My Hiatus and Future Plans

I took a very unintended (but very beneficial) break from blogging over the last half a year. It started with me not updating a post I’d planned to make on the day I planned to make it. I was feeling a little overwhelmed. I was coming up on camp season, revamping how I work with my youth ministry volunteers, and generally trying to do too much all at once. Which I’ve warned against before. Blogging had to take a back seat.

Ironically, while I haven’t been sharing anything here at Real Light, I’ve written more than I ever have before. I have a backlog of material that I plan to draw from on the coming months.

Today is not a hard reset of my blog. I’m still planning to write about my thoughts on life as a servant of Christ, faith from the perspective of someone in ministry, fatherhood, and how all of these things interrelate for me personally. I’m just planning on doing so more thoughtfully. With more intention.

Advertisements

Stop It

My senior year of college was crazy! I was preaching full time, directing theatre and teaching for a small christian school, traveling with the college’s drama ministry, and serving as chapel coordinator. Oh, yeah, I was also married and we were expecting our first child! Life was good, but I felt like I was always rushing to get to the next thing. I put on a lot of weight, and felt my health starting to deteriorate. I was a wreck.

The thing is, there wasn’t a single one of these things I didn’t love (well aside from the health and weight thing). They were all good things. I’d chosen the mess I was in. But something had to drop. I came to the realization that I was trying to accomplish all of my life goals at one time.

Sometimes, in ministry I think we do this. We go to a conference and absorb all sorts of great ideas, then we try to implement them all at once. Or maybe it’s a slow-burn buildup: agreeing to do this thing here, take that suggestion there, become involved in that ministry we’ve seen from a distance… And while we have great intentions for all of these things, and they’re all admirable, we can’t possibly hope to do them all well and still stay healthy. Something has to give. When we become over committed we can often find ourselves struggling physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

With that in mind, I want to encourage you (and remind myself) to evaluate what is on your plate. How many ongoing activities are you involved in? When was the last time you had two consecutive day’s off? ONE day off? How much time are you spending with your family? How much time do the activities you’re involved in allow for you to spend alone with God?

Now, are you comfortable with your answers?

If not, it may be time to cut some of the cruft out, or to delegate responsibility for a few things to someone else. One of my biggest struggles as a minister has been putting a ministry I’ve nurtured into someone else’s hands, but it’s important to realize that we don’t need to carry every program, Bible study, or ministry on our own.

Make sure you’re taking days off; taking your vacation. Jesus said that “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” While we aren’t required by the New Covenant to take a day of rest, clearly God thought it was beneficial for man to do so. 

Of course, all of this can apply to anyone, you don’t have to be a minister to be overcommitted, but: “Write what you know.”

Tech In Ministry: Twitter

A few weeks back, I started a series on Tech In Ministry. This is the second blog in that series.

Some Background

When Twitter came out back in 2006 I was one of the scoffers. “Great, now I can read about what people had for lunch on Facebook and Twitter!” Most often this statement was accompanied with a huge rolling of the eyes or gagging sound. I’d been through several social networks already, and I wasn’t so interested in investing time in a new one.

Then it happened. Continue reading

Tech In Ministry: Presenting On A Budget

One of my goals as a blogger is to share the things I’ve discovered and am discovering in my ministry. Something that I’ve become particularly passionate about is utilizing technology in ministry. We all know that technology can occasionally be a hinderance rather than a help, but when it’s used well and put in the right hands, technology can be a tremendous blessing. Tech In Ministry will explore how.

Continue reading

Link

Why Paper Bibles Are Best

“Students in both groups were given identical texts to read – a fiction piece and a non-fiction piece. The only variable in play was that students in the first group read the text from an actual book, and students from the second group read from a PDF on a screen-reader (similar to a Kindle or iPad).

Afterwards, all of the students were tested on their comprehension.

THE RESULTS:
Students who were given the physical books performed significantly better on their evaluations than those who read the PDF. The disparity was equal across the fiction and non-fiction texts.”

Some really thought provoking research on the difference between the comprehension levels of teens reading on a screen and teens reading our of paper and ink.

I wonder how much of this has to do with the kinds of information they typically read on a screen, like Tweets, Facebook updates, and iFunny/Tumbler stuff. All of that is fairly low engagement and typically doesn’t require much reflection. I also wonder if you would get the same results from a group of 20/30 somethings who regularly read or write blogs.

Re-Launch

I’m happy to finally be re-launching Real Light! A little over three years ago, I started blogging on Posterous. It was a positive experience right up until it was sold and closed. Real Light was a place for me to put thoughts that I was kicking around; ideas I was having.

When things weren’t fully formed, Real Light was a place where I could turn and work through stuff. It made me think long and hard about what I was writing, and why I was writing it. Not because anyone read it, but because anyone could read it. The new Real Light will be a little more focused. It’s going to be a bit more theological, and a lot more about youth ministry.

There are a million youth ministry blogs out there, and many of them are great. I’m not going to try and replicate what anyone else is doing, though I’m sure I’ll often stumble over something someone else has done brilliantly and do it half as well. That will give me a chance to link to someone who has done it better when I find them. In any case, this is a place for me. If it’s helpful for you, blesses you, or makes you think don’t be afraid to share that. If you find yourself angry over something I’ve said, lets talk about it. If you think everything I say is brilliant, please seek help!

Content is coming. Over the next few days, I’ll be building up a routine, and sharing some personal writing I’ve done over the last year. For today I’m just glad to be back.