Better Man University

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I’m excited to share some news with you. I am embracing a calling to a forgotten people group.

For the last couple of years I have had a burn in me to in invest young men (19-30) and I have really approached it unintentionally. My life, since 18, has largely been dedicated to youth work (teenagers), but I have said that our forgotten generation were kids who graduate out of high school and are lost. They are often left to wander with no shepherd. And more often than not, they wander with no earthly father.

What I found was these young men began to walk into my life and I was able to mentor them. Many of them now even consider me their earthly father. ( I can’t tell you how that touches the core of who I am ).

Recently I have spent considerable time reflecting, praying, and seeking direction and have decided to create something for this forgotten group. It will begin as a blog and website, continue with a podcast, coaching, regional events and expand into more as God leads.

This new venture will be evangelistic at its core, offering practical daily advice for men (19-30+), with life lessons and tips from both Christian and secular experts, but offering the invitation to faith in Christ.

It’s called “Better Man University.”

Better Man University will call men everywhere to be better students, friends, husbands, citizens, employees, and, yes, Christ followers too.

I hope you will join in the excitement here, with a comment or a share, or both and offer a prayer for this forgotten group. And, if you are so inclined to partner up with me, send me a message! Go to www.BetterManUniversity.com to learn more.

And for those wondering, I will continue my volunteer work with teenagers, my podcast for youth workers, and my resource sites (MinistryDownloads.com and MinistryPerks.com) will continue to serve leaders everywhere!

May this year be our banner year!

A Letter to Me from @TylerPerry

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Tonight as I was eating dinner I was thinking about friend of mine who is having conflict with a family member.

My heart and mind began to take me to a state of frustration I had just a short time ago, myself, when I had some trouble dealing with the actions others.

Then I logged onto Facebook and low, and behold, there was a post in front of my eyes where someone was having issues with people too.

Then another.

Finally I just signed off Facebook. We all need to do that. Just literally sign-off.

Soon I returned home and signed on to check my email.

This was a personal email I got from Tyler Perry. Ok, it wasn’t personally to me … but to the thousands of people on his list. I’m sorry, though, I couldn’t help but think it was for me … and all of these people tonight. And the countless numbers of leaders that I’m thinking of who are frustrated every day of their lives because of conflict, frustration, or trouble with others. So, I’m going to share it with you (… but if you like it you probably need to sign up for his list because he might get mad with me for sharing).

Hey Terrace,

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and she was explaining to me how disappointed she was in people and the things that they do and have done to her. She went on and on about how upset and heartbroken she was, and has been, about some of her family and friends. She talked about how they hurt her and how she wished they would change and be better people. She wanted them to be different than the people they were.

Halfway through this complaint-a-thon, I asked her to take a walk with me in the backyard. Now, you have to know this particular friend of mine. She hates the heat, and it was a hot day. I said, “come on” so she reluctantly came with me.

We got outside and it was steaming hot. I could see that she was uncomfortable. Nevertheless, we kept walking around my backyard. As she was still complaining about people, I asked her what she thought of my grass. Mind you, in order to appreciate the grass you had to stand in the direct sunlight. She said “Wow, I love your grass. It’s beautiful, but it’s hot right here. Let’s cool off under that oak tree over there.”

So, as she started to walk to the tree I said, “No no, let’s stay here in the grass and cool off.”

She turned to me quickly and said, “We can’t cool off on this grass.”

Right then, I said to her, “But you just said the grass was beautiful.”

“I did” she replied. Then, I asked her, “Why won’t you stay here?” She said, because she was hot and the grass couldn’t cool her off. So, we walked over to the oak tree and sat there.

She said, “Now you see? This is what I needed.”

Then I asked her this question. “The grass was beautiful. You loved it. Why didn’t you get mad with the grass because it couldn’t provide the shade you wanted?

She was confused, so I went on to explain myself. “People in this world, whether they were created a certain way or became that way through life’s circumstances, are who they are. Stop wishing they will be someone else.”

I said, “The next time you get upset with someone because they can’t do, or can’t be what you want them to be, remember the grass. Never get mad at a blade of grass because it’s not a tree. Appreciate the grass for what it is. Let it provide to you what it can, but don’t expect more. Your life will get so much easier when you start letting people be who they are and stop expecting them to give you what they don’t have or don’t know how to give. Just like that grass couldn’t provide shade because it wasn’t made to, some people are not made to give you what you’re asking for. So, stop looking for it. You will be shocked at how much peace you find when you really get this.”

And the last thing I said to her was this. “You wouldn’t be so frustrated with people who are like the grass if you had more people who are like trees in your life.”

I could really go deep into this, but I gotta go back to work. Talk to me. What do you think?

Love y’all. Talk soon.

Tyler


Thanks Tyler. Your words will help a lot of people tonight.

5 Ways Leaders Keep Their Sanity

Ministry is tough. If you’ve been in ministry long enough you know that dealing with the pressure of the grind is difficult. Sometimes you might even feel like you are out of balance and wonder if you’ll even make it at all.  Over the years I’ve found several things that work very well for me.  I even joke that these things keep me “sane” … but the truth of the matter is, they do.  These 5 things keep me healthy and help me stay the course. If you do these things they will help keep you healthy (and sane) too!

1. Develop friendships who are outside of your work.

Sure, you should be friends with the people you live with and serve, but find some friends you can talk to about anything — and everything. You don’t need many—even two or three is plenty, but they can be invaluable. If you only have friends ‘inside’ the church, there’s always a dual relationship. So develop some friendships in which you can talk honestly. It’s healthy. An easy choice is to find a peer (pastor or key volunteer) in another church or community.

2. Engage in Recreation.

I have a hard time motivating myself to go to the gym, or doing any sort of recreation. I find it easier to work. And binge watch Netflix or Hulu (if I’m being honest). But the reality is that I’m better and healthier when I do engage in recreation.  It actually makes me sharper, more disciplined, and helps me be so much more effective in my work.

3. See a Christian counselor.

There’s no shame in good therapy. I have a couple of close friends in ministry that I do life with, but I’ve sought out a Christian counselor several times in my ministry career and have no regrets about it.  It’s healthy to share your struggles with someone who can help you with them and doing so will keep you in ministry longer!

4. Develop a personal devotional life.

I would venture to say that many people in ministry have a hard time with developing their own personal devotional life. Here’s why:  You get too busy to read your Bible. Or you ‘cheat’ and make your sermon or lesson prep your devotional time as well. Stop that! God loves you for who you are, not for what you do.

5. Develop interests outside of your work.

I talk to people in ministry every week.  One of the questions I like to ask them is what they do with their free time?  Almost every person I ask (no kidding here) laughs and says, “what free time?”  Seriously people, get a life.  One thing I love to do is travel (especially exploring cities I’ve never been to). Develop a hobby and allow yourself some time (we’re talking a few hours weekly) to engage in that hobby. Your work is of uber importance, but if you create space for your heart and mind to engage in something you enjoy you’ll live a happier, richer life.

How are you experiencing the pressures of ministry? Are you dealing with it in a healthy way?

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The End of An Era

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My contract with ChurchLeaders.com is ending.

Five years ago when Crossroads had to make some painful budget cuts and had to reduce my position in Student Ministry to part-time status, I was seeking supplemental income to keep food on the table. I had no clue what to do. I literally prayed for a few weeks for provision and soon my phone rang. My friend, Mark Oestreicher, called me.  I’ll never forget it.  I was doing some ministry work in Philadelphia at the time and he called and told me about a position he wanted to recommend me for. It was a position as editor for a new site that was launching called ChurchLeaders.com.  They were actually looking for their first editor and he said “I think you’re the guy for the job.”  What I didn’t tell Marko was that I had actually been told in college by my professors that I had the worst writing style they had ever seen.  As you can imagine, my confidence in writing since then has been low.  I’ve always been insecure about it, actually.  For this guy (Marko) to see something in me that I didn’t see in myself made all the difference.

I took 3 days to think about the position.  Why in the world would “I” even attempt to apply? Worst. Writer. Ever… I told myself.  Then, I thought, why not?  So I applied. I went through a series of interviews, took a battery of tests, and boom — God gave me that contract.
My confidence grew. And just 3 years later, I wrote a book.  I’ve never looked back. I’m working on my next book too.

In the last couple of months, I’ve felt in my gut that my work with CL would end. I didn’t like that idea (and still don’t). But it’s time to move on.  I have no clue what I’m going to do next (a part from doing Student Ministry, blogging, and yes — resourcing and mentoring youth workers through my coaching network and the new Podcast).  So it’s the end of an era for me.  I’m saying goodbye to my ChurchLeaders family. There’s something different in store for me. As you can imagine, I hate not knowing what that something is… but just as crazy as the events unfolded 5 years ago, there’s a new story about to be written.

Thanks you for your prayers for the journey ahead.