Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Asked, "What does the name Other6 mean?" Paul says, "I chose this name principally because it is short, not 'churchy' and - hopefully - somewhat intriguing. What did 'Google' mean or 'Yahoo' when they were chosen? It does also imply that some people 'find' God on Sundays in church, but that site is helpful the Other6 days of the week."
Monday, April 28, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
As summer gets closer, and the school year draws to an end, it’s time once again to reflect on our ministries and begin planning for next fall. In less than two weeks, I’ll meet with our youth leaders and teachers. One of our primary discussions will focus on Sunday School. We will ask such questions as: What works? What doesn’t? Where was God’s presence experienced and felt? Where was God absent? What can we do differently?
Sunday School is such a unique setting. At the church I serve, we still have our youth meet on Sunday morning for one hour. It’s early, 9:30, and I’m always impressed that so many youth attend (whether it’s their decision of their parents decision). I feel like we’re doing well, but I know we can continue to grow (both spiritually and numerically).
So, the questions for discussion: How can Sunday School adapt to the changing times? What should Sunday School in 2008 look like? Do we still use ordered curriculum? Do we have a mixture of media? Should we have a combination of prayer, worship, and study? Should we change the times? How do we prepare teachers? Should teachers teach all year? Should there be rotating teachers? Should we take a break for the summer?
Perhaps you have thought of these questions as well? I look forward to hearing other ideas and creativity.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I most identified with with Nicole, a girl who was sent to the camp by her mother, hoping that some exposure to Christianity might help her with her drug problem. Once she arrives at the camp, she quickly discovers that it's going to be hard work. The youth spend much of their day out in the heat, training physically, and being drilled on the basics of evangelical conservative Christianity and how to share it with others. Nicole is rebellious (like I might be if thrust into that situation) and her attitude gets her in trouble more than once with the adult leaders. But she does make it through boot camp and does accompany her team to Africa. There they find themselves working with orphans, washing their feet and helping them try on their first pair of shoes and socks. At one point, Nicole comments that she really isn't here to learn about God but she really likes being able to help the children. I can only hope that she eventually came to see that it was in the act of helping the children, and in the children themselves, that she was encountering God. As missionaries, they are fooling themselves if they think they are bringing God to these people. God is already there!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
For the past several weeks in youth group, we have been focusing on spiritual development and building on Brian’s original post: Who are you becoming?
One evening we opened conversation with the question: How would you define who Jesus is? The youth created a long list of answers. Then, I shared this list taken from Imaginative Prayer for Youth Ministry, by Jeannie Oestreicher and Larry Warner:
I am Immanuel—God with you. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)
I am the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)
I am the Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6)
I am the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
I am the One who was beaten and pierced through in your place because of love (Isaiah 53:5)
I am the King (Zechariah 9:9)
I am your faithful friend (Matthew 11:19)
I am God’s servant (Matthew 12:18)
I am the Holy One of God (Mark 1:24)
I am the Great Healer (Mark 3: 1012)
I am the Christ—the Anointed One—the Messiah—the Savior of the world (Mark 8:29)
I am God clothed in flesh (Luke 2: 8-20)
I am kind and merciful (Luke 6: 35-36)
I am compassionate (Luke 6: 35-36)
I am the living Word of God (John 1: 1;14; Revelations 19:13)
I am the Creator (John 1: 2-4)
I am the Lamb of God (John 1:29)
I am the One who would rather suffer and die for you than live without you (John 3:16)
I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35)
I am the Giver of life everlasting (John 6:40, 47)
I am the Light of the World (John 8:12)
I am God (John 8:58; 10:30; 20:28)
I am the Door to God (John 10:9)
I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
I am the One who lays down his life for this I love (John 10:11)
I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
I am the Way to God (John 14:6)
I am the True Vine (John 15:1)
I am he who died on the cross and rose from the dead (John 19-20)
I am the Rock upon which you can build your life (1 Corinthians 10:4)
I am the One before whom every knee will bow and tongue confess that I am Lord (Philippians 2: 9-11)
I am the One who will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
I am the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13)
After giving the youth a few minutes to read over the list, we gathered in a circle and took turns reading each statement. It was a powerful form of prayer. Then we discussed which statements really attracted us and which didn’t.
The following week, we started a conversation with two questions: Who are you? How are you defined? Again, we created a list of answers. We really took our time and focused on self-identity and how we create who we want to become. A significant portion of our conversation focused on how we so easily label and group individuals into various categories. Then I passed out this list:
You are chosen and dearly loved by God.
You are the salt of the earth.
You are the light of the world.
You are God’s child, prized and treasured by God.
You are my friend.
You are a saint.
You are forgiven—past, present, and future.
You are and always will be an object of God’s love—an object of my love.
You are a citizen of heaven.
You are the temple of God—God dwells within you.
You are a new creation (new person).
You are God’s coworker.
You are an heir of God.
You are God’s workmanship—a masterpiece, unique in all the world.
You are righteous and holy—in you there is no flaw.
You are the chosen one of God.
You are holy.
You are dearly and uniquely loved by God.
You are a chosen race.
You are a royal priesthood.
You belong to God and God belongs to you.
You are one who will always be with me.
You are a source of delight to God.
We finished our conversation with discussion on how we could apply these traits and values to our daily lives. Each youth took home the list of statements and were encouraged to read them once/day either in the morning or evening. Essentially, as follower of Christ, we are trying to create an entire new way of treating and understanding others.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
SPECIAL NOTE: Hey there, RYM readers, this is Barry, Brian's twin brother (or evil double, you take your pick). While he's away for a short bit to officiate at a friend's wedding he offered to let me try my hand at posting. By day I'm a Marketing Consultant, but for most of my adult life Brian has been plugging me into his ministry as either a youth group sponsor, Sunday school teacher or camp counselor. My involvement with this blog is usually as 1) a reader and 2) the guy who feeds Brian all his cool technology links, but I'll do my best to add some value in Brian's brief absence.
In a country where roughly 50% of the population continues to hold a strong belief in creationism as the most compelling theory for the existence of...well, everything...its not surprising that the recently released documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is creating both strong interest and controversy (including from some of the scientists interviewed in the film who allege they were mislead by the producers). The film -- hosted by the endearingly droll actor/economist Ben Stein (of Ferris Bueller fame) -- apparently takes a position in favor of the proposition known as Intelligent Design and against what it sees as the persecution of ID true believers in US scientific and academic circles.
In an interview on Beliefnet Stein explains that he got involved with the film because he sees the origins of evolutionary theory as something much darker than is commonly suggested:
I decided to work on it because I've always had questions about Darwinism. I have always been very concerned that Darwinism gave the basic okay to terrible racism and to the idea of murder based upon race. And I think most people don't realize what a sinister role Darwinism has had in the history of the 20th century, and I guess part of the history of the 19th century too.
Unfortunately for Stein (and the film's producers) Expelled has already been panned by most major critics, many of whom make a case similar to Beliefnet's Becky Garrison that the film simply falls far short of making a compelling case:
While Expelled set its sights on disarming their enemy - the "neo-Darwinists" who have ostracized scientists who dare give credence to intelligent design - more often than not they ended up shooting biblical blanks. Unfortunately, the nuances of the evolution versus intelligent design debate were left on the cutting floor in favor of more provocative soundbites that one might expect from say an NBC Dateline "Catch an Evolutionist!"-type special.
I haven't yet seen the film, but plan to despite the fact that I see no inherent contradiction between a belief in evolution and a belief in a biblical perspective of the world. And while I'm definitely more on the skeptical side of the ID debate, I think this is a fascinating debate that we should be eager to expose our young people to and invite them to engage in. These are the sorts of topics that I love bringing into a youth group meeting or into my high school Sunday School class because it allows you to challenge the youth to take a stand and then explain and defend that stand. And if they get passionate about it and argue a little, so much the better! To me it matters little which side of the controversy they come down on as long as they are gaining experience in taking ownership of what they believe and in articulating a reasoning for that belief.
I've been looking for an outing for my Sunday School class to shake the students up a little -- maybe I'll take them to see this movie. What do you think?
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
"A first-time look at 700 kids training to become Christian missionaries. A special 48 Hours presentation, Saturday, April 12, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. (CBSNews.com)"
Not sure about the theology here (actually, I'm quite sure that it doesn't jive with mine) but I'm impressed with the fact that this camp prepares youth to go into places in the world and do the hard work that needs doing: building homes, digging wells, caring for the poor and needy. If they could just cool it with all the "you're either going to heaven or hell" stuff. -- Brian
UPDATE: You can view the entire program and read additional info here.