Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Rare Appearance

Tomorrow night my wife Ange will be at IMPACT, the youth group at the church i used to work at. For either of us it will be the first time back in 2008.

I figured i should say why I'm no longer involved in the youth ministry, especially with me not in another youth ministry position.

To begin with the decision was easy. At any stage i could be snapped up by a church and thus Ange and i would be whisked away with little notice. Secondly, i said i wouldn't be involved in the youth group early on in the year.

As time progressed i wondered if i could go back to Friday nights as a regular leader.

I should clarify, that there is nothing wrong with being on an even level as any of the leaders at IMPACT. They are all magnificent. They were when i had the privilege of leading with them, and they still are. If fact, this was part of the reason i felt that i didn't need to return. The youth ministry was in good hands, under secure leadership.

Furthermore, i wondered how i would fit in. If i was involved in the small group section, would it change the dynamics of the group, or how the leaders lead? Also, could i happily sit back and watch someone else lead what was "my baby"?

I'm confident that if required, there wouldn't be any issues, but i don't (in all honesty) think they need me. I haven't been asked back, and with a term to go, I'm not planning to ask.

This all being said, i do miss IMPACT.

21st Speeches

I reminisced about my 21st birthday party today. What a weird occasion it was.

Only at your 21st or your wedding do all your worlds collide. Church, work, school, family. Christian and non christian.

My 21st was significant because of two things... Firstly, because the Christian side of the room was called "God loving freaks" during one of the speeches, and secondly, because it was on that night that i reaffirmed my choice to side with that half of the room over the other.

Sadly, i didn't ask anyone from church to speak at my 21st. If i did they could have spoken about my faith, instead of spinning yarns of drunken escapades and tomfoolery.

It saddens me that my 21st experience is not uncommon. Too often birthday parties glorify your negative sides and "non christian" shenanigans, not your faith.

Too often you hear... "We got sooo smashed..." not "he is a man who loves Jesus."

Convention Hookups

Tomorrow i head to my first Christian convention this year.

It reminded me of the abundance of convention hookups that occur in the Christian world. The word convention, it turns out, means pairing off and sucking face.

As the old saying goes... Your not a real Christian if you don't meet your life partner at either a convention or Beach Mission.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A painful birth...

ET is on TV at the moment and my mind went to a very disturbing place...

How bloody painful would it have been for his mother to give birth to hm?
His head is FREAKIN HUGE!

The simple way to heaven

Whilst flicking through a copy of Cosmo tonight i noticed this website ( and thought... What a great idea!

How else could you get there?

Believing in Jesus could also help...

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm a lover not a...

If occurred to me yesterday that i have never in my life punched someone in the face in anger (at least i can't ever remember doing it?!?).

It got me pondering... In what situations, if any, would i?

The best reasons i could think of for taking a swipe at someone with all my might, would be if someone legitimately had a go my wife or Mum.

Otherwise... I'm a lover, not a fighter (and an easy target if your willing to avoid offending the two most important women in my life).

In a Parallel universe somewhere...

I was wondering today... how would my life be different if i wasn't a Christian or grew up in the Western Suburbs?

If i wasn't a Christian, when would i have lost my virginity? How many people would i have slept with by now? What drugs would i have taken? Would i still be living at home? Would i be married?

If i grew up in the west, would i be a Christian now? How would my school years have been different?

Either way, would my friends be any different and, if i met the "alternate" me, would we get along?

Just a thought... on Muslims and heaven

I had this thought today... If a 12 year old Muslim dies a martyr, does he still get the 72 virgins?

It got me thinking about heaven and what kind of bodies you will have (don't read into the prior thought that both Christians and Muslims will be there). I know the bible says that we will have new bodies in heaven, but how old will they be? Would everyone posses the bodies they had/or would have had at 20? 30?

I wonder this because i assume that you don't have a renewed body that was the same age that you were when you died. This would leave heaps of oldies. Not to mention babies.

The thing that intrigues me is that, if we do have a matured body, the equivalent of, say, a 20 year old, would that mean that this is the perfect age?

That's if we have bodies in heaven...

I'm sure God's got it figured out. I've got no clue.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My desired superpower

I was reminded today of what superpower i would desperately want. On the odd occasion i can say some pretty stupid things. I would love the ability to be able to go back in time and have a "re-shoot."

I would love to say that i wouldn't use it all that often. But i probably would. And it would be great.

Who the hell wants to be able to fly or be super strong?

My perfect youth ministry tool

As the year winds down, and hopefully i'm edging closer to getting back into a church job, i've been thinking about what i would do first in a new position.

Outside of bibles, the first thing i would want to posses as a ministry tool is a pool table.


First if all, the pool table at Seaforth served me so well. In the three years i was youth minister, i think i only lost twice.

Building from this, the kids kept coming back to challenge me week after week (to the point where i set up a trophy for any kid who could achieve the feat).

Second, the pool table gives you a captive audience. I remember, week after week, being asked the same question over the felt... "So, hows week been?"

Over years of banter he gained an insight into my world (even if my answers usually comprised of the word "good" and a grunt) and after half a decade of trying a finally beat him...

How keeping clean could change the world

It is not unusual for me to get ideas whilst in the shower. Today it was a game to play with the juniors at camp.

If i could only spend a huge chunk of my time in the shower... i could solve all of the worlds issues. I'd look like a shriveled prune, but solutions would come forth.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I think I'm a jerk

My mind wandered onto the things i pray for.

I wondered... If the amount you pray for somebody reflects the amount you care for them, what would it say about me?

Unfortunately i fear it would show that, mostly, I'm an uncaring jerk.

Small things that annoy me

On my way home from work each day I delight in a Le Snack (you know, the biscuit and dip snack). It is the highlight of my day. Sheer delight.

Today my biscuit snapped. This is a big deal after working seven hours and walking up to 20km. I wasn't impressed.

A similar fury is felt when my earphones are ripped out of my ears because the cable is snagged on something at work.

The sad thing is... compared to world poverty, global starvation or child exploitation, my anger for them doesn't even come close to a broken cracker.

Maybe there is something wrong with me. Probably.

Why I do housework

Whilst not being increasingly annoyed at work today by canines, my mind wandered to domestic duties.

I remembered what had to be done around the house. There were dishes to be done, laundry to do, bills to pay... All the routines of boring normality.

When i lived with my parents i wasn't exactly a domesticated male. I did little around the home.

But how things have changed. Now i have no problem doing the chores... and it is because of the principal of "buy in".

If i don't do housework, which I'm aware my wife can't get around to, then i go without. It costs me something. I am inconvenienced. I have no clothes to wear, nothing to eat off or angry men coming to break my legs.

In a strange way, the same thing works in ministry. When people are invested in the outcome, then they will get involved. When the outcomes personally effects them, or those they care about, they will happily invest their time, talents and finances.

When a ministry has trouble getting people involved, it's probably because the ministry doesn't impact the lives of those in the church or is felt as vital for the community.

Why I hate small dogs #802 and #803

Ignore the fact that I've neglected to tell you the first 801 reasons on the list...

I hate small dogs because, over the last two days, they have cause me moments of great frustration.

Firstly, a small yappy dog escaped from the backyard I was in whilst reading a water meter in Northbridge. Ten minutes of my life later, all consumed chasing this stupid dog up and down the street, the dog was back safely home.

Secondly, and more annoyingly, a small dog cost my dear friend Cecil his good looks. For those of you not in the know, Cecil is the name my car has, and now he is sporting a new scar.

Whilst trying to not run over a dog who was roaming the back streets of Bayview, my car clipped a low sandstone fence. Whilst not causing a lot of damage, there were a few anxious moments when i had to further run over the fence to dislodge my car, since i couldn't reverse out of my predicament.

I despise small dogs. Footballs with legs... nothing more.

Furthermore, this reinforces why i prefer cats.

Firstly, cats wouldn't flee from their home. There they get feed and have shelter. Cats are smart enough to stick around.

Secondly, a cat wouldn't give a stuff if i was snooping around their owners property. They just don't care.

Monday, August 18, 2008

When is the man-hunt a failure?

Today my mind wandered, once again, to things of Christian love and what i affectionately know as the "man-hunt."

The man-hunt, quite simply, is when a young Christian lass goes to a church with the intention of finding "a good Christian man."

Over the last decade or so a few of the sheilas at church have embarked on a "man-hunt," with various success. But i started to think, when is it deemed a lost cause?

If you leave your home church and, after a few years or connecting into a new faith community, you're still single, did you make the correct choice?

Also, is the "man-hunt" all that ethical if the young chaps at the unsuspecting church are ambushed? Should the woman make her intentions clear to any guys she meets? Should she inform any staff worker who tries to create a pastoral connection?

Finally... do guys go on a "chick-hunt?"

My blog... the place for all the questions, but no answers.

Thanks and justifiable scorn

It turns out that the local Oporto at Manly has closed.

My heart and arteries are thankful.

But my stomach thinks it sucks.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lazy Susan

Whilst at work on Friday my mind wandered to the poor woman who had the lazy susan named after her (you know, the spinning thing that can be found in the middle of tables at restaurants). I told you I dealt with the BIG topics that face the world.

Just how lazy was she? Was she annoyed by having it called after her?

From what I've been able to gather over the net, some suggest that it was named after a daughter, wife or servant of Thomas Edison. Either way, i bet they spat in his food before they next spun the food his way.

The Catholic Challenge

With World Youth Day/Week over and a month having gone past I've wondered what the Catholic Church has done since.

Before the event the Catholic Church, by the majority of the public, was seen as rather out of touch.

During the event the church was seen as an out of touch organisation putting on a MASSIVE event with the leader having funky shoes.

Now... I've heard nothing. No commercials. No statements. No increased activity (at least from what i have seen).

I wonder if any people who checked out a Catholic Church are still there. I hope so, but i fear they never turned up, or have since gone back home.

Either way, I'm not sure the 10+ million dollars they spent on the event has been worth it in the long run. Their young people may have been encouraged, but will they still be talking about it by the end of the year?

I Love China

On the back of censorship in the Peoples Republic i want to post the above title.

With all going well, I'll slip through the net of censorship. That should boost my readership by a potential 2.8 Billion.

Falling for your Leader

Tonight at church, flowing on from my post on falling for your co-leader in youth ministry, the topic of having a crush on your own leader came up.

Again, making a sweeping generalisation, i think it's not uncommon for a youngster to fall for a leader (even for a short time).

It makes sense.

Firstly, someone is showing a genuine interest in your life, usually over an extended period of time. That's attractive.

Secondly, many leaders are seen as wise, confident, co-ordinated, funny and close to God (no matter how far any of these descriptions are to the truth). That's attractive.

Third, if your going to have a crush on someone, why not your leader at youth group?

But, with great power, comes great responsibility (thanks Peter!).

I'm never going to suggest that i was the object of desire for anyone in my time during ministry, but it is something to keep in mind. As leaders we can wield great power (i'll post on that later on), even without the allure of young hormones looking for their first crush...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Preaching "if you're like me's"

I noticed in one of my previous posts i dropped an "if you're like me..."

I noticed that when i preach i would sometimes do the same thing. If I wanted to bring up a point of objection, or a life application point against a negative trait, a simple "if you're like me..." would be slipped in. But i was wondering, over the long run, is it a good thing?

Wouldn't you eventually be shown up as a) a fraud who commonly just slips in the sentence as a segway (i'm ok with that not being the way you spell it) b) a guy who is riddled with doubts or c) someone who struggles like those who are listening.

I'd like to think i use it mostly in the third case.

Giving the public what they want

Gibbo wanted to know my thoughts on the Olympics. Especially the weightlifting. It's understandable. No one's body screams lifting large weights like mine.

The coincidence was i was going to comment on it anyway.

If you haven't seen the poor Colombian chap who couldn't lift the weight (if you haven't seen it then I'm sure it's on YouTube) I'm pretty sure i would be in his weightclass. Strangely enough, i figured i could be a Colombian weightlifter. I can drop a weight.

The guy who won, i think he was from South Korea, couldn't lift 211kg. I could probably match that effort as well.

My loving public

I read my first bunch of comments today.
You love me... You really love me.

Well... some of you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Karaoke fools

I'm on a role blogging today, so why stop now?

Last night Gavin and i were at the local watching fools sing karaoke and it got me thinking...

When you're not very good at singing, and you keep trying, why doesn't someone pull you side and politely (or forcefully) inform you.

I bring this up for a few reasons. First, each week, there are "regulars" who sing before Gavin and i each time we go and they are NEVER good. Never. Ever.

Secondly, it could turn out like this...

Meathead Males

Caution: Sweeping generalisation below!!!

While i was thinking about my former days as a discipling group leader, i reminisced about just how crap of a leader a was when i started out.

I began leading my kids when i was in year 10 and, truth be told, i was a total passenger for the first few years. In short, i was a meathead male leader.

As fun as it was, i just stumbled my way through leading mediocre bible studies, choc full of ill discipline and muddled thought.

It may just have been me, but i suspect it's not, but guys in leaderships don't hit their straps until they finish school. Call it maturity. Chalk it up to life experience. Whatever it is, waiting for a guy to come good in leadership is time well spent none the less...

As a (hopefully) former meathead, I'll conclude my generalisation here. You can go back to real life now.

Crushes in Youth Ministry Leadership

A couple of days ago my old co-leader of my discipling group had her first child, a bouncing baby girl, and it got me thinking about the crush i used to have on her (and if a made a move if I'd be a Dad by now...).

As i wondered the streets of Chatswood i pondered opportunities lost and how, for years, i harboured secret yearnings for my coleader (I'm sure she knew, or at least she may now).

For years I've noticed the trend of leaders in youth ministry developing feelings for their co-leader. From my point of few it makes total sense. As people who spend a stack of time together regularly, have shared passions, shared responsibilities and see the other person invest time in the lives of the same young people as them... whats not to love?

Now, the crush my pass quickly and at times not be particularly productive, but it seems to happen all to often.

As youth minster i used to keep it in mind when pairing off leaders at camps or in junior/senior sections ect... maybe this is how Christian matchmaker should work.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How I got here

It may seem weird, since I'm the only one reading this, but i should begin to explain just how the heck I got to be where i am at the moment.

I left the church i was the youth minister for at the end of last year, my first church position and my original home church. After a dozen years, including three on staff, it was time to move on.

Trouble was, i didn't have a position to move onto. I did numerous interviews, even getting to the point where i had to turn a job down (I'm sure I'll explain why later), but ended up in the "not working for a church, running out of money, annoying my wife, getting more desperate" place in the universe.

So this year has been about finding a youth ministry position, reading water meters in the meantime.

To make sure this year is not a waste, i decided to listen to God (useful when you are floating in no-mans-land) and reflect on my time in ministry (hopefully, before i continue on the journey).

So... if I'm going to write it down anyway, i may as well fill up space in the WWW, not create piles of paper around my place.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Just what the internet needs... Another blog.

It turns out there are now over 60 million blogs. If you include this... 60,000,001.
But before i inject my half baked thoughts on an unsuspecting world (not that many, or anyone for that matter, will care) I should tell you who i am and why I'm doing this.

My name is Graham Baldock and I am an out of work youth minister in Sydney Australia, who is on the lookout for a job. I could also be known as a currently employed water meter reader, but lets focus on the future.

Every day I wander the streets reading water meters with nothing but me and my thoughts. Some days i have Earth changing periods of time where i reach near enlightenment and wander aimlessly in sheer delight at how smart i am. Some days I'm bored stiff.

Hopefully I'll blog on more of the later days.

Let me say that my thoughts may, at times, be random. Many, i suspect, will focus around youth ministry and Christianity. Some will be on things much less profound, yet still worthy of a mention.

I apologise for my grammar, anyone who i offend or anyone who's ideas i rip off and pretend they are my own dearly beloved brainchild.

Let the journey begin...