Getting on the Same Page: Working With Your Pastor

This past Saturday at our quarterly youth ministry training day, I co-presented a workshop with a good friend of mine Monsignor Gregory Smith.  The topic was working with your pastor.

After sharing some insights after going through four different youth ministry coordinators in the past 4 years, Msgr. Smith outlined five key things he learned during this time:

  1. Trust in the Holy Spirit to provide for our needs
  2. Use the networks you have
  3. Look beyond the diocese
  4. Build relationships quickly
  5. Empower people and use the power you have


I followed up with two pieces of advice as well:

  1. Communication is key
  2. Clarify expectations


With respect to communication, good communication will help to build trust.  As a youth ministry coordinator, it’s vital that you keep your pastor in the loop. It could be via regular face-to-face meetings or periodic written reports.  The important thing is to make the effort even if you feel that it’s not being reciprocated.  Especially when it comes to evaluation: you simply can’t use the excuse of “well I didn’t know that’s what you wanted from me”.  That points to a communication failure; one that you could have avoided.

I firmly believe that having unclear expectations is the biggest source of conflict in ministry, at work, and in family life.  It’s important to clarify expectations regularly with your pastor so you know what he/she wants. After all, you don’t want to waste time and energy working on things that the pastor doesn’t deem important.  Sometimes it may require you to check your ego at the door or to agree to something that you’re not comfortable with.  Often you’ll need to recognize which of your own expectations you’ll need to let go of. After all, you must decrease so that He may increase.


CCC – Clay’s Canucks Commentary for January 21, 2013: Scenes from Opening Weekend

For my first CCC of the 2013 NHL season, I share some of the sights and sounds from the Canucks’ opening weekend at Rogers Arena. Unfortunately, the weekend consisted of two losses: 7-3 to Anaheim on Saturday night and 3-2 to Edmonton on Sunday night.

It was certainly an intriguing weekend as both Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo got starts. As well, the Canucks’ secondary scoring (or lack thereof) was quite evident.

My buddy Mike also captured some neat footage from ice level as he was chosen to receive the jersey off of a player’s back.  He ended up getting the jersey of David Booth and had a pleasant exchange with him.  As well, we got footage of Chris Higgins removing his jersey…much to the delight of numerous female fans.

Hopefully the Canucks get their first win of the season Wednesday night against Calgary!

Clay’s Canucks Composition: Season of Cup (Our Team, Our Way)

For my first Clay’s Canucks Composition of 2013, I assembled four of the most talented Canucks fans around to put together a song to mark the start of the shortened 2013 season. Thus, I’m thrilled to present to you Season of Cup (based on Seasons of Love from RENT).

You’ll likely recognize most of the singers in this fun video.  Marie Hui helped me with my Canucks Medley in November 2011 while Arielle Tuliao and I got together for Don’t Stop Believing back in April for the Canucks’ playoff run.  I’ve been wanting to get these two amazing ladies together for a collaboration and I’m thrilled we made it happen!

The guys aren’t too shabby either.  Joseph San Jose is the star of all of my Canucks Christmas carols, and my good friend Gary de Guzman has one of the most pure voices around.

Put the four of them together (with me pounding on the piano) and you get a powerful anthem for the Vancouver Canucks as they look to get back to the Stanley Cup.

This is Our Team, Our Way…and Our Time.


PS:  See if you can figure out the “one hundred seventy-two thousand eight hundred seconds” part.

Spreading Their Wings

Kayla and Jan

Today I blessed to spend time with two good friends who are leaving town within the next few days to continue on their respective life journeys.

For dinner we hosted the myth, the man, and the legend Jan Chan for dinner at our place.  The kids (along with Gail and I) had been looking forward to his visit all week and unsurprisingly there was no shortage of things to talk and laugh about.  Jan shared stories of his two years of teaching in different cities in England along with his excitement of going to Melbourne to work for the upcoming year.  We played a fun board game (in which Jan, Jacob, Sean and Gail all tied for first leaving me as the only one in last) and enjoyed yummy fudge bars for dessert before Sean and Jacob defeated Jan and me in a friendly game of soccer on the Xbox (see a pattern here?).  It was a great night of both reminiscing and looking ahead.


Maintaining Youth Ministry Volunteers with a Little TLC

Today I was blessed to be a part of a panel for “Blueprints” – an innovative online youth ministry training session spearheaded by Tony Vasinda.  The topic was volunteer management: recruiting, training, and sustaining volunteers.  You can watch the entire hour-long session here.

As part of the training, I put together a 7-minute clip on ways to keep our youth ministry volunteers.  I also touch on the reasons why volunteers leave youth ministry, and I introduce the TLC theory.

Hopefully you’ll be able to use both videos to strengthen your youth ministry!