Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
As part of a new series of profiles of women serving in youth ministry, we visit with Devoree Crist. Devoree is a spiritual director, M.T.S. graduate of Eden Theological Seminary, and holds a Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Aquinas Institute of Theology. She has been involved in lay youth ministry for 21+ years.
What do you find most enjoyable about ministry with youth in the Church?
What do you find most challenging about ministry with youth in the Church
Labels: youth ministry
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Is your youth ministry full of jocks, cheerleaders, and future valedictorians or is it a rabble of drama geeks, choir kids and the "losers" no one wants to sit with at lunch? Either way, you should be watching "Glee," a new series on the FOX network and one of the best reasons to watch TV. "Glee" focuses on a passionate young teacher who is trying to make a success of the high school's glee club. Known for being a depository of losers and geeks, the teacher's real goal for the glee club is to help these teens discover their worth and realize their potential, despite what others think. Along the way, his efforts attract more students to join the glee club (including members of the football team and cheer leading squad) and the wrath of the coach of the cheerleaders.
Last week's episode, entitled "Wheels," firmly established "Glee," in my opinion, as great TV. This single episode dealt with issues of justice related to teens who are differently-abled and mentally challenged, the realities of teen pregnancy and casual drug use, and took an honest look at the loving relationship between a gay teen and his father while acknowledging the homophobia of high school culture. On top of that, the humor and music remind you that life can be an uplifting and exciting adventure.
If you are a junior member of the morality police, you might have a problem with the mostly adult content of a tv show focused on teen characters, and personally I'm not certain younger teens should be watching the program. But for those of us working with teens, it's a vision of world where all young people have someone who loves and cares for them and challenges them to be the persons they were created to be. Hmmm...remind you of anything?
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
In the exile, the Israelites came to understand that God didn't dwell in just one particular place but that God's presence could be experienced anywhere. Yet, how many of our youth believe that worship of God mostly happens in the confines of a church sanctuary one hour a week? To encourage teens to develop a practice of tuning into God's presence the whole week long, invite them to create mini-altars or worship centers like the example below. These can be carried in pocket or backpack and used as visual inspiration for moments of prayer throughout the day.
The process for making these pocket altars is simple and allows for each person's individual expression. Encourage teens to consider what focus they want for their mini-altar. They might want it to remind them of things for which they are thankful, images from nature, words of scripture, and so on. You'll need one empty Altoid tin for each person (can be purchased at a craft store) and a variety of art supplies. It helps to use sand paper or steel wool to take off some of the outside paint on the tin first. Youth can then decorate the tins with acrylic paint, or decoupaged images and words cut out of magazines. Small objects like buttons and shells can be easily attached on the inside or outside of the box using a hot glue gun or Diamond Glaze. Encourage teens to consider placing helpful items inside the tin such as a written prayer, a passage of scripture, mini icon images, a cross, photographs, a small votive candle, and so on. When finished decorating, consider spraying the inside and outside of the tins with clear spray glaze to protect the decoration.
See below a pocket altar I made myself or check out these other examples.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
It's that time of year again. Right? Seriously, now may be a good time to start planning for next summer's church camp. I just finished Fred Craddock's new book: Reflections on My Call to Preach: Connecting the Dots. Fred is one of the most influential preaching voices in North America and a member of the denomination in which I belong--Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
I expected the book to be a reflection of his days spent in the pulpit and teaching in seminary. Instead, Fred reflects on his early years and how his experiences as a teenager, particularly at church camp, formed his understanding of being called by God to preach.
At one point, while recalling his camping days, Fred says, "My most significant, and frequent conversation partners...were ministers. Older ministers." Then he says, "Apparently I am reporting on a time before the churches decided to turn their young people over to young ministers, some of them but a few years older than their charges."
To be fair, Fred notes that perhaps such changes were necessary. But I think his points, and experiences, are genuine. All too often we look for younger adults and college youth to help be counselors. But what if next summer we intentionally focused on having older adults present at camp. You could even have several "Camp Chaplains." Maybe we need to be more intentional about briding the gap between generations?
I tend to agree with Fred when referring to these "older" ministers who helped develop his sense of call he says, "They were present, available, nonintrusive, [and] good listeners..." Isn't this what we look for in our camp staff?