IGTV Youth Pastor

So I am trying to figure out this whole IGTV thing. Instagram’s new long form video platform hooked me with of all things a trailer for Aquaman (a movie I am not even all that excited about seeing). The fact that they had recut the trailer so that it fit in vertical instead of horizontal format intrigued me and opened my eyes to a whole different world of vertical video.

So I thought I would try my hand at a regular feature on IGTV which I am calling the IGTV Youth Pastor. I am still working with the tools and things are not quite up for public consumption yet.

If you are interested in checking out IGTV or using it here are some things I have discovered.

  1. There is no good way to search for anything other than usernames. So if you are making content about the Bible or about cooking or whatever and you instagram name doesn’t contain those things people aren’t going to be able to find it.
  2. My “suggested videos” that autoplay when I open up IGTV are trash. Not only that they are trashy and require that I immediately turn to something else so that I don’t offend myself or those around me. I currently don’t know how to fix this.
  3. To try and fight that I have been following more “official” pages in hopes that I can get a slightly less “people booty dancing” greeting every time I open up the service.
  4. Vertical video is a fun challenge to edit. I have been using Videoleap to edit the videos. I am sure I could do more elaborate things in Premiere, but right now I am trying to get everything made on my phone. It has been an interesting challeng.
  5. NO ONE and I mean NO ONE I know has any idea what IGTV is. Every time I tell people I am making videos for it they look at me like I have 2 heads.

All in all it has been a fun experiment. It feels like the early days of YouTube when it was sort of a crap shoot what you would get and there was a place for every weird thing on the internet on the front page.

Maybe I will find a way to use it for ministry one of these days.

The Summer Keeps Rolling Along

The Summer Keeps Rolling Along

…but it is almost over.

We have finished VBS, finished our last kid late night event, and just have a family mission trip to go before we are done with all of the summer events. Our youth are full steam ahead with band and sports so their lives are ramping up, but as a youth pastor mine is slowing down a bit. Which is a good thing.

About this time every year I start to reevaluate my life. As I get older the hectic schedule of summer gets harder and harder. One of the big helps now is that one son is in the youth group and one is in the kid’s ministry so I get to see them both a bunch, but honestly the pace of summer is daunting. I’m glad it is almost coming to a close.

Youth VBS

Youth VBS

We are one of the few churches that does Vacation Bible School from kids all the way up to Seniors. It makes for an interesting week, where I as the children’s pastor don’t really get near the kid VBS because I am spending all of my time in the Youth VBS. We sort of run them as two separate events that just happen to be going on at once, but it is neat to have a place for older siblings when the young ones are coming to VBS.

Anyway, a week with students is both really fun and also really tiring. The keep spending time together and as such get more and more annoyed at each other and I keep teaching, but after 5 nights it is easy to tune me out. I think a 4 night youth version would actually work out better, but it is what it is.

I said all of that to say how much I love my job. I love getting a chance to interact with students and teach them, and share the truth of God’s word with them. Tonight I even got to wash a few of their feet as we talked about John 13 and Jesus proving his love for us. On a week to week basis we normally have smaller groups and I do more teaching that preaching. During VBS our group size nearly doubles and I spend more time preaching which is always fun. We also get out of the building and go and do other fun things (tonight we went to a Ninja Warrior style gym) so I get to see students in new ways.

All in all it is just an amazing thing that God would let me lead and teach students. I have felt his strength, his words, his presence, and his amazing blessings this week. I am blessed beyond what I deserve to be able to do what I do for a living.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

My wife and I went to our local art house theater today and watched the Mr. Rodgers documentary. It was brilliantly slow and exactly what someone would want in a Mr. Rodgers documentary. Really in our crazy messed up time where everyone seems to be trying to out yell everyone else it is just refreshing to watch a life lived deciding to be quite, a life dedicated to listening to others and to proclaim a message of love.

I think for me the biggest takeaway as someone who works with students and children is to remember to listen to them. To remember that their feelings are valid and important, which of course I knew, but sometimes when you look at things through adult eyes you forget about things from a kid’s perspective.

Anyway, it was a soft, beautiful movie and was something that I felt like I needed in the middle of this crazy summer.

I Want Them All

I Want Them All

Luke 14:23 (NIV)

“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.

An evangelist who came to our church when I was a youth would read this verse before he sent us out in cars to bring people to church. He would add a little to the end each time he would say “till my house is full and sloshing over.” It was a long time before I realized that wasn’t part of the actual verse, but the idea has stuck with me.

We are getting ready for Youth VBS. It starts on Sunday and runs through Thursday and it is a whirlwind of activity, singing, and Bible study. There are always a smattering of new people involved and every now and again someone shows up who hasn’t been around before and sticks around for the long haul.

This year I am praying for that and more. I don’t normally put my prayers out into the world. I don’t want to have to explain God if He doesn’t answer, but today I am praying for all of them. I am praying for every last student in our community who is lost. There are a whole bunch of them. If we bring in just a small portion of the people that don’t have a church home we will have to go outside and have our lesson, but I am still praying for all of them. I want the gospel to be presented to lost people. I believe that the gospel, the promise of Jesus, the love of God for us, all of us, is what people need to thrive in this world and to be with God in eternity, so why should I pray for anything less.

Lord, I want all of them.

That is my prayer today, so I am going to head out and get our portable sound system ready so we can move outside if we need to.