Friday, March 26, 2010

In Memory...

I received word yesterday that Warren Negley had gone home!

What sad, yet great news. I'm so happy that Warren is now sitting before The Throne of God!

Warren was my boss for a short time while I worked on full-time staff at Calvin Crest. With the transition out of two former staff members Warren and I kind of "arrived on the scene" about the same time. Some thought I was the wrong person for the job....Warren called on me and personally told me he had faith in me and wanted me for the job - pretty humbling experience seeing as how Warren and I had barley met before this.

Over the year or so I would spend working with Warren I was privileged to learn so much from such a wise man. He had such a gentle spirit - but when he spoke you knew he was on the right track. He always had a way of helping you - helping when you needed suggestions or advice, helping you see something from a different perspective, and giving you the nudge in the right direction even when you didn't think you needed or wanted it.

I remember only one instance where I was angry at Warren - he in the way he always did gently suggested I make a change in my life. My anger lasted only about an hour and it was then that God showed me I should take the advice of such a wise man. As it turns out - Warren was giving some of the greatest advice I needed in that time of my life...had I stayed angry I can honestly say I would not be where or who I am today!

Warren taught me about generosity - he gave from his heart - every time! I think he knew deep down that his time, gifts, and even his finances were not his - but his Creators - and he gave like God wanted. He gave so others would experience the God he was deeply in love with.

Warren taught me how to be encouraging - not directly but in the way that someone in ministry should - he modeled it in his daily life. He took a young-punk youth worker and gave me freedom. He not once stepped in my office and told me how to do my job - he let me try new and different things, (I think even when he knew they wouldn't work) he let me try and experience and learn from both my failures and successes.

Warren was a true godly man that we should all be so lucky to have in our lives. I pray all those who have been impacted by the ministry Warren lived on a daily basis will carry on his legacy by giving to others in the way Warren gave to us. Thank you Warren for all that you gave on this side of eternity. I cannot wait to see you again when God calls me home.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Why does the church fail...

Okay, so that could be a very open-ended and general question....but what I'm focused on now is specific to accountability, or mentoring, or adhering to what we're called to do in Christian love when one of our brothers or sisters in Christ is struggling.

Why is it that a healthy youth ministry is building relationships between it's leadership and it's youth (in a mentoring sense) and then they graduate and "big church" doesn't continue to carry the baton? Big church doesn't ask the same questions of them that their youth ministry has.

How is it that we can have conversations with our youth about their struggles with life, their addictions (to drinking, drugs, pornography, sex, cheating, lying, and so much more) but we dare not mention any of those things from the pulpit, or for that matter in close relationships beyond high school and college?

I once heard a Pastor say "if the Bible talks about it we're going to talk about it."

So, why do we encourage and even build relationships to a point with our youth so that they'll be open and hopefully held accountable to living a Christian life and then we don't do the same to their parents, grandparents and other adults in the church?

I know I'm just rambling off questions - but honestly it ticks me off that we're living a double standard in the church. Youth leaders (good ones anyway) hold their teens "feet to the fire" but the Leaders of the church (elders, deacons, pastors, whatever you call them in your denomination) don't do the same for their adults.

If we were honest with each other I think we'd all agree that there are people sharing the pew with us on Sunday mornings that are struggling with the same things (and more) that our kids are - there are people who are cheating on their spouse, shacking up with their significant other (non-married), porn addicts, alcoholics and the list goes on. Why do we do a disservice to our Christian family by not loving them the way Christ has called us to - in accountable relationships???

A good friend and colleague of mine asked me a few months ago how my marriage was. That is the first time in over three and a half years of being married that someone has cared enough to ask. Why is the church not asking me this question? The divorce rate is the same inside the church as outside - so what are we doing about it? The porn industry is a multi-billion dollar a year industry - what are we doing about it? Every day people are moving in with their boy/girl friends, what are we doing about it? Why are my adult counterparts in church not asking and being asked the same questions I ask of the youth?

I say it's time for The Church to be what Christ has called us to be, and let's start setting a better example for our younger generations. After all - their youth leaders expect honesty and accountability from them, shouldn't they expect us to be held to at least the same standards?
Just check out Proverbs 27:5-6, & 17

Just sayin',

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jacob's Well

Well it's been a bit too long since I last posted here...and I just had a great meeting with a new friend and partner in ministry.

I met Mark through a mutual friend and the three of us sat down to talk about Jacob's Well over lunch today.

Mark has a great passion and a call from God to do ministry in Lincoln - I'd love to tell you all about it - but first you should check out the ministry's web page.

I especially would love to direct any youth workers (paid or volunteer) who might live outside of Lincoln who might be looking for an amazing mission trip opportunity this summer. Mark and his team will be hosting a day-camp all summer long and they've designed a really sweet mission trip program to bring in youth groups to help run the day camp and minister to the neighborhood they're living in.

Seriously, if you're a youth worker or if you know of one - check out Jacob's Well and give Mark a call or drop me a line - I'd love to give you a reference for both Mark and the ministry God has laid on his heart.