Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Break

It's Spring Break time for students. Anyone else kinda get nervous? No? Just me? Ok..maybe it's because I was a "Spring Breaker" in high school growing up. Not the kind that partied or anything. I had truly amazing friends. Non-believers at that.

Growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah we had a great, warm destination spot. St. George, Utah. Everyone went there. High school and college. Our parents trusted us because we were the type of girls who actually swam and were goofy at the pool. Who watched movies in our hotel room instead of trying to impress guys. ( We tried one time and it was an epic fail, it just wasn't us, thankfully!) BUT we did make some "small" decisions that could of ended badly. Do you know what I'm talking about? At the moment you think nothing could go wrong (again you are 17 and not thinking sometimes) like going hiking at mid night where wild animals and drunk people roam. Or actually trusting a bunch of "nice boys" and come to find out they are insane drug dealers! And you need to leave but your friends may not think its a big deal. Nothing happened, but oh things could of.

I'm saying all this because I was a Christ follower who went on Spring Break. I was a leader in my youth group and loved God. I'm sure a lot of our students are heading out this week on Spring Break. Lets pray for them that in those "iffy" situations God speaks to them, guides them, protects them. And to help keep their testimony strong.

Happy Spring Break!
And yes this is a picture of my friends and I on Spring Break 2003! Oh to be young again!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Words of advice from a youth pastors wife!

I knew I wanted to be a youth pastors wife when I was about 15 years old.  I knew God was calling me to do that.  How?  No clue.  I knew I had to marry someone with the same desires.  So I started praying for my husband.  Thankfully, God answered!  
When we took our first full time job in Florida I thought " This is going to be SWEET! Super fun and easy!"  
My husband poured many hours into the youth ministry and the Christian School where we both eventually taught at. (I don't recommend this)
Soon resentment and frustration toward "the church" grew in my heart. Due to MANY things that I don't even want to go into to.  Let's just say that some churches have really lost the idea of what God wants the church to be like. 
BUT I couldn't tell my husband how I was feeling because this is what GOD called him to do right? It wouldn't be right.  My feelings are just "normal"
So I stayed quiet (I also don't recommend this)
Finally, one Sunday I walked out during a service. *Gasp* I had enough.  I was tired.  Worn out and frustrated at "the church" and what they expected from my husband and myself.  We both were tired "spiritually."  And my husband finally realized what was happening in our life.
We needed to step down.
Thankfully we came to realize God had bigger plans for our lives and how youth ministry could be like.
It could be fun, exciting and fresh.  
We could relax, take family vacations without feeling guilty and enjoy life along with ministry.
So here we are 9 years working with teenagers.  

Just Remember:
1. Be aware of Expectations
Expectations are one of the top issues in pastoral families, whether they are real or not.  Pastor’s spouses perceive expectations from their spouse, their churches and from themselves of who they are supposed to be, what they are supposed to do, where they are supposed to live, how they are supposed to dress, where they are supposed to be involved in the church, who their friends should be… you get the picture!  Do not compare your spouse or your marriage to others’, you’re unique – figure out and agree on what is right for your marriage.  Note that expectations will change over time as your family grows and changes.
2. Communicate
I believe 99% of my issues would have been prevented had I talked about my expectations and feelings with my husband.  Talk about the expectations of your spouse’s role in your ministry and expose and deal with any unrealistic expectations on your part, the churches part and your spouse’s part.  Be a safe person for your spouse to talk to so you can deal with any resentful feelings immediately.  They will drive a wedge between you and your ministry if swept under the rug.  
3. Spend time together
Loneliness is also a top issue in pastoral families.  Your job can be very demanding, requiring you to be on call and away when youth are available: evenings, weekends and holidays.  This is neither fair to your spouse, nor healthy for you.  Commit to not take on more than your marriage can handle and let your spouse tell you when you are over committed.  Be creative in figuring out ways to stay connected physically and spiritually.  Keep in mind; part of your ministry is modeling to youth a marriage worth waiting for.
4.  Have safe outlets
Hanging out with friends as a couple can be therapeutic and bring a sense of normalcy.  Other youth pastor’s in the area make great people to connect with.  Unfortunately people in your church often are not safe friends. Help your spouse find someone safe to confide in about the challenges of ministry life.  That's why I wanted to start something like LIFT.  A place where youth pastors wives can express their feelings of ministry.  Good or bad. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Raising your kids...while doing ministry

LOVED this article.  And I really enjoy Doug Fields.

4 principles for raising your kids… while doing ministry

I was honored to be asked to speak at the HIM Conference this last weekend in Waiki, HI. It’s an amazing conference with strong communicators such as Francis Chan, Tony Campolo, Dr. Gary Chapman (5 Love Language fame), and Nancy Duarte (who presented a fascinating message on communication). I had never been and I hope to return… a really good conference.
One of the workshops I presented there was titled, Raising Kids While Doing Ministry. When I was a young minister I feared that ministry would wound my family. I had heard numerous stories of the crazed “PK” (pastor’s kid) who was out of control—they were common stories. Actually, this premises still seems to gather attention and is currently being promoted by the show Preachers’ Daughter.
Today, our kids are 24, 21, & 18 and all love Jesus, the church, and their family. Raising our kids in ministry worked for us and wasn’t the colossal failure that I had feared.
When Cathy and I sat down to identify some principles that could be connected to intentional actions, we came up with the following four. I’m sure there’s more, but these are ones we can say that we intentionally sought out. They are:
1.The PERKS principle: we included our kids in our ministry as soon as they were born. Our kids got to go places and do things that most kids didn’t (camps and conferences). There are perks of being in ministry—you just have to look for them (i.e. keys to the sanctuary, access to the church kitchen/refrigerator, a flexible schedule, etc…).
2.The PEOPLE principle: we surrounded our kids with incredibly wonderful people, friends & mentors. Meetings in our home, amazing volunteers, interns and staff that rubbed shoulders with our family. These were the people who baby-sat, hung-out with, mentored and led our kids closer to Jesus. Our children were influenced by a community of amazing people and we are so grateful.
3. The PRESENCE principle: Because of the flexibility of a ministry schedule (perk), we arranged everything within our calendars to be at our kids’ stuff. Since I didn’t work a 9-5, M-F type job, I had the freedom to attend events during the day and coach sports in the afternoon. Ministry kept us busy, but our calendar time kept us focused and present. Our children have adopted this principle and are now present for us and one another.
4. The PERFORMANCE principle: We allowed and encouraged them to be themselves. Ministers teach their congregation that they should be who God created them to be… but, so often within ministry, families want their kids to be who “others” want them to be. This was a tough one for me, but with the help of my wife, I worked hard not to allow my own insecurity (what others would think of me) to wound our children. We became aware at a young age that we needed to either focus on their behavior (behavior modification) or focus on following Jesus. As much as they didn’t feel pressure from us, we soon realized that they would feel pressure from others (about being PK’s) and that pressure (from others) was more than enough.
We weren’t perfect parents! You won’t be either, but the stories that scared me about raising kids in ministry aren’t the only stories out there. The story that was written about family and ministry is one we’d want written again… and we’d want it for others too.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

You might be a youth pastors wife if...

1- You celebrate your Anniversary at youth summer camp or on a missions trip! ( Totally happened to us TWICE!)

2- You plan your pregnancies around camp.  Yep, I tried this time.  And not sure if we will make it!  I blame it on Mike.

3- When your children ask if the teens are coming over to hangout and play with them tonight. AKA Life Groups.

4- You have a list of awesome babysitters.

5- When your child says "crap" "shoot" "dang it" in nursery you blame it on the teens.

6- you ask your husband if your outfit makes you look like a "betty baptist" or a 16 year old. We need balance....We can't be both folks.