Knowing Your Father

Father’s Day is always a bittersweet day for me, and this past one was no exception.  While I celebrate the blessing of my three kids, I also spend some time reflecting on my late father Larry who passed away on October 11, 2004 when he suffered a heart attack on the 17th fairway at Burnaby Mountain Golf Course.  Not a bad way to go out all things considered…at least he was doing something he loved! :p

It goes without saying that I love Dad very much and I miss him dearly.  Every day, I feel his imprint on me whether it’s how I parent, how I don’t take myself too seriously, or how I think I’m a decent athlete.

In a conversation I had with my dear friend Megan over dinner last night, I lamented that I wish that my daughter Kayla, born in December 2007, had a chance to meet my Dad.  As she is the first Imoo girl in 75 years, there’s no doubt that he would have doted over her and likely spoiled her.  My son Jacob, born in September 2003, was barely a year-old when Dad died so at least they got to spend some time together.  And my eldest Sean, born August 2001, was the lucky one as he spent quality time with Dad playing golf, hockey, and basketball among others.

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Gimme a Break!

When it comes to our youth ministry leaders, it’s a common tendency to fall into the mindset of “keeping them at all costs”.  We fear losing them forever and we sometimes fail to see that it might be worth suffering some short-term pain for some long-term gain.

There are many reasons why leaders leave ministry, including (but not limited to) burnout, lack of support/guidance, lack of training, lack of opportunities for growth, conflicts within the team/ministry, change of heart/desire, feelings of inadequacy or insignificance, changes in life/family/job, moral failures and not feeling appreciated/affirmed.

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Calling Your Bluff

It started off innocently enough: my daughter Kayla and I were enjoying some quality daughter-father time when I noticed that she had left her Disney Princess Snakes and Ladders game (and all its pieces) scattered on the floor near my bed.  I noticed because I stepped on one of the pieces (I think it was Snow White) and it felt like she went right through my left foot.

“Kayla,” I exclaimed, “put your toys away or I’ll throw them in the garbage!”

“Go ahead!”

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Earning the Right to be Heard

Through my work in youth ministry, it’s become evident to me that the churches that have the strongest youth ministries are generally the ones that do the best relational ministry.  As I’ve written about before, youth ministry is about people and not programs; we need to be interested in souls and not in attendance.

And most importantly: young people won’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.

I learned this the hard way back in 1999 when I was discerning a move to Lindenhurst, New York (on the southern shore of Long Island) to become the parish youth minister at a Catholic Church.  On one of my recruitment trips to Lindenhurst I joined the parish youth group on their annual trip to a Young Life camp in New York.

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