Faith Lab and The Disney Difference

I was so struck by the wonder and magic of Disney that I wanted to post something.  Time has been flying by since we got back from Disney, but it was a wonderful trip.  Basically I wanted to post a short little video with the question, “What if we approached ministry with the passion Disney approaches putting magic into people’s lives?”

Take a look.  Sorry the stills are so poor looking but you get the point and can see some on Flickr in a little bit.  Most important is that you comment on how you would like to put wonder back in the ministries you are a part of.

The Disney Difference from Chris Bishop on Vimeo.

A quick thought and reflection on what the church could learn from Disney World.

The 85% Statistic is Back

 Activity-MonitorI saw this post the other week and I thought that it was really interesting.  It has been rolling around in my mind along with a quote from Kenda Creasy Dean that says that, “youth ministry is the R&D of the church.”  Makes me think about how youth are a great barometer for the health of the church.   Perhaps the exception to this is Churches like National Community Church in DC where 70% of the congregation is single twenty somethings, and in a very transient area. 

Take a look at the article, I found it to be some great food for thought.  Follow the link and scroll to the comments to read  other people’s thoughts on what Kara Powell wrote. 

You’ve perhaps heard the infamous statistic that 80-85% of people who become Christians do so before age 14.  We youth workers especially love quoting that data when we’re asking for a larger ministry budget.

There hasn’t appeared to be lots of hard data to back up that stat.  But maybe that’s changed.

Sociologist Dr. Christian Smith and his team at the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) have studied teenagers of all religious persuasions (Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Religiously Indifferent, etc.).  He reports in his new book, Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults, that 85% of those 18-23 who have ever made a commitment to God did so before age 14.

Remember, the study includes teenagers and young adults of all religious persuasions, and it’s not entirely clear from the book what students mean what they say they have “made a commitment to God”.

But nonetheless, this is the best data I’ve seen in a while that supports that 85% statistic.

The 85% Statistic is Back — and Pretty Strong Actually | Fuller Youth Institute

Guess Who?

guess whoOver the Christmas break I was able to watch as some kids at Katie’s winter break camp played games.  On of the games was a favorite of mine back in the day.  It was “Guess Who”.  This is the game where you try to guess through a process of questions and elimination which person your opponent has chosen.  There was always a little self-satisfaction as you swipe down an eliminated candidate with a thwack of the board.  The only downside was if you got a girl (there were about 4 in total )or someone with a hat (maybe 5 total).  Soon you would realize that the game would be coming to an end because of the lack of diversity in the game. 

Regardless of that, I saw the importance of coming up with good questions so that you could weed out the losers from the winner.  I think the importance is true with youth ministry as well.  We need to be able to ask great questions and follow-up questions to get at the heart of who our kids are. 

I have tried to come up with some of my thoughts about asking questions, but i would like to hear yours too.  I know that I am very bad at this and so it has taken some work and effort to get to the place where I am.  Here is my brain dump of question asking:

  1. Start slow: Start off with something easy.  Ask for some information about a student that isn’t really taxing and so you can get an idea of where they are located in life.
  2. Open a Door: Ask open ended questions where there is no “yes” or “no” answer.  This will make them think and give you something else to talk about. 
  3. Care by listening: Allow the conversation to build on what they have already talked about.  Don’t just ask your questions without thinking about what the students are saying.  Asking follow-up questions will show that you are listening and that you do care.  Having an adult really listen is something that many students lack in their lives and is meaningful. 
  4. Repeat:  Check back in with them the following week about something that they shared with you (a sporting event, test, birthday…).  I have to write these things down or I forget.  But, it is always cool when people remember what is important to you from week to week. 

What are some other ways you have found to ask great questions?

A day in the life 1/14

CupojoeToday began with the reminder of my role as dad when Eden popped out of a dead sleep, and waddled over to where I was still dead asleep to inform me that she was awake and she needed to go to the potty RIGHT NOW!

Following that the morning continued as Katie and I waited till 9:30 when we could call in for the big news of weather or not we had been approved to become fully ordained members of the United Methodist Church.  During the excruciatingly slow time we got Eden ready to go with my mom for the day, got ourselves ready for the day, cleaned the house, checked e-mail, Played some Mario on Wii (after Eden’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fix of course), and finalized some plans for our trip to Disney.

Eventually we were able to call and find out we were both approved and then the day really started.

I spent a chunk of the day at the hospital visiting various members of the congregation.  We had one surgery patient, 2 members in ICU another in a regular room.  While there i connected up with a couple of members who were working or volunteering at the hospital.

After my visitation was over I decided to grab a chi latte and talk to the anesthesiologist who was part of the surgical team for the member I visited.  I got the good news update on how he was doing.  While waiting for the latte to reach the right temperature, I had a great talk with the barista about his tattoos.  And it turned into a great time where we talked about our faith and how his tattoos are a way to talk about his story with others and help them out of hard times in life.  It was really neat.

I went home for lunch with Katie.  Made some phone calls to update others as to the status of the folks in the hospital.  I did some contact work on Facebook.  Then went back to the office.

Back at my desk I had conversation with our family ministries director, checked in about final bulletin points for the weekend.  Gave the OK for a special love offering in light of the earthquake in Haiti.

I had a great talk with a man who wants to be baptized.

And after this post I am going to write a youth message, start on a sermon and then get ready for young adult small group.

I suspect the night will end with family time and snuggling on the couch.

As I think about where God has taken me in the past 7 years that have lead up to the green light on ordination I am amazed.  I would have never thought I would have a day like today.  And if I would have thought of it I would have cringed at that thought.  But, now all I can think is what a privilege it is to be on this adventure knowing tomorrow will bring another round of excitement.


Yesterday I had my ordination examination. It was a long twelve hour day with conversation about the things that I wrote and situations we have to deal with as pastors.
It was great to see people that I hadn’t seen in a while. I loved the conversations over meals and break times.
I am able to call tomorrow to see how things went and if I passed or not.
Pass or fail. Katie, Eden, my parents and I are going to Disney world on Monday.
I am so excited.

Time to train

As the weather has been getting colder this year I have been trying to get back into a running routine. For the past couple of years my fitness has been limited to the basement and my bike trainer. This is because when I have tried to run or bike outside when it is cold outside I have the hardest time trying to breath.
So this year I attacked the seasons change with renewed vigor and decided that I needed a game plan. So I have been gradually running further and further as the weather has been getting colder and colder. Yesterday I went on a run for about five miles or so in temperatures in the mid 20’s. Not the most exciting thing, I know, but it was for me.
I know that without thinking ahead I wouldn’t have been able to magically run in the colder weather. Another part of the puzzle is that I am dressing smarter. These clothes help keep the wind off of my core and keep me warm so that I don’t feel asthmatic when I run.
As we enter the new year and we have all kinds of resolutions, we need to have a plan to get were we want to be. We need to be willing to train to meet the goals we set, and we need to think about the tools we will clothe ourselves with so that we can be as successful as possible.
This year I am reading through my bible as another way to train in my faith life. I have a great translation of scripture, the new living translation, and a reading plan to keep pace of the year. I am excited about this addition to my daily reading because this adds a different kind of purpose to my daily devotion and it makes sure I read a well rounded selection of scripture rather than just my personal favorites.
This new year may you train well and dedicate your selves to meeting your goals.