The Inspired Volunteer

A blog to inspire the Youth Volunteers of Shepherd Church

Pearls of Wisdom on Youth Ministry-Why 34 Years? — August 26, 2015

Pearls of Wisdom on Youth Ministry-Why 34 Years?

Post by: Judy Aram
Shepherd Youth D-Group Leader

I am just addicted to being used by God.  The Lord has given me a lifetime of opportunities to do just that in Youth Ministry. In college, while dating the man who would later become my husband, we started and built a youth group at the church my father pastored.  Bill stressed often a verse that I’ve carried with me throughout all these years:

“If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost.  You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground defending him” I Cor. 13:7

This verse energizes and inspires me, because young people need another voice maximizing their significance.  You can influence them because they are moldable. The Lord has always given me an enormous reservoir of love and encouragement (exasperated sometimes..yes, but the Holy Spirit always empowers that love to be replenished).

Sometimes we do not know if we have made a difference, but we can trust that His word and His love will not return void.  Ask the Holy Spirit to fill up your reservoir, and watch Him to empower you to do His work.  As I was writing this, it hit me how I was able to minister to youth alongside my father, my brothers, my husband, and my sons.

Significance Over Popularity — August 18, 2015

Significance Over Popularity

Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church

Too often I try to stay popular by pleasing others, but taking the path of people pleasing leads to emptiness and bitterness. I got this understanding by realizing my propensity to always say “Yes” is really a reflection of my selfishness. How so? Because people pleasers are addicted to receiving positive responses and can’t bare the feeling of not “being liked.”

I’ll admit, I am a recovering people pleaser. Since I can remember I wanted to make people happy. Much of that desire stems from a sanguine personality that desires to have a blast in life and enjoy people’s company. However, over the years I have discovered that although I was putting smiles on people’s faces through my compliance I was creating for myself a bitter heart that resented people’s requests. So in order to avoid having to say, “No,” I would try to avoid being asked.

The bitterness I started to feel towards people’s requests had nothing to do with them, but it had everything do to with feeling insignificant. Yes, I was busy helping others, but I wasn’t accomplishing what I considered important. I was allowing others to dictate my goals and align my priorities and the only person to blame was myself.

Thus, I started the process of listing my top goals in life. What do I want to look back in 40 years and be proud I did? Then, I started to assess where my time, energy, and resources (Finances and Abilities) were being spent and realigned them to accomplish what I considered significant. Easier said than done. However, the key to protecting what I deemed significant is learning to say, and mean, the boundary word, “No.”

  • “No, I am sorry, I can not commit to doing that at this time.”
  • “No, I am sorry, we won’t be attending that.”
  • “No, I am sorry, but we have already committed to something else.”
  • “No, I am sorry, but that is the time I spend with my family.”
  • “No, I am sorry, I do not have time to commit to that.”
  • “No, I am sorry, but right now is not good time for us to do that.”

The word, “No,” protects what you declare as most significant. Think of it this way: whenever you say, “No,” to something, you are saying, “Yes,” to something else. You can’t have or do everything in life, and trying to have everything will leave you with nothing.

Take some time this week to write out your top three things you want to accomplish over your lifetime. Then, assess if your time, energy, and resources are being spent to produce those results. O…and get used to saying “No” to well-meaning people and admirable causes, because although those things may make you popular, saying “No” will bring a feeling of significance.

3 Things to keep in mind… — August 11, 2015

3 Things to keep in mind…

Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church

3 Things to keep in mind as you prepare to lead your D-Group…

1. It’s a fresh start…

Although you may have the same students as last year, try to forget all the annoyances your students caused you. Believe it or not, your students have matured. Three months in the life of a student is an eternity and many cognitive and emotional changes occur. Put aside that one instance when your student disrespected you and try to see her with fresh eyes. Its stinks for anyone to be held in contempt for things done in the past…especially for students whose brains literally aren’t fully developed yet. Let’s deal with the issues this year as they come and leave the previous problems where they lie…in the past.

2. It’s all about Jesus…

This one is for all those who have said to themselves at one time or another…”I just don’t feel I am making a difference.” Stop it!! Are you showing up each week? Are you listening to your students? Are you asking the Lord to give you wisdom as to what to say? Have you been repenting of sin? Then stop telling yourself statements like that. Discipleship is a process and God is working in each person in His own way. I sure am glad my mentors did not give up on me when I was young and did not show much change…and I bet you could say the same for yourself as well.

3. Get excited!!!!

Students feed off the energy of their leader. So set the tone of your group to be one of excitement. Now, I am not saying come in every Wednesday yelling and jumping up and down (although I am sure any 6th or 7th grade guy group would love it!). But rather, look forward to greeting each of your students and their parents, text them and say things like “Can’t wait for D-Groups to start! See you on August 26th!!” Pray with enthusiasm and ask God to use you in ways you haven’t even imagined. After all, think about what we are getting the privilege to do…help students experience Jesus Christ and grow in their faith so they will impact the world for His Kingdom!! Seriously!?!?! Come on!!!!

I will see each of you either on Sunday, August 16th or Wednesday, August 19th.

Fall In Love With The Process — August 4, 2015

Fall In Love With The Process

Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church

I must admit…I have a tendency to underestimate the length of time to takes to accomplish things. For example, my family and I recently moved out of our two-bedroom condo and I figured I could move everything out myself in one day….yeah…my estimate was way off! It actually took me 4 days, 3 vacation days, 5 additional guys, 1 exhausted body, and a $73 parking ticket (Why does the city need “street cleaning” anyway!?”…I digress). Nevertheless, all our things got moved but now I look back and think, “Why in the world did I ever think it would only take one day!?” My wife warned me it might take longer, but I’m pretty sure she knew I needed to figure that out on my own.

If you are anything like me, you tend to apply the, “Lets see how fast we can do this?” mentality to many things. For example, setting a timer to see how fast you can unload the dishwasher, figuring out the fastest route to work, seeing how quickly you can complete a to-do list, or even setting the count-down timer to see if the Jiffy Lube people really do change your car oil in a “jiffy” (did that today actually).

But honestly, I have found myself having that same, “Lets get this done!” mentality with my job. Thus, the only times I feel accomplished are the moments when something is completed. I wish it wasn’t so, because not much time passes from when a project is completed to when another project begins.

The book “The Practicing Mind” by Thomas Sterner opened my eyes to a new way of thinking. The book teaches you how to merely fall in love with the process of things rather than focusing primarily on the end result.

So, here are my new goals…at least for now…..

  • Live in the moment and take things as they come.
  • Give ample time for projects, not just because they require it, but so that I may enjoy it and not feel rushed.

In what areas in your life you need to slow down? When do you feel rushed? What steps can you take within that area to create margin for learning and enjoyment?

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

Everything in life worth achieving requires practice. In fact, life itself is nothing more than one long practice session, an endless effort of refining our motions. When the proper mechanics of practice are understood, the task of learning something new becomes a stress-free experience of joy and calmness, a process which settles all areas in your life and promotes proper perspective on all of life’s difficulties.”
― Thomas M. Sterner, The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life

“When, instead, your goal is to focus on the process and stay in the present, then there are no mistakes and no judging. You are just learning and doing. You are executing the activity, observing the outcome, and adjusting yourself and your practice energy to produce the desired result. There are no bad emotions, because you are not judging anything.”
― Thomas M. Sterner, The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life

“The feeling “I’ll be happy when X happens” will never bring you anything but discontentment.”
― Thomas M. Sterner, The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life