December 13, 2013

Every Minute Can Count

The taxing ministry schedule often makes finding quality “couple” time a chore.

Everyone else in the church needs a piece of your day, and when you get home you’re exhausted and spent. Then there are daily responsibilities, children, school and sports schedules to contend with, and needing individual alone time as well. Time for your marriage can get pushed to the back burner. So, it’s time to get creative!

We deal with the crazy demands of ministry as well, Melissa works part-time, and we have two kids under two — life is very full at the moment, and we’ve had to reorient our idea of quality time.

We’ve had to figure out creative ways to spend time together in the midst of all these other non-negotiable demands.

- See more at: http://www.morethandodgeball.com/simply-insider/creativity-time-you-never-knew-you-always-had/#sthash.jRElHqYt.dpuf

November 29, 2013

Just Do It!

Working and serving in a ministry setting can be a twenty-four-seven gig, yet many of us take little time off to rest and recharge. The idea of Sabbath is often brought up when speaking about time away, but the importance of this cannot be understated. God laid out a plan of weekly work and rest for us to follow.

And by doing so, we create health in our lives, ministries, and marriages. Rest ultimately yields the fruit of our labor to God by allowing circumstances in our daily lives to proceed without us for a time. This is crucial in understanding our limits and placing our complete trust in God’s faithfulness.

So, when it comes to planning and then taking time away, DO IT!

- See more at: http://www.morethandodgeball.com/simply-insider/time-away-just-do-it/#sthash.jtsjhg14.dpuf

November 26, 2013

Sermon 11/24/13 - What Do Mormons Believe?

There are a lot of questions and confusion out there about what Mormons believe and what their Scriptures teach. Honestly, even many Mormons aren't straight on this issue. In this talk, we take a close look at what Mormon's look to as authoritative scriptures and what they teach about God, Jesus, Salvation, and the afterlife, all the while comparing it to what the Bible teaches about those same topics.


November 19, 2013

Sermon 11/17/2013 - Navigating Media

Should a relationship with Jesus impact our TV, music, movie and other media choices? If so, how?

November 15, 2013

6 Relational Tools



The idea of soul care often seems to have negative connotations attached to it, when really, every person and every marriage needs this kind of attention. Working on your marriage is a good thing, not a signal that something is seriously wrong.

We pastors can, at times, have a hard time admitting when things aren‘t going well and when our marriage is anything less than perfectly healthy. Many of us feel that we’re not supposed to share when things are hard or strained. We see this as a sign of weakness or failure, and we want to appear as if our personal lives fulfill the expectations laid out in 1 Timothy 3— to be above reproach, manage our families well, and have children who respect and obey us. The need to work on our marriages, through soul care or counseling, might mean other people will think we aren’t fit for ministry.

But this mind-set couldn’t be further from the truth!

- See more at: http://www.morethandodgeball.com/simply-insider/healthy-living-crucial-marriage-care/#sthash.AVSD9UJU.dpuf

November 1, 2013

What Your Spouse Can Teach You About Ministry

There are many different ways that we youth workers can grow. We can pursue higher education, read the newest youth ministry books, mentor under a more seasoned youth worker, or attend training events and conferences, like the awesome one Simply has coming up in March. But as many of us seek to grow, we often forget a key person who can aid our maturity and development: our spouse.

See more at: http://www.morethandodgeball.com/simply-insider/what-your-spouse-can-teach-you-about-ministry/#sthash.HjxWMESb.dpuf

October 29, 2013

Sermon 10/27/2013 - Navigating Social Media

How should Jesus impact our use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SnapChat, Vine or any other social media? Here are four questions to consider how your own usage.

October 19, 2013

Your Family vs. Your Boss

So there you are: You’re trying to balance youth ministry with marriage and family life. You’re striving toward healthy goals and implementing new changes so that both your job and family will benefit. It’s hard work, but you know it’s worth it.

And then in walks the senior pastor. He asks to have a little chat and your stomach drops. He’s concerned that you aren’t putting in enough hours at the office, he’s not happy that your family didn’t show up at the church spaghetti supper last weekend, and he thinks your youth group numbers might be lacking.

What do you do? You’re trying to maintain a healthy, balanced life, but your boss doesn’t see balance in the same way.

There isn’t a simple answer to this dilemma, and frankly, most youth pastors will encounter this problem at some point during their ministry. Church life is demanding, healthy boundaries can be sketchy and hard to define, and ministry to teens and their families can be never-ending. So here are some thoughts on navigating balance while striving to respect authority:

Keep reading at http://www.morethandodgeball.com/simply-insider/authority-your-family-vs-your-boss/#sthash.LxGihG9E.dpuf

October 17, 2013

Sermon 10/13/13 - Interview With a Former Muslim

This past Sunday, I had the chance to interview a friend of mine for the GYG who grew up in Iran as a Muslim and recently decided to begin a relationship with Jesus. He talks about what growing up was like, what his early impressions of Jesus were and what things he began to question in concern to the Muslim faith.

For safety reasons, the voice has been changed, his face has been blurred and names and identifying reference have been cut out.

October 14, 2013

Sermon 10/9/2013 - Jesus > Religion

What is the big difference between Jesus and Buddha, Muhammad, Joseph Smith or other religious leaders? Was Jesus' goal to come to earth to create another religion for us to follow or did He have something much bigger in mind?

Spoken word via Jefferson Bethke:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDG...
Order Bethke's book, inspired by the spoken word:http://ow.ly/jNA68



October 4, 2013

4 Tips to Win Every Fight

All couples fight.
They might do so in different ways and at different levels of intensity, but no matter what, fighting can bring out the worst in two people. Many couples, including us, get stuck having the same ones over and over, which is exhausting and discouraging. Fighting is a way for spouses to resolve conflict and attempt to connect.

In many ways, fighting is vital to the health of a marriage.
But when a fight becomes nasty, hurtful, degrading, and a desperate attempt to manipulate or “win,” it sinks into unhealthy territory and breaks down a marriage instead of building it up.

But it’s really hard to have a “good” fight! It feels so wonderful in the moment to give into hurt or anger, hit below the belt, and win the augment. Fights like this happen to even the best marriages. Yes, even for pastors and their spouses.

Though many ministry couples feel the need to present themselves as perfectly in accord, a sign of a healthy relationship is not the absence of conflict, but how a couple handles the conflicts that will inevitably arise.

Here are a handful of things that we know it takes to have a good fight (but honestly continue to struggle with ourselves):

- See more at: http://www.morethandodgeball.com/simply-insider/fighting-above-the-belt/#sthash.CsLLnlt2.dpuf

September 25, 2013

Sermon 9/22/13 - Is Your Price Right?

What is your value? Are you good enough? Do you have worth? These are all important questions that we ask ourselves, especially in our teenage years. What does Jesus have to say about our value and how we earn it?

September 15, 2013

Sermon 9/8/13 - What Drives Your Life?

What drives your life? What motivates you? What makes you want to get up in the morning? Understand the answer to these questions is important because it says more about ourselves than we may sometimes realize.

September 3, 2013

Finding Quality Time With Your Spouse

Youth ministry workers usually have pretty funky schedules, and finding ways to have quality one-on-one time with your spouse, in the midst of an ever-fluctuating, always-demanding environment, can sometimes seem impossible.

But a healthy marriage can’t exist without making the time to connect relationally, emotionally, and physically. Without these basic connections, many marriages, and ministry marriages in particular, can really struggle.

So in the midst of a crazy, busy ministry life, how can you work on carving out time for your spouse?

Check out some ideas at: http://www.morethandodgeball.com/simply-insider/finding-quality-time-with-your-spouse/

August 20, 2013

Dealing With Infertility

In a previous article, we mentioned that we’ve added two children to our family in the past two years. They are an incredible blessing from God and bring so much joy to our lives. But to get to this joyful place, we’ve had to travel a long, hard, painful road. For six years we dealt with infertility. It can be a very difficult thing to explain, when you’re 24 and can’t get pregnant.

Month after month we were disappointed. Year after year Melissa went to the doctors and underwent tests, shots, and procedures. We lost our very first pregnancy at eight weeks and it was devastating. After four years, we gave up on biological children and decided to foster-to-adopt. And that was a crazy-difficult experience as well—thankfully ending in July after the adoption of our 1½ year-old son. (We also had a baby girl in June, who is our miracle baby.)

To read more about what we've learned over the last few years dealing with infertility, click here:
http://youthministry.com/dealing-with-infertility-lessons-in-sharing-and-sensitivity/

August 6, 2013

Does Your Spouse Need to Serve?

Whatever you call it: volunteering, serving, a two-for-one, ministering, or just plain old helping out…the spouse of a youth pastor is often expected to jump into the ministry world with both feet. Sometimes this works well for a couple, and their marriage thrives in this type of environment. But there are also plenty of spouses who feel forced into youth ministry roles that don’t mesh with their personalities, talents, and/or spiritual gifts.

So does the spouse of a youth pastor have to serve in the youth group?

To find out our thoughts, check out: http://www.morethandodgeball.com/simply-insider/does-your-spouse-need-to-serve/#sthash.qhe7HtNW.dpuf

August 4, 2013

The Myth of Permanency

Why permanency is right up there with the loch ness monster, big foot and santa claus. Check out the new blog for HolyMess of Marriage: http://bit.ly/1elpdsZ

July 24, 2013

Surviving Youth Ministry With a Young Family

New piece went out yesterday for Simply Youth Ministry's SYM Today email:

"Over the past year and a half, we’ve added two children to our family. One is our adopted 18-month-old son and the other is our newborn daughter, just seven weeks old. It’s been a crazy adjustment, to say the least. We’re working each day to try and figure out life with two small children, plus an entire youth group. We know it takes balance and patience, but in all honesty it’s a struggle to make everything work. There are a lot of days we just want to run away! Here are four things we’re trying to focus on as we enjoy/survive youth ministry and a young family..."

July 9, 2013

Scheduling With Your Spouse in Mind

Youth ministry schedules can be hard on marriages and families. Not only are there a million youth events and programs to attend, but many youth pastors and their families are also expected to be involved in the everyday life of the church. Youth workers can easily find themselves far too busy and with spouses and children desperate for time and attention.

As with anything else in life, there's no magic fix or specific formula for working out a healthy youth ministry schedule. But here are some general ideas to keep in mind when dealing with your ministry calendar.

To keep reading, head to: http://www.youthministry.com/articles/families/scheduling-your-spouse-mind

June 26, 2013

Sermon 6/23/2013 - Fishing for People

What the heck was Jesus getting at when he talked about teaching us how to fish for people? Brings to mind some pretty odd images. In the last sermon for the 2012-2013 school year we dig into what this really means and then talk strategy about what it looks like to do it in our own lives.



June 22, 2013

A Three-Legged Race

A friend of mine this past week referred to marriage as a three-legged race and that image has really stuck with me. I'm sure this illustration has been used a million times but for whatever reason it hasn't crossed my mind before. It's so true! You have two people, trying to walk in step with one another and at times it is just down right difficult.

For how this practically plays itself out in marriage, head here:

June 5, 2013

Sermon 6/2/213 - Free Will VS. Predestination

Do we have free will to make any choice we want or has everything been predetermined for us ahead of time?

Audio only for this sermon:

May 29, 2013

Sermon 5/26/2013 - Freedom

What does it really mean to have freedom? It is such a foundation to our nation but is the freedom that comes with a relationship with Christ any different?



May 22, 2013

Sermon 5/19/2013 - I've Got a Feeling

Emotions impact every area of our lives, but what does the Bible have to say about our emotions and how they should impact our decisions and actions?


May 15, 2013

Sermon 5/12/13 - Navigating the Party Scene: Marijuana

What does the Bible say about drug use? If everything God made is good, and marijuana is just a plant, why is it a big deal? I am also joined by Dr. Frank Bartolomeo who shares some research concerning addiction and young people.

May 10, 2013

Sermon 5/5/13 - Navigating the Party Scene: Drinking, What's the Big Deal?

What does the Bible have to say about the topic of alcohol consumption and if I am trying to avoid it, what do I do about high school parties?

May 7, 2013

Sermon 4/28/13 - Are All Religions the Same?

A popular saying today is that all religions are just different paths up the same mountain. Thus, it doesn't really matter what you believe...what works for you, works for you and what works for me, works for me. But, is this really true? Are all religions the same?

April 26, 2013

One Couple. Two Callings. What Now?

If you have a digital or hard copy subscription to Relevant Magazine, be sure to check out the article my wife and I wrote on calling and how to work out one's calling within a marriage or relationship.

You can read the full article (plus four others from the magazine) online if you register an account or get unlimited access for only $14.99 a year!

4/21/13 - How Does the Story End?

When it comes to the end times, how is the story of life going to end? What are the things that we can all agree on when it comes to the book of Revelation?

April 19, 2013

Sermon 4/14/2013 - The Truth About Hell

Does hell really exist and if so, what is it going to be like? More so, how do we avoid going there for eternity and help others avoid hell as well?

April 11, 2013

Sermon 4/7/13 - Heaven

What is heaven going to be like once we are there? And how do we end up there instead of the "burning lake of sulfur" that Revelation 21 talks about?

April 10, 2013

REVIEW: Totally Awesome, Super-Cool Bible Stories as Drawn by Nerdy Ned

Totally Awesome, Super-Cool Bible Stories is a new resource from Thomas Nelson for children 12 and younger. The book is a collection of Bible stories that starts in Genesis with creation and works its way to Revelation.

To read the full review, click here.

REVIEW: Chronological Life Application Study Bible

During my 11 years in youth ministry, the New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible has been my first choice whenever a student or parent has asked for a recommendation. Tyndale's brand new release of this Bible, Chronological Life Application Study Bible, now in chronological order, quickly will move to the top of my list as a recommendation for older students who have grown too familiar with a normal Bible layout or with students who want to take a more intellectual approach to reading Scripture.

To read the full review, click here.

REVIEW: The Anxious Christian by Rhett Smith

Paul said, "Don't be anxious about anything…"; sadly, the conclusion often has been communicated (consciously or unconsciously) that as a Christ follower, we shouldn't be anxious. Period. Thankfully, Rhett Smith's The Anxious Christian provides a very different perspective to the conversation on anxiety.

To read the full review, click here

REVIEW: iPod, YouTube, Wii Play by D. Brent Laytham

How should a relationship with Jesus influence our usage of TV, video games, music and other forms of entertainment? In iPod, Youtube, Wii Play, D. Brent Laytham masterfully tackles this question and deeply engages each issue with solid theological insights. He has done a wonderful job, as well, of making the book very challenging and thought-provoking, while at the same time being humorous and very creative.

To read the rest of the review of his book, click here.

April 9, 2013

What We Wish We Knew About Sex Before We Were Married

When it comes to Christians and newlywed sex, there are usually two extremes.

For some couples, they head toward the altar with the expectation that they will find themselves soon lost in ecstasy and passion—a reward from God for staying pure until marriage. For others, the idea of sex carries a lot of anxiety and fear—as he or she tries to figure out what messages of sex are “real” between the portrayal we see in culture, the Church’s teaching, and one’s future spouse’s expectations. To add to this, the reality is that 80 percent of unmarried Christians ages 18 to 29 have already had—or are having—sex, as reports indicate.

As with most extremes, there is some truth to these for some couples. However, the majority tend to find themselves somewhere in the middle.

This was the case for us personally as our first few times were a little awkward. Three days into our honeymoon we found ourselves in Barnes and Noble trying to find a book to help us figure things out in the bedroom. We’d read a number of Christian books about sex prior to getting married, and they were very helpful in terms of the theological and relational aspect of sex, but not so helpful on the supremely practical “how to” aspect—and more specifically, how to do it well and mutually enjoy it.

Our honeymoon was eight years ago now, and you might say we’ve learned a lot since then. But looking back to the very beginning, here are four things we think every couple should known before their wedding night:

March 20, 2013

Sermon 3/17/2013 - Dealing With Evil

It's not very often you come across someone who says evil doesn't exist. But when it comes to Satan and demons, that's a different story. Do they really exist or are they just a representation of evil in the Bible? And if they do exist what are their roles and should we be afraid of them?

March 15, 2013

Sermon 3/10/13 - The Mystery of Angels

Do angels really exist? What do they look like? And what are their jobs? We go through a series of beliefs about angels Mythbusters style and put them to the test by exploring Scripture.

March 1, 2013

Winter Retreat - Better Together

Over the last few years, a group of churches from our local network have started making a winter retreat to Monadnock Bible Conference in Jaffrey, N.H. an annual, joint event. It started with two of us going together in 2010. Each year since we have had another church join us. There are already conversations about a fifth joining us next year! Through this simple partnership, we have seen a number of really awesome benefits to our ministries, students and our network. Read more...

February 28, 2013

Sermon 2/24/13 - Miracles?

Do miracles still happen today? What is the point of them and how should we react when they do happen?


February 21, 2013

Book Review: Shrewd by Rick Lawrence

Shrewd is not a trait that many of us would say we want to have or for which we want to be known. Cutthroat business guys are shrewd. Used-car salesmen are shrewd. Not Christians, especially not pastors. One would think being shrewd might be the quickest way to lose your ministry position. However, according to author Rick Lawrence, it might be the thing we need to be more effective in our ministries.

To read the rest of the review, click here.

Book Review: Adventures in Churchland by Dan Kimball

For those of us who have grown up in the church or at least been involved regularly for a while, it is really easy to forget that often our Christian communities suck us into a culture and lifestyle that doesn't always translate to the people Christ has called us to reach. In his refreshing new book Adventures in Churchland, Dan Kimball challenges Christians to take a deeper look at our practices and understand what our actions may be communicating to a world where more and more people don't want much to do with church.

To read the rest of the review, click here.

February 8, 2013

Open Boston Workshop: Talking to Students About Dating, Sex...AND Marriage

I had SUCH a blast at Open Boston this past weekend. I was so pleased with how everything turned out and felt like youth workers really had a great day!

If you want to check out the workshop that I led, click here to download the audio of the session.

If you want a copy of the PowerPoint presentation, click here.

Here is the session description:

Dating and sex are two topics that are not always easy to discuss with teenagers. Often times it can be uncomfortable, you don’t know exactly how to answer questions and sometimes it feels like students know more about stuff that you may! And at the same time of talking to students, you have parent expectations to keep in mind as well. We’ll explore some helpful thoughts about engaging these topics with teens.

We will also talk about the importance of including marriage in the same thread of conversations. Often it is an issue we tend to leave out all together explaining that 7th garders aren’t there yet. As that is true for the right now, chances are the vast majority of your students will be married at some point down the road. It is not enough that we in the church wait to train people for marriage until 6 months to a year prior once they get engaged. It is crucial to talk about marriage NOW, and to make that part of the thread of dating and sexuality as these three issues all go hand in hand.

February 1, 2013

Book Release: 99 Thoughts on Marriage and Ministry

Really excited about my first book with Simply Youth Ministry. And even better - I got to write this with my wife!!

Here is the description from SYM:

Ministry is such a rewarding experience, but why does it create so much strain on marriages?

Jake and Melissa Kircher have learned some valuable lessons (often the hard way!) about building a healthy marriage amid the demands of ministry. They aren't perfect, but they've matured individually and as a couple because of each mess, problem, heartache, and obstacle they've encountered. They understand your struggles and frustrations, because they're their struggles and frustrations, too.

99 Thoughts on Marriage & Ministry will help you discover advice, wisdom, and insight in five core areas:
  • Marriage Basics
  • Balancing Marriage and Ministry
  • Finances
  • The Church vs. Your Family
  • The Darker Side of the Church
Marriage can be messy, and marriage while serving in ministry is extra messy. Whether your marriage needs just a little tuneup or a major overhaul, 99 Thoughts on Marriage & Ministry will encourage both you and your spouse, and will empower you to pursue a strong, healthy marriage.

The book releases February 15th! Order your copy today:

January 30, 2013

Sermon 1/20/13 - What You Need To Know if You Ever Want to Get Married

We prepare years for our jobs, for higher education, or for sports, yet when it comes to marriage - arguably the most important relationship we will have this side of heaven - we tend to spend six 45 minute sessions, 6 months before we get married. That just doesn't seem right!

What really is marriage and what does it take to make it work for the long haul?

January 24, 2013

Sermon 1/13/13: What Does a Healthy Dating Relationship Look Like?

Once we make a decision to dive into a dating relationship, what does a healthy relationship look like in God's eyes? And when it's not healthy, what's the right way to break up with someone?

January 10, 2013

Sermon 1/6/13 - Four Questions to Ask About Dating BEFORE You Do It

Just started my FAVORITE series to do with students: Dating, Marriage and Sexuality! It's going to be quite a fun two months.

There are LOTS of different opinions out there about dating - what it looks like, when you should do it and why. This is especially true in Christian circles. What can we learn from the Bible about dating and how to do it?