I’m not dead yet…

Seriously, I was all like “i’m off my july blogging break” and then i posted like twice and disappeared again.  Steph and I are moving from Blue Springs into Kansas City to the Valentine neighborhood.  We know that if we are going to live overseas someday, it will most likely be in an urban context and with the waiting time we were just given we felt why not go now and learn.  So that’s our goal.  We’re excited about the opportunities to live as missionaries in a new area and are making plans to do a better job of it.

One thing we are going to try out is keeping a neighborhood map.  This map will basically help us record the houses and apartments around us and keep track of the NAMES of people we meet who live there.  In our current complex, we were frustrated by our inability to remember names, etc. of our neighbors especially since it seemed like people were moving in and out every month or so.  so we’re going to try and keep a written “cheat sheet” of the names, etc. of our neighbors in order to be able to have better conversations and interactions with them.

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Lessons learned from my first church “job”- part 1

I just finished my first church position as an “interim” youth pastor which I had done for the last 3 years or so.  There were a lot of positives, some negatives during that time, but I figure for my own benefit (I’m forgetful) and for anyone else’s, I would post a few lessons I learned from that experience.

1. Always focus on who’s there.

One of the biggest temptations for anyone in ministry is focusing on all the people who don’t show up and their reasons for it.  Heck, it’s not really even a ministry issue.  It happens at get-togethers and parties and what-not.  It can be easy to mentally engage in figuring out why certain people aren’t there, how to get them there, etc.  But one of the realities of any social activity and of ministry especially, is that some people are there.  They show up each week perhaps.  They listen to your same dumb jokes and announcements.  They are living, breathing, images of God who just showed up in the room.  And to do ministry, you have to engage them.  Ask them questions, take an interest in their lives, pray for their hurts, etc.  You may never have that same opportunity to engage that particular human being in the same way ever again.  So do it.  Pastors have to focus on the group in general, but groups are always made up with individuals.  So make sure whatever event is going on, how big or how small that you are connecting with someone.  If you do, then a ministry event has occurred, even if it wasn’t on the calendar.

back…(and updates)

well, my self-imposed exile from blogging has ended.  Hopefully next week, we’ll see some more writing from me.  um…that’s all for now.  A lot has happened in the last month in my life.   My 3 years, 2 month stint as “interim” youth pastor here in Blue Springs officially ended a week or so ago.  I was grateful that I got to hand off my ministry investment to a good guy who I think will see some exciting things in the future.  on the disappointing side, we were hoping to see some major movement towards going overseas, but apparently they weren’t ready for us yet, so we’re here in KC for at least 2 years or so.  We’re now looking at making a move to a different area of town (possibly into the city away from the ‘burbs) to invest our lives and possibly stretch ourselves a little, as well as trying to invest in a new (non-Youth) related ministry direction.  Steph and I are both working in the research area of the VA currently.  um…that’s all I got for right now.