Tearing Down The Walls – some thoughts on deconstruction and why we should calm down!


There has been a lot of talk about deconstructing faith in Christian circles over the last few years. So I will be late to the party for sure, but have some thoughts nonetheless. The whole concept has taken on some fairly negative connotations. I would say this comes from people that don’t know what it means to deconstruct your faith and that you can do so in a completely positive way. There is a trend amongst established leaders to create elements of fear around the possibility of asking questions and giving push back. I have heard for years “that’s not what we believe” or “as long as you don’t preach that happy, Jesus makes things better stuff.” Let’s be honest, have you ever tried to argue with a Reformer? It’s fairly exhausting to live in these environments. These environments are the walls we build around our Christianity. They are filled with opinion, fear, shame and what ever else doesn’t belong around our hearts.

In a recent survey I conducted for my thesis project, I learned some of the behaviours of young leaders that have either left a church position or left a denomination for another.
In a combination of Generation Xers and Millennials that took the survey, 2/3 identified that they have gone through some sort of a process of deconstructing their spirituality. Of those who did so, 66% reported that their relationship with Jesus improved while the other 33% mentioned that there was no change in their relationship in either a positive or negative way.

Some confuse deconstructing with “falling away” or “back sliding.” I’m not fully sure what the markers are on those terms, but this is neither of them.

The process of deconstructing is about getting rid of the man made restraints and patterns of religion and finding something more pure and ancient.

It takes times of conscious pursuit of truth or hitting a wall of perceived truth to know that it is time to evaluate what we believe and why. We don’t all have the ability to strip down our spirituality and know that we will find Jesus under all the rubble, but it’s worth trying.

Over the last few years a lot has been said on the topic, and guys like the Bad Christian Podcast have taken up the cause. You may like their language and ideas or not, but these guys hit a wall of religion and had to figure out what was underneath. They did this publicly and it has given some courage to good friends of mine to do the same.

Others like theologian Greg Boyd have discussed in podcast form their thoughts. Greg said that it’s time to deconstruct your faith when “it stops working.” That’s probably the point most of us hit and start to figure it out. He points to making sure that your faith is built on Christ as your foundation. I’m not sure I could agree more. He also mentioned that at least 5 times in his life he has deconstructed.

The more I weigh down my spirituality with church norms, cultural norms – Paul says this, Moses did that, the fundies love their trump and what would Francis Chan say… the more I know I need to come back to Jesus and simply whisper, get me out of this mess! If anyone can throw the dynamite to take down heavy walls, it’s Jesus. I believe in Jesus, his church and his power, I want the authenticity to come from there, not opinions and ideas cooked up for marketing and book sales. I am finding that my friends that have gone through this process are a lot less like Ned Flanders and more like Jesus all the time.

Here’s How
I say, deconstruct, find Jesus and life the life you were created to live. My number one tip on how to pull this off is really simple. Start reading the gospels. Just read the gospels. Don’t read anything else. Find Jesus again, then slowly start adding back Acts and if you’re brave some Paul and OT. But when you really find Jesus in the gospels, you will start to be able to find Him in the rest of scripture too. Care about His teachings, live His teachings, breathe His teachings. It might be the only way to make it to 90 for some of us.

If you thought this was good, interesting, or annoying… please share it with 5 friends. I will issue virtual high fives and gold stars for those that do. Each post for the next while I will be leaking some of the info from my thesis project. There are some stories and stats you do not want to miss.





Capsule Wardrobes as a Spiritual Discipline


There are some great arguments about what a spiritual discipline truly is. Some people are locked into a ‘water only’ fasting regime, discounting anyone else’s attempts to gain proximity to Jesus through other types of biblical fasting. Let’s understand that all are created equal but with different ways of relating to God. It is sad to discount because in a rapidly changing culture, we should open the doors to what ever sacrifice someone is willing to make in order to create peace in their heart and cultivate a relaxed and healthy spirit.

This brings us to the popularity of minimalism. Sure, it is a fad. It is also no secret that I want to trade my large house for a tiny house and give everything (cats included) to someone else to deal with. I don’t like seeing things on the kitchen cupboards, I get frustrated in clutter and mess. Basically owning things does not spark joy. I love throwing things in the garbage or selling them to some sucker who wants my collection of antique cat clocks. But I wasn’t always like that. I had a shopping problem. I love shoes, coats, jeans, shirts or what ever else you can buy. Even if it had no purpose, just in case I may wear it once, I wanted it. This drove my consumer debt up and caused tension in all sorts of areas. That is not a sign of a soul at rest. I made the decision a few years back to only wear two colours of t shirts: Black and White. I also started wearing one type and one style of jean in various colours . (I buy Nudie Skinny Lin or Grimm Tims 31×30’s if you are feeling generous)

Here is why.

When I would get ready to leave the house I would panic. I would panic getting ready for work.  I especially hated my clothes first thing in the morning and couldn’t handle the simple stress of deciding what to wear. I have even made myself late for work because I couldn’t handle the stress of getting dressed or not having perfectly combed hair. For what ever reason, picking out clothes became a big decision every day. Today, I know that my options exist inside of what I can layer on top of a t shirt and jeans, and life has become much easier. Chances are really high that if you have seen me speak somewhere, at a back yard fire, picking up groceries or go to the pub (of course just for wings) I was wearing jeans, t shirt and a jean jacket (because I can’t afford a cool biker jacket). It is my uniform. The uniform mentality has saved me a lot of stress. I know that stress does not come from God or any place rational. So if I can make the easy move of eliminating tension created by culture, I win. I now find my heart at ease.  I don’t want my heart to be tied up accumulating things, I want my heart to be tied up becoming a better dad, husband, friend, son, brother, student and pastor.

Here are some practical techniques I use to become more spiritual through my wardrobe. Yes, I am trying to sell this as spirituality.

  1. It is easy to try a capsule wardrobe. Pick out 32 items. I do pants, shirts, sweaters and shoes. I skip counting underwear (because I am not always up on the laundry) and outerwear. (because I live in the SK, I need different coat temperatures. But I do limit the styles to one per temperature setting) Once I limited that stuff I put the stuff I didn’t plan on wearing in a suitcase and hauled it downstairs. Now set the 3 month timer and see how you do with your 32 favourite things.
  2. The quality over quantity technique  is actually cheaper in the long run. Try it for a year and run the numbers. One day you will realize you don’t even go to the discount store anymore. You don’t go because you don’t need new clothes. What you have is good enough and you actually like what you have. You will save money and keep yourself out of debt. It might look like you are spending more up front but that will change when your clothing budget curves. Multiple pairs of $30 jeans vs one pair of better jeans is a better move, but you have to stop buying the $30 jeans at the same time.

You can continuously replace worn out jeans or buy better quality and not waste your money and material. The culture that we have created around throw away clothing isn’t good for us or the plant.

What if we could eliminate the things that cause us stress in order to find more pockets of peace inside our days? I am finding peace every day because of these little simplicity tricks like capsule wardrobes.

3. I buy one brand of jeans because I like the way they fit and don’t wear out on me. If you buy raw denim you can extend their life with some clever no-wash techniques. I have a pair that has never been washed and they still look amazing after two years. That is where brands like Nudie or Neuw come in. I have two pairs that are over two years old and I am wearing one pair that is about five years old. You will find yourself repairing better denim and not just throwing it out.

I do this with t shirts too. Buy a cheap plain t shirt, then get some staple items that you can layer overtop. MeUndies makes a great t shirt that lasts a long time. For layering items go to a great local mens shop that can give you options and direct you in the right direction. I generally just go to  BoysOnThird site to find what I want. Most of what I own has come from their shop. The guys there are honest about what will look good on you and what won’t. I still haven’t found one that I am happy with in Saskatoon so I keep going back to Medicine Hat. I appreciate their honesty. It is worth the drive. Good jeans + t shirt + button down = fancy enough for everything but a wedding.

Remember, Michael Scott even had his fun jeans!

OR to be perfectly honest, sometimes I am lazy and go to Michael’s during their coupon days and buy ten black t shirts for $20. A plain t shirt is a plain t shirt.

4. I like simple so keep it really simple. Pick one style and stick to that. I buy the same looking t shirts. (other than band shirts, retired punks still need these at 40) If I open my drawer and look down, there is a row of black and a row of white. 90% of these shirts are plain. I fought the feelings to be trendy and buy cool for over a year. Now I just don’t care. The simple look made my life better. I can’t even recognize most ‘cool’ brands now and I am happy about it! I do look like I am wearing the same thing I did yesterday, and the day before that but I am ok with it. At least I don’t show up at Wal Mart in my pyjamas in the middle of the day.

Matthew 6:25-34 The Message (MSG)

25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

You don’t need to give everything away to find peace today, but I am sure you can find something to give up that is going to give you peace and create more proximity with Jesus. Search that out and find peace for yourself. Maybe it’s your wardrobe maybe it’s your kitchen cupboard or your vintage clown painting collects that need to get altered.

It isn’t hard to make everything in your life spiritual, because it probably already is. Just accept that even your clothing decisions and shopping habits speak to greed and unrest. Conquer that, find some peace, then move on and find more pockets of peace.


Feel free to share this with friends and help me get my numbers up in the writing world.






Used Car Church


Nothing wrong with a used car. The only problem is when it is held together by duct tape and a story is spun of how amazing this car is! The story could even escalate to a degree where you would be crazy not to get the 88 Civic for $2000. I had that car! A 1988 Civic. It was red with much rust, many dents and a series of 90’s punk stickers on the back window. I loved that car because it was mine. It stalled on every hill, leaked through the windshield when it rained and the trunk was 90% filled with a subwoofer. I kept it clean like it was a Ferrari, I spent what ever money it needed to keep it going. I was so excited to get into that car and drive away that I am sure I missed asking questions about it. Does it leak, whats that spot on the ground from, why is there a hole in the floor boards etc.

What if church was sold like a used car? Welcome to church, congratulations on meeting Jesus! All your problems will be solved from here on in. If someone dislikes you, just blame it on the anointing on your life and the sin in theirs colliding. It’s not your fault, just say that over and over! The pastor is available 24/7 and would love to take the blame for anything needed. Don’t worry about discipleship or making steps to becoming more like Christ, thats what grace is for. You will always love the music and the grape juice will never be stale. Sometimes we find sections of scripture that make us uncomfortable, just start going through different translations until you are satisfied with the language. You might consider writing your own version and skipping the judgy parts.  From their sit back in your cushioned chair and enjoy the Jesus ride… ok maybe some huge exaggerations in there, but you get the idea.

Trying to make Christianity more spectacular than being perfectly loved seems like used car sales tactics. Christianity can be hard work, but the rewards are worth it. Let’s keep it simple. Nobody is perfect, but we are perfectly loved as if we are. There were issues and tensions with my car, but I was willing to put the work into it and make it last. That car is like my faith, full of tension, puzzling conversations and hard work. I love my faith in Jesus, but I am glad that I am also willing to love it enough to be honest about it when its good and when it’s frustrating. That honesty brings me to the place of putting in the hard work to see the results.

Correcting the abuse of honour

First of all, what I am about to type is not doctrine just some thoughts.

I have watched self proclaimed apostles beat honour teachings into their congregations my whole life. I have seen their prophet friends prophecy money and honour coming their way. I have even watched pastors offer the world in exchange for honour and admiration. It comes with fancy teachings that sound really good at first, but then when you go over your notes you realize that they didn’t say anything. At the end of the day all it makes me want to do is be sarcastic and skeptical of people that need to be honoured and respected.

Hebrews 13:17 (amongst many other verses) talks about honouring our leaders and how not honouring your leaders actually creates problems for yourself as a follower. I get this concept, and I suppose at the end of the day if I am following a leader / boss / Culligan man… or who ever that I can’t respect and honour on my own, then I should not follow. But in Hebrews 13, back up with me to verse 7-8. “Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.”

I am coming to the conclusion more and more as I watch men and women of God in their ministries that if I want to replicate what they are doing in life then that is worth honouring. Here are two examples from my life (no names, you can do the math if your smart)

1. A guy who is a senior pastor of a church, my wife and I have know this pastor for several years. He used to be a really friendly guy, always willing to give some advice and stop and chat when we were in the same city. I really respected his opinions and insight. Over the past few years he has been getting bigger speaking gigs and gaining some notoriety that he has worked hard for. But with the elevated profile he started becoming to big for people who don’t matter to his career, too busy to even be polite. He even teaches an interesting view of honour, in the form of “don’t argue with the man of God”. I have watched this for a few years and the sad fact is… I am still learning from his insight. I am learning how I never want to behave in my ministry career. I never want to be too busy to have simple conversations, I never want to be too busy to pray with someone. I never want to speak as though I have all the answers.

2. Another senior pastor who has served in only 3 congregations in his long ministry career. He has been willing to stay in positions and fight for his staff, fight for his congregation even when it does not seem popular. He is a pastor who models scriptural living, not by using catch phrases while he is preaching, but by staying the course and honouring those who work under him and even taking time for truly annoying people. (Don’t pretend to be holy… we all know them) He has never asked for honour, just modelled it. He never asked for respect, he just respected others. He never asked for people to follow him, he just followed Jesus.

I am coming to a place where I am not interested in following super flashy leaders who don’t last the course of time. I don’t care about new revelations that are really nice if you only look at one scripture. I want to follow leaders who are proving that they have the faith to stick it out, who have the character to sustain their marriage and ministry and who above all honour people that don’t deserve honour. That to me is the type of person that deserves honour.

To me it’s similar to my opinion of movies. If you tell me how awesome a movie is and it has huge hype… I probably won’t go see it. I will wait until its not popular to see if people still like it. I value my time more than that. I also really value my honour that I give, I want to honour leaders worth honouring.

Just some thoughts.


The Commitment Dillusion

Commitment is a tough sell in the day and age of “I want that one”, yes that was a Lou and Andy reference. But it is a tough battle for the age old titan of adulthood known as commitment. How can it compete with the coolness of being spontaneous, or the whimsy of that greener pasture. There is nothing sexy about doing the same routine over and over again. We are often hoping that magically the work does it self and there is a huge party in our honour at the end… But usually no party.
It is a realization I believe that comes into play somewhere around 30, when you see the good that came from your commitment and the commitment of others. When you see peoples lives impacted through unselfish acts. Then you can see the inspiration of the giants of commitment who paved a path in front of you.
The people I have admired the most are the ones that spent the years fighting and building week after week knowing that the greater good was somehow at stake. In ministry I look at people who stay and fight, clean toilets, put on baseboard and preach week in week out, instead of falling for whimsy or spontaneity.
Don’t get me wrong I still have times of spontaneous behaviour, I am after all Pentecostal. Just not when I know that my family or church or friends are counting on me. This week I am reflecting and thankful for those guys who do what they say, preach what they live and give example to the rest of us who are watching their every step. I am watching new giants of commitment rise up and wow me with what they have done and others fall with the smallest tasks. I have a long way to go but with great examples will keep following!
Maybe this is part of the great race the Apostle Paul references so often, at least part of it.
I have a saying, not sure who I heard it from but I know it’s not mine. “Commitment beats talent, every time”.

Don’t Jump Ship – Be Obedient

Just reflecting this morning on some questions I had been asked recently in regards to listening to God, balancing emotion and being obedient.

The best thing you can ever do if you are trying to figure out what you should be doing in life is nothing! Yes nothing, go back to the last thing God told you to do. Have you accomplished that? Have you succeeded at that? Well then do that!

It is easy to let emotion and feelings guide what we do and what we want to do in life, unfortunately our emotions are largely deceitful (Jer 17:9) and we have to rely on God and not ourselves. It would be way easier if I could just go with what I feel and do what makes me the happiest all the time. That is not the reality that we live in.

So all this to encourage you to be faithful in what God is calling you to do. Haters come and go, the fan fare comes and goes, the next greatest thing usually isn’t that great, the greener grass gets cut too, the parades come and go even the season your in will come and go. Be obedient in what God is asking now!

Happy Thursday, Keep Going!

Hearing God’s Voice: Discourse

The last while Amberley and I have been discussing the book “Can you hear me” by Brad Jersak. This book talks about hearing God’s voice and how it is not as strange as we Pentecostals have made it out to be. You can hear God’s voice without some sort of a heightened spiritual experience. We can hear God in everyday life no matter what is happening. Sometimes we get so caught up in the legalism of perceived Christianity and actually dampen our ability to hear from God.

This last weekend we had the conclusion to our Student Alpha course. Stereotypically during this type of weekend a leader would want to create the exact circumstances where (s)he experienced God for the first time. Even when you are trying to break the mould, you still revert to what you know from the past. This is the type of experience I was looking for and expecting. A good old fashioned, line them up at the alter, push em down and hope for the best.

Keep in mind the whole working on hearing God’s voice thing, got it? Good. Here is how it unfolded. Everything was in place and perfect for my interpretation of a spiritual experience. Stage lights, great sounding spiritually rich worship band, experienced preacher and a ton of prayer leading in. As we were transitioning into worship and I began to pray, I had a word of knowledge about praying for ourselves before we started. The prayer was simple and echoed the words of the pastor of a church we attended and loved. The prayer went like this, with a hand held on our hearts, “welcome Holy Spirit”. Fairly simple right? Maybe simple, but not without results. For those who have had experiences with God like this they know what I mean by saying, I felt like I was twitching… like I had a nervous disorder and had trouble holding my head straight. As I finished prayer we went into a powerful time of worship which seemed to continue in what God was already doing. The worship came to an end and the preacher taught on tongues and the differences the Bible gives on tongues and why praying in the spirit is important to us. The teaching was great! Easily one of the best I have heard. Then he felt to conclude. This is where the Pentecostal in me kicks in and I thought hmmmm… when do we pray for the students and see them flop on the ground like fish? I was looking forward to some good ole’ fashioned alter time. Then the whole listening to God thing kicked in. God spoke to me and said “I already did the alter call while you prayed at the beginning, I did it backwards to what you wanted”. That messed with me! So I went to close in prayer and asked the simple question “did anyone feel something significant happen during opening prayer?” Multiple hands went up. And God said to my spirit “see”. The conversations with students and leaders went until 4 am, students who wanted to talk about what they felt and were feeling. One student even came late and missed all the spiritual stuff… she still asked a leader for ministry time that night! (thank you Jesus for this crop of prophetic leaders who don’t shut you off after the service!) Even crazier students starting to speak in tongues without a Pastor laying hands on them and praying for them!

Right when I think I have everything under control God changes everything. This leads me to think that maybe more things in our Christian experience needs to change. Maybe when we think we know everything… we know nothing. Maybe when we think we know what the students need we are hindering them. Remember when we used to make the students burn their “secular” cds? What would we do now, an mp3 deleting party? Remember when we would use end times talk to a salvation call moving? Have you ever said “if you leave tonight and get hit by a bus where would you go?”… maybe just like those things have dated student ministries we should be asking God how he wants this new generation to experience Him? Maybe it will be the same as for us… and maybe it will be completely different!

All this to say, keep listening to God, even when you think you know everything you need to know… keep listening. Maybe there are things in your Christian walk that you think are based on your morals… but have really just become road blocks and religion.


When the circumstance weighs heavy, it is easy to just give up. When stress hits hard we are taught to just give up and take the easy way. After all it is the new way that our generation functions. Instant, successful, and easy is our current ‘ring tone’. Here is a simple test I had this last week.

Last week while ministering at a camp for another Pentecostal denominations Western Canadian Youth Camp, I had a first. Everything inside me wanted to take every opportunity (and there were a lot) to close in prayer and retreat to my dorm room. But tenacity kicked in.

I was preaching out of Luke on the topic of losing the ability to respond to the Holy Spirit and how to regain that. Before I could start we were all crammed into the chapel, a historic camp chapel with no AC, walls or lack of bugs. It did however have LARGE pictures of an iconic Jesus doing cool things like pulling people out of hell while wearing a giant cross around His neck… So the worship ended and everyone was sitting under the power of the extreme heat. The camp Pastor recommended a move to the amphitheatre. Good move!
In the beautiful out door surroundings I got started into the message, but I could see the forecasted storm about to make an early appearance. I just got through the introduction, I am sure it was a well crafted, culturally relevant work of art, then the rain started.

The group all ran to the next venue, which would be the dining room. The kitchen staff was still working and the students filled up cups of juice on the way in. We all know that lots of sugar helps students pay attention. (insert sarcasm here) I started to try and regain ground again and the next distraction started, the fire alarm. The camp Pastor took out the batteries and signalled to continue. I would have rather just ran away and slept off the defeat. Then I started thinking about all the circumstances this last year of watching people give up when tested and how they dropped everything including their reputations. I was not going down like that. Besides I believed that God gave me this message for that night. Make no mistake, this was not a light message and it was now hard to deliver to students suffering from the church sauna.

I asked that we could clear tables and chairs and make a huge alter space at the front. I asked that we could bring up the leaders to stretch across the front and get ready to pray for students. So with a fireplace to my back I climbed up on a chair so I could be seen by everyone including those at the back. Then after 3 venues and more distractions than I wanted, I gave the alter call. It felt like 110 degrees in there and if I was one of these students would have faked a nose bleed about now to get out into the cool rain. But then they started coming to the front, 3/4 of the students identified that they had lost the ability to respond to God or never had it. They didn’t care about the heat or comfort, they just wanted to respond to what the Holy Spirit was doing in their hearts… then a bat flew in the room and the next hour was spent trying to kill or trap or remove the bat. I was however smart enough to leave while people were running around with brooms and bags trying to kill what could have been batman’s cousin.

It ended up being a powerful night at the alter, many tears and reactions to the power of God. The next two nights of services would show evidence that God was at work as the students responded in prayer, worship and to the word. I am so thankful for the power of the Holy Spirit to not give up!

Just get your row saved

Let’s talk about sharing the love of Christ. A relatively simple concept. I don’t want to argue the definition of saved right now just the action of evangelism.

We all think that we need to be the next Billy Graham or Judah Smith, we feel this deep desire to change thousands of lives in one shot. Realistically they didn’t get to where they are by starting with thousands. Thinking in thousands usually puts people backwards because … well where do you start?

What if we could  narrow our focus to our friends and the people at our schools and workplaces.

What if we could start looking at the people around us first. Each time we see them remember that a life without Christ is not worth living. Even start to pray that the Holy Spirit would make that apparent to us.

Soon this would turn into lifestyle evangelism and we wouldn’t be worried about the thousands, we would just be worried about the people around us and seeing our small group and row at church full.

If everyone started with their own row, collectively we would be changing the world around us.

The other option is we continue to do nothing and get more upset about paint colours and whose opinion is more important than the fact that our friends are going to hell.

“The Harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few” Jesus

Less is More – 5 strategies to getting more ministry done

Often when working with worship bands the phrase “less is more” will be used. We often think that more fills means the song will magically become better. Usually and I mean always, it just ends up making a huge mess. At the end of the rehearsal the band is frustrated, and by the end of the worship service the music savvy congregants walk out the back door and the pastor is ready to strangle whoever did the arrangements. The same applies to our lives in ministry, less is more.

Youth pastors and youth ministry personnel falls into the category of support staff. With the title of support staff you will have extra expectations that could include janitor, insect control, painter, driver, puppeteer, chef , professional organizer, life coach, and if you’re lucky your carpentry skills will get a work out. There are of course days that you will have a chance at mentoring some students or opening the word of God. But with all the extras how can you get to the point where you can apply the less is more principle? You could even ask why it is important. To answer the second question first, because your sanity and moral purity is key to lasting in ministry! If you go postal over some burned chili at a potluck dinner, I would venture to say that the kingdom of God has suffered that day.

So on to the second question, how do you do less and more at the same time while keeping the board happy and keeping spiritual productivity at a fruitful state. The question comes back to another question. Are you looking for numbers and acknowledgement or are you looking for life change and something that will last? Our prime concern is clearly the spiritual development of our students and if we choose long lasting life change over wearing ourselves and volunteer teams out we will end up saving pain in the end. Think about the hours you put into ministry. Then consider that your core team of leaders is doing 75% of what you’re doing but they also have school and work on the side. Don’t take this the wrong way but this usually means that our volunteers are giving 150-175% of their emotional, spiritual and physical energies to match our 100%. This was initially a hard realization for me because I am a very driven person. So now that you see that my position is saving yourself and your volunteers for the sake of the students that need you, let’s move on.

So let’s talk strategies:

1. Breathe: Make sure that you are taking time for you and your family. I know it’s cliche but it is really true. Your time away from the church and away from ministry is just as important as your time preaching. Even Jesus took time to rest.

2. Leader time: Doing life with your leaders means that you are able to speak into their lives anywhere you feel the spirit’s prompting. Often we have to earn that and save it for the alter call. Have your team over to watch UFC and BBQ some ribs, it is a great way to break down walls that took years to build up. Besides it shows that we are real people too. Even Jesus took time away from the twelve with the three.

3. Scheduling conflicts: Often times things will come up that you know are not going to be life giving, and you just can’t get rid of them. With things like this make sure to balance in something that day that is life giving for you.  Taking complaints about you + golf = balance (for me at least, but you get the idea) At the same time if someones cousins brother’s friends gardener needs a ride to the mall… learn to say no. Even Jesus made corrections to his schedule.

4. Combining things: Doing ministry every night is annoying, you might say no… but give it a few more months. If you are doing so much that you can’t keep track of what’s happening anymore, then it’s time to analyze. 1. What would you never want to miss? 2. What do you leave to the last minute? 3. What do you plan 6 months in advance? 4. What could be combined? and finally 5. What is creating visible fruit? These are some great questions to ask yourself when considering your fall and winter programming! Less is really more which brings us to the next point…

5. Ministering from strength: When you have a healthy balance in your life you can minister to your students from strength, they deserve that and so do you. Not everything on the calendar can get 100%, You’re better off not cheating somewhere, that way no one gets hurt. Jesus always ministered from strength.

Bottom line, just be you and don’t get over tired!