I am not the best rule follower but I have been thinking about the way that we make unwritten rules and rubrics that we compare our ministries to. I know that I have a habit of doing this and when I do, I feel like my ministry doesn’t stack up very well. But, I shouldn’t be surprised by this. My ministry is not playing by the same scoring system as the others and yet I try and compare them.
This weekend I am able to join with some other pastors and laity from around our conference for a day of Worship development. One of the main speakers who will be there is Shane Claiborne. Shane is an amazin guy who decided that he wan’t going to compare his ministry to other people, but he was going to rewite the rule book. Shane makes his own clothes, and because of that he has a pocket that he can keep a balloon pump in so that he can make balloon animals for kids. When you make your own pattern there is room for what makes you, you.
When we rewrite what our ministries are we re draw the lines and are able to make them what God has intended. This is something that is very liberating because there is discernment rather than second guessing or copying what others are doing. There is real spiritual food for our students rather than just snacks here and there. There is community and connection rather than smoke and mirrors.
What makes your ministry unique? How are you rewriting or creating your own rules?
I came across a resource the other day that is really great.
If you have ever been to a conference and wanted to go to all of the sessions and workshops but couldn’t you know hard it is to choose which one to go to and which to miss out on. Or even worse you can’t go to the conference because you can’t get the time off, there is a huge something or other going on with your family or the cost is just too great.
Well the folks who put on the Simply Youth Ministry conference are here to make available all of the session and main stage talks. You can find any number of resources that you missed out on or that you are interested in. I have found a couple that I am going to download and soak up on my way to work. Check out the great teachings of this youth worker conference. Click here to see the hundreds of sessions to download
Have you grown up in the church and want to see it succeed in the years to come? Have you been hurt by the church or people who call themselves Christian? Are you tired of searching for a faith community, but only finding worship and churches that seem to be out of touch? Have you ever had a conversation about the future of the church and someone said “we just need more technology and guitars to get young people to come?” If you answered yes to any of these questions then it would do you well to pick up a copy of Gabe Lyons book The Next Christians.
Pretty much read this unless you think that the church is perfect and doesn’t need to change a thing.
I received my free copy of Lyons’ book The Next Christians in late January from Water Brook Multnomah Publishing Group. Because of work being crazy I haven’t been able to get the review out as soon as I would have liked, but also it took longer than expected to read the book because it was packed with great stuff.
In the text Lyons looks at some of the traditional ways that Christians have addressed the tension between living a life of faith and the stumbling blocks that society places in front of us. Lyons outlines two main schools of thinking when it comes to this topic. There are the “Separatists” who distance themselves from society. I feel like this group has a very “us” vs “them” view of the world. This insider/outsider view is not at all helpful in sharing the Good News because the mentality to some degree is that I am saved and it would be nice if you were too.
The second group are the “blenders.” The blenders engage culture and blend into it. The danger here is that theology and beliefs get sacrificed and watered down because of the blending. I would say that this is where many young people would place themselves after reading the work of Christian Smith (Soul Searching) and Kenda Creasy Dean (Almost Christian).
Lyons then proposes that both views fall short and then says that there is a third way that is emerging. The Next Christians are Restorers. This group works hard at restoring the church back to what it was meant to be. Throughout the years the church may have lost its way and has been missing the mark. This new group understands that faith in action and service is essential to restoring the church. Lyons takes a good chunk of the latter part of the book to give real examples of restorers in action.
From my perspective as a Methodist pastor this new way would make John Wesley proud. He said that “there is no holiness apart form social and personal holiness.” As a practical theologian I feel like John would have fit right in with the restorers.
Well, that’s enough from me about the book. Go and get a copy here
When I watch TV (and it isn’t Disney Channel) I like light hearted comedy. One of the the very few shows I look forward to watching now is Parks and Recreation. It has a draw that I can’t explain and every season has gotten better I think. The most recent episode was centered around a harvest festival that the people of Pawnee were having. As they were setting things up there was a scene where April (the former inter turned secretary to the parks director) makes a confession to her boyfriend Andy (who is a shoe shine guy and is a bit dim). April says, “I love you!” To which Andy replies, “Dude, Shut up! That is Awesome Sauce!”
April was not at all receptive to the response and shunned him for the rest of the episode until he explains that his love for her is way the “sauce is awesome” and that he shared her feelings.
When I saw this I thought about the way that youth workers connect with teens. If we are not speaking in language that is accessible to them there will be frustration and poor bridges of communication made. Notice I didn’t say that you workers have to talk like our students. This can come off as fake, inauthentic and just plain lame to our youth.
I know that I select a different vocabulary when talking with students as opposed to when I am talking to our whole congregation. My illustrations, use and kind of humor, word choice, and even speaking pace will change depending on audience. When you are loving students make sure that you bring your AWESOME SAUCE when you connet with them. Stay true to who you are, but be sensitive to who they are.
Today (Friday) I have spent mostly outside cleaning up leaves, planting some new flowers, puttin down some grass seed, and hangin out with the fam. It has been great. Both Katie and I are really swomped at work during this season and we haven’t had a chance to have a day like this in a while.
I guess this week what i would like everyone to remember is the gift of sabbath. Too often we miss the best things because we are trying to do good for our work, others and a whole host of other things.
Today’s post is short for two reasons. First, I want you to get out from behind the computer and do something you enjoy. Second, I am typing this post from our patio and it looks like there could be a little rain shower coming.
This afternoon I took a ride with Daniel and Trevor and it was a really fun time!! We got muddy and sloshed around in the flooded creeks, took a couple of breaks and played around a little. Here is the ride for anyone who would care to take a look!!!