In the Trenches

4 Tips for a Great Super Bowl Party

Super Bowl Tips
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With the Super Bowl fast approaching, there are a few things we can count on:

1. Cowboys fans are left thinking next year is our year (finally).

2. Patriots fans getting ready to cheer their team on, or claiming they needed a break from the Super Bowl.

3. Youth Ministers’ mental wheels are turning trying to plan the big party.

I have been in youth ministry long enough that I remember when, as a church, we had to invite people to our “Big Game” party, because we were infringing on the NFL. Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore.

But one thing I do know, from having done Super Bowl parties over the years: there are a few key elements that make a great party. Here are my two cents.

  1. Embrace the Variety – I know this may not come as a surprise, but the focus of the game is not always the game. The commercials are a draw for some, whereas you will have other people show up just for the fellowship and time together. That’s okay, embrace the variety. 
  2. Keep the Atmosphere Engaging – I have done parties at a house with a pool table, so we had an 8 Ball tournament running concurrently with the game. We have asked students to predict scores quarter by quarter before the game starts, and given away a candy bar to the student who is the closest after each quarter, and a little bigger prize for the winning prediction. Have some board games at a table toward the back of the room. Whatever you can do to keep the atmosphere engaging is almost always a win.
  3. Great Snacks – What good is a Super Bowl party with out great snacks? I don’t know about you, but there are a few people in our church who do a great job with snacks, so be sure to ask them to join or to just bring a snack. One of my favorite Super Bowl memories is making stuffed jalapeño’s with a kid before everyone showed up. We had a blast prepping food, and even more fun eating it! Don’t forget…Of course creativity counts, but taste matters. Don’t show up with a football shaped platter of vegetables without dip (except this year, as I’m trying to watch what I eat).
  4. Find Resources – Here are two Super Bowl resources I think you should at least be aware of: 
    • Jonathan McKee’s Super Bowl Quiz – this is great for the kids who show up and haven’t watched a snap of football all year. It takes some attention on your part, but something to definitely consider! He will usually post about the week of the big game.
    • Football Sunday – Whether you use this as an alternative to half time, or find another time to show it, it’s worth checking out!

Finally, one of the questions that comes up the most: Do I give a devotion or not? The answer is up to you, but here’s my suggestion: If you do, keep it short and pause the game. You can resume the feed after your devotion, and use the random local car dealer commercials as a chance to make up lost time. But those commercials don’t come until around the end of halftime and the slow part of the 3rd quarter. You’re not going to recover 10 minutes.

The bottom line for all of this, though, is to have fun. Enjoy time together, and be gracious to the kid rooting for the team that’s losing–they’re emotionally invested and that’s okay.

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3 Questions, Leadership Journey

Light Bulb Moments

Light Bulb Moments
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Have you ever had a light bulb moment? Maybe you were driving in your car and a statement from earlier in the day popped into your head, followed by a moment of clarity.

Maybe you’ve been wrestling with an issue for quite some time, then while brushing your teeth, it hit you.

Maybe your light bulb moments come when you exercise, or drive, or shower.

But I think we can all think of a time when we had a breakthrough in our thinking, a moment of unparalleled clarity. From there, you gained clarity, focus, direction, purpose, and possibly even motivation.

I had one of those moments this weekend. Because of a family situation, I ended up taking Sunday off. Normally, when I am going to miss, I make a point to line out the hurdles and get someone to cover all the bases. This weekend, however, I forgot one thing: the sound board.

I am a bit of a sound board nerd. I always tell kids if I wasn’t on staff at a church, I would serve in the sound booth. A few years ago, we were able to upgrade our sound board at church to a really nice board, and I am constantly amazed at the power and capabilities. There is so much to know, and I haven’t gotten around to training someone else to run it. I haven’t brought myself to ask the 3rd question when it comes to the sound booth.

After realizing my shortfall, I sent a text Sunday morning, and then received one right before the service. There was some shuffling, but they were able to get the board to work without a hiccup.

And now my lightbulb moment: Sometimes it’s okay to let go of something I enjoy in order to bring someone alongside and train them to accomplish the same thing. After all, and this is a common mantra here, what if the someone I ask to help actually enjoys it more than me? What if they, and this is hard to fathom because I’m awesome, can do a better job than me?

The question for each of us comes down to this: as a minister, is it my job to do the work of the ministry, or to equip others to do the work of ministry?

Not a minister? Then, the question for you is similar: as a leader, is it your job to accomplish tasks, or to equip those around you to accomplish tasks?

We are better together. It’s okay to ask someone to help.

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Leadership Journey

It’s All About Perspective

perspective
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Do you remember being a child and watching clouds, trying to imagine what shape they’re making?

“Ooh, there’s a lion.”

“Whoa, look at the mountain!”

“Hey, that looks like a centaur attacking a cat.”

As a parent, I thoroughly enjoy hearing my girls talk about what a cloud looks like, and then listening as the other one tries to find it. The truth is, just because one daughter thinks it looks like an animal, the other one can think it looks like food, and neither can be wrong.

The difference is perspective. Each girl looks at the same thing and see something different.

The same is true in leadership, and especially in developing student leaders. Perspective makes all the difference. There are teenagers I watch grow and develop and see one thing, while someone else sees something different. One person’s frustration is another person’s compassion.

When we set out to develop student leaders, we have to understand something from the get go: every student has the potential to lead. Let me say that again.

Every student has the potential to lead.

The challenge for us, though, is viewing a student with the right perspective. Some students are natural up front leaders. Their peers naturally look to them, respond to them, and follow them. But what about the student in the background? Are they chopped liver?

My compassion point is not for the up front personality, but for the behind the scenes student. If I can find a student who loves to serve, but does not desire credit for serving, then my heart starts pumping. I know if I can teach that student not only to serve, but to find someone like them and train them to do the same thing, a movement will start.

Now, my compassion for the behind the scenes student does not mean I neglect the up front natural leader. I develop both, but approach each with a different perspective.

Today, what perspective shift do you need in your life? If you’re a youth leader, what is your natural compassion point? How does that influence your actions? What change can you make today?

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Leadership Journey

The Horizon of Possibility

Horizon of Possibility
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Can I confess something? I love the New Year! I don’t love resolutions as much as taking time to reevaluate and set some key goals to guide me through the year.

As I have been thinking through what might happen over the next 12 months, I have had an idea keep coming back to me. I have written about it before here, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to write a fresh post for a fresh year.

So, let’s talk about the Horizon of Possibility.

The Horizon of Possibility is a leader’s ability to look at a situation and imagine what could be.

A leader looks at a struggling ministry and sees the lives that could change with a healthy ministry.

A leader looks at a failing organization and sees the steps to put the organization on the right path.

A leader looks at a person and does not see who they are, but who they could be.

A leader looks at a mirror and sees the potential they have to make a difference.

The Horizon of Possibility resides at the heart of every goal and resolution. Everyone who set a goal in the past week (and everyone who has ever set a goal), has looked at where they are and where they could be, and said this is what I want.

What change can you see but those around you have a little more difficult time? What picture do you need to paint? What goal do you need to set? What target do you need to lead others to strive for?

Let me encourage you to take some time to set one or two goals to kick off the New Year. I won’t tell anyone you’re making resolutions or anything crazy like that. Instead, you’re marching toward the Horizon of Possibility.

Let 2019 be a year of influence and change.

Want to know how to make your 2019 goals AWESOME? Click here to subscribe and receive a PDF with 7 tips for goal setting and an evaluation tool to help you move forward in 2019.

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Big Picture, Incoherent Ramblings

2018 In Review

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I have been blogging for almost 2 full years. First of all, let me say that if you’re hanging in there with me, thank you so much. I cannot describe how much it means to me to have people who click to read my incoherent ramblings.

My goal in starting this blog was to help you grow as a leader. Sometimes, that growth comes in growing and developing others around you (student leaders, in my case). Sometimes, that growth comes when you expand your own leadership influence. But, in the end, every keystroke I make is intended to help you grow.

So, once again, thank you for joining me.

Now, I’m going to get a little numbers nerdy.

In 2017, when I started my blog, I wrote a total of 28,010 words. Take Time to Say Thank You registered the most views. And August was my most viewed month, averaging 14 views per day.

In 2018 I wrote a total of around 32,750 (depending on the final word count of this post). 3 Fundraising Tips registered the most views. And November was my most viewed month, averaging 10 views per day.

Because the “view” stats can be superficially inflated (redesigning my site registers as views), I usually measure visitors instead. In 2018, I surpassed my 2017 visitor number in early November, so more people are at least clicking.

Facebook is my biggest traffic driver. Because of this, if you haven’t liked 3QL on Facebook, you can click here and do that right now! Also, if you ever read a post that is helpful to you, please share it.

Email subscribes have gone up 25% in 2018. I know everyone processes content differently, but email is the most consistent way to make sure you receive the 3QL posts. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the email goes out at 10am Central with a new post for the day.

Finally, one last thing. Of course I want 3QL to reach more people in 2019. Of course, I would love to surpass my 2018 visitor total in the summer of 2019. But the truth of the matter is this: I will continue what I’m doing for one person that engages. I intend to grow as a leader and I want you to do the same. Along the way, if other people join us, that’s great. But for now, let’s expand our leadership influence.

I’m going to take a couple weeks off and will pick back up in January 2019. I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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