Youth Ministry in the Facebook Age

 

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” Ignorance is bliss” was a term first coined by Thomas Gray in his Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College.  I may be the only one who feels this way, but as a veteran church youth worker sometimes I miss the blissful ignorance I was able to experience previous to social media.  I do not say this as a technology hater, but as a person who loves social media and has an account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even maintain my Myspace for a rainy day.  I miss the days of ignorantly believing that every one of the students in my ministry was latching on to the things they were being taught and learning to live them out.  I am such an optimist in most cases, I want to believe the best about people and believe that all of them are truly opening their heart to God.  The world of social media sometimes robs me of my optimistic dream world as students so openly and truthful share who they really are on the world wide web.

Maybe this is just me, but my heart hurts sometimes when I read the words of those I shepherd online.  It hurts so much because every part of me knows that the answers and joy that they are seeking in other places is found in allowing their head knowledge about Jesus to become a heart devotion that consumes their life.  It hurts so much because many of them sit week by week and learn more head knowledge about Jesus, but never let him completely lead their lives.  I wonder what it may have been for my youth leaders to have to sit and read the filth, doubts and soul searching I spewed from my mouth as a teenager.

None of these feelings I have come from a spirit of judgement, at least it does not feel like judgement in my heart.  Every student means the world to me, whether they realize it, or I show it poorly.  The passion of my life is helping people truly know Jesus, and I want that for every student that has ever been under my care.  My heart breaks anytime a student walks away from church.  My heart breaks anytime I see a student post things that dishonor Jesus.  My heart breaks when a student can sit through service after service at my church and still miss Jesus.  I used to be able to lie to myself and believe they were all getting it, but social media gives me a taste of reality.  A hard reality.  A reality I do not like to acknowledge.

I definitely see the great things that social media brings to my ministry.  It provides so many great tools for communicating, relationship building, and getting a window into the students world.  Maybe I am ignorant for saying this, but sometimes I wish the window was not so clear.  Satan uses it often to whisper to me of my ineffectiveness.  While many times my methods are ineffective, I know I serve a God who can change any life and that is what keeps me going.  My calling will always be to show people Jesus and hear me clear that is exactly what I want to do.  If you sometimes feel like I do cling to Jesus and your calling even when what is before you may not seem to be bearing fruit; those who you shepherd need you to keep going.

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Darrell Day Reflections

* from 2011

Well as many of you already realize, yesterday was a new national holiday called Darrell day, August 31st, the day I entered the world.  This was the 34th annual Darrell day celebration and tons of rootbeer, burritos and celebrations were had by all.  I had a great day filled with things that characterize the joys that are a part of my everyday life: My girls (Tiffany, Rylie, Macee), friends, Chuy’s Mexican food, rootbeer(thanks for the rootbeer Sterling and Brittney), the students of Southmont Baptist Church and preaching.  All of these are things I love dearly, not to mention being humbled by the 250 plus people who took the time to say happy birthday to me via text and Facebook.  I feel very blessed to be  a part of the life that God has given me.

It is milestones like birthdays that cause us to reflect, and cause us to count our blessings.  As I look back over this last year of my life I realize I have experienced so many incredible blessings.  There have been ups and downs, but God has been faithful to teach me the lesson of contentment.

Philippians 4:11-13 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

I wanted to end this post with ten photos that speak to God’s faithfulness to bless me this year.

TOP TEN HIGHLIGHTS OF MY 33RD YEAR (No Particular Order)

1.) The Birth of my daughter Macee- We were told that it was a great possibility that we could not have any other children, but on January 13,2011, this beautiful little girl entered the world.

2.) God opened the door for one of the greatest dreams of my life to be fulfilled when my first book “No One Really Knows” was published by Lucid Books in February 2011. www.norkbook.com

3.) Southmont Youth Group- I have seen God do amazing things in the lives of these kids this year and I feel so blessed to be their youth pastor and call them my kids.

4.) Met one of my childhood heroes and got to sit down and hang out with him for 30 minutes: Spud Webb5.) Got asked by my friend, former Major League Baseball All-Star, Glenn Wilson, to co-author his biography with him.

6.) Got to watch my daughter Rylie cheer at Upward basketball games

7.) Splurged on the most expensive meal of my life on an awesome date with my wife Tiffany to Pappas Borthers Steakhouse for our anniversary.  We try to go to really nice restaurants in Dallas twice a year for her birthday and our anniversary.

8.) Got the opportunity to join the program staff of Camp 220 and speak at both weeks as a Team Bible Study Leader.  I love this ministry and I am glad I get to be a part of the behind the scenes of all that God is doing. www.twotwenty.org

9.) Got to coach Rylie’s softball team

10.) Saw the Texas Rangers go to the World Series and the Dallas Mavericks win the NBA Championship.  Okay, this does not directly involve me, but it brought me lots of joy to see both of these events happen.

*Honorable Mention: Launched one of the worst webshows in the history of YouTube- Darandumb Moments: http://www.youtube.com/user/durkel777

My NFL Power Rankings

Well all the analysts and ESPN guys can post their power rankings so I wanted to share with you the bald man’s power rankings for this NFL season.  Where am I off? Any agreement? Lets discuss it sports fans.

  1. Patriots
  2. Chargers
  3. Colts  
  4. Bears
  5. Ravens
  6. Cowboys 
  7. Eagles
  8. Saints
  9. Steelers
  10. Broncos
  11. Seahawks
  12. Bengals
  13. Jets 
  14. 49ers
  15. Jaguars
  16. Rams
  17. Panthers 
  18. Redskins
  19. Titans
  20. Giants
  21. Bills
  22. Cardinals
  23. Dolphins
  24. Falcons
  25. Lions 
  26. Packers
  27. Texans
  28. Bucs
  29. Chiefs
  30. Vikings
  31. Raiders
  32. Browns