It’s great to be back from the holidays and back to sharing my thoughts again. Yes, I did eat too much and yes I did get to be on the Conan O’Brien show. Here’s me hugging him:

kevin and coco

Now to the real reason as to why I sat down to type. As part of my time in the Youth Ministry Coaching Program (YMCP), I have been given some self-assigned homework. One of those has been to start a junior high pastor’s network in my area. Honestly, this has been one of the hardest things to get motivated for. Normally, connecting with other youth pastors has been a huge priority and blessing for me. I love being a part of the tribe that is called by God to lead teens into the Christ-life. I used to be at a smaller church where I felt the drive to be around other youth pastors more for sharpening, encouragement, and a safe place to be vulnerable. Now I am at a larger church with a big student ministry staff. Those felt needs seemed to have gone away for me, mostly because I have a mini-network around me every day.

While this is all well and good, I’m noticing some down sides to my lack of connection with those outside our church. I notice that 1) I’m not being challenged by new thinkers/writers as much as I need. On our staff, we tend to think alike and read the same authors. As a result, I feel like a bit stagnated in my thinking of youth ministry and the church. 2) I’m forgetting what it’s like to work in a place where I feel alone at times. I’m forgetting to reach out to other youth pastors because I’m getting my needs met currently. This is making me a consumer as opposed to a servant of others, which I don’t want to be. 3) My vision is not city-focused. I would love to be able to have a much larger view of the church in my city than I currently do. Chances are, if I would just open up my eyes to see what God is doing in other churches, my worship of Him would be much larger and my opinion of myself would be a lot more realistic.

So I am going to press on and continue to do what is uncomfortable for me (which means making some cold calls to random youth pastors) because it’s what I know I need and in the end, I know it will help me serve my students all the better.