January 26, 2008

Oops, I did it again...

Brittany has been saying that a lot here lately. Losing her kids because, "Oops, I was stupid again!" Being caught by the paparazzi in compromising positions because, "Oops, I got drunk, again!"

There is a lot of negativity in the "oops" portion of megastars and the ordinary teenagers that we work with on a weekly basis. Nevertheless, there are also great discoveries in the repetitions that we take the kids under our watch through.


A fad is classified by something that comes along, everyone starts doing "it", and the next thing you know, it has passed on....sounds like a lot of ministry that I have witnessed in the 12 years that I have been pursuing my call....not just student ministry either.

Why do we get caught up in the next greatest things that always seem to never leave us satisfied or growing, but rather, they leave us looking for the the next big thing.

I believe that much of that practice comes from not having a basis for our ministry philosophy.


Philosophy of ministry is a concept that I learned from my mentor and best friend, Mike Landrum, the youth minister that I learned ministry under. He is a professor of youth ministry at North Greenville University now. The first thing that he deals with in his intro to youth ministry classes is the issue of philosophy. Why? Because it undergirds everything that you do.

The basis that I work from is that it is our calling is to see students saved, see the saved discipled, and the discipled to become disciple makers. We do that through relationship and by integrating ministry to the students families.


Paul and Timothy. You and ___________. Who would you put in that blank? Timothy and Paul had a special relationship. Paul mentored Timothy. He gave him things to do. Sometimes those things were the same things that he had already done before. Does accomplishment automatically mean forward progress or moving past doing something over?

I remember the first small group that I led with 4 teenage guys. One guy in particular always semed to talk about struggling with the same thing, and it seemed to be the simplest of things. When he did it once, twice, or even 30 times, did we move on and forget that task?

We did not move on just because he did it....


Do overs in ministry are needed even when someone that we are discipling has done something good or even exceptionally well. Fads come and go for a reason, and I believe that reason is men and women don't master the basics of the faith.

We are starved for the next 10 ways to get closer to God or see his hand move in miraculous ways. Jesus spent 3 years with his guys. He ate with them, walked with them, went away from the to pray, minsitered to people, and taught them. He did that everyday. Everyday......

Jesus was repetitious. Was he an old stooge? Did the guys wonder what was up and want to move on? Yea. They wanted to know who was going to be greatest in heaven. He responded in Matthew 18:2-3,

"And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

The basics. Come to Him simply as a child. Children do things over and over before they get it right. Why do we want to get good at things. So that we can do them the rest of our lives.....

So, lets put down the fads and pull up a chair at the workbench beside that one that God has given us to menton and do it again. Maybe someone can find an extra chair for Brittany.

January 20, 2008

Iddo? What is that?

Welcome to my new blog, Iddo's world.

Wondering what an Iddo is? So did I until about the fall of 2002.

God called me to ministry through the course of a year after I was born again on May 1, 1994. I started college at North Grenville Colege, University now (www.ngu.edu) to prepare in the spring of '96 after making public my calling in June '05.

During the time between being converted and June '05, God put men in my life that help shape my life as a Christian. Ken Owens, Associate Pastor, helpe me understand the disciplines of a believer's life. Tom Deer, Survival Kit discipleship class leader helped me understand how to share my testimony. Wayne Epps, a guy working on his call to minsitry, who gave me advice when I asked for it and affirmed when when I began talking about a "calling."

Oh yea, there was some guy at the Michelin Tire Plant where I worked who when I saw him the first time said, "Man, you ever thought that God was calling you to ministry?" Never saw that guy again.....

All of these were folks who helped me get to the point of being ready to say, "YES! I will answer your call!" Even the janitor dude at Michelin.

After college I went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX (www.swbts.edu). I got there in August '02. Through the course of that first semester I was reading through the book of Ezra.

Like many of you I was cruising right along with not much fanfare or spiritual pyrotechnics. God was speaking stuff to my heart through bible reading, but he was coupling that with stuff that I was trying to wrap my mind around in my classes, as well. The neat thing about seminary is the focus is always the ministry and how we can incorporate the things professors are teaching or we are thinking about into the ministry.

Some things that I was hearing in student ministry classes from Dr Richard Ross was about how God was using teenagers around the world to do the work of the church. Along that time I continued in Ezra. One day I read Ezra 8.

The next morning I got dressed, ate a little bit, and sat down with my bible. Yesterday was Ezra 8. Today, Ezra 9, right? I tried. I even got started reading chapter 9.......

The Spirit of God was prodding my heart, "Go back to chapter 8...."

So, I did......What I read changed my view of my calling to serve God as a Student Pastor forever....

15 Now I assembled them at the river that runs to Ahava, where we camped for three days; and when I observed the people and the priests, I did not find any Levites there. Ezra 8:15....

No Levites? Wow....Why didn't I see that yesterday? My heart swelled with emotion.....

My God, there were not any Levites with Ezra to do the work of the temple.....what about today? How are we doing? Am I doing what I can to make sure others follow behind us? What will I need to do in the future? What do I need to do NOW?

Ezra did all that he knew to do...16 So I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah and Meshullam, leading men, and for Joiarib and Elnathan, teachers. 17 I sent them to Iddo the leading man at the place Casiphia; and I told them what to say to Iddo {and} his brothers, the temple servants at the place Casiphia, {that is,} to bring ministers to us for the house of our God (8:16).

He called to the man that could repopulate the numbers of the Levites as Ezra rebuilt the temple of God.

How does that relate to my ministry as a student minister? A part of my calling is to help identify and train others that are called.

That morning as I read this passage again, I heard in my heart, "Mike, I want you to be an Iddo."

So, I have been working toward that for the last 5 years. I am trying to raise up student ministry workers who care about students being made into fully devoted disciples of Christ. I have challenged students to dig deeper than the 5 minute devotionals to where the Spirit takes their minds. I want to put students on mission in their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and around the world.

Knowing the word. Doing the word. Seeing the word return fruitful.

Depth. Doing. Dynamic!

This generation of students are the ones that the Lord will use to reach the world.....

Bold words......I believe them.

One day in Ezra 8 turned into a whole week. I had lunch with Dr Ross to talk about what was going on in my heart and Spirit. I even shared kind of name for the ministry or effort. He encouraged me to take the building blocks of what God was speaking to me and build on that.

After seminary I went to Mount Hermon Baptist in Savannah, TN, and I met some other student ministers there, and I quickly discovered they too were seeing and hearing the same thing in the Kingdom of God. I will continue to sound that trumpet at my current place of service, Temple Baptist in Simpsonville, SC (www.templebaptistonline.org).

Over the last 5 years God has confirmed repeatedly to me that I should do everything that I can to get students on mission, in the word, and doing above average things in the Kingdom.

That is what Iddo's World will be about. I hope that you check back often. I will sometimes throw out thoughts, write about discoveries, and hopefully engage others that have the same heart and desire for the students that we work with.

I have said I-ddo? Do you?

Read Ezra 8.