Moving day.

It's here!!

Time to pack up the 'ole rvaym.blogspot.com. The blog is now at www.rvaYM.com. If you read the blog on the feed, then you don't have to change a thing. If you come to this live blog page, make sure you update your bookmarks 'cause there won't be anymore posts here.

Thanks for reading the past couple months, weeks or years. Looking forward to the future!


Big news: delay.

In the spirit of the World Series being delayed, so is the big news. Check back tomorrow...


referee tackle.

This video is laugh-out-loud funny. Watch this NCAA referee drop his shoulder and knock USC's QB to the ground:

Thanks for the video, ESPN!


Start the countdown... coming Monday, rvaYM will be moving to a new site and a new design.

cardboard testimony.

Great video my friend Doug passed along this week:

david price.

I can't even imagine being David Price right now. The Tampa Bay rookie played his first Major League game just over a month ago. He is 23-years-old and wasn't even playing professional baseball 16 months ago. His first Major League win didn't come until the playoffs. His first Major League save sent his team to the World Series. And it was pretty clear that the intensity didn't phase him at all.

So today, the first day of the World Series: best of luck to Price and his TB Rays.

Prediction: Rays in 6


monday update: october 20

The weekend that was... the leaves are changing and this weekend the temperature plummeted. That meant it was great weather to stay inside and relax on the couch. Friday we ventured out into the rain to pick up a refurb'd PS2 (it's DDR time now!), had a great lunch at Casa, got pumpkin muffin mix at Trader Joe's, went out to the jam-packed theater (it was raining...) for Secret Life of Bee's (another great portrayal of race relations in the mid-20th century) and got dessert after that. On Saturday, we spent all day (literally) in front of the TV watching football: Clemson vs. Georgia Tech, Spiders vs. UMass and Hokies vs. BC. Unfortunately, only one of our teams won. And during the VT/BC game, I put up our 2nd TV next to the other one so we could keep up with the Red Sox and Rays.

And Sunday. Oh, Sunday. Sundays are so busy now! We had a great close to our (entirely too long) series on our storyline. The students walked into the youth room in complete silence, had some guided prayer and Scripture reading on the big screen and then worship time. The message was reading the stories of Jesus' life, and we closed with the first Last Supper story, broke the bread and had communion. The kids had a great experience. I think we'll do it again!

Where I am at the moment... Richmond for the week. Actually, Richmond for a while. I'm good with that.

To-do list this week... This is catch-up week. And it's Fall Break, so no class Thurs/Fri. Last week was insanely busy and I felt like I was behind all week. This week is more relaxing. And I might venture out to see an unnamed presidential candidate in the capital city tomorrow...

Music that caught my attention... Two songs. Both by Jason Mraz. The first one is his new single, "I'm Yours." The second was the closing track on his last album, "Mr. A-Z," titled "Song for a Friend." At the end of the track, a choir sings with him, and in that choir are some of my former youth. They recorded that three years ago and I'm just now listening to it...


Keeping Your Job and Your Sanity: Part III

Missed Part I and Part II?

During these months, I started to take solace in this quote: “I can’t apologize about where God is calling me.” I just didn’t know where God was calling me.

That seems direct and to the point. But the issue is also much larger. If I place all hope in myself, I am not allowing space for God to move. Perhaps God is saying that my journey here is over and is placing a call on someone else’s life to carry the baton. In my overfunctioning, my blinders were keeping me focused straight ahead, running forward with everything I had in me.

I eventually left and moved onto another ministry position. My “official” reasons were many, and made much sense. Looking back, I realize that burnout was probably the biggest reason, although I don’t know that I was aware of it at the time. I was only part-time. Why did I think I could do all of that, without even so much as a weekend vacation? Without some sort of stress-reliever.

My new position was temporary, and I often wondered if I should have stayed in that first church and tried to push through. I wondered when I left if that church would survive -- that was the overfunctioning talking.

With space between that time and now, I see that the church has moved ahead, and others became empowered when I stepped aside.

A former student in the youth ministry took the reigns of the youth ministry for a season. Talks about the new building moved ahead. That video projection ended up in the Sanctuary. New families began attending the church. Another couple stepped up to lead the college-age/stage ministry.

I thank God for my time there. I learned so much, and as I moved into a new ministry position, I knew myself better and could position myself to not fall into the same traps. I knew my boundaries of time, of communication, of needing a personal day off.

Overfunctioning? I’m done with it! I hope I never find myself thinking that the future of the church I work in is based only on the success of the ministries I oversee. I have to create that space between myself and my job, differentiating my sense of self from my work. When a day is good, I can celebrate. But when a day is bad, I need to separate myself from the situation.

And I learned about conflict and anxiety. The deacons who cried “foul” were simply anxious. The problem was not me, and I see that now. But I did not have the experience or the maturity then to know that. I laugh at that story now. If I keep living stories like that, I might have to write a book!

God is working in the midst of what I do. And God is working in the midst of what I don’t do. As long as I am in tune with God’s call for my life, then the rest will fall into place. Sometimes that might include leaving a ministry position. Other times it will mean staying even when it hurts. But God provides, and that’s all that really matters.

Read the original.


Keeping Your Job and Your Sanity: Part II

Missed Part I?

The pastor had visions of a new building, with increased fellowship space, new offices and a new place for the youth ministry to call home. The existing youth space was the original sanctuary and had been renovated by the students. They didn’t want to see it go away, but the reality of a decaying structure had rendered the building passe. So what did I do? Spent countless hours drawing up plans and drawings for a new structure.

What about my job? Oh, right. I was still leading the youth ministry, planning events, teaching Bible studies and keeping that train moving. In and of itself, it seemed to be an uphill battle.

When a renovation of the Sanctuary came around the following spring, I worked hard to give the Facilities Team a proposal for a video projection system. “That will help the church move forward,” I thought.

Following an intense Bible study on poverty with the students, we planned a huge community concert/fundraiser. The schedule included bands all afternoon, food and entertainment, with the proceeds benefitting poverty-fighting organizations. We raised a few thousand dollars, energized the congregation and brought much of the church out to enjoy the afternoon.

By that point, I was looking for jobs. “I can’t go on,” I reasoned. “I can’t keep putting this much energy into this.” The night after the fundraiser, I had an unofficial interview at another church.

A week later, I was to fill in for the pastor while he and his wife got away on a much needed vacation. He would miss two Sundays, and I would preach both times, serving Communion on the second Sunday. Deacons in the congregation cried “foul”: I was not ordained, how could I possibly be serving communion? One of them even boycotted communion while he was sitting in the pew!

I interviewed officially for that job in early June, but didn’t get it. I had another opportunity pop up, but the logistics were too difficult to solve. I returned to my office each day dismayed, tired and frustrated. My boss’ kids were in high school and college, so our discussion often turned to keeping it going, for the sake of his kids.

The pressure was mounting, and I was finding no release. My family visited during that fundraising concert and had a conversation with the Pastor. He knew most of my frustrations, and I knew some of his. He voiced some of that to my family, letting them know he hoped I wouldn’t leave.

Check back tomorrow for the finale, Part III.


Keeping your Job and Your Sanity: Part I

I bought into the myth. The myth that a vital, thriving ministry to youth, college students and young adults would draw families into an aging church. Youth don't have money to tithe, and young adults just don't tithe. But their families bring money. And more people.

To a church past its 125th anniversary, in a neighborhood past the rapid suburban growth, increasing in average age, money, people and vitality are important for survival.

Once that myth wrapped its loving arms around me, filling the role of youth pastor seemed to be the most important role to birthing a new day in that church. The future of the church sets itself on your shoulders, and it’s off to the races.

When I started at the church, three students had just graduated high school. My first year, four graduated.

As we entered the next year, I knew 5 students would be graduating at years’ end, leaving a small group of students still in the ministry. I knew that it would be my last unless something changed.

What did I do? I worked harder. I spent more hours on things that weren’t in my job description, hoping those ministries could either become part of my job or result in fruitful growth that would perpetuate my current job description.

My job was 15-20 hours a week during the school year. I was also in my first year of seminary. And I was single. With no reason to be home, I worked late into the evenings, just trying to make something happen.

It started with the young adult ministry. I laid out a vision, shared with the young adults and the church, set a start date, invited other churches to be involved. The pastor was excited: he had a college-age son, so the ministry would attract him to the church. Church leadership was excited. The first night we had five young adults. Over the weeks that followed, we had a dozen young adults show their faces. It was great. They said it was just what they needed. It lasted a few months, but I was the only one sensing the call to lead, and I burned out.

Check back tomorrow for Part II.


henrico, VA

Don't send our mail to Richmond anymore!

No, we didn't move. Because our local government felt slighted, they wanted to change the addresses across the county from "Richmond, VA" to "Henrico, VA."