Why I’m Done Blogging About Middle School Boys

I am done writing new posts about middle school boys at joebudish.com.

“Why, Joe?”

Life has seasons. I sense that this season of blogging has ended.

This is how a spazzy middle school boy waves goodbye.

“Can you say more about that?”

It’s been a wonderful 3+ plus years on this blog but my enthusiasm for writing has waned recently. I began struggling to generate ideas for new high-quality posts. I could probably continue making mediocre posts on an inconsistent basis, but that’s not how I roll. If I can’t do it well and do it consistently, I’d prefer to not do it—especially because blogging requires a big time investment for me.

“Does this mean you no longer feel passionate about middle school ministry?”

I love middle school ministry! Middle school boys are still some of my favorite people in the world.

“Are you moving or changing jobs?”

No. I have lots of anticipation as I begin my fifth year of middle school ministry at Valley Church in West Des Moines, IA. I’ve probably never been more excited about the potential for the ministry that I lead!

“What will happen to joebudish.com and all the content that you’ve posted?”

I won’t make any significant changes to the website for now. All the posts I’ve made will be available for readers to view; I just won’t be updating or changing the site. I invite you to continue sharing content from this site with friends and family members.

“Is there anything you want to say to me, one of your supportive blog readers?”

I’m glad you asked! Thank you for supporting me by reading, commenting on, and sharing my posts. You have all encouraged me significantly. Thank you to the handful of blog readers who wrote guest posts. If this blog has positively informed, equipped, or encouraged you, then praise God! He created middle school boys, he is responsible for my ability to connect with those boys, and he enabled me to share my thoughts with you. Even though I’m moving on from this blog I remain committed to bringing him glory in every way possible.

The Fake Smile vs. The Real Smile

Don't Confuse the Two

I follow a lot of students on Instagram and I’m friends with a lot of you (their parents) on Facebook. I see a lot of photos on social media every day. A vast majority of those photos feature smiling people. The smiles I see on Facebook and Instagram are different from the smiles I see in real life. It’s the difference between a person’s real smile and his fake smile.

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock/fidelio

The real smile, also known as the Duchenne smile, flashes across a person’s face while experiencing genuine joy. The fake smile is the one we’ve all been trained to put on when posing for pictures, myself included.

The Value of Being a Present Parent

This is a guest post by my friend Sarah Hanson. Sarah is the mom of a student in my ministry. She and her husband, Doug, are awesome parents and I love how they intentionally raise their kids. They’re teaching me a lot about how I want to raise my own kids someday! Sarah’s post is thoughtful, challenging, and encouraging all at once.

I’m a flawed mom and an imperfect wife, with mad love for my family and a deep desire to live intentionally. Parenting is downright humbling and some of the hardest, holiest work. Time is flying by at lightning speed and my “littles” are not so little anymore. I know that I can’t stop the clock, but I can choose how to spend the precious hours I am given each day.

Sarah and her kids.

I Need To Be Available
Being present and giving the gift of my time makes me available. When I give my children my time and undivided attention, I earn their trust. Being present for the little things gives me the right to be present for the big things in their lives. And when I am consistently available, my children feel loved and connected.

Happy Birthday, Blog!

joebudish.com is officially a toddler

joebudish.com turns two years old today! At the beginning I wasn’t sure if I should embark on this blogging endeavor but my friend Danna gave me the extra push I needed to start in the summer of 2014. I’m glad she pushed me! Here are three things I’ve learned from blogging over the past two years:

Apparently I liked swimming as a two year-old.
  1. Blogging consistently is harder than it seems. Everybody likes the idea of starting a blog but I have discovered it takes a lot of work to post regularly! I enjoy the challenge of continually creating high-quality content.
  2. My most popular posts have been guest posts from moms of middle school boys. I am not offended that my own material has not received as much attention. On the contrary, I am grateful that other people are willing to contribute to the blog and am overjoyed that readers have responded with such enthusiasm!
  3. The number one benefit I’ve received from blogging has been increased connection and rapport from parents of students. I cherish the interactions and feedback I’ve received from parents who read my blog!

I want to continue making new posts regularly throughout the summer and into the school year. I honestly don’t know exactly what the distant future holds for joebudish.com but I’m okay with not knowing all the answers. Here’s to the future of joebudish.com!!! Hopefully the blog can avoid the “terrible twos!”

Ten Groundbreaking Tips for Parents and Youth Workers

Don't Be a Fool: Revolutionize Your Parenting Today

I’ve recently been doing some research related to youth ministry. My studies have been pivotal in re-shaping my approach to my job, especially as it pertains to working with middle school boys.

Photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club/Monkey Business

As a blogger I feel like it is my responsibility to share my newly discovered conclusions with my blog readers. Hopefully they will help you become a better parent and youth worker. I think these insights are going to be revolutionary for many, just like they’ve been for me:

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m taking a break from the blog to enjoy football, turkey, and time with family. I hope you can do the same today! I’m thankful for your support as I continue to share my ideas on this blog, and I’ll return with regular posts again next week.

Photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club/Brent Hofacker

Please Take My 2015 Blog Reader Survey

It Will Help Me Serve You Better!

I want this blog to serve you, and I can more effectively help you if I know about you and your needs. In order to do that, I have created a reader survey.

This is only an image. Click on the link below to access the survey.

Would you be willing to take 5 minutes to complete it? The survey contains only 10 questions and is easy to fill out. By taking the survey you are ultimately helping yourself, because with the survey information I will be able to target my content more specifically to you and your needs.

Your responses are completely anonymous. I won’t know who is answering, and no one will be able to see your answers. Thank you, in advance, for your help!

Click here to take the reader survey.

A Recap Of My Mission Trip To Brussels

I figured friends and family members (and maybe some of my faithful blog readers) would be interested to hear how my recent trip went. I decided my blog would be the best place to share this information. You can find photos from my time in Brussels on Facebook. If this is your first time visiting my blog, feel free to explore the site after reading this post!

I am wrapping up a wonderful three-week adventure in Europe. I served on a mission trip in Brussels, Belgium for ten days and also got to spend some time with my brother in Sweden afterward. Brussels was my first-ever adult mission trip!

Painting at one of the churches in Brussels with my American teammates from Iowa, Chicago, and North Carolina.

Thank you for generously supporting the Brussels trip with prayer and financial giving. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for following my updates on Facebook. Thank you to the volunteers who worked extra hard to lead the Valley Junior High Ministry in my absence—especially Joe, Julie, Michelle, and Todd.

Here are two highlights from my time in Brussels:

  • My greatest highlight was meeting Olivier Jonkers. Olivier is a native of Brussels who organized and led our trip. I respected him from the moment I met him. He is clearly called by God to build up the church in Brussels. It was inspiring to hear him passionately share about how God is at work in that city.
  • I grew as a leader by being a follower. I’m normally the go-to leader in ministry situations because of my role at my church. It was nice to not be the point person on this trip. Not being in that role helped me step back and learn by observing others lead our group.

Here are two takeaways from Brussels that will impact my life moving forward:

  • My view of ministry leadership is deeper. In Brussels there are basically no full-time paid pastors in the evangelical churches. Church leaders, who volunteer their time in ministry, must focus most of their energy on building up other leaders to help share the workload required to run a church. I want to focus more of my energy on building up other volunteer leaders for my ministry because I believe it promotes a biblical model of church leadership.
  • My vision for ministry is more focused. As a ministry leader it’s easy to focus on the wrong things like having a large attendance and well-run programs. Those things are not bad, but they’re not the end goal. Ministry is all about helping others follow Jesus. The churches we partnered with in Brussels had that end in mind. Their example has challenged me to resist the temptation to pursue any lesser goal.

I believe once I return home I will be a more effective leader, a more focused pastor, and a more committed disciple of Jesus. I’m glad I followed God’s call to attend this trip. Now I encourage you to consider whether God is calling you on a short- or long-term mission trip as part of the Church’s mission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations.

My Blog Turns One Year Old This Week!

This week marks one year since I officially introduced my blog to the public. It’s been a fun journey and I’m committed to continue writing on joebudish.com for at least one more year!

Photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club/treenabeena

It’s been an exciting month at joebudish.com. I just released my new eBook called “Top Ten Reasons Why Middle School Boys Are Awesome.” A few recent posts have clearly struck a nerve with readers based off the number of Facebook shares they’ve gotten. The blog is also coming off it’s biggest month to date in terms of the number of people who visited the site.

Throughout June, July, and August I will continue to make two posts each week, one on Tuesday and one on Thursday. The Tuesday posts will all be brand-new material. The Thursday posts will be older material that I want to expose to my newer readers.

I hope to continue informing and encouraging you so you can confidently and joyfully guide boys through middle school. Thank you for your participation and support!

Please Take My 2014 Reader Survey

I want this blog to serve you, and I can more effectively help you if I know about you and your needs. In order to do that, I have created a reader survey.

This is only an image. Click on the link below to access the survey.

Would you be willing to take 5 minutes to complete it? The survey contains only 10 questions and is easy to fill out. By taking the survey you are ultimately helping yourself, because with the survey information I will be able to target my content more specifically to you and your needs.

Your responses are completely anonymous. I won’t know who is answering, and no one will be able to see your answers. Thank you, in advance, for your help!

Click here to take the reader survey.

Subscribe to my email list and get your free manual that will help you have conversations with teenage guys!