The infancy of my faith was greatly influenced by youth ministry. I am indebted to youth pastors, youth workers, chaperones, and youth ministry as a whole.
This is one of the many reasons my lifelong indebtedness to youth ministry has me continuing to pour into this generation, as long as He will allow me.
Our season of youth ministry was one of the most fruitful and rewarding times of our ministry. We still look back very fondly over the young people, volunteers, events, and parents. Thankfully, our connections are still strong, and stronger in some cases.
There are a number of things that I gleaned while involved in youth ministry and I wanted to share a few of them with you.
I wholeheartedly believe that your youth ministry should be parent friendly. I hope to write about this specifically in the near future. However, I wanted to share a few things with youth workers out there.
First, I have been where you’ve been and now I am on the other side of this with one of our children doing well in our local youth ministry. Our second child will be in youth ministry in the not too distant future. #TimeFlies
There are a few things that your parents need from you.
Communication. Communication. Communication.
Each week a number of parents are entrusting the people they treasure more than life into your care. You cannot over communicate! Communication is a key!
If you want to earn the trust of your parents. Communicate. Communicate clearly. Communicate often. Communicate consistently.
Parents want to know what you are teaching their kids. What are you talking about in your small group gatherings? How are you sharing that with Mom and Dad.
When counseling with teenagers, be sure to communicate unfiltered feedback to their parents. If you think the kids will not trust you because of this, I tend to disagree. I would give teenagers (and still do) a disclosure that I would discuss whatever they were sharing with me with their parents and explain why. I never had one instance where it impaired our conversation or connection. As a matter of fact, it was an opportunity that served as a launching pad to facilitate a stronger connection between them and their parents. It also helped build trust with our parents.
When an event is taking place communicate as much as possible.
Here are a few things you should consider communicating via all available communication platforms (i.e., social media, email, text messaging, website, orientations, etc.).
Event Name: Event Type (social, worship experience, fellowship centric, etc.): Date: Time: Location: Chaperones (parents want to know who is working with their kids): Cost (if applicable):
Are there ways parents can get involved? If so, communicate those opportunities for involvement.
Communicate Your Vision
What is the vision that the local church has for the ministry? Communicate that to your parents. How can they help support it?
There’s no quicker way to win the hearts of your parents by sharing with them what you envision God doing in their lives of their children. Share with them your heartbeat. Allow them to see your heartbeat for their kids and watch them begin to give you their loyalty and support.
Oftentimes, student pastors have grand visions and effective programs, however, the parents are unaware.
I encourage you to read 1 Timothy 5. It will become crystal clear that the most effective training ground for spiritual development is the home, as you read this particular passage. There are countless others that support this, however, this is one of my favorites.
As parents learn your vision they will be able to join you and your team, hand in hand, and press toward the mark!
As a parent of a tween (at the time of this journal entry), this season can be unnerving; a season in which we lack confidence, seek guidance, and are doing everything we can to make sure that we get it right.
There’s no specific book that gives explicit instructions on how to raise our specific children, however, there are a number of tools that can be incredibly helpful.
Share with your parents devotional ideas, books, blogs, and seminars that will be helpful in their particular season of parenting a teenager, and remind them to allow the Word to be their guide through it all.
When you change your paradigm to one of family friendly ministry, you will quickly understand that when the family succeeds, you win too. Remember, the church is made up of families.
Cheer Your Parents On!
As I mentioned earlier, parenting, regardless of the season, is difficult. However, parenting a teen is even more difficult.
Simply put… When your parents bring their children to youth ministry events, don’t forget to express your appreciation to them and affirm their decision to make attending these events a priority.
When their kids do something well, please share that. As a matter of fact, not only share that with their parents, make sure you share that with the student in particular.
There will be moments of doubt, however, when you come alongside a mom or dad to affirm that they’re going to make it by His grace, that encouragement will fuel the will of God in their family.
What are some things that you’ve found to be helpful in youth ministry? Let’s collaborate, as we go beyond. #GoBeyondReason
My wife has long since been a proponent of personality profiles and understanding how people are wired. This insight, applied personally, has positioned her to add value you to our family, friendships, and a number of organizations in myriad of ways; in addition to adding a peace in understanding herself and how she’s been uniquely gifted by God.
I recently asked one of my interns to go through this process, which produced an Aha! moment. Everyone on our team should do this! Here’s why:
You will understand where you fit. In his book, “From Good To Great”, Jim Collins explores the necessity of not only identifying the right people, but making sure they are on the right bus. Knowing your unique personality, natural temperament, specific gifting, and how you are wired in general, will undoubtedly help you in identifying which jobs and volunteer opportunities you want to pursue. Trust me, this will mitigate much frustration.
Communication is key. This information is not only insightful, but empowering. Share your findings with your team. This will not only help them understand you, it will give you a better understanding of each other and the unique vantage points each team member brings to the table.
Strategic placement. Depending upon the project, this information will let you know who should play what role.
Understanding and value. When we have a better understanding of someone, we oftentimes develop a better appreciation for them. Your team will begin to value the diversity that exists, through understanding one another better. Understanding and value are inexplicably intertwined.
The Holy Ghost changes everything. Remember! While our temperaments and personalities are gifted to us from God at birth and shaped as we grow; as we all mature to become more like our Master, our nature will inevitably change to reflect Him. You are not bound by your weaknesses, and your strengths will undoubtedly be enhanced as His glory is continually revealed in you!
Are you ready for the moment of truth? You can begin your journey and take the personality profile test here. #ItsFree
Hopefully, you’ll find the following infographics helpful and brief summary of each personality type helpful. You will find a much more detailed description at the conclusion of your test. So, make sure you bookmark or email yourself the results.
Once you complete it, I’d love to hear about your experience with your findings? Did you facilitate this exercise with your team? Has it helped with strategic efforts? Productivity? Let me know! #GoBeyondReason
Personality Summaries were obtained from Paul Sohn (giving credit where credit is due). Check out his blog here.
PERSONALITY PROFILES INFP
On personality trait measures, score as Artistic, Reflective, Careless, Sensitive, Flexible, and
Among lest likely of all types to suffer heart disease
In men, among least likely to report chronic pain
Second highest of all types to report marital dissatisfaction
Among most likely to have suicidal thoughts in college
Tend to be more successful than the average in learning a foreign language
Among types most likely to be dissatisfied with their work
Personal values include Autonomy and Creativity
Overrepresented in occupations in counseling, writing, and the arts
Least common type in the population
On personality trait scales, scored as Sincere, Sympathetic, Unassuming, Submissive,
Easygoing, Reserved, and Patient
Among highest of all types in college GPA
Among most likely to stay in college
Most likely of all types to cope with stress by seeing a therapist
Highest of all types in marital dissatisfaction
Personal values include Spirituality, Learning, and Community Servicer
Commonly found in careers in religion, counseling, teaching and the arts
On personality trait measures, score as Discreet, Industrious, Logical, Deliberate, Self-confident, and Methodical
Among types least likely to suffer heart disease and cardiac problems
Least likely of all the types to believe in a higher spiritual power
One of two types with the highest college GPA
Among types with highest income
Personal values include Achievement
Of all types, least likely to state that they value Home/family, Financial security,
Relationships & Friendships, and Community Service
Overrepresented among MBA students and female small business owners
Commonly found in scientific or technical fields, computer occupations, and legal professions
On personality trait measures, score as Candid, Ingenious, Complicated, Independent and Rebellious
More likely than other types to study a foreign language
Most frequent type among college students committing alcohol and drug policy violations
Have lowest level of coping resources of all the types (with ISTPs)
One of types least likely to believe in a higher spiritual power
Highest of all types in career dissatisfaction (with INFPs)
In school, have lower grades than would be predicted from aptitude scores
More likely than average complete engineering programs
Personal values include Autonomy, Freedom, and Independence
Overrepresented among working MBA students
Commonly found in science and technical occupations
On personality trait measures, score as Conservative, Conventional, Guarded, and Reserved
Among types most likely to believe in a higher spiritual power
More likely than average to experience chronic pain
Among types most likely to suffer heart disease
Second most common type among education majors in college
More likely than other types to watch more than 3 hours of television per day
Personal values include Happy family, Health, and Spirituality
Overrepresented among MBA students and male small business owners
Among three types with the lowest income
Commonly found in education, health care, and religious occupations
On personality trait measures, score as Easygoing
Among types most likely to report heart disease and hypertension
In college, likely to report low levels of assertiveness
In essays, projected themselves the fewest number of years into the future of all the types
Among the types least likely to stay in college
Most likely of all types to report stress associated with finances and children
In a national sample, likely to value a work environment which provides security, clear and simple instructions, and no expectation of extra work hours
Underrepresented among MBA students and small business owners
Commonly found in occupations in health care, business, and law enforcement
On personality trait measures, score as Calm, Stable, Steady, Cautious, and Conventional
More likely than other types to experience cardiac problems and hypertension
More likely than other types to experience chronic pain
Among four highest types in college GPA
More frequent among African Americans
Personal values include Financial Security
Most likely of all types to enjoy a work environment where everything is done by the book.
Overrepresented among bank officers, financial managers, MBA students, and small business owners
Often found careers in management, administration, law enforcement, and accounting
On personality trait measures, score as Critical, Detached, Guarded, Independent, and Resourceful
Commonly found in populations of male college scholarship athletes
More likely than other types to suffer cardiac
Lowest ranked of all types in using social coping resources
One of four types least satisfied with their marriage or intimate relationship
Among types least likely to complete college
Personal values include Autonomy; at work, value Stability, Security, Independence, and Achievement
Commonly found in skilled trades, technical fields, agriculture, law enforcement, and military occupations
On personality trait scales, scored as Active, Pleasant, Social, Demanding, Impatient, Appreciative, and Compromising
Most likely of all types to cope with stress by exercising
Most likely of all types to believe in a higher spiritual power
Ranked by psychologists as among least likely to have trouble in school.
Personal values include Friendships, Education & Learning, Creativity, and Community
Among types highest in job satisfaction, but also among the most likely to report plans to leave their jobs
Commonly found in careers in religion, teaching and the arts
On personality trait scales, scored as Enthusiastic, Outgoing, Spontaneous, Changeable, Impulsive, Energetic, and Understanding
Scored among highest of all types in available resources for coping with stress
ENFP women are less likely to suffer from heart disease
ENFP men are less likely to suffer from chronic pain
Rated by psychologists as among most likely of all types to have trouble in school
Overrepresented among academically talented elementary school teachers
Personal values include Home & family, Friendships, Creativity, Learning and Community Service
Commonly found in careers in counseling, teaching, religion and the arts
On personality trait measures, score as Ambitious, Forceful, Optimistic, Egotistical, Adaptable, and Energetic
Least likely of all types to report stress resulting from work or finances
More likely than average to suffer cardiac problems
Among the least likely of all types to believe in a higher spiritual power
Among top types in college GPA
Among most likely to stay in college
Personal values include Home/Family, Achievement, Creativity, and Learning
Overrepresented among MBA students and small business owners
One of two types most likely to be satisfied with their work
On personality trait scales, scored as Enterprising, Friendly, Resourceful, Heading, Self-centered, and Independent
Least likely of all types to suffer heart disease and hypertension
Least likely of all types to report stress associated with family and health
Scored among highest of all types in available resources for coping with stress
Overrepresented among those with Type A behavior
Among highest of all types on measures of creativity
One of two types most frequent among violators of college alcohol policy
Among types most dissatisfied with their work, despite being among the types with the highest income
Commonly found in careers in science, management, technology and the arts
Underrepresented among people suffering from substance abuse
Among types highest in resources for coping with stress
Second most likely of all types to report believing in a higher spiritual power
Highest of all types in reported satisfaction with their marriage or intimate relationship
Among most likely of all types to stay in college
Most likely of all types to be satisfied with their co-workers
Values at work include clear structure, security, and the ability to be of service to others
Among the types most satisfied with their work
Commonly found in careers in education, health care, and religion
On personality trait measures, score as Changeable, Energetic, Forceful, Initiating, and
More likely to use emotional coping techniques over spiritual or physical resources
Tend to look to authority in education rather than expressing intellectual curiosity; prefer hands-on learning
Among most likely to stay in college
More likely than other types to watch television for more than 3 hours a day
Second highest of all types in marital satisfaction
Among types with lowest income
At work, tend to be satisfied with co-workers but dissatisfied with job security, stress, salary, and accomplishment
Personal values include Home/Family, Health, Friendships, Financial Security, and Spirituality
Overrepresented in health care, teaching, coaching, and child care occupations
On personality trait measures, likely to score as Contented, Energetic, Prejudiced, Self-Satisfied, and Practical
More likely than other types to exhibit Type A behavior
Of all types, scored highest in coping resources (with ENFP)
Ranked 3rd highest in marital satisfaction among all types
Among top four types in college GPA
Least likely of all types to think about suicide in college
Among most likely to stay in college
Among types most satisfied with their work
High-ranking personal values include Health, Financial Security, Achievement, and Prestige
Overrepresented among bank officers, financial managers, and business owners
On personality trait measures, score as Dominant, Flexible, Demanding, and Sociable
More frequent among patients suffering from chronic pain
One of four types reporting highest levels of assertiveness in college
One of two types with lowest college GPA
Among most likely of all types to stay in college
Values at work include autonomy, variety, independence, and structure
Overrepresented among MBA students
Commonly found in careers in marketing, skilled trades, business, and law enforcement
As I’ve contemplated the journey of being an employee in a plethora of secular and/or sacred environments, I’ve realized there were a number of principles I embrace that have guided me through a process of not only becoming hire-able, but have lifted Him higher in very practical ways.
Here are a number of things that I would encourage you to consider on your journey to becoming not only an awesome employee, but one that lifts Him up.
11 Quick Tips (But Very Effective) To Be An Awesome Employee
1. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God. Remember, God is your employer and you honor Him by recognizing that all you do is unto Him. If you keep Him first, by allowing all of life to become worship (yes, that includes your career), then you will see supernatural things happen.
2. Maintain and protect your character. The writer of Proverbs said, “A good name is to be desired more than great riches.”
3. Be passionate about learning.
– Be a lifelong learner. Whatever you do, please keep your curiosity alive.
– Learn from others. When you’re hanging with others, do more listening than talking. Remember, everything that comes out of your mouth, you already know.
– What books have you recently read? Readers are leaders! It sounds cliche, however, it is true. Readers are constantly learning, thus evolving and adapting. This is paramount in today’s competitive workforce. More than likely, the job you are in now will look very different a couple of years down the road. Leaders are interested in recruiting talented people who can grow with the ever-evolving demands of their job and bring fresh ideas that’ll add value to the organization. There are few things that will grow you and spark creativity like reading. For some cool reads, check out some suggested reading here 40 Great Books To Read.
4. Go beyond what’s required. There are no traffic jams when you go the second mile. Why? While most employees will do what is expected, very few are willing to travel consistently into the realm of sacrifice. Trust me, people are watching, even when you think no one is watching.
5. Refuse to embrace or tolerate vague goals. If you don’t clearly understand the goal, how will you be able to achieve it? Ambiguous or unclear goals, produce results that are unclear. Define the win and define it clearly! This is a must for any project or endeavor to be successful. When embarking upon a project, before you set your goals, ask yourself: “What does success look like?” Now. Go for it!
6. It’s not about you, it’s about the team, therefore, think we, not me. Navigating through the complexities that Fortune 500 companies, small startups, non-profits, and governments are facing is challenging. One of the most effective ways to navigate through the challenges your organization is facing is collaboration. More than ever, businesses of any size are intentionally deconstructing silos; and facilitating project management, collaboration, brainstorming sessions, and recreational time together to facilitate some of the best ideas. In a world of ‘me’ first, you will find that you will thrive when you are able to focus on others, first. So, make a note of these things.
– Learn how to work incredibly well with others.
– Partner with others. Synergy is a powerful force. A single horse could pull a heavy load, but when yoked with another horse, together, they could pull much more than the sum of the amount that each horse could pull alone. Pull with the rest of your team, as opposed to trying to do it all yourself.
– Get involved in the community by serving others.
7. Be a 10! What are your strengths? Forget about working on your weaknesses and work on improving your strengths. If you are a really good communicator, become a great communicator. If you are a horrible organizer, PLEASE do not work tirelessly to become an average organizer. No one is interested in hiring mediocrity.
8. Be on time… Better yet, be early. I had to learn this the hard way. Thankfully, my former pastor (Senior Pastor of Life Church, Buddy Thompson) loved me enough as a young adult to communicate to me that my habitual tardiness was not only undermining my credibility, but it was very self-centered. Do you know what being early communicates? It communicates that you want to be there!
9. Accountability. Don’t shy away from accountability. As a matter of fact, embrace it! Take ownership of your projects or tasks, as well as responsibility when you drop the ball. Yes, there will be moments when it is uncomfortable to acknowledge that you missed it, however, you will earn the respect of your peers and leadership when you hold yourself accountable.
10. Be a servant to the vision. When you work to make someone else’s vision come to pass, you will find that you will reap the seeds of such efforts when you are in pursuit of your own vision.
11. Watch what you post on social media. Nuff said!
There are a number of things that are not on this list, however, I felt like these were some must haves for me. What other competencies, skill sets, or values do you feel are important to becoming a hire-able and an employee that brings glory to Jesus? Share your thoughts! #GoBeyondReason
We’ve all had moments in our life when enough was enough. You know those moments I’m talking about? When the clothes that once fashionably fit, now beg for mercy. When the allure of taking an afternoon nap is more appealing than galloping with your kids through imaginary force fields, dueling to the death with swords made from cardboard, and playing one-on-one full court. I know, right? My ten-year-old dude wants to play one-on-one basketball, running the full length of the court.
When I realized I was allowing life (what’s important to me) to pass me by, I decided to make a change. That change started with two things. First, my attitude. Second, my eating.
Now, I know you’ve read a trillion various articles that will give you the song and dance of the benefits that you will experience, once you begin to make healthy eating decisions. And they’re true, however, while I have experienced all of those wonderful and life-transforming benefits of weight loss, increase in all sorts of emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental energy. Yes, even my mental acuity and recollection are firing at more productive levels. I want to share with you 5 life lessons I’ve learned from this juicing escapade.
In the process of making some lifestyle changes, some timeless principles were illuminated for me. Here are a handful of things that juicing has taught me about life:
#1. Choices determine your direction. Direction determines your destination.
Explore the progression of this statement.
Our direction (where we are headed) is fixed to the choices that we make on a daily basis. No one obtains a prize or goal by surprise. That rarely, if never, happens, however, those that obtain the prize, do so by making strategic and consistent choices daily.
If you endeavor to make a change in any aspect of your life, it all starts with a choice. That single choice literally directs your thoughts, inspiration, physical disposition, relational ecosystem, etc., on the path to the desired destination.
Today, you have the opportunity, no matter what happened the day before, to make better choices!
We become what we do.
For us to choose, is for us to act!
“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” —Wayne Dyer
#2. Buy into a process more than goals.
Okay! Before you fall out of your chair. I am not suggesting that you don’t have goals, however, I am suggesting that you buy into the process (journey) more so than a goal.
Weight loss and higher energy levels were my goal, however, when I immersed myself in the process I learned more about myself, various fruits and vegetables, supplements, exercise, blood type, and how my body responds. This has produced a lifestyle change and facilitated a reinvention for myself.
Sometimes we can be so consumed with the goal that we are willing to pursue shortcuts to obtain the goal. However, shortcuts don’t allow the fruit of your efforts to remain. Buying into and submitting to the system and process accomplishes that.
#3. Commitment sustains motivation.
How committed are you to you the process? How important is it for you, and what are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it?
Inspiration is powerful, yet fleeting!
That aha moment, albeit profound, will shine brightly for a moment, however, your commitment must be unwavering.
Of course, there were times where I wanted to stop by Starbucks or Outback Steakhouse, however, my commitment sustains and fuels my motivation.
How committed are you to Christ? To integrity? To self? To others? To family? To health?
#4. Food can be our medicine.
Food has healing properties that will heal a variety of our ailments. This understanding has placed me on the trajectory of an organic plant-based lifestyle.
I encourage you to begin taking care of your body by eating nutritious foods, which are vital to feeling well. How you feel is directly connected to your performance, mental health, relationships, and spirituality.
Eat like the champion you desire to become!
#5. Each day presents new challenges.
When I least wanted to juice, I forced myself to the kitchen to break out some organic fruit and vegetables. A healthy lifestyle has its obstacles and each day presented unique challenges!
Accomplishing great things and discomfort go hand in hand. Challenges and stepping outside of your comfort zone makes you better, and it doesn’t have to be something as extreme. It’s the everyday challenges that push your boundaries the most, none of which requires a mad dash to the kitchen to juice. Step out of your comfort zone, embrace these challenges, and watch yourself become stronger.
As the saying goes, “If the mountain were smooth, we wouldn’t be able to climb it”
What am I saying? Start climbing over your challenges in whatever you’re facing!
I have an insatiable appetite for reading books. Leadership, theology, history (in particular the Civil War, Civil Rights movement, and African-American history), a bit of fast-paced fiction, and all things related to Abraham Lincoln. Fortunately, our children have embraced our love for reading. This past academic school year, our 5th-grader read almost 25,000 pages.
No matter the season of life you are in, whether you are in your teens, exploring the unsettling next steps of your 20’s, or simply a passionate lifelong learner; reading is for you!
There are a number of reasons why I encourage you to read and read often. To quickly highlight a few:
You’re exposed to other paradigms, thought processes, ideas, etc.
It stretches you
It sharpens you
It expands your understanding and utilization of your vocabulary
It facilitates creativity
I’d like to share with you a number of books that have had a big effect on my life as a leader, parent, spouse, friend, and last, but certainly not least a Christian.
Here are 40 books I recommend you add to your library, in no particular order.
These are not the only books you should read. There are hundreds of others that are great. But these are just simply 40 of my favorites.
So here you go. And please share this list with your friends, team, and other leaders who might benefit.