Volunteers – YOU MATTER!

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Easter is the most important week on our calendar. It’s the easiest week to get folks to come to church, that’s why we push invites so hard. It’s also one of the highest attended weekends of the year. However, attendance is not our goal. Granted, it is exciting to run out of seats. This Easter, join me in prayer that we will do more than just attract people to our church and have them walking away saying “that church is great.” We want people to walk away having had an encounter with an almighty God and their life to be forever changed as a result of it! I can promise you this… We aren’t going to post our number of people in attendance on social media or how many prayed a one-time prayer to toot our own horn. We are praying God will change lives for the rest of their lives, not just an emotional moment!

That being said, this is our Super Bowl Sunday. During Super Bowl week everybody is fully engaged. So don’t just invite but as you serve do it remembering this will be the first time or first time in a long time a lot of people will be walking into our doors. Every number has a name and every name has a story. A story of hurt, healing, struggle, need of HOPE that we are offering in the name of Jesus. Remember, even though you shake 500 hands you will only shake theirs once. That cup of coffee you hand out will be the first cup of coffee they get even though you’ve made 8 pots of coffee and handed out 1000 cups. That seat you usher them to will be the first time they are taken to their seat. This will help them feel comfortable. Say a short prayer when you shake their hand, hand them a cup of coffee or take them to their seat.

We are tour guides, not mailmen.

We don’t just give them something we show them!

YOU aren’t just filling a spot, YOU matter! YOU are Living Sent by serving! We can’t connect people from all walks of life to life in Christ without YOU! Thanks for being faithful to serve each and every week.

Come energized, early and ready to connect people to life in Christ this and every weekend because JESUS IS ALIVE every week not just Easter! 

#ReadyBreak #FiredUp #EasterWeekend

 

 

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Now Hiring – Student Pastor!

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The Best Is Yet To Come!

January 13th, 2013 Rock Bridge Ringgold had our first service here as a campus.

That night Rock Bridge Student Ministry kicked off. It’s been an incredible 6 years of growth with hundreds of students connecting to life in Christ!

We quickly hired a Student Pastor, however a short time after taking the job he stepped away due to some tragic personal events.  So to fill a gap I stepped into the role of Student Pastor for what was supposed to be a short transitional period.

Fast forward 5 years and I’m still here filling both the role of campus pastor and student pastor. After much prayer and conversations about the growth we are experiencing here at the Ringgold campus we feel now would be the right time to hire a student pastor! I’m excited that we are going to get someone totally dedicated to RBSMRinggold and will take this ministry to a whole nother level! The best really is yet to come!

God alone gets the glory for the tremendous growth in the last 5 years and the one constant is our incredible RBSM Adult leadership team. They are consistent and passionate about students and their relationship with Jesus. These folks give their time, talent and energy week in and week out to invest in the life of your student. On top of a great leadership team, we have a full worship, production, hospitality, and security team. RBSM is in good hands and I’m confident that the best days are yet to come!

I ask that you be in prayer now for our candidates and ultimately the person who will fill the role of Student Pastor and take RBSMRinggold to the next level!

I want to make sure to be real clear here. I am NOT leaving Rock Bridge Community Church! I am still the Campus Pastor and excited to step back into my role as CP only, with more intentionality, focus, and passion as we move into a new chapter here in the life of our campus.

Let’s continue to connect people from all walks of life to life in Christ!

Interested in applying for the Ringgold Student Pastor position? Click Here to Apply 

FIRED UP!

JC

Pastors Can Make the Worst Friends

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Most pastors are nice people, they just don’t make good friends.

That may seem harsh to say, but as a pastor, I think it is true.

Hear me out.

Pastoral ministry is an all encompassing job. It is highly relational, emotional, mental and spiritual. It can be draining physically and overwhelming. It isn’t harder than other jobs, it is just different.

Because you can get a call at any moment with something that needs attention, many pastors burnout and struggle to have boundaries so they can rest and recharge.

Pastors spend so much time counseling people, helping people work through issues or sitting in meetings that when they meet someone, they often see them as a project instead of a person. They see them as someone who will need something, someone who will need advice or need to be fixed instead of a person to simply spend time with.

For most pastors, church is something they are always thinking about. The next capital campaign, new ministry year, next sermon series, next issue, hiring a new person. It never stops. They spend all their time with people talking about church. They sit with their wife on date night and talk about church. It is not just a job, it is their life. It is who they are and this becomes unhealthy.

Then, they meet someone new and they can’t stop talking about church. They can’t shut it off.

What do you do then? How can you become a better friend if you are a pastor? Here are 5 ideas:

  1. Have friends who don’t attend church (or your church). This is crucial. If you don’t have any friends who don’t attend church, that’s a great clue that you aren’t good at friendships. Churched people will tolerate a pastor who don’t stop talking about church or is a poor friend because they want to be close to a pastor. An unchurched person won’t take that.
  2. Have a no church talk zone. There should be a time of day, a day each week where you stop talking about church stuff. Stop thinking about, stop checking your email. Don’t talk about it at least once a week. For many pastors this will be so hard to do, but incredibly healthy.
  3. Take a day off. If you aren’t taking your day off as a pastor, you are sinning. I’m blown away by how many pastors are killing themselves working 6 or 7 days a week. Stop it. Rest, recharge, take some down time.
  4. Get in a small group. I’m blown away by how many pastors are not in a small group or missional community at their church. They’ll often say that the elders are their small group. This line of thinking attempts to make a pastor untouchable and that’s a sin. In a small group, people see who you are, you can’t hide any longer. You start to see how people see you and if you are any good at community. This might feel like it goes against #1 but it doesn’t because many pastors don’t have friends in their church. Now, you need to be careful here. You don’t just share everything with someone in your church, you must show discretion on the information and with the person. There have been times Katie and I have shared everything about a situation with our MC, and sometimes not. Each situation is different, but you should be in community with some people in your church who are not in leadership.
  5. Get a hobby. I was talking with some pastors the other day I am coaching out of burnout and I asked them, “What do you do for fun? What recharges you? What is fun?” Blank stares. Many pastors do not have a hobby. Things like fixing a car, working with wood, hiking, playing sports, knitting or cooking. Nothing. If that’s you, sit down and answer that question, what do I find fun? If you don’t have a hobby, you won’t have anything that lets off steam, anything that is fun, anything to do with others.

Summer Camp is over.

This Summer has been awesome being able to travel and speak at a few youth camps. I LOVE Student Ministry! The 11 years I spent working as a full time Student pastor were some of the best years of my life. I was reflecting this morning over the time spent at youth camps this summer and I came across this blog on Eric Geiger’s blog

That I wanted to share with you!

1) Many students want the truth

They don’t need talks completely designed around funny illustrations. They don’t need sermonettes that presume they can only handle truth in small doses. They can understand the Bible and the deep truths discovered in God’s Word. They respond well when someone respects them and their minds enough not to pamper them and talk to them like children. Several of the student pastors I interacted with that week shared their belief that “many student ministries and churches underestimate students.” I sat in on a church group time after one of the worship services, and the students were discussing and applying the Word in their context.

2) Students are searching for an identity

The students in my first youth ministry are in or approaching their thirties now, but though time is passing, I see a lot of the same struggles/searching in students. There are still kids trying to impress others, still hurting students who cut themselves, still students who seek an identity in a relationship, and others in an accomplishment like what they can do on a field or court. Some are rejoicing in Christ and enjoying the identity found in Him.

In the 1960s, a social psychologist named Erik Erikson developed a theory of human development. While not a theologian, he did study one aspect of God’s general revelation: humanity, God’s crowning work of creation. In Erikson’s model, teenagers reach a point of developmental crisis called “role confusion versus identity.” Teenagers are searching for an identity, a reputation. They experiment with their dress, music, friends, and hobbies to help form the version of who they are, the person they want to be.

Jesus provides students with the greatest identity one can ever find. They are His, loved by God, forgiven and free. Erikson believed that if teenagers did not leave adolescence with a deep sense of their identity, they would struggle throughout adulthood with issues related to their identity. Erikson’s theory confirms the conviction that a student’s identity must be grounded in Christ. Belonging to God, because of the all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus, is the only identity that is secure. All the other identities discovered in middle school (athlete, honor student, boyfriend, in-crowd, etc.) will quickly fade. No identity other than the identity found in Christ will last.

3) Students are deeply relational

The wrestling with identity, for students, is a relational wrestling. Student ministry author Richard Dunn stated that for students “the question of ‘Who am I?’ is most often answered ‘Whose am I?’” meaning students will search out their identities in relationship, seeking to understand where they belong. Because students are so relational, effective student ministry is relational. Thus, the Christ-centered college students, moms and dads, young couples, and older adults who invest relationally in students, who are there for teenagers, who lead student small groups, who open their homes for hang-out times—all to point them to Jesus—these people are absolute heroes. It takes a team, a community of leaders, to lead effective youth ministry…not a sole youth pastor feverishly attempting to reach every student.

God bless

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.)