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In the following pages I will chronicle my step by step journey as a Church Planter
Lessons I’ve learned along the way. Part 1

I’ve been a Youth Pastor for a few years now.  Along the way I have observed and experienced things that have taught me some lessons about life and ministry.  I’ve been reflecting on these things the past few days and thought it may be cool to write some of them down.

Here is the first installment of “Lessons I’ve learned along the way”.

1) Relationships trump everything.

Relationship … Trump … Everything.

People are looking and longing for relationships more than anything else in their lives.

When my son Jordan was 13 years old we moved to Tulsa and I became the Youth Pastor of Oneighty.  The first night he came to the ministry he had two friends with him from Indiana that came to spend a few days with us.   When Jordan and his two buddies walked into the 93,000 sq. ft. Oneighty facility they were absolutely blown away.  They ran inside and started playing video games together, shooting pool together, talking to girls together they loved it.

When the service started they worshiped together then went back out and hit the game room right after the service.  Jordan absolutely loved his first week at his new youth ministry.

The next week Jordan’s friends had to go back to Indiana so he had to go to the Youth Service alone.  It was amazing to me at the time but, thirty minutes before and thirty minutes after the service, Jordan was sitting in my office texting and talking to his two friends back home in Indiana.  Jordan was in this amazing facility with everything he could ever want to just a few steps away, but he would rather sit in my office all alone.

What happened?  Why the drastic change?

One week he was playing games, eating food, having a great time, enjoying everything the facility offered.  The next week he is in my office all alone.  What was the difference?  The building was the same.  The service was the same.  Everything was the same except … one week he had a friend with him … the next week he didn’t.

Relationships were so important to my 13 year old son that he would rather sit in a room all alone and text his friends, than be in a huge facility where he doesn’t know anyone.

Relationships trump everything.

A few months ago I was asked to speak at the Clemson University Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  This FCA group is the largest in the country.  When I arrived at the campus I have to say it looked pretty cool.  Clemson is a wonderful University with great architecture and facilities.

I went to the large Hall where they held the meetings.  Outside was really beautiful but the inside was to be honest really bare. The auditorium was incredible!  It was kind of old school. Cool seating and large stage.  But other than that there was nothing there.  I mean nothing.  Just an auditorium, a hall way and an outside lawn.

By the time service started their were at least 700 students in the room.  The music was great.  I preached my message.  The students responded extremely well.  I really enjoyed my time there.  But it was what happened after the service that blew me away.  The students never left.  All 700 of them went out into the Hallway and stood there talking.  They talked, they laughed, they prayed together.  There wasn’t even any chairs.  But that didn’t matter.  They wanted to hang out and talk with their friends.  A little later in the evening a bunch of them went out in the lawn and started tossing a frisbie around.  My wife and I left about 30 to 40 minutes after the service and all 700 of the students were still there still there having a blast.

They were in a hallway.  They were in an empty field.  They didn’t want to leave.  Why?

Relationships.

I’ve been a youth pastor for a long time.  I’ve done ministry in small rooms, big rooms, large buildings and small and one of the things I’ve noticed is …

Relationships trump facilities.

Relationships trump service styles.

Relationships trump everything.

This is a lesson I’ve learned along the way.