- Bigger is better. (How about being overjoyed some Sunday night when you walk in the room and only find two teens?)
- Don't play favorites. (I know we're supposed to love all our teens equally, but let's be honest -- some teens we just have better chemistry with than others. Why not make them your focus and allow your other adult leaders to focus on other youth?)
- Games are a must. (Does every youth gathering really need some crazy game as a way to kick things off or as a reward for sitting through Bible study?)
- There has to be a program. (How about walking in to a meeting and when the youth say "What are we doing tonight?" you respond "Nothing." and see what happens?)
- If I just do things right, we'll have tons of teens in our ministry. (Really? So it's all about you, huh?)
- I teach. The youth learn. (Or we could try: I shut up. The youth talk. I learn more about how they see the world, their faith, the Church...)
Friday, October 30, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
If you're still looking for a Halloween-themed program to get your youth thinking, I strongly recommend the documentary "Hell House" about a church (Trinity Church -Assemblies of God in Cedar Hill, Texas) that hosts a yearly alternative to the local haunted house events. Instead of ghosts and goblins, their "hell house" includes scenes like a girl getting an abortion, a gay man dying of AIDS, or a girl at a rave being slipped a roofie and raped, and of course all with the implication that these people are going to hell for their misdeeds.
To be clear: I find this portrayal of the Christian faith so far from anything I believe -- these folks might as well be practicing a completely different religion from the one I call Christianity. But -- the documentary is excellent and lets the subjects speak for themselves. Particularly powerful is the scene where a couple of local young people confront one of the organizers about the whole project. The film could certainly stimulate some great conversation about faith, fear, grace, sin, evangelism, and culture vs. Christ.
On a side note, I just watched Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" last night for the umpteenth time. Funny how all the scare tactics the Church was using back in the middle ages during the plague still seem to be in vogue today.
Update: Check out this episode of the radio program "This American Life" which features an interview with the director of "Hell House."
Thursday, October 22, 2009
"Way above what we would have expected for accommodations on a mission trip. Extremely friendly for ages 10-70. Would recommend to churches wishing to attend "Mission 101." Affton Christian Church"We were welcomed generously. Thank you for the extravagant hospitality. It is such a blessing to find a church with showers -- not to mention one intentionally opening their doors to teenagers." Lee's Summit Christian"I was just hoping someone could host us but you gave us great contacts for work too. It's been a blessing to bring my 'country' youth to an urban setting and have such helpful guides." First Christian, Pittsburgh
Monday, October 19, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
But if we read the story too quickly, we miss one of the most important parts. The rich man kneels. When he kneels, it is an authentic request to be healed. He wants to be healed of what is keeping him from being close to God. For us, it may not be possesions (it could be hurts, anxieties, fears) but it's still there. The kicker of the story is that the rich man rejects the healing that Jesus offers him.
I think this story is particulary fitting with youth ministry. Lately, I have noticed that a lot of our youth are hurting. Some share openly, some don't share at it. But what if you were to spend some time focusing on the idea of the healing power of Jesus? Healing, especially within the context of religion, may not be something we're comfortable discussing. But Jesus really was a healer. And we too have the opportunity to be healed.
The other night we watched this video and created our own cardboard signs:
It was pretty powerful. If you try it out, let us know how it goes.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Who died and made us experts that we get to tell everybody else the best ways to recruit volunteers, evangelize youth, plan events, manage time, and on and on and on? So, in the spirit of knocking us all down a peg or two, let me share with you my list of things you should never do in youth ministry. Of course, I have personally done every single one of these!
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Monday, October 05, 2009
Friday, October 02, 2009
I admit it. I am guilty, 100% guilty. I fell for it, I bought into it, I totally invested into it and was completely and utterly emotionally destroyed last week when I had a killer evening planned for youth group. I planned for 15 (which is a high number for our church) and was completely ready just in case I had a couple of extra people come. . . .OK, so my plan was great, a fun, active game, an active lesson, time for discussion and then bring it home with prayer and hangout time. Sounds good right? Now remember when I said I was prepared for 15? Well, it's hard to do a large group lesson/game when only 4 show up...and one of those was a half hour late. UGH! (((heart slowly breaking))) I dragged myself home that night
Thursday, October 01, 2009
So, I figure it's about time that Rethinking Youth Ministry celebrates our female colleagues. Know of a good blog written by a woman youth minister? Have a story to tell about a great female youth worker? Are you a woman in youth ministry yourself who wants to share about your experience in the trenches of youth work? Know of resources especially aimed at women in youth ministry? If you are willing to share any of the above with our readers, email us with your story or resource. Each entry/resource/story provides you with a chance in the drawing for this month's freebie. Contest ends midnight October 7.