Who’s Next

Yesterday the world woke up to news that maybe did not surprise everyone but the news very much so caught the world by surprise. The late great evangelist known as Billy Graham passed away. As I started to scroll on my social media pages I was tremendously blessed to see so many people from different races, denominations, and even religions say great things about Billy Graham.


It was amazing to see one man leave such a legacy behind that has literally impacted millions of people. As people were expressing their joy and sadness for the loss of this amazing individual the wheels began to turn in my head and if you’ve been around me, then you would know I tend to process things differently. Below you can find some of my thoughts about yesterday’s surprise.


If you have worked with students in this generation then you have often times heard them say things like “yeah, but we are all human.” Usually referencing a leader who they are having a hard time following, honoring, or even admiring. Students tend to use this quote as a cop out to why they cannot trust a particular leader.


Me, being the person that I am, I thoroughly enjoy comments like I referenced above because my response usually shocks the students. They expect me as the Pastor to play into their conversation and talk them off the ledge. However, I normally play into their point and agree and affirm that they are right. We are all human. This means we should treat and honor ALL HUMANS. Though this is not a blog about honor, let’s take this thought an add in the story of Billy Graham.


As much as we love and look up to a man like Billy Graham, you do understand fully that HE IS HUMAN. Now don’t get me wrong, this is in NO way a shot at or attempt to be disrespectful to his life and legacy but it is the truth. He was just as human as you and I. But I want us to go a little further. He was just as human as the students you work with.


Often times when we see the end of a persons’ life and we start placing them on pedestals and we begin to act like they did not have a humble beginning. You do realize that Billy Graham did not make it into his first youth group membership because he was deemed “too worldly.”


Man, if I had a dime every time I looked at one of my student’s social media’s and thought “they are too worldly to begin to make a difference in this world.”


But that’s the point. They are worldly. And so was Billy Graham.


As a youth worker, when you’ve been working with the same students for a while, sometimes it can be difficult to see the potential in your students especially when you base their potential on how they have been acting since you’ve met them.


What I have to continue to remind myself, is that students need someone to come along side of them and speak to the potential that is on the inside of them no matter how they are acting on the outside. – Jose


I want to leave you with 5 thoughts that can help you fan the flame of potential in a student.


  1. Everybody is a Billy Graham until they are not a Billy Graham. – So often we think students could never be a Billy Graham. Says who? If we treat students like they are next up, then they might become the next great leader this world needs.
  2. Even Billy Graham was challenged to become who he was. – It wasn’t an easy journey but it came with people challenging the status quo in him. We must be committed to not let our students be average!
  3. You should never count students out too early. – You have a responsibility to discover the gold that’s in your students in the middle of a dirty mine.
  4. We are all just humans but never forget, every human is made in the image of God.
  5. Our job as youth leaders is to find the potential buried by all the rubble and to pull that out of students. Don’t let the rubble keep the gold hidden.


I often wonder who’s next. They could be, should be, and probably are in your group right now. Would you be the one to help your students discover their potential and become the next Billy Graham?

Moving Past the Walls Pt. 2

In the last blog, we were able to address some of the ways that you can move past walls in your life and journey as a leader. I think it is so important that we as leaders understand that walls are often times, not the end but the beginning of something new that God wants to do in your life.


“Walls typically are used more for our good than they are for our destruction. It is all a matter of perspective.” – Jose


One of the best things we can do as leaders when faced with walls is to first decide on how to respond to the walls. Yes, I am saying, you as the leader need to make a decision at the beginning of your journey that you will not stop because of walls. The enemy would want nothing more than the opportunity to use a wall to stop the momentum and the direction that God has your life going.


“The truth is, leaders are not afraid of walls, nor do they change their mind due to a wall. Real leaders see walls as opportunities.” – Jose


So here is the question, how do you respond to (the) walls? If you were to be brutally honest with yourself, what is your first reaction when you see or sense opposition? Do you retreat? Do you stop or desire to stop all together?


As a leader, you will have so many opportunities to look your wall experiences right in the face and decide what you will do next.


We see many leaders in the Bible face what looks like walls; if the walls were to stop them, I doubt we would read their story the same. Imagine if David shied away from Goliath. If Moses stopped because of the Red Sea. If Joshua stopped because they were “but grasshoppers in the land of giants.” If Jesus stopped because of the betrayal. If Paul stopped because of imprisonment.


The stories that I mentioned above are stories that are familiar not because the walls they faced but because of how these leaders responded to the wall.


Here is what I want you to understand about these walls:


  1. Walls have a purpose. Every wall in your life is assigned to you for a reason. It’s up to you to find out why and move and act accordingly.
  2. Walls can only stop you when you respond the wrong way. Your approach to walls will determine how long you will remain in that season.
  3. Walls cause you to rely on God of the breakthrough. No wall was broken down Biblically without a move or act of God. Maybe your current wall in ministry is because God is waiting for you to inquire of Him, so He can breakthrough on your behalf.


In business, it is said that when you hit a wall, you pivot, innovate, and find the best solution for your wall. Maybe it is going another direction or maybe there is a better way to do what you have been doing. In ministry when you hit a wall, pivot, find the purpose of the wall, and pray for God to give you wisdom and strategy to break through the wall.


“In every wall you face in urban youth ministry, there is a God inside of you that has all the answers you need.” – Jose


Would you allow the God of the breakthrough to give you all that you need so that you can be the leader you are called to be?


Remember… YOU. ARE. A. WALL. BREAKER.  



Moving Past The Walls (Part 1)

If you have been a part of leading a ministry or organization in any capacity you have for sure hit some walls along the way. I remember when I first got started leading in youth ministry. I was fresh out of college, full of vision and over 8 years of experience working with youth. The only problem with this was I had never been the main leader in charge. I always found myself playing a supporting role.


In leadership, you find that there are a few walls that you will run into along the journey. The question we should ponder is what do we do when we hit these walls? I would like to offer a few thoughts about how to break past the walls that try to keep you, the leader stagnant in the growth process of your organization.


Along my journey in the church and in the non-profit sector, over the past several years I have found that walls can come in into your leadership to begin to make you shallow and to make you get stuck in a place that you haven’t been. If walls can get you to lose focus and drive then they have done their job.


“If you allow the walls you hit to challenge you and grow you, rather then make you feel discouraged and ready to quit, then you have done a good job as a leader facing your walls.” – Jose


Here are three walls I have faced in leadership. Sidenote: I will explain the walls then I will give you the answer on how to move past each wall.


  1. The first wall I faced was the leadership wall. This was the wall where my leaders became stagnant and became more of a liability than an asset to our ministry and organization. This wall is a dangerous one because if leaders are stuck and stagnant then your students will be also. However, the opposite is true too! If leaders grow so will the people following.


  1. The second wall I faced was the money wall. The money wall was a big wall for me to overcome. Think about this… What do you do when you are working on a limited budget with little to no resources but you are still expected to create and build a program that students will be drawn too?


“Money is usually an issue when it comes to urban ministry but you do not have to allow money to keep you stuck or stagnant.” – Jose


  1. The third wall I faced was the growth wall. The growth wall is probably the most common one. This is the wall where your program hits a plateau in its numerical growth. It can honestly be one of the most frustrating walls that you are up against.


How do you break this wall in such a way that people are once again excited, proud and willing to invite new people to your program?


No matter what wall you are facing I have good news for you; The key to breaking through each one of these walls is found in deep relationships. Yes, that’s right! It is not found in money or resources. It is found in your ability to build deeper relationships in each of these walls. In fact, I think the goal of a wall is to cause you to regain focus on the depth of the relationships you have.


In business, they say when you hit a wall, you should pivot, innovate, then find a creative solution. I venture to say that it is exactly the same in ministry. When you find yourself against a wall, you should take a step back and ask yourself what can you do to go deeper relationally with those around you? If you study what the need of students are, I would imagine you won’t find the answer to be the best program or a lot of money. The answer to that question will be found in some type of real deep relationship. Each wall is just the same!


When you face the leadership wall remember this is a time to build deeper relationships with your leaders. You will find that some leaders should transition out and others need just a little extra attention. When you face the money wall, build deeper relationships with the people in the program so they do not need money to be fulfilled. Also, build deeper relationships with people who may be able to give into your program so that money won’t be an issue. When you face the wall with growth, scale back the program and focus your energy into relationships. When you get people to be on your side fully they will help you press past that wall.


Bottom line is this: If you find yourself facing any type of wall, pivot and ask yourself how can you go deeper relationally and watch the walls come tumbling down?