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.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Moral and Spiritual Significance of Lenny Kravitz

I recently read that 60's rocker Neil Young said, "Music can't change the word." He's right and wrong and he hasn't heard Lenny Kravitz new album. It may not change the world but it may change some minds about God and faith.

Music Matters. I believe after personal relationships ( parents and friends), music is next as the big influencer among teens. It changes their mood and their mission. Much is made about the kid who listens to Marilyn Manson and shoots up a school. This is all the more reason why getting students to practice good listening habits.

I will tackle an album a month or two as to why the music matters and why we should recommend it to our students. Better still I will offer ways to use this music to create conversations about what matters.

I have chosen Lenny Kravitz as my first album to review. Lenny has an optimism and outlook that is good for people in general and for students in particular. His new album Love Revolution speaks to a greater good and we should all listen.

I've chosen two songs and included a few questions to prompt a response form your students.

Love Revolution

How do most of your friends define love? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?

Do we need a revolution (a totally new way of looking and responding) of love? What are some things you could do to start a love revolution?

Bring It On

What do you feel like you are not prepared to deal with everyday?

What are some things you have been avoiding dealing with? Why?

Do you ever feel "unarmed", like you are lacking something when it comes to a battle of choices? What is one thing you wish you had as a weapon to deal with your problems?

The rest of the album is filled with little treats like Good Morning and If You Want To, and the groovy Dancing Til' Dawn. The songs Going Home, A Long, Sad Goodbye, and This Moment Is All There Is reflects the heartbreak Lenny's father passing away within the past year. Lenny's guitar cries and you cry with it.

This is a great album to listen to all the way through but I suspect your ipod will barely leave tracks 1 and 2 before you need a crunchy jam fix.

Bring it on

Thursday, March 06, 2008

No Sacrifice No Victory

“I play to enjoy myself, some people take this the wrong way, but winning a championship is not what I base everything on. I was given an opportunity to play basketball, travel around and have fun doing it and that’s what I want to do. I wouldn’t take being unhappy and not being myself and winning. I would rather enjoy myself with 18,000-20,000 people watching the game and the people sending fan mail and those things and be happy…I didn’t come here to play the point guard, that’s just it. I came here to run the wing, just like he was running the other wing. I was asked to sacrifice for the team to win and for everybody, I guess, get paid. That is what was told to me and I wasn’t happy with that.”

-Larry Hughes about his playing days with the Cavs

I don't know Larry Hughes. I don't know his situation so I am taking his words at face value. I'd like to summarize what I hear him saying:

1. I don't care if I win a championship

2. I want to play basketball and travel.

3. I don't like being unhappy.

4. If I am unhappy I will not give my best.

5. If I am asked to sacrifice I will not because it will make me unhappy.

6. I like being happy and anything that interferes with that I will leave or not try my best.

This may sound too simplistic but I don't think so. Larry simply echoes human nature. If things are going well I am in. If they are not, I am out of here. I am sure Larry at some point will say that all this was taken out of context. This is also too often the attitude of many Christians. Let me resummarize the list with the attitude of many Christians in mind:

1. I don't care if the Kingdom of God is advanced.

2. I want to enjoy church services, church fellowship and occasionally a Bible Study that does not talk about sacrifice.

3. I don''t like being unhappy.

4. If sacrifice is part of the deal I'm not in.

5. Sacrifice sounds like it will make me unhappy so I will not do it.

6. If my church asks me to sacrifice I am leaving because I want to be somewhere that makes me happy.

We would have to largerly ignore most of the New Testament if we believe that our highest goal and God's ultimate purpose for us is to be happy. We'd have to ignore statements such as:

Take up your cross and follow me.

A seed must go into the ground and die.

Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

We cannot escape the example of Jesus and we cannot ignore His call to sacrifice. To do so would disqualify us from experiencing the very nature of Christ.

Let the Sparks Fly!

Paul Turner

Friday, February 29, 2008

20 Things I Learned This Past Year

Almost a year ago I decided to slip into ministry detox like Amy Winehouse should slip into reality, with diligence. I had and have strong feelings about church; I am investigating my calling and searching out how I might best serve the Kingdom.

This search involves me going back to school. I received my letter of acceptance from Jeff State today. How cool is that? Almost 40 and starting over. What a kick. I did not choose a Christian college but the public campus where the public discourse invigorates me. I like different opinions. I am still leaving options open to full time ministry but I can't force it, God will have to move.

So, What did I learn?

1. I over estimated my appeal and underestimated my resolve.

2. Economics change fast.

3. The grace of God is real.

4. I really like my family.

5. I like substitute teaching.

6. I am still committed to this and the next generation of teenagers.

7. My faith is better when challenged.

8. The devil is a liar and a big fat goober.( I knew that, but this year confirmed it)

9. My marriage was stronger than I thought.

10. Help did not come from the familiar but from the foreign.

11. God does love me more than the ministry.

12. I am a better and worse writer than I thought (this is the becoming)

13. I had not used up all my ideas and God's creativity blossomed.

14. People will let me disciple them without a title.

15. All those promises of reading my Bible with all my free time was a big lie.

16. You have to keep trying. You only fail when you give up.

17. I learned how special a Boys and Girls Basketball team could be (we were champs)

18. I am still competitive and love to win (see above)

19. Life is both fragile and resilient. Fight and you win.

20. I want to continue to live a life of freedom from oppressive religion and pursue good conversation with friends (thanks Shaylon!), good movies, good music and good books.

"we are in such a hurry as to arrive at who we will be we become blind to the part where we are becoming" This year has been about becoming. I almost missed that. I may be doing it all over again. We'll see.

Please join me and my family in prayer as we make decisions for the future. Thanks.

You don't need 20 things but if you have learned anything about me this past year feel free to send me a few comments.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

7 Blunders of the Church

Recently I posted Ghandi's Seven Blunders of the World. I gave it some thought and believe I have come up with the 7 blunders of the contemporary church:

Programs w/o Relationships
Preaching w/o Passion
Crowds w/o Community
Dogma w/o Discussion
Ritual w/o Reasoning
Hype w/o Holiness
Decisions w/o Discipleship

Feel free to add to the list.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

The 7 Blunders of the World

Hello All,

I stumbled this on my account. Stumble upon is a random web searcher that throws sites your way from a list of interests you check off.

I find it interesting that Ghandi's murder was by one of his own and one of intolerance. Jesus was much the same way. My fav is worship without sacrifice. Have a fav let me know.

"Seven Blunders of the World"

1. Wealth without work

2. Pleasure without conscience

3. Knowledge without character

4. Commerce without morality

5. Science without humanity

6. Worship without sacrifice

7. Politics without principle

—Mahatma Gandhi

* Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 in Porbandar, India. He led India's movement for independence from British rule and is one of the most respected spiritual and political leaders of the 20th century. In 1948 he was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic who opposed his tolerance for all creeds and religions. Gandhi is honoured by his people as the father of the Indian nation and is called 'Mahatma', which means Great Soul.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Passionate Youth Worker Part Tres or 101 Uses For A Dead Youth Group

Here is the second part of the quote on civilization from Clark in the book How The Irish Saved Civilization.

"People sometimes think that civilizations consists in fine sensibilities and good conversation and all that. These can be the agreeable results of civilization but they not what makes up a civilization, and a society can have these amenities and yet be dead and rigid."

Ok, another wow moment. This quote captures what youth groups have devolved into. Youth groups have lot so stuff. They have building, programs, etc and yet these things do not a church make. It is possible to have all the resources and none of the life of Christ. So, what do we do to breath new passion and life into our youth ministries. I have two suggestions.

1. Take stock of programs that do not bring life.

Go through all the things you do with your youth group. What brings life and knowledge in Christ? What lights the fire of your students? What brings groans or great resistance? Give programs a face lift and lobotomy if it does not urge students on in their walk with Christ.

2. Have a youth group funeral.

Maybe the whole thing is dead. Why not have a formal service with eulogy and a grave with a tombstone. Each member could offer a few words like when the group was created, past achievements and surviving members. After the service gather again in three days for a resurrection service with new ideas and goals.

In the vein of the eighties book "101 Uses For A Dead Cat" drop me a line for "101 Uses For A Dead Youth Group"

Let the fun begin.


Friday, February 08, 2008

The Passionate Youth Worker Part Deaux

I'm currently reading a book called "How The Irish Saved Civilization". In this book there is a great quote that Thomas Cahill spreads like a banquet before us and I believe applies to youth ministry. I will address the first part of the quote in this blog:

"What is really lost when a civilization wearies and grows small is confidence, a confidence built on the order and balance that leisure makes possible. Again (Dr. Kenneth) Clark "Civilisation requires a modicum (small amount) of material prosperity- enough to provide a little leisure. But, far more, it requires confidence - confidence in the society in which one lives,belief in it's philosophy, belief in it's laws, and confidence in one's own mental powers....Vigour, energy, vitality: All the great civilisations, or civilising epochs- have had a weight of energy behind them."

Wow, ok, you may have to read that a few times, I did. I will take the first part fo this quote and dissect it in this blog and save the second paragraph for my next blog.

We pastor small civilizations. Students are a collection of tribes which gather for weekly "war council". They are a society which gathers to talk, listen and engage one another. Most youth ministies do not require big buildings, video games, pool tables, etc. They are nice but they do not make the tribes who they are. You could empty your rooms and put nothing but a ball in there and you students would create their own fun and would be better than anything we could dream up. Why? These students need very little in materials but need much on relationships. It is not the ball that bring the energy but the interaction with one another.

This energy comes from the need to agree. Agree on rules, standards, etc. To have the maximum amount of fun there must be agreement. Also in our tribe are triabl leaders and they include our Pastor, Board, Staff, Youth Leaders and Parents. For our group of tribes to function as the chruch there must be:

First and foremost a commitment and confidence in Christ the person and savior.If a group does not have confidence in their own salvation much time will be spent in pursuading them that they are saved and they must live for Christ.

The second confidence is in it's philosophy. In other words, how our youth ministry get's done. This is where there must be agreement on what programs are offered and how those programs are carried out.

The third confidence is in it's laws. What is your groups mission or purpsoe statement? Do you provide ways for students to fulfill this purpose or mission. I beleive thsi also goes to how fairness and judgement is carried out within your group. Does the trouble maker always get to go on the retreat? Do you always use the same people and play favorites?

The fourth and final confidence is in their own mental powers. The tribes will function better when they understand that anyone in the group can make it and attain a level of respect. The only way for students to gain this confidence in themsleves is for them to attempt the daring and fail greatly all the while having adults below with a safety net and an affirmation that they will do it next time.

In order for us to have passionate youth ministries we must create a society of confident students. Many leave the chruch because they have lost confidence in the above principles that made these societies work.If your youth group balloon is losing air(confidence) and altitude(success); take stock to see which hole of confidence you need to plug.


Friday, February 01, 2008

The Passionate Youth Worker Part Uno

Have you ever stood in front of your apathetic, passionless students and wondered, "What is wrong with these people?" If I had a dollar for everyone one of those thoughts, let's just say I would be writing this from a beach somewhere sipping virgin daiquiris. Passionless students could be the result of a passionless youth worker. Now, that does not mean that the youth worker does not love God or their students. Let me offer a few ideas to raise the passion level of your group.

Enthusiasm and passion play a large part in motivation.

When you are plugging your next event are you excited about it even if it''s a lock in? it's hard to be excited about everything so pick an event of the month to put all your energy and enthusiasm behind. If we are passionate about too many events our students passion will be divided.

Did the students plan it? Or is this just another great idea from the youth worker?

The more students plan and have input into to the more excited they will be. You can always refer to the last leadership or planning meeting you had to remind those students of the time and effort they put in. Better still allow your more excited students to get up and announce the event for a few weeks.

Be passionate about the tough stuff.

This would be a no brainer except for the fact that some events may be mandated by your church or pastor. Students will know when you are excited and when you are not. Gain courage and throw yourself into that mandatory event and then figure how to put a twist into it, how to make it uniquely your own. This way you can still pull off the event and be proud to promote it to your students.

Be positive in the face of fear.

Fear can often steal our passion. We maybe afraid that no one will come or no one will like the event when they get there. You have to be the most positive person about it. Your even may have challenges and maybe even some clunkyness but even that can be turned around to make the event memorable but you have to stay positive. Your positive attitude will be infectious and others will catch on and spread that attitude around. Suddenly, you got the best event going.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Does Your Youth Ministry C.L.I.C.K?

Hey All,

I found this little nugget in an e-book called Testify from Creating Customer Evangelists. They include a chapter on how the NBA Seattle Supersonics overcame their negative customer service. They installed a system called C.L.I.C.K. with all employees:

Cummunicate Courteously with our guests
Listen to Learn rather than listen to respond
Initiate Immediately so guest's concerns are met quickly and effectively
Create Connections so guests know they are among hospitable friends.
Know your stuff so guests know they are interacting with professionals

This is a good acronym. How are you doing with your youth group? Are you clicking with them?
Are you clicking with your parents? How about with your pastor? Trying coming up with your own acronym for click so you can ensure that every time you engage students in your youth ministry meetings and your church you will be leaving them with a great impression.

For the past year I have committed myself to empower youth workers locally and nationally. I made a deal with God. I wanted to live by faith outside the administrative office of youth pastor. I must say the jury is still out on what direction I will take after my one year deal is up. I covet your prayers. If I can serve you in anyway please let me know.

Paul Turner

Friday, January 11, 2008

Release the Hounds!!

If you are a fox hunter or prison guard after an escaped convict you would know the saying, "Release the hounds!!". Or, if you ever saw the Jerry Seinfeld commercial for Chevron. I can't help but think that students are hungry to do more, say more and find more meaning. They are hunting it down like bloodhounds. When we do for students what they should do for themselves we throw them off the trail. the scent is gone. Students will pick up the trail that leads to expression and individuality. We lose students not because we expect too much but too little or nothing at all.

We are in week two of training for The Disciple Project at Graysville and I can see hunger begin to return. For the past two weeks I sat back and allowed our worship leader to start the service. She is a great worship leader. She want to good so she'll glance at me or ask me when do we want to start. I will answer with a questions, "When do you want to start?". She is getting used to the fact that someone trusts her judgement. Someone believes in her and the other students of this ministry. We have the unique opportunity to see a student led ministry emerge discover who they should be in Christ and to allow their passions to drive ministry. I love them to much to allow anything else.

Do you have students chomping at the bit to lead or do have students who look to you to get the service started? How can you have a a more student led ministry? How can students try and fail like real disciples? Here's a few tips:

1. Get out of the way. Are you consumed with having the perfect service? Hand off as much as you can and keep what you are good at.

2. Is there a class you require for leaders? Can you shorten it or eliminate anything that throws your kids off the scent?

3. Create space for change. Let something(programs, trips, etc) die that do not lead to kids leading and let kids fill in the gaps.

4. Get over yourself. Don't let pride or excuses keep you back from seeing God do tremendous things through students. let them steal the show and God will get the glory.

If the leash you are holding is burning your hand from holding students back; then I say, "Release the hounds!!"