Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
They had not even crossed the street when they found themselves waiting at the corner next to a man pushing a cart with all of his belongings. Literally one block later they were passing guys in ties and women in fancy dresses going to eat at the elite restaurants downtown. Lesson number four about homelessness became the fact that we shop and dine right next door to those who are going without and we should pray that God gives us eyes to see those in need.
You may have noticed that Rethinking Youth has made the jump to Twitter. Though apparently we are supposed to be using it to update you regularly on what cereal we are having for breakfast or how bored we are at work, we actually only post links to useful, interesting, or thoughtful youth ministry blogs, articles, and websites. Check out our latest updates a little further down on the left side of this page and then start following us on Twitter to keep up on all the links we share.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
As an act of offering, invite youth to share experiences of times they were surprised to find God/Christ in their very midst (I just had a student share with me an experience of meeting Christ in an encounter at a frat party when he saw a campus ministry friend of his drunk and throwing up! No telling how your teens might respond to this challenge so expected the unexpected.)
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Worship Feast: 50 Multisensory Services for Youth - Includes outlines and resources for creative prayer services, services for the spiritual journey, community-building services, seasonal services and suggested resources.
Here is your scavenger hunt list. When you have your answers ready, email them to Brian. Deadline is midnight Sunday, April 26. Happy Hunting!
3) Grahame blogs from the UK at Insight. One of his most popular resources is a free ebook offering 40 _____ for small groups. What goes in that blank?
4) Ethan at Blog on the Edges regularly posts creative approaches to youth ministry. Among his many talents, he is a writer. What kind of writer is he? (hint: see his profile)
5) Jason at Livefish posted on April 20 a great idea for an event helping youth see the reality of poverty and homelessness. The title of the event is a play on a popular reality tv show. What is the event's name?
Friday, April 17, 2009
We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we've spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.
Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.
This video is of the new song "Beyond Belief" by David Wilcox. It speaks to the hypocrisy and wall-building that turns off many to present-day Christianity, ultimately challenging us to hear Jesus' call to "Be the mercy. All people need the peace. This fight over faith won't bring them relief. I love them beyond belief."
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Are you an introvert or an extrovert (or somewhere in between)? Introverts recharge their physical/emotional/spiritual batteries through moments of solitude. Extroverts charge their batteries by being with others. Consider: Does your place on this continuum have any influence on your ministry with youth? I've been wondering about this lately. Though I certainly think that crazy games and activities have their place in youth ministry, I tend to prefer to develop activities for youth that are contemplative, restful, based in conversation and in small groups. I'm an introvert so this makes complete sense. Conversely, I've noticed that extrovertish youth ministers tend to develop youth programs full of high energy activities and outings, with loud music and lots movement.
"The ancient abbey in Malmesbury has been turned into a skateboard park as part of the Church of England's efforts to reach out to young people."
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Teams are sent out to collect a number of items, perhaps ten, within a given amount of time. The catch: they do not know yet what exactly is on the scavenger hunt list. They do not receive the list until they return with their items. They are then given a certain amount of time, as a team, to figure out which item best fits each descriptor on the list and to come up with a persuasive argument that will convince the judges (in a sense, this is a "reverse engineering" game). For example, if the scavenger hunt list item says "A new kind of drink holder," teens may try to convince the judges that the basketball they found best fits this description because it has a place for a straw to be inserted, can hold lots of liquid, and won't break if dropped! Teams should be allowed, within reason, to modify their found items in order to make them better fit the chosen description on the scavenger hunt list. Of course, they will really have to work together to come up with their presentation of the objects and how they will argue their connections to the scavenger hunt list. Some sample descriptors for the list might include:
- A symbol for peace on Earth
- A conversation starter
- Our new youth group mascot
- A tool to encourage sharing
- Something Jesus could have used
- Church worship 3.0
- A new way to study the Bible
- A aid for helping world hunger
- A forgiveness machine
- Useful for an object lesson about "resurrection"
What happens when Easter Sunday is all over? Even though many of us are tired, it feels almost like a letdown—like an absence of energy. This morning, I came across the following quote: So often we sell ourselves short: we think that, because nothing spectacular is happening, nothing is happening at all. Yet life is full of moments of conversion, however small they may appear to be and however unnoticed they may pass. For they are (or can be) steps in the gradual buildup to a decisive conversion experience that marks a new and distinctively recognizable moment of grace in our lives…
This, I believe, is an accurate portrayal of youth ministry. As we journey into the risen Christ with our youth, and into the busyness of summer, we need to remember that the little things (like planning all of those little details, choosing curricula, informal conversations, emails, and whatever else) all help lead to those big moments when we feel privileged and honored to be in ministry with youth.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
For Maundy Thursday, my church will host a Taize worship experience that will also incorporate prayer stations. We did something similar for Ash Wednesday and found that the contemplative format of Taize worship was a perfect match with an experience of moving through the various prayer stations in silence. This video is a nice example of how to set up a space with some very basic hands-on prayer activities. For other ideas, see here or here. -- Brian