[I]t's not that they don't ponder the the potential consequences. In fact, a new study finds teens spend more time weighing risk than adults and in fact often overestimate the odds of a bad outcome. But the desire for acceptance among peers wins out in the decision-making process of a young mind.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
After just posting about Jackson Browne's radical Christmas carol "The Rebel Jesus," I came across some cool background info at Beliefnet on the creation of the traditional tune "O Holy Night." French in origin, the lyrics of "Cantique de Noel" were written in 1847 by a man who eventually left the Church to become a socialist. The music was written by his friend, a Jew. Although initially a popular carol, once Church leaders discovered the unusual origins of the tune, "O Holy Night" was denounced and deemed unfit for use in church services. Fast forward several years, and American writer John Sullivan Dwight translates the tune into English for a new audience:
Not only did this American writer--John Sullivan Dwight--feel that this wonderful Christmas songs needed to be introduced to America, he saw something else in the song that moved him beyond the story of the birth of Christ. An ardent abolitionist, Dwight strongly identified with the lines of the third verse: "Truly he taught us to love one another; his law is love and his gospel is peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother; and in his name all oppression shall cease." The text supported Dwight's own view of slavery in the South. Published in his magazine, Dwight's English translation of "O Holy Night" quickly found found favor in America, especially in the North during the Civil War.
See more background here. Sharing this background story would help others to see this traditional tune in a new light and to understand the radical good news it still offers to the world.
1) Competing with other ministries - It's hard to resist the temptation to want to see what the church across the street or across town (or across the country) is doing and wondering "Hmmm. Maybe I should be doing that, too." If the other church seems to be attracting more youth or more attention or more praise, I suppose it's human nature to want to emulate their program. I used to be hyper vigilant about trying to discover the latest trend, the latest gimmick, the newest "approach" to youth ministry and then implementing it, figuring that if it worked somewhere else, it would work with my students. This sort of approach assumes all youth and thus all youth ministries are alike and that what works across the street will work just as well on our side of the street. But the truth is - every ministry is particular to the setting and the individuals that we serve. It might be interesting or even helpful to know what others are doing, but ultimately our focus needs to be on the particular youth we serve. These days, I don't even copy my own youth ministry program from one year to the next because over time the group shifts and grows and their needs change.
3) The "Family Guy" Error - I can sum this one up in three words: Preview! Preview! Preview! Just to assure you that I still make mistakes: At a recent youth group gathering which we call "free night" (an evening of unstructured fellowship time), one young man offered to bring episodes of "Family Guy" to show for those who wanted to watch TV. I had only seen one short clip of a "Family Guy" episode on YouTube and it seemed funny and fairly innocuous so I figured it was no problem. Wrong! Trust me on this one: "Family Guy" is hilarious and it is also completely inappropriate for a church setting. After about 3 minutes of viewing -- three minutes replete with curse words, sexual references, and an image of the father character in black lingerie, I switched in a Disney movie (and then asked the young man if he'd let me borrow his "Family Guy" DVDs to watch later in the privacy of my own home!).
Friday, December 15, 2006
Left Behind Games' president, Jeffrey Frichner, says the game actually is pacifist because players lose "spirit points" every time they gun down nonbelievers rather than convert them. They can earn spirit points again by having their character pray.
Now, doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? And to think I've been wasting time all these years teaching youth to love thy enemy!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
One of the many things this story tells us is that Jesus was not brought down by atheism and anarchy. He was brought down by law and order allied with religion, which is always a deadly mix. Beware of those who claim to know the mind of God and who are prepared to use force, if necessary, to make others conform. Beware of those who cannot tell God’s will from their own. Temple police are always a bad sign. When chaplains start wearing guns and hanging out at the sheriff’s office, watch out. Someone is about to have no king but Caesar.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
We have come with some confidence to believe that a significant part of Christianity in the United States is actually only tenuously Christian in any sense that is seriously connected to the actual historical Christian tradition, but has rather substantially morphed into Christianity's misbegotten stepcousin, Christian Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. This has happened in the minds and hearts of many individual believers and, it also appears, within the structures of at least some Christian organizations and institutions. The language, and therefore experience, of Trinity, holiness, sin, grace, justification, sanctification, church, Eucharist, and heaven and hell appear, among most Christian teenagers in the United States at the very least, to be supplanted by the language of happiness, niceness, and an earned heavenly reward. It is not so much that U.S. Christianity is being secularized. Rather more subtly, Christianity is either degenerating into a pathetic version of itself or, more significantly, Christianity is actively being colonized and displaced by a quite different religious faith" (page 171).
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
1) Posting Youth Group attendance numbers in the church newsletter - This may seem like a good idea when you've got a ton of kids coming. But when the number takes an ocassional dip, as it inevitably will do from time to time, you "got some 'splainin' to do." Not to mention, posting these sorts of numbers just communicates that you think it's the size of the ministry, not the quality, that counts.
Friday, November 10, 2006
We are not really promoting a specific church structure or model (house church, simple church etc.). Our passion is to see people come into the freedom, joy and peace of intimate relationship with Jesus and fellow members of His Body. We realize this can happen within literally any of the structures or systems found under the umbrella of Christendom. At the same time, we believe most of the systems and structures create stumbling blocks to this goal of relationship with Christ and His Body – and these are what we hope to draw attention to.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Currently the news is full of stories on the sad turn of events for Rev. Ted Haggard who appears in the new documentary "Jesus Camp" making comments in a sermon -- comments which have taken on new meaning due to recent revelations. Haggard has admitted to being involved with a gay prostitute and using drugs, all while preaching to his church members the dangers of temptations and the evils of homosexuality. In a final letter to his church, Haggard states:
There is part of my life that is so repulsive and dark
that I've been warring against it all of my adult life"
I can only imagine the pain being felt by his wife and children, not to mention the demons that Haggard is dealing with at this time. I also can't help but wonder what is going through the minds of the young people in his church, and you know there must be some, who themselves have struggled with their sexual identity. How are they to understand this turn of events? Here is a religious leader who preaches that homosexuality is a sin while he himself acts on his sexual orientation in destructive ways.
I have to wonder how this whole picture might be different if Rev. Haggard lived in a world where his sexual orientation was simply seen as another expression of human life -- if he had felt free to be the person he truly is, rather than living a lie. It is not Haggard's sexual orientation that led to these unfortunate events. It is the "closet" he felt forced to hide in and a religious viewpoint that deems a part of a person's biological makeup to be sinful and immoral. One of the great sins of the Church today is that many so-called Christians still feel perfectly content to condemn faithful young gay people to the the same damnable "closet" that has destroyed Haggard's ministry and damaged his family life.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Youth ministers have been on a long and frustrating quest of their own over the past two decades or so. Believing that a message wrapped in pop-culture packaging was the way to attract teens to their flocks, pastors watered down the religious content and boosted the entertainment. But in recent years churches have begun offering their young people a style of religious instruction grounded in Bible study and teachings about the doctrines of their denomination. Their conversion has been sparked by the recognition that sugarcoated Christianity, popular in the 1980s and early '90s, has caused growing numbers of kids to turn away not just from attending youth-fellowship activities but also from practicing their faith at all.
The shift described in the article is encouraging, but the author seems to equate success in youth ministry with how many youth are attracted to your programs. Is not this focus on numbers a by-product of the consumer-culture we are trying to resist? Is a small country church with a five-member youth group necessarily less effective than a 500-member youth group at a mega-church? Years ago I stopped reporting in the church newsletter the number of youth present at our various activities. I realized that it sent the message that we were judging the value of our ministry by the number of youth who walked in the door.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Students divided into groups depending on what portion of the worship they wanted to develop: music, sharing of scripture, prayers, communion, message. Each of these teams then went off into some space in the church building, with an adult sponsor, and brainstormed ways to tie their part of the worship into our theme. In addition, a group we termed "sacred spaces" was tasked with creating a worship space to enhance our theme. After about 45 minutes, we came together for worship. The "sacred spaces" team had created a candlelit area outdoors for our service. One of our college students, Matt, played his guitar and led the musical selections. One student read the scripture in his own words and another student led an interactive prayer, allowing time for youth to share their joys and concerns. Several students shared artwork they had created to illustrate the theme. We participated in communion, utilizing food left from dinner. One of our seniors delivered a short message on ways to spot God in our everyday lives.
It was encouraging to see the young people's enthusiasm for creating a worshipful time together. Clearly, we would do well to provide more opportunities for our youth to be given license to share their creativity in our regular Sunday worship experiences.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The article is really a fascinating look inside a typical high school in the year 2006. What becomes clear is that though the clique names and slang have changed, the angst, the confusion, the desperation, the boredom, the drugs and the sex are all the same as when we went to high school. Friedman shares his awkwardness as a grown man (with a bald spot!) trying to fit in with a bunch of teenagers. At one point, he visits a party and a girl points to him and says "Am I the only person who notices this creepy old guy hanging out at our party?" (Note Friedman standing awkwardly nerd-like in the background of the above photo)
Most interestingly, Friedman talks about high school life as living "in the bubble." Those in the bubble think that everything of consequence on the planet happens in the bubble and, relatedly, everything that happens in the bubble is of utmost consequence. High school is the last time in life one has the luxury of being this self-obsessed and self-deluded. The article makes me think I need to try to talk my way into hanging out a few days at one of my student's schools, just to remind myself why I both hated and loved high school...and why I'd never want to go back!
Monday, October 23, 2006
Try to sleep well, rattled latte drinkers and Huffington Posters. Sure, evangelism is on the rise and sales of Christian books and music have soared by 700 percent in the last decade. But, if there is a rising army of evangelical zealots, there's an equally large army of ex-Jesus Campers who burned out, rebelled, or simply left the fold because band camp sounded more appealing. We may not be able to lift bans on stem cell research, but we do have inside information. Should the rapture come, we will gladly teach you the words to the "God told Noah to build him an Ark-y Ark-y" song.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
In fact, the most potent data regarding disengagement is that a majority of twentysomethings – 61% of today’s young adults – had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying). Only one-fifth of twentysomethings (20%) have maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences. Another one-fifth of teens (19%) were never significantly reached by a Christian community of faith during their teens and have remained disconnected from the Christian faith.
For those young adults who are no longer active in organized Christianity, Barna reports, many still consider themselves spiritual people. They do not see themselves as leaving the faith. Rather, they have ceased to value connection with the local or wider Church:
[T]wentysomethings were nearly 70% more likely than older adults to strongly assert that if they “cannot find a local church that will help them become more like Christ, then they will find people and groups that will, and connect with them instead of a local church.” They are also significantly less likely to believe that “a person’s faith in God is meant to be developed by involvement in a local church.”
I finally had a chance to see the documentary "Jesus Camp" earlier this week with the campus ministry group from one of my churches. I have to say that I found it to be a fairly balanced view of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity. By "balanced," I mean that the filmmakers do not try to paint caricatures of their subjects. The children in the film come off as articulate, thoughtful, and likable. Becky, the woman who runs the church camp at the center of the film, seems to genuinely care for the children and is reasonable in expressing her point of view.
The first portion of the film introduces us to Becky and to several Lee Summit, Missouri children who will eventually make their way to the "jesus camp" in North Dakota toward the middle of the film. The children are homeschooled (the film tells us that 75% of homeschoolers are from evangelical homes) and are a mix of regular childhood interests (music, sports, dance, toys) and a preoccupation with their faith. One boy, when asked when he became a Christian, earnestly responds "I got saved when I was five 'cause I just wanted more out of life." This line might get a laugh except the boy clearly believes what he is saying. The fact that he is likely parroting something he has heard an adult say does not diminish his sincerity.
The scenes at the camp itself focus on several high-powered worship services in which the children are "indoctrinated" (the camp director's word, not mine) into the agenda of fundamentalist Christianity and, not coincidentally, conservative Republican politics. The children are taught about the sin of abortion, the dangers of liberal judges and permissive government, and the evil temptations of "Harry Potter." As might be expected from fundamentalist Christianity, the children are presented with one point of view which is present at THE TRUTH. There is little "holy rolling" going on here, but a lot of speaking in tongues, crying, and "army of God" imagery. Noticeably absent is any discussion with the children about such bibical ethics as feeding the hungry, helping the poor, caring for the earth, striving for peace, and working for justice. I left the film hoping that, with luck, these children will someday soon be exposed to a different worldview and be allowed the opportunity to make their own faith decisions.
For those who are curious: Having attended a few charismatic/pentacostal worship services in the past, I can tell you that what you will see in this documentary is rather tame. Perhaps things were purposefully cooled down for the camera crew. It's hard to say. The campers and their adult leaders do not come off as zealots but they do practice a form of Christianity that is so different from mine that the two may as well be different religions.
One final note: The portion of the film I most enjoyed is a sequence where several of the children visit the mega-church of Pastor Ted Haggard, President of the Evangelical Association. Haggard is shown clowning to the camera during the worship service as if he is an entertainer dying to get a laugh. After the service, he visits with two of the children from the camp and couldn't be more condescending when one of the boys mentions that he is a "preacher", too. His sequence concludes with him smugly suggesting that when evangelicals come out to vote, they decide elections. Haggard has since complained that the filmmakers purposely tried to make him look bad in his cameo. I'd suggest they just managed to capture his true character in an ungaurded moment. Haggard has posted his complaints about the film on his personal website. Strangely, some of his criticism seems to be focused on the camp itself as some sort of sub-group or fringe element within evangelicalism. He suggests that the real fans of the movie are those who look to equate evangelicals with muslim radicals or those who are fans of Michael Moore. Speaking as a liberal/progressive, I did not find the subjects of the film to be fanatacists. I suspect Haggard's complaints have less to do with the image the film projects of evangelicals and more with his own disappointing appearance.
Extras: Check out DailyKos's expose on the documentary.
Read camp director Becky Fischer's FAQ on the film and her critics.
Read Christianity Today's film forum to see how conservatives are responding.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Students worked in pairs (in most cases, an older youth group member and a new younger student). In order to create a mold for the casting, each person had a partner cover their foot, hand, or face with plaster bandage. Once the bandage hardened, it was pulled off the body and filled with plaster. When the plaster had cured, the bandage was pulled away to reveal a cast of the body part. Students then decorated their casting as they saw fit. Some painted or drew on their creations, some wrote words related to our Bible study, and some just left them plain (see above two of the faces and the tip of a lone finger!).
The following Sunday we held a closing worship service in which the youth each brought forth their casting as an offering and they worked together to put all the pieces together into one assembled sculpture. We then invited the students to reflect on how the sculpture, and the experience of making the castings represented our group and the idea of the "body of Christ." Youth noted that each piece was part of the whole, yet was unique and different. One student observed that we needed each other in order to make the molds for the castings, representing the way each part of the body needs the other parts. One student observed that some of the finished pieces in the sculpture were resting or sitting on other pieces, representing the way that we rely and lean on each other. It was even observed that one of the pieces was broken, noting that the "body of Christ" is sometimes broken, or at least never perfect.
This was no fall kick-off skateboard rally, extreme paintball outing, or giant concert on the parking lot. Just a low-key, quiet, somewhat messy art project. I imagine some youth leaders might think such an activity would do little to stimulate interest at the start of the school year. Where is the flash, the excitement, the noise, the hyperactivity that youth seemingly crave? All I can say is that for our group this project helped set the tone for the fall. It helped youth understand that we were about something more than entertainment, something different than the popular culture, something deeper than the cult of individualism that permeates their daily lives.
This project was another example of the way a creative process can serve to bring a group together around a shared goal, encourage community and cooperation and caring, and stimulate creative thought and reflection on the journey of faith and the way the Spirit moves amongst us.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
But sometimes, like this fall, it makes more sense to wait and get a sense of the group first. In fact, my youth staff and I met just prior to the first fall meeting just to sit and talk about the group. We held a brainstorming session in which we discussed:
1) Participants: Who are the youth in our church/in our group? (leaders, followers, musicians, artists, youth from single-parent families, etc.)
2) Context: Where does our youth ministry take place? (at weekly meetings, Sunday morning worship, at shared meals, in participants' homes, etc)
3) Content: What do we hope the youth will learn/experience during their time in the program? (the basics of Christian faith, biblical literacy, how to think for themselves, an understanding of baptism/communion, what it means to follow the way of Jesus, etc.).
Since every year we each really start with a new group, a time of reflection like this is important if we are going to attend to the needs of each unique group and not just do what we want to do or just keep repeating the same old program year after year.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Recently one of the youth at church mentioned seeing this preview for the documentary Jesus Camp and she was clearly disturbed by what she saw and asked if we could go as a group to see the film and talk about its implications.
A synopsis of "Jesus Camp" from Rotten Tomatoes:
A growing number of Evangelical Christians believe there is a revival underway in America whereby Christian youth must take up the leadership of the conservative Christian movement. JESUS CAMP, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The Boys of Baraka), follows Levi, Rachael, Tory and a number of other young children to Pastor Becky Fischer's Kids on Fire summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, where kids as young as 6 years-old are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God's army. The film follows these children at camp as they hone their prophetic gifts and are schooled in how to take back America for Christ. The film is a first-ever look into an intense training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an active part of America's political future.
My initial reaction to viewing the trailer was to remember that the first region of a young person's brain to fully develop is the emotions center. This explains much of what I have witnessed at Christian teen events where the adults seem particularly astute at working the young people up into an emotional frenzy ending in tears rolling down their faces and declarations of devotion to Christ. This emotional high, of course, quickly wears off as the youth return to their regular lives and that devotion to Jesus is subsumed by the next thing that grabs their emotional attention.
One homeschooling site include this unattributed observation about the film:
The problem liberals encounter with ‘Jesus Camp’ is that it’s a challenge. These kids are smart and motivated and know what they’re fighting for. Liberals, on the other hand, generally aren’t absolutists about their beliefs. They tend to let their children come to their own conclusions.
I think there is a great deal of truth in that statement. Fundamentalist youth are taught early on what is true and truth and what a Christian believes. Liberal youth, like the ones I tend to work with, are much less likely to be able to articulate Church doctrine, quote supporting scripture for their positions, or say unequivocally what they believe "the" Christian position to be on hot button issues. But is this a problem? What I do notice in liberal Christian youth is that they tend to have a well-developed understanding of justice and what it means to care for the "least of these" and to accept and love those who are different.
Though I'd be interested in showing "Jesus Camp" to my youth, I'd be more likely in the near feature to watch with them this film from the PBS
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Check out this post and the corresponding comments at the blog Between Two Worlds regarding Time Magazine's lastest cover story on Americanized- Christianity and the prosperity gospel being preached in the mega-churches and by so-called evangelists on TV. I'll have to admit to finding Joel Osteen engaging when I flip by and catch him "preaching" on TV, but after a few viewings you realize he's preaching the same sermon over and over and it's all about self-empowerment and feeling good. The fact that Osteen is now a multi-millionaire and helms a church so large that it has to be held in the Compaq Center, an 18,000-seat arena in Houston, only seems to support his proclamation that God rewards positive thinking.
Why doesn't he just drop the religious angle and become a self-help speaker? Our young people already have enough trouble prioritizing their faith over the cultural enticements of wealth, popularity, comfort, and success. They don't need pastors watering down the scandal of the gospel from the pulpit.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Many years ago I concluded that competition just did not fit into my understanding of Jesus' vision of the Kingdom of God so I phased out competitive activities in my youth group programs. Yes, I kept in some of the silly games, but we played for the sake of fun and we didn't bother to keep score. Of course, some suggested I was being ridiculous since our youth live in the "real world" which is supposedly based in competition. Actually, for most of us cooperation is the main skill needed in our jobs. But if competition is what makes the world go 'round, I see part of my role as pastor is to help youth catch a glimpse of the world not as it is, but as it could be--a world where love and community are the focus rather than self-sufficiency, independence, and competition. (I suppose it's a good thing I don't work at a church with a youth basketball league!)
Are there winners and losers in the Kingdom of God? Not in my reading of the synoptic gospels (though, admittedly John seems to take a different approach). Now, I know someone could proof-text to me all sorts of scripture to show that some people aren't going to make it into the Kingdom. But, taken as a whole, the teachings of Jesus depicted in the New Testament speak clearly (to me, anyway) that we are all God's beloved, we all live within God, and our task is to open our eyes and realize this amazing truth. The Gospel of Thomas says it nicely: the Kingdom of the Father is already spread out on the earth, and people aren't aware of it.
And yet some do know the truth that Luke shares: The Kingdom is within you.
Do you integrate art into your ministry with youth? I've always felt that the visual arts are given short shrift in ministry. When we do engage the visual arts, it is often as passive observers rather than creative participants. It ocurred to me recently that I've made a habit in recent years of engaging my youth in the process of art-making as a spiritual practice to engage our God-given creativity and explore our faith story. A few projects I've tried with good success:
1) Mosaic: I take an image/photo that relates to the theme or scripture to be considered. The image is divided into equal squares ("pixels") and each person is given a square and asked to reproduce just their square onto a larger scale, using whatever art medium they choose. The pieces are then all reassembled into a large scale artistic mosaic of the original image. The final image can be quite beautiful and represents the unique efforts of the whole community brought together. Check here to see how some folks turned their group photo into a mosiac work of art.
2) Mask-making: It never fails that when I suggest this project some of the adults involved are always dubious ("It's too messy! The youth won't want to do it!") and then the kids end up loving it. Youth create life-masks of their own faces using plaster bandage (available in most art/craft stores) and then decorate the masks to represent their personalities/spiritual gifts/hopes for the future, etc. The great thing about this project is that it requires teens to work in pairs, each building up the mask on the other's face. This project requires a lot of trust and care on the part of the person building the mask, so it is a great way to build community and develop intimacy within the group. Best of all, the finished products become part of the decor of the youth room. Here is a quick and simple description of the whole mask-making process.
3) Mural: Each year our youth develop a mural theme based on our biblical studies and then work together to paint a holistic work of art on the walls of the youth room. Last fall our focus was on "The Way of Christ" so they created images that represented peace, love, forgiveness, hospitality, and risk.
4) Personal Shrines: At camp this past summer, a group of the youth created mini-shrines centered around our theme of "Peace Talks." The shrines were an example of assemblage art-- three dimensional art made of found objects and images. Youth chose a shadow box or other container and created within it a 3-D "collage" of natural objects, words, photos, candles, fabric, etc, to create unique portable "sacred spaces" that spoke to their understanding of Christ's way of peace. These shrines were added to our worship space for the week so they could inspire the whole camp. Here are some examples of mini-shrines including some cool travelling shrines made out of old breath mint tins.
Now...I just have to come up with a good idea for this fall. Any suggestions out there?
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Ingrid Schlueter at the blog Slice of Laodicea reveals the dark underbelly of contemporary youth ministry that seems particularly prevalent in the mega-church mentality of today:
The old Romans had a Latin phrase, panem et circenses (literally, bread and circuses) that was used to describe a decadent citizenry that could be pacified with free food and circuses. Today, much of youth ministry consists of bread and circuses handed out by youth leaders eager for
Schlueter goes on to describe a literal "traveling circus" extreme sports youth event dubbed The Freedom Experience that promises "freedom from sin, freedom from darkness, and freedom in Jesus." Here is a consumer culture-driven orgy of distraction that will supposedly bring kids to Christ through a 2-3 day event of "dramatic stunts, amazing illusions, loud music, exciting school assemblies, and death-defying escapes"! Check out the promo videos here and here if you don't believe me. Pay particular attention to what the teens say as opposed to the adults interviewed.
Schlueter goes on to lament that:
The bread and circuses will only have to get bigger and better to draw the kids. You can hear the youth leader [in the video] say that pizza at church doesn't cut it any more. I have news for him. Pizza at church never did cut it when it came to the teaching and preaching of the Word, which is the only thing God has ever promised to bless.
(Bonus points if you have any idea what the above photo has to do with this entry!)
Friday, September 01, 2006
Mike Yaconelli was one of the great voices in youth ministry and his legacy lives on despite his untimely death in 2003. He was co-founder of Youth Specialities and served as editor of "The Door," an irreverent magazine that took on religion and culture. Mike used to joke that he pastored the slowest-growing church in the U.S. because it had few members now than when he started. When Mike wrote or spoke about ministry with young people, he was always completely candid and honest and spoke from the heart in no uncertain language. There was no "B.S." in his theology, and here is great example of why his teachings still continue to guide my own ministry.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
My new favorite song by the group "Death cab for Cutie." This is a fan's animated version of the song.
I banish to terminal "un-coolness" all who do not immediately love this video and song.