The Voice #SYMC 2012

Looking back on what I learned at this years Simply Youth Ministry Conference …

Voices are everywhere.  No matter where we are at or what we are doing, we’re always hearing voices.  Those that are internal, and those that are external.

The language, style, manner, tone, and words may be different with each voice, but we hear them none the less.  The question Jon Acuff poses to us, “Which one do I listen to and care about more: mine, others, or God’s?”

Now, before going further, there might be some who have just said, “Well, Shawn, God doesn’t speak to everyone.  He’s never spoken to me.”  To which I say, “Though God speaks in different ways to people, He speaks to everyone.  We all have the ability to hear Him and interact with Him – daily.  If you’re not hearing Him, maybe you’re too busy listening to everyone else but Him.”

Too harsh?  Maybe, but it’s the truth (John 10).

Hearing Voices

Jon Acuff shared with youth workers, a few Saturday nights ago, a talk that I deeply connected with.  In fact, I bought the video and showed it to my wife and our small group the following Monday night – it was that great.  A simple message and logic, but a profound truth we as Christians and leaders need to breathe in deep and long.  There should only be one Voice we give allowance to in our lives: Father God.  Sadly, it’s His Voice that gets quieted from the other voices we give attention to – those internal and those external.

Acuff exemplified this point by giving, what he calls, the “Critics Math” equation: 1 negative comment x 1,000 positive comments = 1 negative comment.  Don’t know about you, but this is so true in my life!  Instead of giving power and attention to the positive comments, we give it to the negative one(s).  We turn from what God says about us, or our situation, and give credence to the lie that is spewing at us.  It makes no sense, yet we do it all the time – why?

Our External Voices – friends, family members, co-workers, staff, students, parents, etc … we always focus on the negative about ourselves rather than the positive.  We hold someone else’s view of us above our own view; more often than not, we trade God’s “big picture” view for our “stamp size” view.  Doing this gives life to …

Our Internal Voices – doubt, fear, anger, perfection, addictions, comparisons, guilt, pride, envy, self-hate, etc … in looking at ourselves, we tend to devalue the very thing (person) God claims as precious and worth dying for.  Many of us conclude that we are junk, and therefore God thinks we’re junk, too.  We expect God to see us as we see ourselves.  Funny, though, cause God expects us to see ourselves as He sees us.

Listening to His Voice

Here are some gems Jon shared during his talk:

God is not surprised about our journey.  God is not surprised about our ministry numbers.  God is not surprised by the students that show up – and don’t show up – to the events you plan.  He isn’t caught off guard.

In life we constantly strive to make ourselves famous, when we are already famous.  We are children of the Most High God, Almighty King, the Eternal Creator, and the Everlasting Father.  Jesus is looking for us to make His name famous in the world (Psalm 115:1), not the other way around.

Passion is a reunion moment, a reconnection with what you’ve loved and still love.  What is it you feel deep within you were born to do/be?  What’s stopping you from fulfilling this passion?

99% of perfection shared with people is better than 100% of perfection stored on your laptop.

The Christian “F” word – FINE – needs to be omitted from our vocabulary.  We need to get honest with ourselves and others … and with God.

Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.  If you are following after the Father, honestly and purposefully, then you are right where He wants you.


  • What are the voices you listen day to day, and why?
  • Where is God leading you, and what barriers are in the way?
  • What voice will you commit to following?  When will this take place?  Why will you make this commitment?  Who will hold you accountable?


One response to “The Voice #SYMC 2012

  1. Pingback: Notes from #SYMC 2012 « Six:11 Ministries·

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