The Life of JaWS

A blog by Jason Sansbury

Monday, June 19, 2006

Uh, do they not watch these shows?

I am always, always amazed that politicos wind up going on shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Some of them are well prepared, know what they are getting into and have a clear idea of what is going to happen. Some of them are PR nightmares where they walk right into an ambush.

And then...there are those who have no idea whatsoever is about to happen. Their Public Relations preparation people need to be fired every time it happens.

The latest example is Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland from the 8th district of the state of Georgia. He recently went on the Colbert Report to discuss a bill he co-sponsored to put the 10 Commandments on display in the House and the Senate. Any PR person in their right mind sits him down and says "You need to be able to give the 10 commandments if asked." Of course, Colbert asks and, of course, Westmoreland isn't able to do so.

Lord have mercy...
Click here to watch. Watch especially as Colbert enjoys watching him squirm between the question about how people ought to be able to recite the 10 commandments and asking him to do so.

Why do they always pick our jerks?

So last night I was hanging out at my Mom's house and we watched the new show "Treasure Hunters." The basic premise of the show was probably pitched something like this "It's the Amazing Race and Nic Cage's National Treasure." Teams of people, on a hunt for artifacts that ends in one team winning a treasure. (It has been hyped as "From the producers of the Da Vinci Code", which is interesting because they are again creating something fictional and acting like it is real, in specifics that the treasure is a real treasure hidden by our nation's forefathers. "Puh-leez" as my middle school friends say.)

In the midst of the show, we get to know the teams. One of the team is the Fogal family, who boasts of the pastor dad, Brad, the non-piano playing mom and the daughter. As always, they make a big deal out of who they are and what they are doing, including being a Christian family. I cringed because this NEVER ends well.

And sure enough, about half-way through the first episode, we reach a place where the Fogal family really let their light shine. One of the tasks involved diving down for a box, opening the box and getting a map. So we watch as one young man helps a young woman from a different team get the box she found to the surface. As she is opening the box, in swoops Pastor Brad to swipe her map. Like some common, petty thief Brad Fogal, who is holding himself up as an ambassador of Christ swipes map from a woman half his age.

And later, he ignores his daughter when she injures her hand. Like repeatedly and with no concern whatsoever.

So with a little work on Google, I found that pastor Brad is the senior pastor at Foothills Church, a Free Evangelical congregation in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. You can email him at

And a notice to all reality show producers...please quit casting our jerks and buttheads. We know that you want to create shows that produce drama and intrigue and do it cheaply. But cast the kind of people who will love their neighbor, love God and genuinely care about the truth of who God is and who we are; we are out here and while we don't get all crazy chasing your money, we can be good competitors. It is easy to cast our idiots, doofuses and jerks who will uphold everything you think about the church. Be smarter than that; everyone deserves that.

PS- I am pulling for the Brown family, brothers who are overweight (yeah!), who can't swim (yeah!) and are hanging in there against all odds!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What is stirring in my soul...

So as I have been on these interviews for youth ministry jobs and have been driving around the southeast, there is something starting to stir in me.

At each of the job interviews, there has been a question in regards to what I want in a church. Which is a challenging thing for me. Because since I was 20 years old or so, I went where I was serving. Period. So to be in the market for an open church, it has made me think long and hard about what I want. Here is the list I give people:
1. I want to be at a church that I would choose if I were your average Joe living in that area. I want a church that can feel like home and be a healthy place for me.
2. I want a church committed to helping me grow in my gifts and graces in ministry. In all honesty, salary is important but being a part of a church that will allow me to grow, learn, be tested and be mentored in ministry is extremely important. One of the failings of the modern church is that while we do things like that for ministers, lay people in ministry like myself rarely have that.
3. I want to serve at a church that is committed to the idea of ministry being something that we are trying to awaken in the people sitting in the pews. Ministry isn't something just done by paid professionals and people in the pews are the spectators. My greatest joy at the last church I served were the adults that I helped equip, love and train to do awesome ministry. They rock and the kingdom of God is larger because of them.

And all of what I just shared is true. But there is this nagging thing deep in my soul where I wonder this "If this is the end of me being a youth pastor, what then?" It sounds crazy and the very few people I have talked to about it assure me that sooner or later I am going to land at a fantastic church. But if it doesn't happen, if it doesn't work out and I wind my working the late shift at Waffle House, what happens to my spiritual life?

Unfortunately, I have seen a close friend and partner in ministry flame out. Exhaustion, burn-out and not having people hold him accountable led to an amazingly bad decision and that cost him his career. And that seems to be it for him. A fading memory in the minds of those who God used Him to touch...

In the movie "Miss Congeniality" Sandra Bullock's character has a scene where she talks to her character's partner. She reaches a point where she says "I am the job." I feel that way right now and I am definitely not sure it is a good thing...


Well, now is the time to rest and grieve. I have been running hard and fast ever since I was asked to resign and never really took the time to rest, pray and work through my issues. This week the students and adults that I love are at Summer Camp and it has been hard.

For starters, I was a part of Summer Camp for the last 9 years. Started as a scrub college kid who led games, grew into a speaking role, became one of the big 4 who ran camp, decided to focus on leading my local church youth ministry and now I am on the sidelines. So missing Summer Camp is hard. Especially when I had numerous chances to come and be a part of the event from other churches. But what is best for the kids that I left is for them to move on, to be reminded that God is bigger than who their leader is and have a good week of camp. But it is tempting to sneak down there on Thursday night...

I have had a ton on interviews and still have more on the schedule. I learned a couple of things:
1. At least one church has no business whatsoever being involved in youth ministry. Their idea of youth ministry is to hire someone, underpay them and offer absolutely no support in terms of volunteers. I need to get better at asking some upfront questions so I don't waste my time driving 3.5 hours to places like this one.
2. There are some fantastic places doing great youth ministry. This past weekend I visited a church that is really amazing and has a fantastic youth ministry. It is large but also very dedicated to producing depth in the hearts and lives of students. My typical complaint is that large usually means shallow and I have been blessed to see that in this church, that is far from the truth. It would be a honor to work there and help the ministry grow.
3. I interviewed with a church that would bring me home yesterday. It would be a great joy to be close to some of my family and do ministry in a place that has some fantastic facilities, a great senior pastor and a desire for long term stability in youth ministry. Could be cool but I am trying to be low key about it in case it doesn't work out.

So keep praying.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The World Wide Tour

Shakes alive!
Over the past week I have driven over 1800 miles, done 5 interviews and 2 phone interviews and scheduled more interviews for next week. It has been crazy...
Here's to me getting a new job and church home in the next week or so!