My oldest Son and I are going to be hitting this up tomorrow…


The “FUNNEL” Effect

So back about 10 years ago I read Doug Field’s book “Purpose Driven Youth Ministry.”  That plus my college classes plus life experiences have radically shaped how I view youth ministry and my youth ministry philosophy.  In his book he refers to “The Funnel.”  What he means by this is that as you go deeper both in community and spiritual content… your numbers will DRASTICALLY decrease.  I teach a class for my students that helps them dig deeper into God’s word and sets them up well in the knowledge department about the what the Bible is all about and how to study it.  I love the class… but sometimes I can get discouraged about the numbers of students that show up to it.  I say to myself, “I wish EVERY STUDENT in my ministry would come to this class.”  But the bottom line is, they won’t.  The reason?  It’s the funnel!  That picture up there shows how I strategically plan out our student ministry programs.  We have large events where we want students to invite their friends, we have our regular Sunday night gatherings, then we have small group nights once a month, and THEN the classes, and then individual discipleship happens (which is not a program).  So classes are 4th on the ladder down the tunnel.  So what I started doing was tracking each of these by a PERCENTAGE.  So now… if we hit our percentage for our program, we know that we are not failing in this area.  If you have a youth ministry of 50-60 students and do a “class” during the week… expect about 10%.  That’s 5-6 students.  These percentages have helped me put all of this into perspective.  And who knows, as the word gets out, maybe the percentage will change?

It’s Been Quite a Year

I don’t even know where to begin with this post. Today is a very significant day in my life.  Why?  Because 1 year ago I was called into a meeting and was informed that my position as student pastor at Oakbrook Church in Kokomo, In. was being eliminated.  If I am going to be completely honest, all of this still stirs up emotion in me.  That’s what happens when you invest 4 years of your life into something only for it to be completely gone within 15 minutes in a meeting behind closed doors.  When you are in youth ministry, it’s not just a job.  It’s not just about making enough money for my family to live on.  It’s about the relationships that you invest in and poor your life into.  One year ago, my relational world was turned completely upside down.  It’s hard to convey WHAT emotions this stirs up in me, but I know that it is NOT bitterness or anger.  I have literally worked through all of this in this past year and come to the conclusion that it is more of a grieving process that I went through.  It was a sense of complete loss.  The beautiful thing through all of this is that GOD’S PLAN IS BIGGER THAN MY EMOTIONS!  I am beginning to realize that God had me at Oakbrook for those 4 years to do something specific… and I can honestly say that I faithfully went after what I felt God was calling me to do, and when that task was up, it was as if God was saying, “Now I have something else for you.”  That something else is investing in the students of Hopevale Church in Saginaw, Mi.  So on one of the HARDEST days in my youth ministry life… I am more positive and more convinced than ever that God had his fingerprints all over that day 1 year ago.    I still hurt from it, and still miss my friends every single day, and still miss the students I spent almost all of their middle and high school years with… But God is bigger, and has given me a deep love for the people and students and staff at Hopevale Church.  “God gives us the impossible to trust Him for the incredible.”