What Is My Time Worth? You Decide

I’ve heard it said, “If people won’t pay for your time, your time isn’t worth anything.” That’s has been stuck in my head for a while and I decided to see if this is true.

For the past seven years I have brought you the best content possible as an active, in the trenches youth pastor. I am one of you! I share my heart, my successes, and my failures.

In addition to my office hours, I pass along what I create in the form of blog posts, podcasts, videos, and lessons. All of this takes time. How much is my time worth? Today you get to decide.

I have started a Patreon account. This is a tool by which you can choose a way to support the work I do, especially for those youth workers who have no budget, no support, and no encouragement so they can receive free resources.

There are three ways you can support me,

Team Turner $1 a month

This is just your app of saying, “I am with you Paul and I appreciate what you do for all us.”. It’s less than .05 cents a day and an easy way to show your support.

Turner’s Tips. $3 a month

This is for those of you who really enjoy my content and want a deeper dive into the who, what, where, and why of what I do. If you want to get a behind the scenes look at ministry, this is where you’ll see it.

Turner’s Tribe $5 a month

This is for those of you who have no budget, are under-appreciated, bi-vocational, volunteer and slap any other adjective to describe how hard youth ministry is sometimes. As part of Turner’s Tribe You will receive freebies such as full lessons, special training videos. special Q and A sessions and more.for only $5 a month.

That’s it. Easy as 1,3, 5

What is my time worth? You decide.

You can choose your gratitude path right here.

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Some Advice To Young Youth Pastors

My friend Patricia asked these questions on FB

“Folks, if the following situation happens to you, you really need to think:

1. Do you want to work for a boss?

2. Are you happy with where you are right now?

If not, what is your plan?

This simple question got me thinking about deeper questions and arriving at  disturbing answers, or rather, realizations.

My plan? Always hustle, whether you work for a boss or not. Hustle for yourself first and you goals. I was told, “help people get what they want and you will get what you want.” I don’t know iif that is true anymore.  I don’t think I got what I wanted from those I served except a paycheck, and although grateful for it, it’s not all I wanted.

I still think we should serve and help others; but long the way, I forgot what I wanted. I have to get back to what I want and help others along the way.

Now, I love my job. I believe my pastor loves me and he blesses me every chance he gets, but he does not have my best interest in mind concerning my future.  I know he wants me to have a great future, but he can’t help me get there, only I an do that.

When I was younger, I used to think Senior Pastor’s had my best interest in mind. They did not.  They have the whole church in mind and  I don’t blame them, I blame myself for putting more trust in them than in God or myself to get me where I wanted to go.

When I was 29 all I wanted was to reach young people. At 49 all I want to do is reach young people and  position myself to be happy when my time as a youth pastor is over, which could happen sooner rather than later. I wish I had added the second part when I was 29 but I was too idealistic; I trusted the system and men. Bad idea.

The difference between 29 and 49  is, today, I look out for myself along the way, I don’t count on any pastor or leader to make my way for me, it is my way and I have to hustle for it.  I am documenting my life and ministry, with the  future in mind,. I am keeping in mind the life  I want with my wife for the next 20 years.

My faith is strong and is firmly placed in all the right places, first in God, second in myself, and third, in others.

I know all this sounds super cynical. it’s not meant to be, it’s simply a truth I have ignored for too long. The “sleep” started waring off a few years ago. It happens with age and this  truth is often met with great despair, a “what have I done!” moment. Thankfully, I am grabbing the steering wheel before I find myself in a place I did not want to be.

If you’re  29 and  love God and teenagers, Let me give you some advice.

Write your book now.  At least start it.

Don’t let group-think tell you what your hobbies should be. If you don’t like golf, don’t play it.

Use the tools at hand (like the internet, a tool I didn’t have) to find your voice.

Share what you know with those who need it. There are no secrets to be kept.

Be generous, but take care  of your self., no one will do it for you.

Do what you love and try to make money at it even if it’s a side hustle.

Don’t just work hard for others, work hard for yourself.

Don’t let religion rob you of small pleasures.

Quit following the system. The system will not love you back.

Follow Christ, He loves you and has your back.

Youth Ministry is, and always will be a worthy cause. The youth ministry you currently have is awesome, but transient. A moment in time. Another worthy cause is the life you want to live now and after youth ministry. Keep that in mind as you serve.

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How To Power Through A Stressful Youth Service

It’s Thursday, and I am reflecting on last nights youth service. It was stressful as far as the smoothness of the service goes. There are things that I just want to go well and when they do not, well, I start to get overwhelmed, yes even after 26 years.

Here are some of the things that bugged me this particular night.

  • I have new students running sound and the computer. Both are new. Both are middle school. Both have ADD (nuff said).
  • The monitors went out for the band.
  • I had a gazillion announcements (that one is my fault)

I know you’re reading this and thinking, “This is not stressful. I have gang bangers coming to my service; that, is stressful.” I’m with you. What is stressful to me is not stressful to you and vice verses, but I have faced worse; like angry parents, disgruntled church members, flakey kids, and a list of “You Name Its” I’ve had it all, including gangbangers.

All that aside, youth meetings can be stressful depending on our personality and/or how we deal with crisis. In this instance, I must keep in mind that I had just come back from speaking at a youth camp in Florida, so, I might have been  a little wore out and emotionally frayed. Nevertheless, we all find ourselves out of sorts sometimes and have to respond in real time.

Here’s how I survived.

During worship, I went off by myself and sat against the wall.  I did’t pray. I just sang quietly with the band. I had to simply be still and know the God is God.

My message was done. I know that if everything else falls apart, I at least have control over the message. Not the slides, mind you, but the message.

After the service, I posted about what God did not what God didn’t do and called out leaders who did a great job in spite of our circumstances.

So, if you find yourself in the middle of a stressful service, for whatever reason,

I recommend.

Worshipping instead of worrying. I started out as Martha, but thankfully I was driven to becoming Mary and sat at the feet of Jesus. We all have to pause and ask ourselves, “Why am I here?” Yes, we are working,  but we’re also gathered as the Body of Christ and are in need of the same filling and strengthening of the Spirt as everyone else.

Look for what is going right. Yes, I had two middle schoolers running slides and sound  but,  I had 2 middle schooler’s running slides and sound. That’s a win even if they’re not perfect at it and may never be.

I had leaders who stepped up in the midst of the chaos doing what they knew to do. Kinsley, one of my worship leaders exhorted and prayerful challenged our students to enter in spite of the monitor malfunction.

Finally, I reflected and high lighted the positives via social media. Yes, the dumb things still happened but that does not mean I need to exacerbate  them  by rehashing them. I’ll save all my constructive criticism for the my team at our next team meeting. They are the ones who can solve this stuff not the people on my FB, Twitter,  or Instagram.

I hope my experience encourages you in some way. I’d love your feedback so feel free to leave a comment below. Tell me about how you hand stressful times during a youth meeting.

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17 Games For Any Size Youth Ministry

 

Kicking off my 17 in 17 Series. I’ll be posting things in 17’s at the begging of each month. This month is 17 Games. Keep up with my posts by subscribing to the Fresh Impact Newsletter over there ————————————>>>

Walk the Line

Four Fingers Challenge

Paper Ninja – Tape newspaper to arms and legs (ninja style) and then opposing ninjas can only use one hand to rip all the paper off their opponent. Guys vs Guys and Girls vs Girls is best.

Paper fight!

A video posted by Paul Turner (@thedproject) on

Mouth Guard Games <—– Click to buy from Amazon

Sing it girl!

A video posted by Paul Turner (@thedproject) on

Block Heads

Pac Man

PAC Man!

A video posted by Paul Turner (@thedproject) on

Top Five <——- Click to buy from Amazon

Have a 5 second video timer and some questions and boom! You have fun!

Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes, Cup

__________ To Your Corner

If you are playing teams, divide your group evenly into four corners. Call out some creative way they must get to the corner across from them such as, cool, skip, crab walk, etc. Last person to their corner is out. Keep going until only a few are left and then start eliminating whole corners.

Shoot the Name

Mouth/Face Painting

I don’t think this is how you paint, but I’m no art critic.

A video posted by Paul Turner (@thedproject) on


Marshmallow Wars

Haulin’ Beans

Deathball

Electricty

The Maze Runner

Dragons Gold

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Join The Quiet Resistance

I have been resisting for years.

Resisting authority

Resisting conformity.

Resisting average.

Lately, I’ve seen the resistance going on in our world and I am not resisting the cause, I am resisting the mode of resisting.

I am resisting hatred.

I am resisting negativity.

I am resisting piling on.

I am resisting flash in the pan protests in favor of quietly protesting every day, my way. I daily resist, Apathy, Negativity, Laziness, and Bullying.

I am in favor of protest. People should act on their convictions. A Protest without love though is not a protest, it’s an angry mob. Love has to go out to those we care for and for the ones against whom we are protesting. One without the other is  just pitchforks and torches afraid of the angry monster.

I want to live a lifestyle of resistance. My life is a protest, but you’ll never see my resistance on a t-shirt,  a banner, or a sign. You will not see it on the news. You will see it in 10,20,30 years in the lives I impact as, one by one, I encourage the people around me to resist

Authority with respect.

Conformity with creativity.

Average with excellence.

I guess some things never change. Join me.

 

 

 

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Youth Ministry Excuse #10 I’ll Pray About It

Unfortunately, prayer is often used as an excuse for why we do not or will not do something. We say we’ll pray about it but we do not either because we really don’t want to know whatGod thinks or we have our own way of doing things and do not wish to change.

Other spiritual excuses include

I don’t fill led

I don’t feel it’s God’s will

The Spirt hasn’t told me to ___________

Most of these excuses are used as a way to avoid hard things like discussions we should have with people we do not like or to avoid consequences for doing the right thing.

I have choices on how to categorize a blog post before I hit publish.  I can choose to list a post under Inspiration, Culture, Youth Worker Training or New Resources.  I thought about choosing Inspiration for these series or posts on excuses, but later realized that these posts should be listed under Youth Worker Training.

You see, we cannot inspire or motivate ourselves out of making excuses; we have to train ourselves not to make excuses. Excuses are easy to make if it makes our lives easier.

Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. – George Washington Carver

God has called you and I to bold things and, yes, prayer is a part of doing the work we do with teenagers; but prayer should never act as excuse not to act on what we already know to do and are just afraid to do it. I’ve laid a lot of my failures at God’s feet and asked “Why?” when I should have taken responsibility for the excuses I made that led to the failure of not even trying or not trying hard enough.

How Do I Kill This Excuse: Keep Going Until God Says Stop

Many times we are waiting for the green light, the go ahead from God; but what if He’s waiting on us to get moving first?

There are plenty of things not to pray about like

Should I develop an outreach strategy?

Yes.

Should I disciple students?

Yes.

Should I create a pathway for kids to worship in the weekly meeting?

Yes.

Yet, the sound of so much foot dragging is deafening. It sounds like a herd of zombies from The Walking Dead shuffling their feet to nowhere in particular.

I know this sounds harsh, but excuses will kill a ministry and then we chalk it up to “God must not want a youth ministry or He would have done something.”

We must stop using God as a scape goat  for  our lack of ambition and do as this quote, often attributed to Wesley John Wesley, says

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

In other words, just go until God says stop.

Don’t let excuses kill your dreams of  reaching, teaching, and making life long disciples of Jesus.

 

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Youth Ministry Excuse #9 It’s Not Perfect

You can say it’s not perfect and be correct. You can say its not ready and be incorrect. This is the big question, right? How will I know when it’s ready?

How will I know when this message will be ready to share?

How will I know when this program is ready to launch?

How will I know when I should change things up?

How will I know if I should become a youth pastor?

How will I know if it’s time to move on?

You don’t. Not entirely. You will have inklings that it’s ready and fear that it is not. It’s possible that “it” will never be ready because we desire perfection from ourselves or others before we put it into the world. This makes me sad.

There is a closet full, a computer full, and mind full of great ideas that will never see the light of day because “it’s” not perfect.

How To Kill This Excuse: Faith and Trust

How did I know it was time to start a Youtube Channel about youth ministry?

I didn’t

How did I know it was time to write a book?

I didn’t.

How did I know it was time to get up and do walk and talks in the early a.m.?

youth youth m

Don’t Underestimate!

A video posted by Paul Turner (@thedproject) on

I didn’t.

All of these events involved trusting myself and not underestimating the value I have accrued over 30 years.  It’s also where I had to not overestimate myself and not “think more highly of my yourself than you ought”. I had to trust in the Lord and in the doing.

God has proved himself over and over again in my life. It’s not Him I’m worried about. I cannot overestimate God. He will  “do more than I could ask or think” if I let him. It’s me I am worried about. Oh and sometimes my critics.

Maybe this is why we do not put out our best stuff. We fear that people, kids, pastors, staff,  will look too closely and catch that we are not as perfect we we portray ourselves; that we shall be revealed as frauds. News Flash: The critics are frauds too. They don’t have anything new or perfect to put out so they criticize the people who do.

I just got back from speaking at a middle school retreat. The weekend and the kids were pretty epic, but my messages were not ready until the day of. I had doubts and more doubts.

I agonized over wording, pace, the right background for the slides, and a dozen other little things. I wanted to make sure the gospel, and the message of the retreat,  was made plain and receivable by a middle school student. It wasn’t really ready, but the retreat started at 5:00 whether I was ready or not.

Nothing is perfect, including and especially, youth ministry. We have kids who do not show up, bail on us, quit following Jesus, and here we are without any thing perfect to show off. Or do we?

Love is perfect. Perfect love casts out fear. We can still love the kids we have, imperfectly, and they will receive it. They will forgive our lousy messages, our crazy ideas, our inconsistencies, our insecurities, and our imperfections if we just show up and love them.

So what if it’s not perfect. Quit making excuses and put it out there; it will be worth it and God will take it and do something awesome with it.

 

 

 

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5 Reasons Christians Should See The Movie Silence

 

This is a spoiler free overview of the movie Silence by Martin Scorcese.  If you are a youth pastor, I do not recommend taking the whole youth group to see this movie. This is not God’s Not Dead. This movie is a deep and powerful film about the journey of faith. It is 2 hour and 45 minutes long and most teens will check out in first 30.

This is a great movie for deep thinking kids who are mature in and want to talk about their faith. I recommend this for older students, juniors through college and career.

Gripping Story

The movie is taken from the 1966 book by  Shusaku Endo and is the true story of Christians being persecuted in Japan.

Two priests (Garfield and Driver) go to Japan to see if their mentor Father Cristóvão Ferreira has given up his faith. The two priests discover, that despite the persecution of Christians there is an under ground church of sorts. Without priests to guide them, the villagers they meet have makeshift baptisms and gather for prayers, but there is no one to hear their confessions and to absolve them of sin.

The villagers are a character in this movie. Their faithfulness and determination in the face of death are inspiring and heart breaking.

Fantastic Acting 

The author John Grisham recently said on a podcast that he spends more time developing the villains in his books than anyone else because villains make the story.  The is truth. I hated the “villains” in Silence, not just because they tortured people, but because they were emotionally and psychologically cruel.

The two main antagonists in the film are a character called The Inquisitor, Inoue Masashige, played by Japanese actor Issei Ogata. The Inquisitor’s  job is to out Christians from among the Japanese people and get them to apostatize (deny Jesus).

The second “villain” is even worse, the translator between the Father Rodriguez and the Inquisitor played by Tadanobu Asano. His words drip with honey and poison, trying to undermine Father Rodriquez’s faith. I squirmed when he would speak and almost said aloud, “Shut your mouth!” several times.

Our protagonists Adam Drive and Andrew Garfield are fantastic and believable. These young priests go to do God’s work in Japan and face unimaginable horrors. Both Driver and Garfield deliver and my heart bled for them as I remembered the fervor of my faith when I was a teenager. I rooted for these guys and my faith in them never wavered.

Andrew Garfield, in my opinion,  pushed his acting ability to the brink in this movie. As a priest, He struggled with his faith to the point of insanity and at times you felt he had truly gone mad. Andrew gave a great interview of how he prepared for the part of Father Rodriquez and that his great surprise was how easy it was to fall in love with Jesus.

I cannot leave out Liam Neeson who plays Cristóvão Ferreira. Although his screen time is short, it is no less powerful. You forget what a great actor Liam is until he doesn’t have a gun in his hand and then he delivers in spades.

If there are not at least four actor and supporting actor Oscar nods for Silence, I don’t know what movie the voters were watching.

Complex Spiritual Material

The story begins with a simple mission, find Father Ferreira and see if he is alive and if he is “lost”, apostatized. This is a Scorsese film and nothing is simple about any of his films. As in many of Scorses films he leaves us to draw our own conclusion about characters and the subject matter.

As I watched the movie I kept thinking I knew what silence meant, and like Father Rodriquez, I felt I was going mad every time another layer of the onion was pulled off.

This movie is was as much a journey of my own faith at it is was of Father Rodriquez and Father Franciso’s faith.  The layers of what my own faith means to me, is pulled away, reshuffled, and put back in place.

I don’t mean this in a heretical way or that my theological views were upset, but rather that I will dug deeper into what it means to have faith in God beyond any Christian trope or platitude I had been taught, seen or experienced, and this is a good thing.

Personal Growth

I took a long walk after this movie to contemplate many of the issues it brought up. As Christians in a land of freedom, there isn’t much we can relate to in this movie. No one has asked us to step on the face of Jesus and asked use to renounce our faith. This makes asking the question, “What would I do?” far to simplistic. We have no idea what we do or what justifications we would make and that is where the movie challenges us to grow.

Faith in America is taken for granted. We think someone posting something ugly on the internet about Christianity or about Jesus is persecution. We think red cups and green cups at Christmas time is persecution. Are we crazy?

This movie was a re-awkening of how easy believers have it in America. I wept, openly during this movie for those who paid the price for their faith and some of those were tears were of self pity that I was not there take my stand with them.

Watch the movie and then thank God you weren’t there, because none of us  can tell what the outcome of our faith would have been. And maybe it is best, under those circumstances, we do not know what we would have chosen.

So Many Illustrations

If you are a youth pastor, Sunday school teacher, or small group leader, it will be a temptation to cheapen this movie and pull some kind of stunt to get kids to respond as part of a message.  I would caution you not to do that because it will not have the effect you thought.

This movie is about deep questions not cheap stunts. Prayerfully consider how you might use this film to deepen someone’s faith for the future rather than trying to get them to make a short term decision.

There is a character in this movie that was not a villain, but I “hated” him none the less because he reminded me of me first and so many teens and adults I have ministered to over the years second.

Kichijiro, played by Yôsuke Kubozuka, is the character who leads our priests to Japan. His back story unfolds early in the movie and you have such high hopes for him and then, slowly, you are disgusted by him because there is so much of him in us.

Kichijiro reminds me of the naked disciple who followed Jesus after his arrest Mark 14:51– 52 but his clothes are ripped off again, and again.

The last hour of the film is about breaking Father Rodriguez. Each Christian they capture is stood in front of a  fumi-e, a small square image of Christ and is asked to step on it to renounce their faith. You will find yourself standing there asking yourself, “Would I or wouldn’t I?”.

The movie is more nuanced than simply stepping on a picture of Jesus,  so I would ask you not to run off and  lay a picture of Jesus on the floor asking students to line up and step on it or not. Without the context of the movie this type of illustration will fall flat and deny your kids from asking deeper questions.

There is a line in the movie that you could feed your kids, it is spoken by the devilish interpreter who says of stepping on the image of Jesus, “It s just a formality.” That’s something to dig into.

Let me know if you saw the movie and what you though of it.

 

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What If You Knew You Only Had 24 Hours To Live?

Maybe you’ve thought about this. I didn’t, until I looked at the short life spans of animals. I was inspired to do this by Seth Godin’s post How Long is Now?

Animals don’t know how long they were created to exist. We humans have some idea, barring disease or accidents, humans can live, on average (as of 2013)

U.S. expectancy in 2011 was 78.7 years, which is slightly below the OECD average of 80.1. For U.S. men, the average life expectancy is 76, while it’s 81 for U.S. women. (At five years, this gap in life expectancy between men and women is smaller than the OECD average of six years). – Huffpost 

We also know about life span because we can tell time and measure age. We’ve seen people die at ripe old ages. We know about how far we can go.

80 years or so is a good bit of time, but we are so disrespectful of the time we are given.

We say things like.

I”ll get to it tomorrow.

Someday I’m gonna…

I’ll get around to it.

We need to show more respect for time and the goals which we want to achieve in the time we are given. Let’s break down our goals in animal time.

Pretend you are one of these animals and the number next to you is your average life span. What if these animals knew how long they would live? What goals would you set knowing you only had that amount of  time?

Rabbit Goals,  8-12 years

Guinea Pigs,  4 years

Mosquitofish, 2 years

Chameleon,  1 year

Dragon Fly, 4 months

Houseflies, 4 weeks

Drone Ants, 3 weeks

Gastrotrichs, 3 Days

Mayflies, 24 hours

We are all given the same amount of time,. Whether we use it, invest it or waste it will determine if we achieve our goals in life. Above all, we should at least respect the time we have.

 

 

 

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