Dugan Sherbondy bio picture
  • WELCOME!

    Hey, I'm Dugan! I'm a traveling speaker who loves to serve any event geared towards middle school, high school, or college students. If you're interested in finding someone to speak at your next retreat, camp, conference, ministry night or leader training, I'd love to connect! For a quick sample of some things I've done, check out this short video. Or just shoot me an email 72,69,82,69,46.EREH

Mustard Seed

Spiritual growth can be a tricky thing to figure out. Actually, I’m not sure we ever totally “figure it out” but I think it’s always something in the back of our minds. I had the privilege of teaching at Heartland Community Church at their Sun Prairie campus a couple weekends ago about spiritual growth. After being inspired by a teaching from a pastor here in Phoenix named Tyler Johnson when he spoke at our church, New City about Kingdom Power (listen here), I was excited to talk about Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed and what it has to do with our spiritual growth. Oh, and I got to talk about one of my favorites topics ever: 90′s music!

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

One Hit Wonders – The Mustard Seed

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Email Post|Contact Me

4 Things I Learned From Hanging With Students All Summer

This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to travel across the country and teach at four week-long student experiences. Each camp, trip, and retreat was a ton of fun and offered its own unique experiences for me to learn from as I hung out with and taught each group of students and interacted with the leaders and staff. From Houston, to California, to Baltimore, and Wisconsin, I had a blast at each corner of the US of A and God taught me a ton each day.  So, I thought I’d share a few learnings I got from my various trips:

1). Teach to students, not anyone else. Each trip I was on, there were times when I was tempted to tweak my content to make sure I impressed the adult leaders or parents in the room, but I forced myself to make sure that my language and illustrations were specifically targeting the middle school and/or high school students in the room. While I might want to establish a positive reputation with my peers, my passion and the reason I was hired was to speak God’s love and truth to students, not anyone else. And the funny thing about it was that the more I focused on speaking directly to students, the more I would have leaders and parents come up to me and thank me for God speaking to them through what I said! And according to Michael Scott, we call that a win-win-win.

2). Sharing weakness can be powerful. As a communicator to students, especially one that travels to new audiences each time, it can be extremely tempting to put a lot of effort into maintaining a certain persona with the students I teach and interact with. But what I found is that the vast majority of the times, students will talk to me and open up to me about a moment in one of my teachings where I shared something about myself that was less-than perfect. When I gave examples from my own life of how I screwed up, students responded by feeling free to admit weakness in themselves, while also being open to the truth I shared immediately after of what I learned through my mistake(s). Obviously, there’s a line of appropriate sharing (depending on the setting and audience) but always trying to look perfect is far from the most powerful way that God can use our words to speak into students’ lives. Unless, of course, you are perfect…in which case, can you give me golf lessons?

3). A Conversation Has Much More of an Impact Than a Teaching. As a teacher, it would be real easy to simply show up, talk, walk off stage, and head back to my room to watch That 70′s Show on Netflix or play Candy Crush ’til my fingers bled (happened to a friend of mine). But each time I talk at a student event, I make sure to intentionally carve out time during the day, night, as well as before and after teaching to step out of my comfort zone (has#brown: introvert) and engage with students. And every single time I do this, I’m so glad I did. The times I spent talking to students about everything from girls to guys to tattoos to celebrity doppelganger, to God and faith and pain and hope and everything in between is by far, the most rewarding part of working with students. I could deliver a killer teaching and hope students remember 10% of what I said, or have a personal conversation for 10 minutes and know that they will remember it for a long time. The pulpit (or music stand) is important, but I’ve learned to never underestimate what God does through conversation and a personal relationship with the students that we serve. Plus a bonus is I learn about all the strategies for the video game I’m playing (Dishonored).

4). Students Want to Go Deep. Part of my ministry philosophy for students is that we should never dumb or water down the truth from Scripture. According to 1 Timothy 4:12, an eleven-year-old is just as capable as taking their faith seriously as I am. So, when it comes to the way I teach about the Bible, the way I talk about God’s love, and the way I challenge students, I never shy away from going deep and getting real with them. Each time I fear that I might end up pushing them further away or possibly even offending them, but the response I see from students is remarkable. Everybody from 6th grade boys to 12th grade girls (about a 30 year maturity gap, FYI) come up to me and tell me how God encouraged them and how they’re so excited to start a new journey in seeking after God and living their lives for him. I’m not opposed to having a stupid amount of fun (IE: a cricket-spitting for distance competition…true story), but when it comes to a student’s faith, they’re hungry and ready for depth.

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Email Post|Contact Me

Good Leader vs. Good Husband

Sometimes the things that make me a good leader, make me a bad husband.

One example: Seeing the weakest links.

Something I’ve seen good leaders do is find the weakest links in whatever they’re leading and strengthen them. They look at their team, ministry, or organization, identify what most needs improvement, and then do what they can to improve it.

But even though this might be a good quality for a leader, it makes for a bad habit as a husband or dad.

I’ve found myself drawn to thinking about the one negative part of a conversation with my wife or experience with my daughter, and ignoring all the positives. I’ve caught myself mentally removing myself from a moment and all the amazing parts of it because I’ve noticed and am dwelling on something less than perfect, and started to process how it could be changed.

The way my daughter didn’t say “thank you” to the cashier at Chick Fil-A (even though she did say “hi” and “please”), the fact that my wife didn’t ask me about a meeting I had that day (even though she made me dinner and complimented my new hat), when I’m not able to watch a game I wanted to (because we’re having an awesome family day at the zoo), and so many more.

I’ve started to see it more and do my best to dismiss it, in order to focus on and enjoy the more frequent and important positives of the people in front of me.

I might be tempted to think that I need to be a strong father or good leader in my marriage so focusing on the negatives to improve things is healthy, but more often than not, I’m pretty sure I’m just missing opportunities to love the amazing qualities of my family…and then tell them about it!

There might be times when challenge is appropriate, but I’d rather default to being the kind of husband and dad who was always looking for the positives, and experiencing the present moment with full appreciation for everything it is.

 

photo1

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Email Post|Contact Me

Friday Five #17

Friday Five is back! Enjoy!

D

 

1). The Art of Small Talk.

As an introvert, this article was super helpful and interesting to learn some tangibles about how to engage in quality small talk.

2). The most beautiful and accurate baby lullaby I’ve ever heard. The Maya Rudolph variety show was a lot of fun to watch, but this was by far my favorite performance of the night. I loved Chris Parnell in Anchorman and Lazy Sunday, and this song just confirmed how awesome he is. For those of you with kids, this won’t get out of your head for a while…which you’ll thoroughly enjoy.

3). Ginger Sympathy. For my fellow pasty-skinned, red-heads, here’s some truth and love for you all: It’s a Tough World Out There for Gingers. 

willie 4). The Greatest Unscripted Movie Scenes Ever. Some of these are pretty shocking that they were ad-libbed moments in movies that became super famous. I found #4 most interesting.

the-dark-knight-explosion-unscripted-scene

5). Skiing with Dolphins. Here’s your feel-good video for the week. This is not only amazing but totally makes me jealous, wishing it had happened to me!

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Email Post|Contact Me

Snow White and Louis CK

Today I took Eva to my doctor’s appointment. I wasn’t too concerned with her being with but near the end of our 45 minute wait for my doctor (which he was very apologetic for) her willingness to obey me was paper thin. After the 4th time of her grabbing the thing I told her not to, going being the table I told her not to, and chucking Show White across the room at me, I got down on one knee, gently but firmly took her by the shoulders and said, “Eva, honey, why are you being naughty right now?” She looked me in the eye and casually said: “Because I want to play with you!”

I laughed and felt my stress melt away. Then we had a Snow-White-Throwing-Contest, which Dr. Lincoln won (jk).

My kid stresses me out sometimes. There. I said it.

The moments are few and far between, but they happen. I think it can feel so intense at times because it’s really strong emotions on both ends of the spectrum. The love I have for her in contrast to the stress she can cause me are all meshed and intertwined in a giant ball of really potent feelings of anxiety and happiness all at the same time.

And without a doubt, the good far outweighs the bad. Usually any moment of stress is eclipsed by the countless moments of love and laughter I have with her. The love I have for her is even confusing sometimes because I can’t even understand why it’s so much and being a dad has grown my patience and mercy and empathy and so much more.

But as often as we have moments of rainbows and  flowers and the universe being pink, she still stresses me out.

And I feel like this isn’t something modern parents talk about a lot. People always look at new parents with a huge, open-mouth smile and bright, expectant eyes as they enthusiastically say: “So…how do you like being a dad!?!?!?!” Of course, my response has to match or surpass their enthusiasm and, at worst, must be be 99.9989% positive. But there have been many times when I’m asked this questions coming from a day full of poop under my finger nails, tantrums at the frozen yogurt place, and a 45 second nap.

I remember when Eva was only a few months old, there were a few times when she was fed, changed, and swaddled, but would scream her head off for hours with no apparent reasons. During these kind of moments, I would have to put her down for a few minutes while I took a lap around the living room to calm down and build up my patience again. I remember thinking for the first time: I get how people would shake their baby. Obviously I’m not endorsing it and I can’t imagine the pain that people have gone through because of a completely innocent or well-intentioned mistake. But as a parent, I know the sense of just wanted her to be happy but when I’ve done everything that should make her happy but she was still so violently not happy (combined with my lack of sleep, not having left the house in two weeks, and having vomit on every wearable t-shirt), my fuse was pretty short.

 

louisck

One of my new favorite entertainers is Louis CK. His stand-up material and TV show frequently talk about some raunchy subjects, but overall I find his comedy fresh and real. His show is like a modern-day Seinfeld and more than any other comedian I’ve heard, Louis seems to be the most authentic to himself. He doesn’t put on any kind of act or persona, but is just being himself and talking about his life in genuine, hilarious ways.

I especially love when he talks about being a dad to his two daughters. He seems like a great dad and a lot of his philosophy of parenting I tend to agree with (teaching them to adjust when life doesn’t go the way we plan, learning to solve problems on their own, being intentional about talking and having fun together, etc.). Mostly though, I love that he doesn’t shy away from talking honestly about the less-than-perfect aspects of having kids.

During one of the stand-up segments of his show (Episode 2:1), he talks about the paradox of the extremely good and and bad things having kids can make him feel:

“Any parent who is honest will tell you, you live with that ambivalence. You look at the face of your beautiful, lovely child and you think two things at the exact same time: ‘I love this kid so much that it ‘s changed my whole life. I love other people more because of how much I love her. I love people that died years ago more. My love has traveled time because of how completely I love her and she loves me back. She’s completely given value to life that didn’t exist before…and I regret every decision that led to her birth’. That’s how it feels.” – Louis CK 

 

Okay, so I don’t necessarily regret every decision that led to my daughter’s birth, but I love that he’s not afraid to admit that it’s really difficult to be a parent sometimes. And that’s okay! Parenting is one of the most difficult things to do and I think parent’s should be allowed to say that. Whether it’s the stress of an infant, toddler, awkward and/or rebellious teenager, or very poor decision-making, the stress of being a parent is very real. And we don’t need to be afraid to admit that! For an interesting perspective on modern parenting, check out Jennifer Senior’s TED talk entitled: “For parents, happiness is a very high bar.”

“Being a parent is wanting to hug and strangle your kid at the same time” – Bill Watterson (via Calvin’s dad)

So, if you’re a parent, it doesn’t make you a horrible or even slightly-less-good parent to admit when you had a frustrating day with your kid or that you’re totally stressed by them. If anything, that’s the healthy way to purge those feelings by expressing them honestly to be blessed by some encouragement or just a listening ear. Galatians 6:2 tells us that by sharing each other’s burdens means we’re obeying the law of Christ. Parents always joke about the stress of young kids once their kids are older, but I think it’d be healthy if we could laugh/cry about it when it’s actually happening too. God got ticked at His kids, which makes me think it’s okay for me to have a rough day as a dad now a then. And instead of pretending like everything is perfect, I’d rather admit I’m worn thin and seek to do better tomorrow when by beautiful baby girl becomes, what Linds and I lovingly call: Cray-Va (pictured below).

photo (10)

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Email Post|Contact Me