school assemblies

School Assemblies are exhausting

 
 

School assemblies are so much work. Last Wednesday we were at the first school at 7:45 am. We set up and tore down our equipment 4 times that day at 3 different schools (we came back to the first school for the night service).

I’m always so tired and drained by the time we’re packed up and heading home at night. But it’s so worth. Every time we do a night service at a school I end up getting to have at least one incredible conversation with a student. It’s different every time but they’re all so beautiful. Some times they want to accept Christ, other times they need to talk about a struggle they’ve been afraid to open up about. This last week I had one that was totally different from any I’ve had before.

I’m going to tell that story on a special livestream I’m hosting Thursday night for my Patreon supporters. If you want to hear it, sign up at the lowest level and you can join us!

Assemblies in Cleburne, TX

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Today I was a part of 3 school assemblies in Cleburne, TX.

The first one was really rough for me. I think I got off on the wrong foot in my segment and couldn’t pull myself together. But after that I feel like they got better and better.

We spoke to over 3,000 students. That’s crazy.

Everyone was invited back for a service at night and around 350 came to check it out. That moment when students respond to the gospel NEVER gets old.

Worst Experience in a School Assembly

People always want to hear horror stories from the road. They want to know about my worst experience on stage. I tell this story in my shows now (it’s what I use to transition to the message at the end), and I wanted to post this as proof that it really did happened. And we really were on the news.

I was so nervous when I first started telling this story on stage. I wanted to make sure it was clear that the joke wasn’t the fact that the teacher said this horrible thing. The joke is how none of us knew what to do. We were in shock. The actually assembly hadn’t even started yet. How do you move on after that?!

It was the craziest.

If you want to hear the whole story and find out how this ties to message, I guess you’ve got to see me live.

No One is Too Cool for Mr. Rogers

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A couple months ago I was going down the rabbit hole of watching every Mr. Rogers video Youtube had to offer. After a while I got curious about what the comments on these videos would be like. Youtube comments are notoriously nasty and argumentative. What kind of junk would people say about Mr. Rogers.

In the comments section of one of the videos I found this story:

 

“When I was in the fifth grade, Mr. Rogers was announced as a guest speaker on the topic of helping. Fifth grade was a little past the age that most kids watched the show, and it was cool to make fun of Mr. Rogers. I remember a bunch of kids saying that they were going to ask him several inappropriate questions or otherwise try to cause a disturbance during his presentation. But when he took the stage, all those kids fell dead silent and listened in awe to the ‘square’ they were going to mock in front of the assembly. I got to shake Fred Rogers’ hand and talk to him for a few moments, and I thank him for the memories.”

 

The sincerity and love of Mr. Rogers can break through anyone’s defenses.

I’ve done school assemblies where you can just feel that every students has a wall up. It’s cool to not care and they use that as a defense against any message you try to bring them. I have my own little ritual to get myself ready for assemblies like that. But it can be so discouraging.

It’s nice to hear stories like this.

I hear guys talk about how they can’t be effective in youth ministry because they’re too old and out of the loop. But Mr. Rogers is a reminder that your greatest tool in ministry is love. How cheesy is that? Whatever. I’m leaving it.

Best Part of School Assemblies

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Yesterday I spoke in two school assemblies. One was for a jr high in Paris, TX and the other was a jr high in Hugo, OK.

I know pictures like the one above are good for social media (and my ego) but this other picture is the type I want to print out and hang on my wall to remind me what I'm really doing,

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When I'm on stage it's easy for me to focus on who's not paying attention, not taking it seriously, joking with a friend and distracting other people. I can get so caught up with them that I miss the faces in the crowd who are really engaged. But after the assembly those are students who want to come up and talk. They want to tell you what's going on their life, what part really connected with them, and they want to say thank you. It's the best part of speaking at schools.

I know I'm not special. They're not coming up to talk because I'm the greatest speaker who ever lived. It's the message that's special. That's what's connecting with them. I'm just the messenger.

It's nice to hear from them. It's nice to be reminded that the message still needs to be shared.

"You're not alone."

INTERVIEW: Comedy, Confession, and School Assemblies

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I’m on a podcast.

I travel with North Texas Youth Alive as one of their speaker for school assemblies. A while ago I wrote about one of the most difficult assemblies I've had to do.

This week I was interviewed by Kyle Embry, the director for the ministry, on their Youth Alive podcast. It’s designed to be another resource for the churches they’re serving.

I talk about how I write my segments for the assemblies, confession, and how to be there for students who are opening up about what they’re going through.

I haven’t listened back to this thing yet. I might sound like a total idiot. Who knows!

One Rough School Assembly

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I do school assemblies with a ministry called Youth Alive. Two weeks ago we were in Oklahoma setting up for an assembly in a jr high when the principal came over and asked about my segment. We have a few different speakers who present throughout the assembly and that day I was going to talk about bullying and suicide. He tells me that the school had an attempted suicide earlier in the week and to be sensitive of that.

I have never had that happen before. That was a hard one to get through. I usually have no idea any sort of back story behind the group I’m speaking to. It’s not until after the show that I hear stories of people dealing with the stuff I talk about. But this time I was on stage making eye contact with student after student trying desperately to hold back tears. Each student I saw I thought “this segment is for them.” “This segment is for them.”

When I was at a youth ministry conference  last week I was talking to a pastor about why confession is so important to me and why I’m always focusing on it as I close out my stand-up shows. He brought up one of his favorite verses “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind (1 Cor. 10:13).”

How comforting to know you’re not the only one. You’re not alone. I get to say it in my stand-up. You have the chance to say it to your family, friends, small group, or even complete strangers in their moments of need. You’re not alone.