As promised here are some observations I made and things I was reminded of from my new Justin Timberlake DVD that relate to leading and inspiring people in a large group programmed setting.  He has a captive audience just like the church.  Sure our people don’t pay $55 a seat but they did choose to come so we at least have that going for us…


  1. People like to be lead….to participate and be involved-Justin all throughout the night was telling people what part to sing, what arm motion to do, what there part in the show was and they responded with pure joy
  2. People like to be entertained-Justin had 24 people (himself, 9 band members, 10 dancers, and 4 backup singers) on the stage doing there thing all night moving around and making sure at all times that those closest to them felt engaged.  There is something to be said that he rarely went for the “I am good enough on my own to keep everyone interested” approach that most speakers do.  The dancing, singers, and band added layers that most church music doesn’t even have.
  3. People want to feel that they had an experience-Justin at the end of the night talked to the crowd and had a family time almost recapping where they had been and thanking them for their involvement.  It was genius because not only did he create an experience but he gave people mental ownership that they could feel proud and even re-tell to friends.
  4. People are made to worship-I am always struck by this when I go to a concert and this was no different.  When we saw Tim McGraw it literally broke my heart to see a man raise his hands, close his eyes, and sing back to Tim as if he deserved it.  People were made to worship God and try to fill it with whatever is it front of them…they have the need but we have to point them to Jesus.


Ministry Lesson from my 14 year old Sister-in-Law

I just made a playlist of all the cool songs on my computer for my 14 sister-in-law Jenna. What a learning experience.  In fact I learned so much and was reminded of things that I had to post about it.  Here are the things I learned…


  1. I am not cool.  Doug Fields says that at 25 you will no longer be cool and he is right.  I have 12,000 songs on my computer and she only could pretend that she liked 200 of them. 
  2. I am old-She laughed when I asked her if she wanted a song from 2005 and said that is old.


So what does this all mean for someone in youth ministry?

If I had to name a target audience for my ministry it would be a 10-11 grader.  I can not naturally know what will reach/effect someone that age.  Yes I know God reaches who He wants when he wants but I am talking about the man-made preferences such as media that I believe He has given me to use as insights.  Here is what I hope to do from now until I am dead to reach my assigned people group…


  1. Study up on culture.  A youth pastor I respected told me once that he watches MTV every week and listens to and watches things that keep him in the know.  That is a step in the right direction but isn’t the final piece.  I can try to stay up on all the MTV, Facebook, and Jonas Brothers under the sun but it isn’t enough.
  2. We must involve the age group we trying to reach and effect in the planning, execution, and evaluation of our ministry and programming.  This is not me point the finger at anyone but myself.  I have learned this so much as an arrogant 25 year old.  My age group thinks that we are cut out of planning and involvement in “big church” because we are young so we do youth ministry and than cut students off in the same manner.  I am learning that I must now involve and empower students not just to do certain things at certain times but to be involved in my whole planning process from start to finish.  I am already to old to be cool and when left to my self I will default to planning that reaches me and my 25 year old self in the same way that a 60 year old would plan a service not targeted at me.


Hope this makes sense, just some stuff I have been learning and thinking!



Although I am nervous that we won’t actually get the house (pray for me and my paranoia). I thought I would let you all know some of the reasons I am excited to have my first house.Reason #1 is that I finally get to not have my tools in multiple plastic toolboxes in a hallway closet like I have at our first two apartments.  My mom bought me my first Craftsman toolbox for Christmas and now I can be organized, manly, and ready to “fix stuff” all in one magical package. toolboxIt is small but I will add others as well as a workbench and different things hung on the wall. 

Justin Timberlake

I am watching my Justin Timberlake DVD I got for Christmas.  I have said on here before that he owns pop culture (America) and even Kanye West has said that he is the one he wants to catch.  i will share my observations on here once I have digested the DVD because i think is much that myself and the church can learn about planning gatherings, worship, and leading people through both.  Here is a fact I just found that proves my point…

Timberlake’s second solo release, FutureSex/LoveSounds, was released in 2006 with the U.S. number-one hit singles “SexyBack“, “My Love“, and “What Goes Around… Comes Around“. The album also spawned three additional U.S. top twenty hits (“Summer Love“, “LoveStoned“, and “Until the End of Time“) making it the first time a male artist has achieved six top twenty hits from one album since Michael Jackson did so from 19911992, with his album “Dangerous“.

It is hard to judge success anymore when Cd’s don’t sell, but that is it.


In April I have been asked to lead a seminar for some youth pastors/workers in Northeast Ohio. I have some ideas and some direction but I was hoping you who read this could help me.  What topic would you want discussed? What problems are you having? What would a youth pastor want/need to know when my 2 hours is done? Please leave feedback…..




While I can’t pretend to be an expert in this area, I have done a couple of them now and thought I would share what I do know.  Just this week I did my first draft for the 08-09 fiscal year.


There are a few major things you have to look at when you are planning a budget. It won’t give you final answers, but these are questions that will at least begin to formulate a direction you are headed.


  1. Have you prayed about this?

I know it is cliché.  I wish I could say I remembered this one up front every time but I am not that cool.  The reality is though that you are spending God’s money to do God’s work so you NEED to stop and pray for the mind of Christ to work in your thoughts and heart.

 2. What is your church/ministry vision

Everything you do including the way you spend money should be easily traced to how you are trying to accomplish that vision.


EXAMPLE: Ours is reaching and growing so if I can’t quickly support that I am probably headed in the wrong direction

3. What are your ministry/church’s values?

If you value certain things (for most it is some form of the five purposes and excellence, technology, etc.  If you are saying you value it put your money where your mouth is (that was too cheesy to use) and prove it.


EXAMPLE: Ours are Outreach, Worship, Connecting, and Service.  Those along with Staffing to create them are my focus.


4. What was your budget last year?

Plain and simple this tells a lot.  Yes a budget can go up based on trends and potential, but if your budget was $2,500 last year it will most likely not be $20,000 next year.


EXAMPLE: Last year my budget was ……come on did you really think I would write thatJ


5. Where is your ministry going?

Where is your ministry going philosophically? Numerically? Short Term? Long Term? Are you adding programs?


EXAMPLE: Last year I was making a major shift in the way we did programming and hopefully creating awareness for outreach that needed to take place and our group was on the verge of a numbers boom.


6. Where is your church going?

Are you in a time of growth, decline, budget cuts, or alternate focus?


EXAMPLE:  I have known churches who came to staff 9 months in and told them to plant on 10% of their budget being cut.  I have also known chuches who have started a second campus or planted a church and shifted funds and focus mid year.


7. What is the financial culture of your church?

How have others past and present made budgets and presented them?


EXAMPLE:  I stole the spreadsheet format others had used in the past so that I would not be foreign in my presentation.


8. What are your must haves?

While we are know that a new Wii would impact eternity because of the lives it would change, if you are honest with yourself your money may be better spend on leader appreciation.


EXAMPLE:  While I have always had the dream for technology and part-time staff, those things didn’t happen in year one and may never happen.


9. What is your relationship with the person/group making the final decision?

Are you the new guy? Are you the seasoned veteran? Are you always asking forgiveness?  Are you the guy who can do no wrong?


EXAMPLE: Perception is reality so if you are the new guy, know that you have earn trust and credibility.  If you have let this group down before you may have to regain their trust.  No matter which guy you are you cannot go wrong with organization and clarity in your thought and presentation.



I hope this helped somebody.  If you have questions or comments comment away and let the conversation begin.


I have been threatening for a long time and tonight it finally happened, I watched High School Musical….There is a reason this thing has connected with people so I decided to dissect it and try to find some lessons.

  1. The main plot was about people who wanted to be someone other than the person they project to the world.  Many students I know don’t know who they are or where they are going and usually just do what is expected of their “character”.
  2. This movie was based around music.  As dumb as it is even cheesy music and terrible dance can connect.  People in any form of leadership cannot ignore media as the best way to attract and move a group.



I knew I would love Andy Stanley’s final session from Catalyst this past year.  I read like 5 amazing posts about it the day after he spoke to close the conference this year.  I got the audio today and listened to it in the car on the ride up to Wooster and wow it just kicked my butt.Simply put he said that your systems that are in place are getting exactly the results they are designed to get.  If your ministry is failing it is not because you need a bigger budget it is because your systems have steered it wrongly and maybe even rewarded failure.If your people always show up late, you have a system that is pushing them toward that result.  If your people have never worshipped it is because you have system that has never pushed them to that result.Andy said that people always want to say “my people won’t respond to that” or “I wish our ministry could do that” and the reality is that it could if you would produce the system.    You are getting the results your system is designed to produce.  It is not people, staff, budget, or lack or abundance of anything, it is the system.  As someone who designs, tweaks, oversees, and champions a system it was a good chance to look in the mirror and see what I have produced and rewarded and why.