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Archive for the ‘youth ministry’ Category

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This is an update of WWJD…WTC.

Jesus seemed to love the way children would approach him. He even said,

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

Their honesty is often humorous and even ironic, conveying meanings and truth they didn’t know they are saying.

Today I took my son to get a new pair of shoes for school. While we were driving he said to me, “Daddy, why do we go to church?”

My son is only five years old, and not wanting to make any assumptions about why he said it, I simply asked. “Why do you say that?”

His response was immediate and brisk. “Because I don’t want to go anymore.”

“Why don’t you want to go anymore?” I asked.

“Because all they give us are donuts.”

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This is old but very interesting perspective from Scott McKnight on the five streams of the Emerging Church. It is interesting that he says, “It has no central offices, and it is as varied as evangelicalism itself.” This de-centralization is one of the things I think bugs people. We don’t like what we can’t control. And yet this organic movement keeps humming.

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This is an engaging question to think about. John asks, “Why doesn’t God just prove He exists?” His thought provoking answer will leave your head spinning. I love it. (ht)

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One of the age groups that is seriously walking away from the church is the college age range. A good friend of mine, Chuck Bomar, is leading the way in creating resources in this area. Check out collegeleader.org.

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Yesterday was an awesome day.  I got to work with Oxfam on their Farm Bill Campaign.  We had a booth at the Vans Warped Tour.  The Warped tour is a collection of bands you’ve rarely heard of unless you are part of the subculture.  Half the bands were thrash-metal and sounded pretty good musically but I really had no idea what they were saying.  The average age was probably eighteen, a good mix of male/female.  The average person wore black, had a tattoo(s), a piercing(s), and looked like they were there to be seen.  None of which is a slam because I saw Jesus in the midst of these people.

Because I was working for Oxfam, it was my job to talk to these people about extreme poverty. In almost every instance, they were just like me.  Real people.  But there was also a deep sense of pain and longing for acceptance.  One girl I met had a brand on her arm with marks from where she had been cutting herself.  One guy I met had large amounts of piercings in his face.  One girl had a fishnet stocking shirt, and a see through bra that exposed her large breasts.  Most of the guys were there to stare at the girls, nod their head to the beat of the music, and think about what it would be like to talk to the girl over there.  And the overwhelming sense I got was that this was a collection of kids who had banded together because they had been rejected.  They didn’t fit in.  These were the kids that would likely scare the average church goer on Sunday.  And in the process, they are typically sitting outside the church.  I was reminded of a book I read in college, “Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria?” by Beverly Tatum.  They did so for protection.  They did so to find some sense of collective support because they were the “different” ones.

Walking around the park, I kept getting a sense that somewhere along the way they believed the message that they weren’t worth it.  They were the rejected.  And the images they were projecting were almost exlusively about death.  A lot of the posters for the bands had something to do with gothic imagery or rejection (All Time Low, Desperation Squad, Bad Religion, Total Chaos). And in the process they had banded together and celebrated that rejection. They were wearing their rejection on their sleeve. And I kept wondering how we as a church could find a way to transcend our expectations of what someone looked like  so that they could find a true sense of restoration that Jesus was offering.  How do we “be” love for these people.  Not in a way that says, “You’ve gotta lose that hair, son.”  But in a way that would just be love to these people.  Because the reality is that these kids are just as important to God as I am.

How can we as a church show these people love so that they may know they are worth it to God?  How do we transcend our own fears and bridge that gap that exists between us.  If we really believe in a mission of restoration, how do we show these group of kids they are loved.

Again, your thoughts are appreciated.

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This morning I met with an old friend who I went to college with. He lives in my area and was a youth pastor at a local church. His church has been going through a transition over the last five years towards a more missional, emerging, journey approach. The transition has been hard for the body of believers meeting there but the it has produced some good things.

What was interesting listening to was his responses about current youth ministry. When he started, he specifically sat down with the kids and asked them what they were interested in. Turns out they wanted active discipleship and mission. They were no longer looking for just fun and games and a program. They wanted more.

So my question is, are you seeing a change in our youth. Are they seeking out a more wholistic faith experience?

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