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5 Inspired Lessons for 21st Century Youth Pastors

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We live in a time when the church is radically changing, a reality no more evident than among today’s youth.With social climates changing faster than ever, it’s, no doubt, becoming harder for youth pastors to keep pace with modern issues affecting the emerging generation.Yet, while the challenge may seem intimidating, truth is: when we seek to better understand the times and how God uses them to guide us, we can discover powerful truths and applications.Thus, in the spirit of stirred insight, here are five inspired lessons for the 21st century youth pastor…1) Understand the boundaries of social mediaIt’s no secret 21st century youth live and die by social media. In fact, many of your youth probably define their identity with how many Facebook likes, selfie comments, and Instagram followers they have.As a youth pastor in my 20’s, I get how recent technology has transformed the communicational landscape for better and for worse.But while using multiple social media outlets to reach a wi…

Kingdom Aligned: Why the Unshakable Church Builds on Unbreakable Family

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In Hebrews 12:27-28 we read, "This phrase, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of things that are shaken-that is, things that have been made-in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken..." 

That said, where do you think the church is being shaken? And where do you think that the church is misaligned to the kingdom?

In light of so much shaking in the world, it's fair to wonder where and how the church must better align to the kingdom.
While the answers are many, I believe the church’s approach to apologetics and family discipleship is key to her unshakability. As culture continues to redefine identity and blur the line between love and tolerance, many believers are struggling to combat new deceptions and make a case for their faith.
This leads me to two important questions:
1. While the church may be conveying truth, is she allowing it to be tasted and seen?2. Is the church del…

3 Things Leaders Know That Everyone Should

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It’s been said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way” (John Maxwell). But let’s be honest: How well do we live all three together? 
I know for me, there are times I neglect to model what I know and others I forget to seek what I don’t. 
Yet, when I consider Maxwell's words, I'm reminded how what I know as a Christian leader must ultimately inspire others to become more. So for the next couple months, I want us to focus on practical and powerful ways we can better demonstrate the qualities that make us who are...where we are.In the meantime, let's start off with three things leaders know that everyone should…1) Be Stubborn to Love
Whether we’re serving in marketplace, ministry, or extra-curricular roles, it’s important we see what we do as an extension of God’s love in motion. But perhaps you’re like me having wondered how to do this consistently in the face of busyness, prejudice, distraction, etc.? 
If so, I submit to step up our love, we must s…

LEGACYouth: Increasing our Decrease

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Going off the ‘D’ statement, we find four components in motion:Increase my love for your supremacy (God’s power/authority)Increase my trust in your wise purposes (includes God’s perfect timing)Decrease my personal influence Increase my joyful faithHowever, before we can break these ingredients down,  we must first define “decrease”...

Decrease: Dying to self in a way that allows God’s kingdom¹ to come into greater view.
With that said, we can better understand how this "D" applies in John 3, where our two mortal protagonists, Nicodemus and John the Baptist, are coming to terms with their “decrease”.
For Nicodemus, Jesus is challenging him to see the kingdom of God as separate from any earthly kingdom and to know Christ as the only way to that kingdom; however, for John, Jesus is essentially inspiring him to do what he had been doing (i.e. to make a way for him baptizing in his name )... a different way. 

This leads me to an important realization: though seasons may change, thoug…

3 Ways to Elevate Your Worship Culture

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When building a ministry, developing a dynamic worship culture can be challenging. From constructing ensembles to integrating musicians into leadership roles, no question, the ‘how to’ on facilitating ignitable liturgy is worth discussion.

Granted, I’m more of a 'leader of worship' than a worship leader. Still, as a youth pastor going on his sixth year, I do know a thing or two on fostering the merger between passion and power.

With that said, here are three points learned through trial and error that can take your worship culture to the next level.

1. Extend the invitation.

Regardless of where you are on the worship leading spectrum, we can agree the objective of our reverence is to encounter Jesus. But perhaps you’ve wondered how to sing about history-makers and planet-shakers in a way that convinces your audience they can be. If so, I submit there is a way to journey yourself and your audience to those deeper places of intimate belief together. 

But Cam! What if the worship atm…

LEGACYouth: Distress & Declare

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Inspired by John Piper's John 3:30 series What does it mean to 'distress'?
When we drill down in Hebrew and in Scripture, we find ‘to distress’ is to be tightly bound (Hebrew – “metsar”) in godly sorrow particularly to those being persecuted in Jesus' name. So it's important we note ‘distress’ not only as an emotional reaction, but a call to action...a means to proactively extend the hope of the Gospel.
Sometimes, we think: Well, the Bible says, 'Blessed are the persecuted for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven'...so what' s the point of feeling sorrow if they have a guaranteed reward? To me, this comes down to how we perceive sorrow in the context of distress. When we ponder the Beatitude, Jesus is not suggesting the persecuted don't need support. Rather, he's saying blessed are those who have the Kingdom of Heaven to bring to the dark and desolate places...who've been given the call to set people free from the prison of sin at the cost of b…

Fermented Goodness: The Truth Behind Genuine Kindness

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So today, I stop by my favorite hole-in-the-wall sub shop to get my favorite hole-in-the-wall sandwich only to find my order is completely ready to go BEFORE I request it. At first, I'm confused thinking the bagged contents I'm receiving belong to someone else. But after an initial balk, the lady behind the cashier assures me, 'No, no. It's for you. I saw you through the window before you came in the door.'

As wink provoked smirk, I couldn't help but ponder the moment as I walked out. If we want to mature in our kindness, it's worth noting as spontaneous as it may occasionally seem, true generosity/compassion not only recognizes the needs of others, but anticipates the needs of others...pointing people in the direction of God who knows what we need even before we ask for it.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need …

Burn the Boats: The Secret to Letting Go

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Have you ever been sucker punched in the gut when you’ve least expected…like a ship with the wind knocked out of its sails?

If so, then know that’s where I am as I write this. But before I continue, let me just say this is not going to be a shared post so if you’re reading this, then a) pardon the processing and b) you’re not here by accident.

That said, I think it’s important we come to terms with a key reality of life: as fallen people, we carry fallen perspective…and as much as we’d like everyone to appreciate us, truth is: that’s never going to happen.

Sure, we’d like to assume people of similar belief and faith would be immune. Sure, we’d hope people who receive grace would certainly extend it. But at the end of the day, unless we’re deliberate in responding to conviction, chances are we’ll believe whatever we please to feel like a triumphant hero vindicated against our greatest disappointment.

And I know it’s unfortunate…the idea someone, especially one who meant a lot at one…