Faith Lab:Interchangeable

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The past few months have been filled with computer issues.  We had a hard drive go at work with some really important data on it (thankfully it was backed up), there have been a couple of bad viruses that have gotten on a couple of others of my friends, the power connector inside the laptop, memory has gone bad, another bad drive in an xbox, even printers have been acting up. 

As I learn and dabble more and more with computer repair (because I calling repair guys is really expensive) I have come to realize that interchangeable parts are such a blessing. 

Working on my last project I thought about how we need to have interchangeability in ministry.  Maybe redundancy is a better term for it.  But how are we backing up our programming so that it will not crumble?  If you have something that takes you are another leader out of the picture for a week, month or year how will that impact the ministry. 

I am striving to be better at this and thinking about how to make more interchangeable (or place sharing) ministry.  One of phrases we talk about in camping ministry and in our Safe Sanctuary conversations it is: “don’t be the last to know.”  Always tell someone else what is going on, so that there are others who can fill in details or know what is going on.

How are you making your ministry redundant?

Ministry Tools: FinePix xp20

FinePix XP20I am loving this little camera that I got for my birthday this year.  Katie got it for me thinking about camp,and the fact that I am rough on things. 

It is one of those cameras that is waterproof, freeze proof, impact resistant and dustproof.  I have been sticking it in my bag and taking tons of pictures and not having to worry about it when we do things like slip and slides, water balloons, shaving cream sculpting and other fun things at youth group.  Plus the impact resistance means that I can give it to Eden (my 4 year old) or one of my students and I don’t have to worry about it getting dropped and broken. 

It is really handy to have around.  I feel like there should be a little youth ministry seal of approval on items that can stand up to the riggers of student life. 

I also have an eye-fi card in it so that I can wirelessly sync the photos from the card to my laptop.  That way I can get the pictures off without having to worry about getting the guts wet after getting out of the pool.  It is the simple stuff that I like. 

Eden refers to it as hers so you know it is great. 

Faith Lab: Holistic Ministry

practical-theology-streetIn there new book “A theological turn in youth ministry,” Kenda Dean and Andrew Root Make a remark about the theological training in developing countries.  In the opening chapter of their text they speak abut the way first year theology students have a number of basic bible classes, maybe a leadership class and another highly theoretical class that rounds out their class list.  But in the Sudan there is a very important difference in the mentality of the class load which shapes the thrust of their ministry to come":

In Sudan, apparently, it’s a different story. To imagine God apart from on-the-ground realities of hardship, hunger and hope-to separate biblical Greek and Hebrew from agriculture and public health-is unthinkable. What took my breath away about the Sudanese curriculum was not the classes themselves, but what those classes suggest that ministry is for. What Sudanese pastors-in-training need to learn is not how to lead a church but how to stop people from dying. In Sudan, the church is a life-force. Those who lead congregations find living water in Scripture for their thirsty flocks while staving off threats like starvation, HIV/AIDS, malaria. As a result, theological education in Sudan dare not dawdle long in abstraction. It must prepare Christians to preach the gospel and to practice it by helping pastors learn to lasso holy texts for people who are literally dying for a story of resurrection.

Andrew Root;Kenda Creasy Dean. The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry (Kindle Locations 85-90). Kindle Edition.

Student’ ministry should have the same kind of focus in mind.  It needs to be practical, so that our students can see the worth of fostering a strong spirituality.  Also, We need to make sure we are ministering to the whole person of our students.  We are not just teaching them about the theology of the Trinity, or the difference between transubstantiation and consubstantiation.  We are addressing issues about what happened when you like a certain guy in chemistry class and being present with them as their parents are having a tough time in their marriage. 

When is the last time you sat with your students and listened to what is weighing on their hearts?

I <3 FCA

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When I can (when my calendar and alarm allows) I love going over to the high school and just hang out with the students who attend the early morning FCA. 

Today one young woman asked a very pointed question that gave the group pause and took them off the printed lesson and into a deeper conversation about faith. 

Do you think it is wrong for people to be Christian just to get into heaven?

The small group had conversation around the question and there were lots of great comments and ideas. 

What is your answer to this question?

How does our answer to this question reflect our understanding of who God is? 

The room revamp

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Our middle school Sunday school rooms have been getting some much needed attention from Peggy and some of the other saints of our congregation.  It is amazing what a really great cleaning, a coat of paint and TLC will do to make a room look much more welcoming. 

Now we are setting our sights on replacing some carpet, getting a dehumidifier and some other little things to make the rooms live up to their potential. 

Bible in 50 words

bible1This is my kind of spark notes, and to think about all the time in seminary where I was studying all of the “extra” words.  you might have seen this before but I thought that it was fun as I was looking for some children’s ministry stuff for the coming weeks.

God made
Adam bit
Noah arked
Abraham split
Jacob fooled
Joseph ruled
Bush talked
Pharaoh plagued
Sea divided
Tablets guided
Promise landed
Judges led
Saul freaked
David peeked
Kingdom divided
Prophets warned
People exiled
Hope rose
Jesus born
God walked
Anger crucified
Love rose
Spirit flamed
Word spread
God remained.

Faith Lab:Roots and Fruits

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So a couple of weeks ago we had been talking about spiritual fruit and the fruit of the spirit found in Galatians.  It was a really fun teaching series.  We talked about how we are called to be a people that tend to our hears and bear good fruit.  The next week we talked about being a community that bears good fruit, and how we are called to be an orchard. 

I have been thinking about that more and more and thought about bearing fruit.  Before we can bear fruit, we have to have a root system that will sustain that fruit that we are bearing.  The roots absorb the nutrients and water and so with out them nourishment cannot come. 

So I was thinking about the way the roots of a tree have such a profound impact on the way that the fruit comes out.  Like the carnation experiment where you put it in different colored water and it becomes different colored (not a perfect correlation but work with me). I began thinking about the people in my life that I would consider people who make up my faith roots; my parents, my youth pastor in high school, some Sunday school teachers and some authors like CS Lewis… They all have had a hand in tending to my spiritual roots and therefore have made a difference in the kind of fruit that I bear.

As we work with students we have to realize that we are doing a ton of root work.  More than planting seeds we are tending to the spiritual roots of our students.  We might not see the fruit that comes from it, but our thumbprints will be on the fruit that is born over time. 

In what ways have others tended to your roots?

How can you be mindful and faithful in tending to the roots of your students and their families?