Sunday, February 28, 2010

6 Reasons Why I Want To Follow You On Twitter

Twitter can be somewhat narcissistic. People want to tell me about themselves. That’s fine. But that’s not why I follow you. I don’t want to know what kind of ice cream you just picked up, or that you are “sitting on my lawn chair”. Those are occasionally fun facts but I want more from you. Here are the top 10 Reason I want to follow you in no particular order

Challenge Me. Say something interesting that perks my ears up like a hound hunting for fox. I am on the hunt of something interesting, i am sniffing for a scent of irregular and I am listening for the snap of that twig that tells me you are off the path of average.

Educate Me- Teach me something about what you do. Why is what you do
important? Why should I listen to you? Social Network tweeters are great because they are teaching me about a medium I am using and how to get better at it.

Lead Me- Send me links. Where do you want me to go? What do you want me to discover?

Inspire Me- Give me quotes, sayings, etc. Pictures or Art that say something

Encourage Me- If I tweet and you see I am down or facing a challenge, let me know you are praying me.

Connect With Me- I am not shocked anymore by people. We are creatures of habit and we are generally selfish. We do social networking, follow a bunch of people and get them to follow us and never connect with any of them. We become tribal leaders and then abandon those who give us their trust. Send me a DM, introduce yourself, the least you can do is say, “thanks for following”.

Sadly, we don’t want to de-friend or un-follow anyone because we think it will be rude. Jesus said, “The poor you shall always have with you.” No matter how many followers you have there will be those who waste your time, your brain space, and your twitter lists. Follow these steps the bet you can and I will most likely follow you. Break them..... well, let’s just say their are other tweets in the sea :)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Youth Ministry Tips From A Potty Mouthed Scotsman

Gordon Ramsay is a potty mouthed scotsman, chef, and star of tv's Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. In a recent episode of Kitchen Nightmares, I was reminded of a few things he said that apply to youth ministry, ministry and life in general.

Cook It Fresh

If you want to tic off Gordon Ramsay, just let him find you storing food that you plan to reheat later for customers. He is emphatic about serving food fresh. He will tear up kitchen and a chef for attempting to fool the customer. So true is this in ministry. Our students know the difference between relying on some tired rhetoric instead of a message from the heart of God birthed in prayer and study. Whether it's programming or the weekly message, keep it fresh! Or Chef Ramsay will get you!

Take it Serious

If Gordon Ramsay has a sense of humor we do not know it. He may have been born with out one but I'm not willing to say that to his face. He takes his craft seriously and expects the chefs he works with to do the same. I have worked with those who fall to pieces when the littlest thing goes wrong ( OK, it's me) and I usually comfort them by saying, "Look, it's only ministry". This is a habit I need to break. Ministry, pastoring , working with teens is important. It is unfortunate that many youth pastors feel that reaching more students with the gospel, making hard discipleship decisions and doing all they can with what they have takes too much work. To them life is one big Lock In and as along they are getting paid, life is good. The times are changing. Youth ministry professionals have to show the value of their office. The stakes are getting higher. Take your ministry and calling seriously.

Tell The Truth (In Love)

Gordon minces no words. Whether he is talking about the food, the service or personal hygiene he is brutally honest. He is willing to spit the food right out of his mouth if it's not right. He uses the truth to shape people. From what I can tell, he sees coddling others as a luxury he cannot afford. How much coddling do we do? How often do we string someone along hoping they will get better? Gordon is trying to turn around a restaurant and sees his time as precious.He does not have time for those who don't have the chops for being a chef. He tests their mettle. I don't know if it is for love of people that Gordon says what he says but he certainly says it for love of food.

Add A Clever Curve To Your Menu

Our chef takes boring, stale, uninviting menu's and adds creativity and punch. In one kitchen he recommends a chef's table right in the kitchen where people can see the inner workings. In a soul food kitchen in Brighton he comes up with Soul in a Bowl; a hearty helping of various menu offerings. Are your students bored? Are they tired of not what is on the menu but how the food is prepared and served? Look at the menu of programming you are offering. If you were a restaurant would you get four or five stars or would the spiritual health dept. shut you down or worse, would you simply be unmentionable?

Do What You Are Passionate About

One final piece of advice from our cranky chef. Be passionate about what you do. Life is too short for bad food. it is also to short to be in a position that drains your passion instead of fuels it. That is not to say that we will always be happy in our position but our passion should make us want to fight to stay there. Are you unhappy? Make a list of things (or people) worth fighting for or worth fighting through. Students don't learn anything from a quitter except when times get tough, just quit Students and the church know when we are not giving our best. If you are not passionate about doing ministry full time find something you are passionate about and do that. Gordon Ramsay commands you!

Let the sparks fly,


Friday, April 25, 2008

That Kid Can Preach! Or Can He (or She)?

Hey All,

Recently, I was asked to be a short sermon at our Statewide Fine Arts Festival. This was my first time judging this category so I had only a vague idea of what to look forward to. Fifty-two sermons later I could barely think. I think it is awesome we had so many want to undertake the task of many of us take for granted every week.

I sat through 3 hours of short sermons. I heard passionate young people one after another share a 5-7 minute sermon on our year long theme: Everywhere. I either don't have to go to church for the next year or got my 52 messages for the next year. These teens were sharp looking, sharp acting and are a credit to their respective youth ministries.

I heard teens take the theme in various directions.

10% of the sermons I heard were focused on subjects like abortion or missions.
20% preached on various parables and on David and Joshua, 50% were on revival and our need to share Jesus everywhere.
20% I'm not quite sure where they were coming from and
0% made love or grace the central theme of their message.

Now, the point: Of all the messages I heard; I did not hear about the love of God as a central message. God's love was mentioned but was not the central focus. In fact, not only was love not the central theme of any message but neither was God's grace. Aren't those attributes of God that are everywhere or should be? Many of the messages left me feeling discouraged. Many of the messages hammered at the fact that we are not good enough or do enough. Is it possibel that is what we have been communicating to our teens and they are just mimicking us? That being said, I understand that I am not good enough and never do enough. I need to hear a message like this once and a while but 52 times (exaggerated) in a row?

I did hear compassion in a few voices. They were not the fiery one's. They were soft and calculating. They were thinking as they spoke. They looked me in the eye as if they cared for my soul. Isn't that what we're shooting for?

Let me preface this section by saying this:

1. These are teens, I get it. But these teens are the same teens we want to go to foreign countries and share the gospel.

2. This is a competition. Each teen brought their A game. I get it.

3. These teens are gifted, sincere and passionate. I do not want to dampen their enthusiasm I want to help focus it. The scriptures says zeal without knowledge is not good (Romans 10:1-3)

This begs us to ask our selves, "what are our students learning from our preaching and how we are preaching it?" I guess I am proposing the larger question as a denomination. As spirit-filled group of believers, what kind of preachers are we raising up? Are they going to preach a revival birthed out of love an grace? Or a generation that's all smoke and no fire? Or all fire but no love and grace to balance it? I don't know but the scriptures tell me:

"Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." Colossians 4:6

Let's mentor these young preachers as Paul mentored Timothy. They have a message, a story. Let's help them declare God's story and share their own story seasoned with grace and love for a hurting world.

Let the sparks fly,

Paul Turner

These views are that of the poster and does not represent the views of our District, other FA judges or The Assemblies of God.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

An Open Wound Is Not Vulgar

I know this sounds strange but it sure was funny when I heard it come out of my 15 yr old daughters mouth.

What were we talking about? Prom Night. No, not the event that happens for seniors but the re-make of the 80' slasher movie. My daughter wanted to go to the movie. Correction, she did not want to go to the movie. She wanted to be with her friends who were going to the movie. Our discussion about slasher movies became funny when my daughter said, "This is not a movie like Saw or Hostel, an open wound is not vulgar." She was trying to make the point that not all movies that have blood in it are vulgar. My inner Pharisee wanted to shut it all down and make her look up all the Bible verses on blood, vulgar, etc.

Thirty minutes before the movie began we gave her the option to see the movie if she wanted. She felt we wasted too much time talking about it and she felt like we guilted her out of seeing it. That was not our intention. My gift to my daughter is the ability to reason, think and discern. I have decided to trust her more. I believe if she saw anything vulgar in the movie or anything that disagreed with her convictions she'd walk out.

She is my daughter but she is also a believer in Jesus. I have to trust Jesus and and my daughter. I have to trust the Jesus in my daughter.

How about you. Do you trust your students to make right choices? Do you trust the Jesus you have been preaching? Do you trust the Jesus in your students?

Let the sparks fly.

Paul Turner

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Throwing The Red Flag

I always have fun with my youngest son Jon. He is a bundle of fun and creativity. Last night, with all the enthusiasm he could muster told me how this guy on tv focused his Chi and slammed chopsticks into a piece of wood. I said, "Did you just say Chi Jon?" He said, "Yep." and then talked about how a guy could stand on a bunch of eggs with breaking any of them."

I threw the spiritual version of a football coaches red flag. It was time for a review. The play did not look right and I wanted a closer look. I did not want the opposing team to get something they had not earned. Now, I am not a New Age-ologist, understanding all things crystal or mystical but I am familiar with Chi. Chi is "the life giving energy that unites body, mind and spirit. Everyone has Chi. When you die, your Chi is no longer there."

My point is not to describe Chi but to ask and wonder how many parents would have missed that part of their kids story and said, "That's nice dear."

How many things do we hear everyday that go unchallenged. I am not saying we should die on every hill but I am not going to let my son start believing he has Chi and try to walk on our eggs. Although that would be a sight to behold. I am saying, as youth workers and parents we have to throw the red flag and call for a review especially among our believing students.

Statements that require the red flag

-Religions are all the same.
-As long as it makes you happy.
-It's ok if you really love them.
-God's doesn't care about....(my music, my hobbies, etc.)
-swearing (Yeah, I think it matters)
-Lewdness (speech is a big deal but we don't have to make a BIG deal about it)
-rudeness (manners and kindness matter)

As youth worker we have to keep our ears open to pluralistic and inclusive theology that invites a loving challenge. Challenging statements will sharpen a kids faith if we ask them to show us from the Bible why they think the way we do.

To ignore statements because we don't want to offend or come off as a religious bigots will only further a students biblical ignorance and could eventually undermine their faith. How did I tackle my 8 year olds sudden fascination with Chi?

I told him that for believers in Jesus we cannot fault Chi for our behavior. Life maybe out of balance but it is because our relationship with God is out of balance. It could be because we are not obeying God's word or not walking in the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit.

My son understood, to a point but I am just glad I threw the red flag rather than let the game play on. First down, dad!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Simply Youth Ministry Bringing A Gift To The Party!

Simply Youth Ministry is on the guest list for my 100th Blogday Party Happening Next Thursday, March 27th!

Simply Youth Ministry will be giving away a $300 All Access Pass to Simply resources and materials. All you have to do is show up next Thursday, leave a comment on what we might be doing in youth ministry in 100 years and you are registered to win. Winners wil be notified at the end of the day.

Simply Youth Ministry is an outstanding resource center for youth ministries . Check them out at


Sunday, March 16, 2008

What's In Your Top 5?

God is always calling. He calls in the morning, noon and night. He calls us when we're driving, in the bathroom and other inopportune times. He calls us to do great things but most of the time He asks us to to the ordinary in a extraordinary way. I've committed to sharing the virtues of these five words with youth workers everywhere. Without them we are fooling students into a feel good faith. These words apply to any organization or group. Without them we short change those we lead and with them we echo Jesus' expectations for those who would follow Him.

So, try a little experiment. Text these five words to various students or leaders.

Sacrifice, Surrender, Separation, Study and Spirit

Afterwards, send a text asking "What if this message was from God. What immediately came to your mind? What do you think this word was asking from you or was confirming something God had already put on your heart.

Ask those who received a text to follow up by sending an email with their thoughts.

These are five things God is asking us to embody and we cannot practice them enough.

If you try this little experiment let me know the results.