Archives For Youth Ministry

Things I learn that may or may not help you in ministry.


I have never done these but feel compelled to have ALL those who chaperone and volunteer to do this. But, I need some feedback…

  • What is the best company to do this with? Cost-effective…
  • Do you keep this stuff on file?
  • How do you deal with the criticism of “Well I guess you don’t trust us anymore”?

Would you help me out?

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Like many of you, we have a set curriculum flow in our ministry and we use LIVE curriculum from the guys at Simply Youth Ministry. It has been an awesome tool for us to use and simply to put in the hands of our teachers who have material that is engaging, biblical, concise and relevant. Yet, we also have class on Wednesday nights and sometimes we have a special focus we do on Sunday mornings. I probably write 4-5 series a year that is mostly topic but every now and then I will spend time in a book. Often though I get asked, “How do you write so much material for your students?” I would like to give you some ideas that might help you in this and might spurn you to some amazing works. Only you can write the best curriculum for your group because only you know the DNA of your folk. Here my suggestions:

  • Jot down what your group is struggling with.

It could be a massive catastrophe that happened and you need to take some time to process it or it could be that your group is experiencing a lot of sexual temptations. What are their struggles?

  • Think biblical principles for growth

We need to move on having “neat ideas” and have something that will help them grow as a disciple. Don’t talk about faith, show them.

  • Think of different learning styles.

Do not write curriculum to be read to students with discussion questions at the end. Some students need that, some students need video, some students need games, but most need some type of physical engagement. Also have discussion questions that are thought provoking. Move past the “what do you think about that” questions.

  • Write a little bit each week

Have a schedule where you write a lesson a week. That is pretty easy to do. If you can’t do that then something is wrong with you. Seriously.

  • Ask feedback from the kids

They will tell you if they got something out of it or not. Let them process it with you.

  • Just keep doing it…

Some of my early series I wrote just stinks. I might even be judged for that kind of crap. Growth comes from consistency, persistence and the Holy Spirit.

What would you suggest? or…

What do you think about that? 🙂


Often we know what to do by what not to do. For example, Heather and I have told Samuel over and over not to touch the eye on the stove as it will burn him. Two year olds do not comprehend directions and the implications of danger. Sometimes they just have to learn it themselves. When we weren’t looking Samuel touched the eye of the stove and burned himself. Now he knows what to do based on what not to do. Evangelism is the same way it seems and there are some pitfalls in the way we are mission-minded. A bit of clarification in these studies: I am no missiologist and these are purely subjective based on experience. Some of these also might be contextual (i.e., what works for Eastern Christians might not work for Western Christians) both geographically and generationally. I am coming at these from the standpoint of youth ministry but some of them span the generation gap. For better research and methodology I suggest you peruse Ed Stetzer’s website for various “missional” topics. I am still a babe in the missional discussions but here are some evangelistic mistakes…

#1 Doing nothing at all

This is a pitfall many of us get into as the ruts of life tend to deter our focus. Whether it is based on fear, apathy, rejection, lethargy, apostasy or whatever one of the worst things we can do when it comes to evangelism is to simply do nothing. But…

#2 Doing instead of being

Us westerners are good at doing things as we are used to tasks, accomplishments, projects and goals. We are always at the cusps or precipice of the waves of doing. The church is no different as we have this program, that trip, this initiative, this goal or that yearly theme (“Saving Souls in 2013”) all border on idolatry. Mission-minded people do a lot of things but not to the neglect of being a lot of things. Jesus said the harvest is ready and that we needed more workers but he also told us to pray about this harvest. In other words we need people who are ready not who simply do things. Which reminds me…

#3 Making evangelism program-oriented or staff-oriented

Evangelism is the work of every member as we are a part of the priesthood of all believers. Comments like, “That’s why we hired you” or “that’s what we pay you for” are statements coming from people who are too lazy and selfish to do the work God requires them to do. Evangelism should flow effortlessly from the leadership and from every member in the church. It’s not a “class” or a “day” or even a “Service-project.” Evangelism seems to be a part of the spiritual disciplines much like prayer, fasting and giving.

#4 Evangelism as systematic theology class

I once thought evangelism was about knowing things in Scripture and when they figured these things out they would eventually become Christians which I equated to evangelism. It never occurred to me that sitting with someone in the hospital was evangelism. It never dawned on me that praying with someone over the phone was evangelism. I never grasped that maybe going to a football game to watch a kid play was evangelism. Knowledge is important but it also puffs-up. Transformation, submission and obedience seem to be key components of evangelism.

#5 Thinking it is up to you to save people

We have many people out there who have Messiah-complexes and that if they don’t save someone then the world, as they know it, is over. News flash-you are not Jesus and the redemption of this world is not up to you. If Jesus wanted all of this world to be saved he would have died on the cross for our sins. Wait a minute…

What would you add?

 

 


© firwoodchurch.com

You can read the previous post here.

I am concerned now about what motivates us to do evangelism. In other words, if I were to sit down with a teenager and ask them, “Why should you evangelize?” I wonder what responses I would get:

  • What is evangelism?
  • (With shrugged shoulders) I don’t know.
  • Because I heard I should do it in the lesson or something.
  • Because it says I should in the bible.
  • Because a whole lot of people are going to hell if I don’t and it would be my fault because I never said anything.
  • Because the gospel is an invitation for something beautiful.

Ok, that last one was mine but I am sure you have heard multiple reasons why you should evangelize and some of them are good and some of them are less than helpful. I would like to at least entertain that our desire to evangelize is related to two factors: 1) our understanding of the Scriptures (and our response to that understanding) and 2) our perception or view of the world.

I cringe when someone tells me that I need to evangelize because at judgment day I don’t want to be standing next to my friend and them asking me why I never mentioned Jesus to them as they go down the vortex to hell. First of all, who said we are going to talk to other people at judgment day? Secondly, God chooses different people to plant seeds, to water but only God increases. Thirdly, what about that person I met on the airplane? Am I going to answer for that for not offering them the invitation because I wanted to sleep instead?

The call to evangelize in Scripture:

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

We are told to Go, while making disciples, while baptizing and while teaching. That is the call to the disciples Jesus worked with but it seems implied that this is not only a contextual command but an overarching command to all disciples bearing the name of Jesus. We simply “Go.” That is the call. Whenever, wherever, whoever, however we simply “Go.” What I have noticed though is that students don’t follow leaders from information they follow them by imitation (heard this quoted somewhere but have seen it true in my ministry). Show me a youth group kid and I will be able to tell you the personality of their youth minister. Hence, Main Street kids tend to be weird, cynical, prophetic, fun (we have been accused of being “rowdy”) and hopeful. Which describes yours truly! So here is the deal:

EVANGELISM STARTS IN YOUR LEADERSHIP!!! ELDERS, MINISTERS AND MENTORS. YOU CANNOT LEAD A PERSON TO A PLACE YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN.

Remember that. So the call to “Go” rings forth from your leadership. You can have all of the resources imaginable (I recommend Dare 2 Share) and all of the events under the sun but if the culture of your ministry is not evangelistic then no amount of teaching will ever accomplish your task.

Secondly, We must perceive the world and look at it differently. We should feel broken at the people who are not participating in the kingdom of God. Our hearts should break when we see marriages fail, companies plunder, people turn to gods and not God, and all of the injustices we see. We must look at things differently. In the first Lord of the Rings movie: The Fellowship of the Ring it is apparent that everything has changed for the hobbits and for the world and the longing to go back has been trumped by a new task, one that is forged in fire and fraught with despair. The royal elf and Lady of Light Galadriel, played by Cate Blanchett, says these words about what has happened:

The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.

Leaders, students and all of us need to get to this point where we say, “The world has changed and is forever different and everything we see is now filtered through the lens of the gospel and we will forever try to live out the call to reach out as laborers in the kingdom of God.”


© YouthMinistry.com

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak at Goodpasture Christian School during their chapel time. I have probably spoken there 20 times since I have been at Main Street. I have also had the pleasure of speaking at numerous FCA events all over the county. It is a daunting task to speak in front of 600-700 junior/senior high kids at 9am and often I wonder if they got anything out of the message. So in your days as a youth minister you will probably be asked to speak in front of teenagers at their school for a religious event and so I want to give you some tips I have learned (you probably know these…I am a slow learner) speaking at different events.

#1 – Gather all of the facts.

How long do you need to speak? What are some things you cannot say? Is there any specific message you want me to mention? Who is the target audience? Who is in the audience (denominations)? What does the facilities look like? Will there be any time for discussion? What kind of sound equipment do they have available? Gather the facts.

#2 – Be Realistic

I had delusions that I would alter the course of their life with one, finely-crafted message and that they would come up to me in droves crying, telling me how much my message meant to them. I am an idiot. Teenagers will text during the message, will think about other things, will be confused or just not care. Our job is to simply bring good news and let the message fall on whomever God wills, however God wills.

#3 – Keep it simple

I know you want to share the Greek syntax with them but they do not care about your 2 years of Greek graduate school and $20k in debt from that Greek (I digress). They need a simple message with a simple point. I recommend two books to help you in that endeavor: Andy Stanley’s Communicating for a Change and Doug Fields and Duffy Robbins’ Speaking to Teenagers.

#4 – Make it fun

I can hear your snarky response: “Dude…” wait a minute you would probably start, “Brother, you are watering down the gospel message by entertaining kids!” I guess you would not like the way Jesus communicated with parable. He probably watered down his own message right? Sheesh. Make it fun. Don’t be inappropriate but make it fun. I once brought tuna, sardines, spoiled milk, jalapenos, brussle spouts and mixed them all in one bowl. I then brought a $20 bill and said, “Who wants it?” Everyone raised their hands and then I put it in the bowl and said, “Who wants it now?” That kid came up and put his hand in the bowl, got the $20 and everyone laughed. I followed up talking about how everyone has value no matter how dirty things in their life get. Make it fun, make a point.

#5 – Tie things in to the gospel message whenever and wherever you can

You have to be sneaky with this in certain contexts but people need to hear the message of salvation in Christ alone, through faith alone by grace alone. Some contexts won’t let you do this but a simple, “God redeemed you on the cross” can get the message through.

What are some other things you have learned?


I read an excellent post by Aaron Helman who writes for his blog “Smarter Youth Ministry.” He wrote a post for the guys at Youth Ministry 360 entitled, “4 Traits of a Healthy Volunteer Team” which is worth your read. The blog post lead me to reflect on how I have recruited volunteers and I must be honest, this is one of my flaws in ministry. I am not good at this at all which is why I enjoyed Aaron’s post so much. I think every youth ministry needs to have a healthy balance and one way to do this is to have one heck of a team that is gun-ho at ministry to teenagers and discipling them. Having said that, I have learned how to recruit volunteers by how badly I have done it in the past. So here is how you DON’T recruit volunteers.

Placing a “Volunteers Needed” column in a bulletin, announcement sheet, article, post or Facebook page

I did this for about four years (still do it sometimes) until I realize that everybody assumes that everybody else is going to volunteer and so that means in the end, nobody volunteers. Or worse, the people who volunteer for the volunteer position are already over-committed in other areas thus stretching them thin and potentially leading them down a path of burnout. If you want volunteers in your ministry then ask them personally. But…

Asking whoever “can” volunteer to volunteer

In the ministry we need to be selective at who we ask to be present with teenagers for safety reasons but also for passion reasons. There is a lot of people who have the ability to volunteer but the people you want on your team are those who are passionate about the Lord and teenagers.

Making assumptions about who should volunteer

We are wrong to assume that there is a certain type of person who should volunteer in our ministries. Some of the most successful volunteers I have had participate in the ministry are folks who are in their 60s or 70s. The kids love them because it is evident to them that they love the kids and at the end of the day teenagers know this. Nerds, old people, jocks, goofballs, rich people or poor people…anyone can volunteer and we should not make assumptions.

Recruiting the right people and giving them the wrong job.

I guess that still means the wrong people but you understand what I mean. I have had people who were willing to volunteer and were passionate about the Lord but then I assigned them something they were not gifted at and it went over about as well as a bull in a china shop. I did not recruit wisely and tactifully. I just said “here you go.” Which leads me to the next bonehead move of mine.

Recruiting but not training.

Odds are if you have had a full-time job you probably have had some training and some retraining. I have stunk in this endeavor. I think volunteer means “chaperoning” and boy have I missed it on this. Volunteers need just as much training as we do. They need to understand teenagers, learn how to teach them, learn how to listen, learn, learn, and learn. It takes training and even the most gifted volunteer still needs to learn.

Finally, laying the guilt trip to get volunteers.

Have you ever done this? You make an announcement or send that snarky e-mail claiming that the world depends on volunteers and our teenagers are the next generation and a failure to lead them is an admittance of defeat and acceptance of a dying church. Too far? Maybe you are not that brash but some of your snide remarks to get volunteers is not the best way to recruit. You want people to come with enthusiasm and passion not with reluctance and guilt. Think your relationship with God. Do you think God wants you coming passionately or reluctantly?

What are some other suggestions?


I have had little time to process all of the lessons, classes and discussions.  I thought I would relay some meanderings here that might help participants of NCYM, fellow youth ministers, church members and everyone else. I wish to do this in a sort of “lessons learned” format.

  1. For Youth Ministers, there is much to learn. I made the comment to a vendor at the conference that I have been in youth ministry for 8 1/2 years and feel like I still need to learn every day. Every… single… day.
  2. Never underestimate the healing of intense worship. Just about every speaker who was not COC commented on how beautiful the acapella singing was in the worship. Each night I felt myself drawn to the father through worship with a few hundred other folks who were bowing at the throne.
  3. We need the church. I heard this a few times in lessons and discussions. As broken and imperfect as the church is we need her. Why? She is the bride of Christ and the kingdom of God runs with, through and from her.
  4. Those in ministry need to be light before they can be leaders. Too often we are put to the front lines of leadership without really understanding what it means to “walk in the light.” We cannot lead a student to a place we have never been.
  5. The Church of Christ is still a beautiful place for students, families and the world to be participants of the kingdom of God. You say the word “Church of Christ” and people start freaking out and there are even some who are embarrassed by the name. We are not perfect folks (What denomination is?) but we are striving to be biblical, to listen to God, to seek the lost and to make heaven a reality here on earth.
  6. I am not the only fish in the sea. That applies positively and negatively.  Sometimes I think I am the only one going through struggles and conferences like this reassure me that I am not alone. On the flip side, often I think I have the best idea or my youth ministry is somehow better than others and discussions with other people humble me knowing there are far better youth ministries than the one I am serving.
  7. Theology matters. I wonder if people’s perception of a conference is that we go to worship and talk about our problems and then come home somewhat refreshed. Realistically, we spend a lot of time talking about the biblical text and wrestling with it and it’s implications in our ministries. I was refreshed to see how many people cared about Scripture. It was warming.

What would you guys add?

 


I am writing this from the Denver airport as my time to fly is upon me. I will give a few highlights from Day 3.

Wednesday Morning Mike Cope “Community in Lars and the Real GirlHebrews

  • It’s a movie about church, it begins in church and ends in church.
  • Hebrews
    • Imagining a world where we are not our own.
    • Somebody who watches for you.
    • The real test for community is the worst things you have done who is up there watching you.

Wednesday Morning Keynote Scot McKnight @ScotMcKnight “Did Jesus Found the Church?”

Major Idea: The church is naughty and the kingdom is nice

–       People today love the kingdom but are embarrassed by the church

–       The kingdom has come to mean “good things Christians do in the public sector usually involved in the political process.”

  • It has nothing to do with the church…people say
  • Social Justice? Where did we get this idea of social justice? There is one idea of justice in Scripture. Justice is connected to righteousness and justification.
  • Peace…compassion…walking from Cape Town to Alexandria raising money for water.

–       Kingdom has been flattened into an ethic: peace, justice.

–       “When we flatten kingdom to an ethic we deny the gospel.”

–       We have a young group of Christians whose kingdom theory has to do with changed political processes and are neglecting the church.

  • But…doing good in a society is a good thing.
  • Being compassionate is a good thing.
  • Working for peace in our world is a good thing.
  • But we do this because we are disciples of Jesus.

–       Good work versus Kingdom work

  • Did Ghandi do kingdom work?

–       The most profound act of kingdom work is when we celebrate Eucharist on Sunday morning.

–       “You cannot be committed to kingdom unless you are committed to the church and your commitment to the church is the sum total of your commitment to the kingdom.”

–       It is far too easy giving money to Rwanda and not to local people in the church.

–       Matthew 16:13-20

  • Their options to the question were not good enough.
  • Jesus was more than a prophet.  Prophetic Christianity is not enough.
  • The answer is that Jesus is messiah.
  • 1 Samuel 8—“They want a king because they want to be like other nations.”
    • Saul collapse
    • David…
    • Eventually they realize that Jesus is the king.
  • Peter labels Jesus with the right title. When the Messiah was said all the ideas came to completion: Temple, Torah, Land, Citizens, Command, Covenant.

–       When Jesus is the Messiah kingdom will always mean more than social justice.

–       Peter had no idea what Messiah really meant.

  • Messiah –> Kingdom –> Cross –> Resurrection –> Kingdom
  • Kingdom and social justice does not mix well.

–       Jesus came to establish a whole new social order. The ekklesia….the church.

–       There is an inextricable connection between kingdom and church.

–       Church is the only place kingdom work can occur because in the church is the only place where Jesus is king.

–       Kingdom never refers to social action in Scripture.

  • We have become intoxicated with social power and justice.

–       The kingdom is more than an ethic because Jesus is more than a prophet.

–       Kingdom work is about telling people about King Jesus.  Summoning people in the church as the place where God’s redemptive work is now alive.

Wednesday Afternoon Jon Acuff @JonAcuff “Our Relationship With the Gap”

Our job is hard because…

1)   We never feel it is over…

2)   There’s no manual for most of the things you do

3)   The success rate is really low for youth ministers

4)   You run into a period of life most people run from

  1. 1 out of every 4 girl will be raped by the time they graduate

5)   We don’t get to see the end of the song.

Three things of the challenges

1)   SUCCESS

–       It’s so easy to compare.

–       Never compare your beginning to somebody else’s middle.

–       Always play to the size of your heart not to the size of your audience.

–       If you tie what you do to the success/failure of it you will disappoint.

–       Measure your obedience not your results

–       God will not be handcuffed by my failures or unleashed by my successes.

2)   FEAR

–       It only bothers you when you do things that matter.

–       Voices?

  • You are not a youth minister…
  • You are woman.

–       The best way to fight those is to share those. Fears fears community.

–       The higher you climb in leadership the harder it is for you to be honest.

–       “Enough” is a slippery slope

–       If you ask “fear” when you will have enough experience it will be later.

–       Fear always says, “This is forever.”

–       What to do with voices

  • Write down the voice…
  • Answer it with truth
  • Share them

3)   HATERS

–       We are not good with criticism and compliments

  • Critic’s Math – 1 Insult + 1000 Compliments = 1 Insult
  • We have the ability to lose heart with insults.
  • Are you giving power to the very people you don’t need to give it to.

Those were the extent of my notes. I did not attend an afternoon class because I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Scot McKnight and Rusty Pettus for an hour and talk theology. Scot was gracious enough to extend some time just to talk and share some coffee. He even bought my coffee which he did not have to do. Before I close this blog I want to share something I did on my way back from Denver. I visited the Century 16 Theater in Aurora where 12 people were killed by James Holmes. Tragedy. Just like praying at Columbine I wanted to reflect and pray at the theater. To the left is a picture I took while driving to the theater.

Tomorrow I hope to reflect on the week with some implications.


Great day I experienced with classes, super-sessions and keynote messages from some of the finest people in Christianity. I typed 10 pages of notes yesterday so I cannot include everything here but I want to give you some highlights that stood out to me.

Tuesday Morning, Mike Cope “Spiritual Intubation: How Community Keeps Us Alive” The Wizard of Oz: Revelation’s View of Community

  • “No church ever existed in a pure state. The church is made up of sinners. The fleas come with the dogs.” (Eugene Peterson)
  • Four characters who are known by their deficiencies. Much like Christians today.
  • Showing of who Oz really is. “The great Oz has spoken, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
  • Pergamum
    • It’s a great distance from Colorado Springs to Pergamum.
    • In Pergamum it was very, very different.
    • Everywhere people went they told two stories: the power of Rome and Greek gods and goddesses. Everywhere they went they are told that they are caught up in and how could they not believe it. It “has to be true.”  Every market, athletic event, silver item told them about temple worship.
    • Where is the Pergamum church of Christ?
      • A tiny…insignificant few.
      • Imagine holding on to the story of Jesus while walking among the temples and other places where the minority is huge.
      • Have you been the minority?
      • Power, honor, identity was wrapped up into gods and Rome not Christ.
    • Persecuted Christians get it
    • “Though St. John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw he saw no creatures so wild as one of his own commentators.” G. K. Chesteron
  • Deep Community is anchored in Jesus
  • Deep community has to be eschatological in nature.
  • Deep community is at its best when it is part of a mission…a larger story.

Tuesday Morning Keynote Kurt Johnston @kurtjohnston “Deep, Redefined”

  • Have you ever stopped and thought about all the things in youth ministry that you don’t do very well? We are great at trying to control the perceptions of other people. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great at creating perception of us.
  • Four truths I have learned that have 1) pointed out my shallowness and 2) led him into a deeper experience in faith.
    • Life is a squiggle
    • I need a travel partner
    • Busyness will keep you in the shallow end.
    • When you begin to have a long view of youth ministry

Tuesday Super Session Frank Viola @FrankViola “The Missing Ingredient”

Observations about ministry to young people:

  • Catch30 Crisis – Human beings go through developmental stages as they get old. When they are 30 they reassess every decision they made in their 20s and they either abandon what hey believed or abandon them. You don’t know where someone is spiritually until they are thirty. You could not serve in the house of God until you were 30. Jesus did not begin his ministry until he was 30. Young people need to be prepared for this.
  • There is a difference between youthful enthusiasm and spirituality. Most of the big Christian movements are built on youthful enthusiasm. The problem is that many operates on youthful enthusiasm and the well runs dry
  • You can’t pass on to those whom you minister to what you have not experienced yourself.
  • I have to prepare them for the forgotten beatitude. Blessed is he who is not offended by me.

Other Notes from class…

  • If you cut the bible in any place it will bleed Jesus Christ.
  • Moses and Christ
  • Creation and Christ
  • Isaac and Christ
  • Jacob and Christ
  • Conclusion  – #1 – Find Christ in the bible. #2 – Do business with the Lord

Tuesday Afternoon Class 1 Josh Graves @JoshGraves “The Bible Jesus Read: Genesis 1-2”

2 Timothy 3:14-17; John 5

  • We need a more mystical understanding of Scripture. But also how it calls us to new spaces.
  • “All Scripture” does not exist yet and he has in mind Torah.
  • Inspired…he does not infallible, inerrant. They never show up in the bible. Sometimes the most important work we do is not learning new things but relearning old things.
  • 2 Timothy is not about proving Scripture over science but it is about inviting people into God’s world in order to see the world differently and “to do something about it.”
  • These stories carry the freight in any given culture.

Genesis 1

  • God can’t help but to create. He is in control. The things God creates would not be believable if we have not seen them.
  • Everything else that has creativity or imagination that somehow it is all linked back to the God who started.
  • One of the ways Genesis invites us to go deeper and that we live in a good creation. Does not deny the dark side of life but he made everything and called it good.
  • Most people who tell the story of God begin with Genesis 3 and not Genesis 1.
  • We have to introduce paradox to our students. Life is full of joy and pain. Paradox is one of the greatest contribution to the Western world.

Tuesday Afternoon Class 2 Sally Gary @centerpeaceinc “Reaching out to Teens Who Identify as Gay and Lesbians”

Many who struggle with same sex attraction but still love the Lord.  Struggles do not divide us.

Starved for Intimacy. Facebook and its struggles for intimacy. Question is: How can we meet this need? This desire for community. There is a great need for this connection.

What teens learn from the world: Glee, Modern Family.

What teens learn from the church: Nasty messages about homosexuals from the church

What they need is looking for a safe place.

How to be a safe place?

Deal with our own fears.

  • Change our thinking
  • Change our language
  • Listen
  • Be consistent
  • Model the Love and Acceptance of Christ

Tuesday Night Keynote Frank Viola @FrankViola “God so loved the world vs. Love not the world.”

The world in the New Testament is used in two ways…

  1. Speaks of the material universe. Jesus of Nazareth is this world’s true Lord.
  2. A system or network or order of things designed to draw us away from God.

Historically Christians have taken two postures: 1) Retreated from the world’s system (Isolationism) 2) Enmeshed by the world and married to it.

The most miserable person is a Christian who is living in a way where deep inside them they are told to give something up and they can’t. When we are in community with other Christians the Holy Spirit is clearest.

The Holy Spirit will reveal to you what is of the world.

2 Kind of legalists: 1) Salvation by works 2) I am going to take what the Holy Spirit has shown me personally and make it a law to you.

“The gospel spreads best not through force but through fascination” (Shane Claiborne)

Dinner in Colorado Springs: Uchenna Ethiopian Restaurant

This was ranked #2 in Colorado Springs by TripAdvisor and it was awesome. I had Yebeg Alecha which was tender pieces of lamb marinated with butter then sautèed with ginger, garlic, and 12 spices. There were no forks but you had this roll that you put the meat and the sauce in. It was excellent. The owner’s name is Maya and they cooked everything to order so it took a while but the food was worth it. They have mostly organic food and a substantial vegetarian menu. I have never tried authentic Ethiopian cuisine but this was a must! Went a left the owner looked at me and said, “Go in peace.” I love her already.

 


IMG_3576

Yesterday the sessions started with an per-registration meeting with Patrick Mead that I missed (boo) but I decided to go to Agia Sophia’s coffee shop (see yesterday’s post). After that I did a little detour to visit a couple of places…

Manitou Springs

This is home of Pike’s Peak Cog Railway which was, much to my dismay, closed. I wanted to go up to the top but it is closed for the winter so I looked around at all of the neat shops and happenings. It is a quaint little town that is like Gatlinburg minus the rednecks and fudge.

Garden of the Gods

IMG_3551This was a great find. I hiked a little and was able to be alone and still for a small period of time. As I was walking up and down the trails my mind was drawn to the students in our ministry and how they would love this place. There are trails, rocks to climb and beautiful scenery and for that pesky youth group kid their are even mountain lions roaming about. JUST KIDDING!

U.S.A. Olympic Training Facility

IMG_3554This was free as well. I just showed up and was able to get onto a tour quickly. The guide showed us where Olympic athletes train for shooting, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, wrestling, swimming and showed us the weight room. In the weight room we saw the University of California’s swim team and training with them was Nathan Adrian who won gold at London in the 100m Freestyle. Pretty cool.

Dinner Jack Quinn’s Pub

IMG_3572I loved this place for the Irish atmosphere and authentic Irish food. They are renown for their fish and chips and their Irish Boxtys (potato pancake with fillings) but I was in the mood for something else: Corned Beef and Cabbage. That’s right! Since my wife did not come with me I get to eat all the cabbage I want. I highly recommend this place that is located in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs.

Monday Night Keynote – David Skidmore @sycamoreskid – “A Few Good Aquamen”

Great lesson as he taught in metaphor which is a lot like what Jesus did with his disciples. He used aquaman as a template for youth ministers. Below are my (sporadic) notes and hope you enjoy them. I am off now to hear Mike Cope’s early session.

–       Job Description is crazy for youth ministers.

–       Prayed for Jason and Elyse. 2 months in ministry

–       This is kind of like that….

–       Tokyo Water Park

–       Bulls Eye Picture

–       Gas Gauge

–       Help is 172 km ahead

  • “Don’t let NCYM be a destination.”
  • “Let the overflow fill someone else up.”

–       Luke 8:29—“Driven by the demon into solitary places.”

  • How you get to solitary places.
  • Renew yourself.

–       Whale—frequency no other whale can recognize.

  • Most whales are making sounds higher but it is low.
  • It is never identified with other whales.
  • Your teens are on a frequency that nobody can understand and some of you youth ministers are on a frequency nobody understands. Parents are on different frequencies then we are.

–       2 Peter 1:8

  • Ineffective or unfruitful.
  • Do we bear fruit?

–       Super Friends

  • How lame was aquaman?
  • Every comic book…
    • A hero…
    • A problem
    • A question

–       Does he/she have what it takes to endure this?

–       Micah 6:8

–       It’s not just about depth but about distance. 20,000 leagues is not about how deep it was but how far they traveled.

–       Our churches will let us stay on the surfaces. If God (Satan?) cannot make you bad he will make you busy.

–       We are called to be a sycamore tree and not a savior.

–       1 Samuel 13

  • Running….
  • Hiding…
  • Blacksmiths…

–       “It is not within our power to place the divine teachings of God directly into the heart of another. We can only lay them on the surface of the heart, so that when the heart breaks, they are the first to fall in.” (Jewish Saying)

  • We are the only blacksmiths people have…

See the slideshow below of images from yesterday

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