RESOLVES

So one of my goals coming into 2016 was to blog more-ish.

Every new year, I kind of set goals. Sometimes I write down (or think about writing down) things like, “I want to get healthier,” or “I want to be a better husband,” or “I want to be a better leader,” or “I want to get closer to God.” But these things don’t really happen to the level that I know that they could. If I’m being honest, I’ve probably allowed myself to be a bit too unintentional, and even year after year.

But I wanted to approach this new year a bit differently and actually resolve to grow. The word resolve means to decide firmly on a course of action. I don’t want to repeat another so-awesome-that-I-can’t-even-articulate-what-was-so-awesome-about-it kind of year. I’m beginning this year with resolve, and I’m going to look back on this year and be able to say that what I resolved to grow in, I grew in.

So this morning Noelle and I sat down and set some goals resolved to make some changes this year. Individual goals, family goals, ministry goals. Together we came up with a ton, but I wanted to share my top three… and I give you all permission to hold me to them!

1. Ignore the small stuff. If you’ve been around me, you know that I *sometimes* have the tendency to get frustrated at really annoying things. Bad parking jobs, BECU commercials, bad smells, fruit flies, crooked chairs at church, things in UNDIVIDED not working the way I wanted them to, things out of my control. And that’s the thing. I’m coming to realize (with the help of Noelle) that I need to be okay with things that are out of my control. The more I let these little things get to me, the more little things I see. The more I ignore them, the more I realize that they really don’t matter.

2. Empower people. As a leader, this is really important. The longer I’m in youth ministry, the more I realize that I can’t sustain the growth we’ve seen. This year I’m resolving to empower people to do what I used to do, so that I can do what only I can do. This is where the first point comes in… I have to be okay ignoring the small stuff. I’m thankful that my youth pastor empowered me as a 20 year-old youth leader to plan a junior high event. And I’m thankful that when he found out the event was to an arcade that had been shut down and a pizza place that was closed, with 5-too-little van seats available, he let it slide and encouraged me. I’m going to remember to do the same this year.

3. Encourage. A lot. Both my mom and my wife are really good at finding opportunities to encourage people any chance they get. My mom sends what she calls “love notes” to people all the time, just because. Noelle leads the funnest team with the least “turnover” in our church, mostly because she’s so encouraging and uplifting. I want the same to be said about me. I want people to not quit because they serve with me. I want people to be great because they know I believe in them. That’s going to be me this year!

Honorable Mention: Make another baby.

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What’s the big deal about CAMP?

It’s camp season right now for us, and it’s a huge part of what we build towards all year. Not only is it so much fun, but it is truly a life-changing experience. Those who’ve attended or served at a camp know this, because they’ve seen it firsthand. Every year we see students commit to Jesus, make new friends, have fun, and come home with a renewed passion to pursue God’s purpose for their lives.

That’s why it’s funny to me that year after year we encounter resistance from students and parents alike when it comes to camp. For whatever reason, they’ve chosen to not see the value of camp. Or, they say they can’t afford it because of the $$$ they just spent on new J’s, baseball camp, etc.

So, I figured I’d write a few reminders about Why CAMP is so Awesome:

1. It’s a BREAK from normal.
A lot of people say things like, “I shouldn’t have to go away to camp to connect with God…” The funny thing is, most of the people who say that are the ones who are stuck in routine, without purpose and completely disconnected from God. Something special happens when you break from your routine, turn off your phone (there’s no reception anyways) and take an extended period of time to awaken your physical and spiritual senses. This happens at camp.

2. It’s NOT convenient.
Camp costs money. It requires time off of work and time away from family. It takes planning and sacrifice. It’s not convenient, and it shouldn’t be. If church always has to be convenient, it’s going to translate down the road to a very weak faith. The reason we prioritize certain things is because we know that if we don’t, they’ll fall to a lower place where they shouldn’t be. If we’re not careful, we’ll make the things of God an afterthought rather than a priority. Placing something at a high priority shows that – though it may be difficult to maintain – it’s worth prioritizing. Make camp a priority! Continue reading

Processes are the WORST.

I graduated from Bible college and knew everything. I had my first 10 sermon series ready. I had all these ideas that I was GOING to implement within my first two days on the job. We were GOING to grow immediately. All my friends from Bible college were going to be jealous. People were gonna be like, “Noelle and Taylor are such great youth pastors. I wish I could live with them and have their awesomeness rub off on me…”

And then I woke up and realized how much of a cheesehead I was being. Continue reading