The Most Important Thing in Ministry and 3 Things You Can Do About It

What’s the most important thing that you do?

Is it your preaching?  Maybe it’s your leadership?  Better yet is it being relational?

I think it is none of those things. In fact I think the most important thing we must do is so obvious that we often forget it. I heard of another person this week who had their life drastically affected by one thing:  They had an affair.  I do not know all of the details but I would bet money they forgot the most important thing they should be doing.

It is so simple but so easily neglected.

Easter Hope for Parents

Kelsey was a meth addict. She stole from her parents if she could get into the house. Danny was a runaway, not for any particular reason. He would come back when it got cold. Barbara was an angry over-achiever who hated God and her family.

The parents had 3 things in common: a deep sense of failure, a profound faith in Jesus, and a faint glimmer of hope. They also shared guilt, regret, and grief– sometimes the dominant themes in the opera of raising teens.

The nice thing about being involved with youth ministry for 30 years, is seeing how parents survive the teen years and how teens have turned out. Here are a few things parents did to endure the difficult days.

Teens’ Surprising Easter Confessions We Need to Hear

I was scrambling for an idea for the youth group at Easter. Other youth groups were shut down. Other kids had a family life. Not my group and not my kids. So it was hours before they would gather and I had nothing that we hadn’t done before.

At a loss, I came across a lame idea to make teens write Haiku? “Haiku?!” I flipped the page and kept going. Then stopped. “I don’t even know what Haiku is… some kind of poem?” I thought. “My group writing poetry?” I scoffed… but I was desperate and it was worth a risk that I will never regret.

They shuffled into the room. We sang some songs, watched a bit of the Jesus movie and just when I thought they were ready, I had them finish lines in a poem that I started. The only words I gave them were, “because Jesus is alive…” The results broke me… 

3 Ways to Have Parents Working With You Not Against You


I recently bought a new vehicle.  I hated the process.  I am so paranoid of getting a bad deal that the entire experience frustrates me.

The funny thing is I love buying houses.  A much larger investment but for some reason I like doing that instead.  Probably one of the reasons is that it is simple advice on a good real estate purchase.

You ask any real estate agent and they will tell the three most important things are, location, location, location.

What does this have to do with youth workers and parents? Actually a lot.

If you want to have parents partnering with you to make the ministry even better then there are three things you have to do.

Startling Discovery! Jesus Found Living in Teen’s Home

No, this is not like an Elvis sighting but you have probably guessed what I am getting at. Would you put a sign on your lawn that says: “Jesus lives here?” Probably not and neither would I but if he doesn’t live at our house we are probably in more trouble than we know. Now, more than ever, it is important that Christ be a reality for teens in their homes. How do we do this without making our homes as weird as the title of this blog?

I don’t think that we have this completely figured out, but I think that we have learned some things from other great families that help make Jesus come alive in their homes. Here are some ideas that work.

4 Risky Steps to go from Rejection to Acceptance

Last Saturday morning the room was filled with a wide assortment of dedicated teens. I looked at them and prayed inside, “God help them understand that the way they accept or reject others can mean the difference between life and death….”

As I measured up the excellent youth group I was speaking to, I still felt desperate to get them to take radical steps to courageously move beyond their friendship circles to accept others.

I knew that if I was going to get this point across, I was going to do something risky. Here’s what I did…

2 Magic Words to Get Parents on Board With the Youth Ministry

If there were no parents then there would be no students.  I know basic biology, right.  But let’s be honest, we all have wished at one point or another that we could do youth ministry without dealing with parents.  I know that in the moment of frustration this thought can creep into your mind but it is dangerous to entertain.

If you truly want your students to continually look more and more like Jesus then you need to work with parents.  Every parent is an important part of a student’s spiritual development.  Yes even the unbelieving parent is important.  If they do not allow their student come to the church it will be much harder for you to spiritually impact the student.

I have found over the years that the vast majority of parents are great to work with if you remember two magic words.