More Than Just A Gift

I gave a Swiss Army Knife to a former student who has become a co-leader of mine this year. I decided to make it more than just a gift. This is something I kind of stumbled on that I will for sure make a point to do in the future.

The way I see it (now), a gift can easily be cast aside and become meaningless when a person gets bored with it. I’d rather a gift be something that has meaning attached to it. Hector (the person I gave the knife to) will always remember and value this gift because of the way I gave it to him.

Without being super deep or cheesy, before he opened it, I said, “This is something every man should be given by a significant adult.”

Hector doesn’t have a dad, so calling myself a “significant adult” was like saying “you can count on me”. By saying “every man”, I was saying “you’ve arrived”. By wanting to be the person who gave it to him, I was saying, “you matter to me”.

I won’t do this every time with every gift to every student. However, I will for sure try to be more intentional about how I give gifts to students. If I can accomplish this, gifts will become life-long valuable memories, rather than trinket for a day, then forgotten. When he’s having a hard day, he’ll turn to what he values/what values him. It’s a way to keep our students engaged so we can point them to Christ throughout their lives.


camp_photosI keep these camp pictures on my mantle to remind me of the great youth ministry memories made while doing summer camp. On this Thanksgiving Day, that’s what I’m thankful for: Youth Ministry, getting to impact young lives for Christ, and the relationships that come out of it.

Dennis, Can We Meet Up?

Got a text message this morning that really made my day.


My small group boys from last year are now in a college-age small group. Their leader contacted me today to meet up to talk about them. I love this for a few reasons:

– I love those boys and I’m stoked to help their new leader know them better
– I love that their leader cares enough about leading them to reach out to me to find out how to lead them more effectively

As leaders we do our students a huge favor when we serve them strategically. That’s what this leader is doing by setting up our meeting this afternoon. It makes me happy to know that my boys, who I poured into for 4 years, have a new leader who cares about leading them as much as I do.

A Great Way To Thank Small Group Host Homes

We used our host home for several years. During that time, I estimate hundreds of students have attended small group there. All of us have made connections with God there and had our lives improved in various ways.

In a scene kind of like the last scene in It’s A Wonderful Life, we wanted to communicate all of the great things that happened as a result of the generously opened home during the years we met there. One of our leaders, Sarah, the one who’s ditching us to move to Sacramento, (hi, Sarah — she reads this blog) — Sarah put together a great photo album/scrap book. On each page a student wrote a note to the home owners. Each note started with, “In your home, I…” and they continued writing how their lives were enhanced through their small group experience there.