What’s Your Niche?

•June 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The success of this year’s SMX is completely due to our volunteers and staff members.  This is the most “hand’s off” I’ve been with a majority of the details of the xperience….which is totally awesome because I can focus on pulling our group into a deeper spiritual direction and awareness before, during, and after the xperience.  Big props so far to:   1) Marty for working through the details of travel and adventure…also for enlisting the help of Stephanie and Christina Caldwell.  2) Amy for securing the retreat center and working through those details.  3) Stephanie and Christina for rocking out our WorkDays here at the building…they have organized our teachers, trained them, and helped them pull together decorations, crafts, and game ideas.

I’m humbled that you guys dedicate your time and passion to serve our students.  We are each gifted in so many unique ways, and I want to capitalize on our potential.  I don’t want us to be just a group of people who sit around and talk about things…I want us to be a group of leaders who are leveraging themselves for our student ministry vision and our strategy.  So, we are going to be talking about this probably for the next few meetings we have. 

To prepare for our meeting this Wednesday night…be thinking around these couple of questions:

1. What are you good at?  What do you love to do?

2. How can you use this to influence our students in our ministry?

3. How does your gift/gifts fit into our mission and strategy?


Thanks a lot guys.  See you tomorrow night!



•May 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a hectic two weeks it feels like.  My apologies for being absent from the blogworld consinstently.  It seemed that we were starting to build an on-going conversation centering around our meetings and dreams with this blog…so I’m ready to get rolling again with regular postings.  So make sure that you subscribe to this blog, or check it frequently to stay current with our conversations.  Please also try to think out loud with each other and with this blog by posting your comments, questions, and etc..

We have re-opened the talk about the environments that we are offering our students….more specifically, we’ve been talking about revisioning RAZE and offering it on Sunday nights instead of Wednesday nights.  I still feel that this is the best for this environment because it maximizes our student audience (much more students are available on sunday nights than wednesday nights…especially during the school year), as well as maximizing our potential for volunteer recruitment (in the multi-purpose room and with the revisioning, RAZE will be an event that requires a lot of hands and hearts to live up to it’s full potential).  We will be looking for a worship team, a drama team manager which can help students put together engaging dramas on screen or live on stage, cooks, and volunteers for set up and tear down.  However, there is also a lot of risk that the enviornment will not succeed, that we won’t get enough volunteers, that parents won’t support, etc..

So…last Wednesday night @ staff I asked you guys to wrap your heads around the question:  what would an engaging worship environment for students look like?  Please keep thinking about that.  On a much larger scale (dealing with our whole grow, love, lead strategy) please also consider these questions for Wendesday night’s meeting:

  1.  What are the resources available to us as we engage this student generation?
  2.  What are the most effective ways to earn the right to be listened to by today’s students?
  3.  What is the best possible way (or avenue through which) for us to leverage the resources and opportunities above?
  4.  Could we achieve more by doing less?  Please explain your answer.

Those are some good questions to be thinking about.  I’m going to have some groundwork on our environments done by Wednesday’s staff meeting for our observation, discussion, and planning.  THIS IS AN IMPORTANT STAFF MEETING…please make your plans to be there!! 

You guys rock, and our students are entering into the Jesus life more fully because of your hearts and your example.  Thank you.  Please keep praying for Devon, Mama B, Brant, and Mal…they are hoping for a room in Columbus.


•May 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This guy’s name is Seth Godin.  He rocks…I follow his blog all the time.  Seth is a marketing consulant, and general re-thinker of the status quo in the business world.  He questions everything, and usually has some pretty revolutionary thoughts.  See why I like him?!  This presentation is called ‘this is broken’.  The video is about twenty minutes…but take some time to follow.  His presentation will keep you engaged.  Below the video are a couple of comments of mine and some space for your discussion.  My favorite section is the “I’m not a fish” section.

Ok…free thought.  What’s broken in our student ministry?  How do we fix what’s broken?  What things could we break in order to engage our students?


•March 26, 2009 • 1 Comment

Great discussion last night.  I so value your guys’ opinions, insights, and criticisms…and I especially value that we can openly and consistently question our habits and practices as a ministry.  I firmly believe that the more defined and attainable our mission, the more we will collectively centralize ourselves allowing God to freely move through us.  You guys rock…don’t forget it.

There will probably be a couple of bloggings birthed (that word was chosen for new grandpa Marty) out of last nights meeting, but I want to get our minds thinking about our mission and strategy.  For understanding how mission and strategy works, and why this is important…check out the ‘Realizing Mission’ postings on my blog (shameless plug, but worthwhile reading).  Ok, here we go!

Our mission:  to lead students to become fully absorbed with the Jesus life.  What does that ‘fully absorbed life’ look like?  We determined that a fully absorbed life is one that is GROWING, LOVING, and LEADING.  And with this understanding, we just discovered our strategy…to offer environments that lead students to grow in their relationship with God (raze gathering), belong in community with each other (fusion community groups), and equip them to lead in the areas that they are gifted (influence intiatives).

So the questions now are:

  • Under this strategy, how can we most fully align our resources in order to give energy to our mission?
  • How do we promote this effectively with our students and parents?
  • Under this strategy, what are specific roles that will be needed to fill (such as curriculum writers for fusion groups, worship team for RAZE, etc.)

Ok…I think that’s broad enough for today.  Have fun with the conversation!  Remember, just throw your ideas out even if they aren’t fully formed…they will get us thinking together!


•March 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

As I’m typing this, Katrina appears to be in the final stages of labor.  There’s a new member of the Durham family coming to town…watch out world.   Congratulations to Marty and Brenda, proud new grandparents!

During the next few weeks, building up to our two series’ that we’ve been planning, i am going to be teaching community with our students during our RAZE gatherings.  As I have been praying and thinking through these messages, I keep coming to this conclusion:

our students are in activity together, not community together.

When we are in activity together, our relationships and interactions are shallow.  We are removed from each other’s lives, except on a limited basis.  I believe this greatly undercuts our spiritual growth.  I also believe that this is one reason that our fusion community groups are not accomplishing their mission currently.  Community influences, motivates, challenges, and equips.  We must begin to think about how our fusion groups are teaching our students to become influencers, motivators, challengers, and equippers.

So as I keep thinking through this, I’m posing two questions for you:

1) In what ways is it evident that our group is in activity together, and not in community together?

2) How can our fusion community groups become more than a youth group event, and become an environment that shapes our students?


•March 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’m working on some stuff for our eldership about understanding vision, mission, strategy, and branding in regards to becoming more intentional as a church.  I’ve learned a lot of stuff along the way from some great thinkers, and think that it will be beneficial for us as a team to know what we’re talking about when we speak of mission and strategy with our student ministry.

Head over to my blog (http://merging.wordpress.com) and check it out!


•March 5, 2009 • 1 Comment



Great brainstorming session last night!  Remember that these are going to be our next two raze serie’s coming up, and next Wednesday we will meet to start doing some creative planning.  As you look at the list above, what are the thoughts that come to your mind?