of her choosing from her little pink New Testament. She picked the first page, Matthew 1, basically a list of names, the ancestors of Jesus. (And it was old King James, so Boaz was “Booz”—the kids thought that was hilarious.)

Jesus comes from a line of sinners, shameful sinners. Yet he is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters.

What can we learn from such a list of names? Matthew is clearly making a point in his genealogy: Jesus is the son of David, the son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1). Those are some pretty important names for Jesus to associate with. To any Jew waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled, this was huge. Jesus is the long-awaited “offspring” of Abraham (Galatians 3:16), and the King who would rule forever on David’s throne (2 Samuel 7:14–16).

Airing the Dirty Laundry

But there are other names in this list that should stand out to us. Take Rahab for example. Matthew goes out of his way to mention that the mother of the admirable Boaz, was Rahab—the prostitute (Joshua 6:25). Yes, Jesus associates with the great king David, but also with David’s great-great-grandmother, a prostitute.

Speaking of David, wouldn’t this be a great time—while listing Jesus’ family ties—to gloss over the shameful part of David’s story? Matthew doesn’t cover up any of it, essentially saying, what, you mean the part with Bathsheba, “the wife of Uriah” (Matthew 1:6)? Jesus associates with David the murder, Bathsheba the adulteress, and Uriah the victim.

And then there was Rehoboam (Matthew 1:7, cf. 1 Kings 12:1–24), the hot-tempered, megalomaniac who couldn’t control his lust for power. As a result of this king’s folly, the whole kingdom of Israel was divided. How embarrassing.

This is Matthew’s other point: Jesus comes from a line of sinners, shameful sinners. Yet he is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. He came into the world to redeem the worst, like Rahab, Rehoboam, you, and me.

 

The notion of linking name-dropping, genealogy, and shame is inspired by Ed Welch in his forthcoming book from New Growth Press, Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection.

Thanksgiving 2013

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Here is a short list of some things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. 

In no particular order (except for the first few)

    •    Salvation
    •    My amazing wife Kym!
    •    My Family- 62316_542227097184_2070245610_n
    •    Kaden Jay 1173864_543385081574_1157240748_n– I am blown away at how much he really knows.. He is hilarious! This kid cracks me up!

    •     Colton (aka Butters)561574_10151553350391854_348219092_n  He whines so much. He also has so much love for everyone he meets. sweetest little dude.

    •    Corbin (Aka Bubba)67728_541434775004_1587138441_n  our cuddlier and new walker….. He is into everything!

    •    My Daughter Kenzie Rose! photo(7)I can not wait for my daughter to be here any day now. I have prayed for a little girl and God has answered our prayers.. Unless the ultra-sound lady is pulling a really mean trick!

    •    That I get to be a part of what God is doing at Rock Bridge Community Church.
    •    That I am one of the Pastors at Rock Bridge Community Church.
    •    Tres Amigos- 428638_539030672844_433472277_n
    •    that my wife has now gone a whole year without having a car wreck!
    •    For a house to live in with heat and air.
    •    for good books
    •    Friends that I can depend on, friends that don’t just say they are there for you..They actual mean it!
    •    To live in America
    •    My health
    •    Extended Family
    •    Bacon our beloved Yellow Lab- 969221_539906532614_1226680829_n
    •    My F150 truck
    •    The Colts
    •    FSU football.. The team that is fixing to take it to bama!
    •    Duke Basketball
    •    Cheesecake
    •    Zippers
    •    the Delete button
    •    my neighborhood and neighbors

My wife’s cooking…HAD to be a food reference in here!

  • That I do not wear a scarf OR a Christmas sweaters!!! :-)
  • Twitter!
  • Starbucks
  • God’s ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY over the universe!
  • The guys in my coaching network!
  • My Apple Mac
  • Naps!
  • Country music
  • a good Comedy movies…

 

MOST of all…I am thankful that Jesus power washed my soul and gave me a BRAND NEW START!

 

Lots to be thankful for!!!

The list could go on and on and on…But I think you get the pic.

Try it this Thanksgiving…Sit down and write out a list of the things you have to be thankful for. I promise you, you will be amazed that the list just keeps growing and growing and growing!

Happy Thanksgiving folks!