God is my Director

Youth ministry, movies, no drugs and a variable amount of Rock ‘n Roll

Archive for November, 2006


Posted by Martin on November 4, 2006

Had a meeting with a senior colleague the other day which was both highly uncomfortable and potentially invaluable. We sat down for coffee, spoke of trivial things, but then he cut to the heart of things:

‘You’re a great guy, and you have the potential to be a briliant youth worker, but as your friend, I need to be honest with you about some of your flaws…’

Now no-one likes THAT conversation. But with grace, he listed a few areas for improvement in my life, and I have to admit that at least one of them was pretty big. It was hard to hear. He’s a friend, and I respect him, but who ever wants to be taken down a peg or two? I like my peg position. I thought I was making good progress up the peg wall.

Anyway, a couple of days on, the dust has settled and I’ve realised something: I’m so grateful to him. I had no idea I was winding people up in these ways! Now that I know, at least I can have a rough stab at changing. So I guess the challenge is this: do you have people around you who can/are prepared to tell you about the things you need to work on? I didn’t – but from now on, I’ll be asking my colleague to give me a regular ‘how am I doing’ flaw update.

Posted in Youth Ministry | 2 Comments »


Posted by Martin on November 4, 2006

Turn and face the strangeOne of the hardest things in youth ministry is when you and the team around you are putting in hour after hour of work, planning spectacular events and profound talks and discussions, and no-one’s really interested. You’re all trying your hardest to build relationships with them, and the young people look at you as if they’re Haley Joel Osment in the Sixth Sense, and you’re Bruce Willis. Month after month goes on like this, and you’re getting nowhere. Some of the leaders give up. The adult church starts to put pressure on you, asking ‘why is nothing happening?’ You start to think that you’re not cut out for this at all.

We’ve had one of those years. But suddenly, almost without warning, something is happening. The group has changed gear. Community is starting to form where once there was just blank space. And one or two of the young people are displaying radical changes of heart and lifestyle. We’ve seen one kid go from ‘that one who is never going to make it’ to the beating heart of the group. It’s incredible to witness.

Two things to say about this. First – you wil never cease to be amazed by the transforming power of the living God. He changes lives, and he does it all the time, and in such a way that Paul McKenna can only dream about. Second – things take time. Youth ministry is a long haul job, and success rarely happens overnight. When we invest in young people, we’re putting the foundations in place, but often no-one can see what is actually being built for many months. The adult church needs to realise this key principle – that young people’s lives are changed in years, not days – or we’ll always be set up to fail.

Posted in Youth Ministry | 1 Comment »

Diddly diddly dee… two callings

Posted by Martin on November 2, 2006

Well, I’ve been writing this thing for a couple of weeks now, probably time to cut to the chase…

I believe that sometimes, God gives us a specific path to follow. A job maybe, or a ministry. For some people it’s overseas mission; for others it’s primary school teaching or nursing. It doesn’t even have to be anything terribly altruistic. He could send you into investment banking. I’d term that ‘calling’ – others will have their own definitions.

This is meant, in some way, to illustrate youth ministryFor most of the people I’ve spoken to about calling, it tends to be quite a focused thing. A calling to work in Malawi; a calling to become a children’s worker; a calling to work with prostitutes. And in my case, I thought I was getting the same deal. A few years ago, I believe that God spoke very clearly to me, telling me that he was calling me to youth ministry.

Then, a little while later, I believe he spoke just as (or even more) clearly, telling me that he was calling me to the movie industry, to be a screenwriter. I know, that’s a bit like saying ‘God’s calling me to be rich’, or ‘God’s calling me to be a pop star,’ but bear with me.

Now I usually test these things in two ways – first, does this ‘word from God’ seem to tally with the God I read about in the Bible? If I felt God was telling me to become a porn star, the call would probably fail this test. But a calling to work with youth, and a calling to work in the media/communication industry – they both pass.

Secondly, I tend to lightly prod the relevant doors, and see if they swing open. In both cases, they have done so emphatically. So I’m highly involved in UK youth ministry, and deeply embedded into the Hollywood scene. Which presents various challenges, ranging from mild time pressures to tear-my-hair-out moments.

I am overwhelmed by this dual calling – and I’m pretty convinced now that is what it is. Hence the title of this blog – I’m going to need some serious help navigating two concurrent paths. Also, God is my Director has a very subtle movie industry link – can you spot it?

Tonight, I’m going to serve as a church youth pastor from 7.30-9.30pm, running a sports night. Then I’m packing up and running home, where I have a conference call with Universal Studios at 10.30pm. Welcome to my life. I have no idea where it’s going.

Posted in Movies, Spiritual is everything, Youth Ministry | 2 Comments »

CSI: Huddersfield

Posted by Martin on November 1, 2006

Am deeply entrenched of late in the first series of CSI (Crime Scene Investigation for the uninitiated), the star of which, William Petersen, is a great actor (see Manhunter) and fully deserved the big break he got through this. I appreciate I’m way behind, as always, but now I’m concerned that I’ll be sucked in to the branching nature of the series, feeling compelled to watch the two spin-offs, CSI: Miami and CSI: New York too.

Heard a great comment from the show’s producers on how they justify churning out what’s basically the same plot (murderer leaves clues, boffins follow them) over not just seven series and counting in Las Vegas, but also several more in the spin off cities. He said: ‘we knew that someone was going to do a CSI rip-off, so we figured it might as well be us.’ Which is pretty smart thinking.

So if you’re going to be original, do it in triplicate, and avoid letting anyone else get hold of your coat tails. There must be a range of applications for this in everyday life.

Am currently trying to decide on my best suggestion for the fourth instalment – CSI: Newport Isle of Wight anyone?

Posted in Television | Leave a Comment »

Argh – it’s a big needle

Posted by Martin on November 1, 2006

Haven’t posted for 24 hours or so due to being in shock. I took my son for his one year injections (including the allegedly ‘controversial’ MMR jab) yesterday, and realised an important thing: the needle went into him, but it hurt me more. He cried for about ten seconds after they pumped his leg full of these little viral strains, but then was easily distracted by a teddy bear on a roller skate (which admittedly, was pretty cool). But I wanted to punch the nurse in the face – she’d just stuck something big and sharp into my boy. I hadn’t expected that reaction.

I’m beginning to think that living through parenthood could be a physical picture that God gives us of his own feelings for and experiences of us, as his children. When we get hurt, we tend to wallow a little in our own feelings – but perhaps we should spare a thought for our heavenly dad; the guy sitting behind us. He’s thinking, man that’s a big needle – I hate it when they stick it into my boy (or girl).

It seems to me that all the things I feel for my son, must be the same feelings (times a million) that God feels for me as his child. It’s pretty cool to be loved that much.

Posted in Family, Spiritual is everything | 2 Comments »