Discussion Topic

I am working as our interim Youth Minister and just need to hear what I already know to be true. Bad nights happen to everyone...right? Any idea how to teach students who encourage disrespect?

August 29, 2016 0 1 comments
Resource, Conference or Event

Looking to attend a conference or educational event on youth and/or intergenerational ministry? Here's a list of what's coming up this fall and into 2017. Please add your favorites to the list! 

August 8, 2016 0 1 comments
Q&A

I am looking for a sample job description for a Youth Ministry intern. Do you, or does your church, have any ideas you'd be willing to share? 

July 11, 2016 0 1 comments
Blog

For most churches, the thought of not having a "coffee" gathering time after worship would be unthinkable. And yet, how often do we ask how effective this time is in forming the faith of all who attend? 

June 29, 2016 3 0 comments
Blog

I think I want black and white answers to the questions that can plague me. But as I get older, as I do ministry and hear stories from God’s children around this world, I have a different perspective. 

June 21, 2016 0 2 comments
Blog

This past week I was asked to coordinate a dialog among the Bible class students at a Christian High School on the subject of how to think Christianly about sexuality in our local context. The opinions of the students were frankly expressed and they lamented the fact that their school often...

May 21, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

With the stage set for a great weekend, I felt my heart drop when I got my last phone call of the night from Josh – they had arrived, but Jarett was having an anxiety attack. 

May 11, 2016 3 3 comments
Blog

For Jarett, the thought of going to a church camp that was hours away from his family and those who fully understood his anxiety, was terrifying. Nonetheless, this year would be different. 

May 4, 2016 1 4 comments
Blog

In youth ministry, students don't always give you the instant gratification that you are making an impact. But fear not, God has shown me a prayer that has given me new eyes.

April 14, 2016 0 1 comments
Blog

I have often woke up in the morning dreading the day. However, a few new habits have completely changed my whole outlook, leaving me full of joy and peace. 

April 6, 2016 3 0 comments
Blog

After the webinar about mental health and ministry, we came up with a group of resources that ministry leaders have found helpful in dealing with mental health issues in our churches.

March 28, 2016 1 10 comments
Blog

This story-sharing opportunity is guaranteed to be a memorable, meaningful experience, both for the elders whose stories need to be heard and the youth who hear them.

March 24, 2016 3 2 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

In this webinar, Brett Ullman shares his story and gives insight into where his help came from and how churches and leaders can provide support for those affected by mental health issues.

March 16, 2016 1 1 comments
Blog

I believe that ministry leaders would greatly benefit from taking the occasional field trip to neighbouring churches both within and outside their denominational tribe.

March 10, 2016 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

If you are a leader, what has been your experience connecting with teens on a deeper level? If you are a teen or young adult, what do you wish your church understood?

March 7, 2016 2 4 comments
Blog

In the six months I have been doing my job I have come to realize one thing. One of the most important things I can do for my students is be available and intentional. 

February 22, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Sometimes I think that the nature of our jobs as youth leaders means we can't cry and that is FALSE! 

February 20, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Activity or Game

This will be short sweet and to the point! If ever you guys need something to do on a random day, or the first week of every month (like I do) I recommend CRASH nights!

February 20, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar provides guidelines to help congregations minister to high school students preparing for graduation and offer helpful tips on how to care for students once they are in college or at a university.

February 16, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar explores ten specific practices that will serve both youth ministry and the intergenerational church in strengthening their faith formation work. 

January 20, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

Check out this article to find updates on the Canadian Youth Ministry Project that was launched by Faith Formation Ministries. Exciting things are happening!

January 11, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Sometimes in youth ministry we may miss a greater point. There are students who bail on youth group for sports, yes, but the great thing is: There are kids who still come! And that's exciting!

January 10, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

When those kids come to Youth Group we need to know them on a "first name" basis only. They need a chance to be themselves and create their own persona rooted in Christ.

December 21, 2015 2 0 comments
Blog

I tried to go about my business but phrases from their conversation made me think, “Ah, these are ministry people.” I wondered, are these guys listening to the students they hope to impact?

December 21, 2015 0 0 comments
Blog

Meaningful contact between older adults and young people in North America has become increasingly uncommon. Church seems to be the final frontier that cultivates such natural interaction. 

December 14, 2015 1 0 comments

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On January 25-28, 2017 there's a wonderful event happening in Denver for children's ministry leaders, pastors, youth ministry leaders, and all other faith formation folks. Hosted by the Association for Presbyterian Church Educators this years conference features speakers Nadia Bolz Weber and Larron Jackson and includes a wide range of excellent workshops. Find out more here.

Gin,

 

Keep up the good work.  If there has been turnover in youth group leadership lately they may be testing you as to your response.  In that case it may not be as much about a new style of teaching to get to the kids who seem to know it all as it is about hanging in there with them, and in a sense, suffering with them in that way.  

But yes, there are bad nights sometimes.  I knew plenty when I did youth ministry.  Ask me about the World's Largest Bowl of Cheese Popcorn sometime. (Or don't, please don't.)

If there is a real disruption going on in the group, that can frustrate not only you but the kids who are there to learn or contribute.  I found a helpful book in dealing with these situations with respect is Les Christie's When Church Kids Go Bad: How to Love and Work with Rude, Obnoxious and Apathetic Students.  

Persevere!

Well for starts one thing would HAVE to be that they believe in Christ and can bring fun into learning more about how to follow him every single day!

Amen. Thanks for your comments

The old saying that we should worry about things we can do something about and leave the rest to God? Most theological questions, like higher math, are beyond understanding to most of us and are best left to God and/or math majors. 

This has been an illuminating read in understanding some of the dynamics of anxiety and suggestions for how anxiety can be addressed and accommodated. Thank you Jarett, Josh, and Annika for sharing this and for your commitment to one another.

Thank you Josh and Jarett for bravely sharing your story. It really highlights the need for all of us to become more educated and more sympathetic to those with mental health issues. I think as a church we have a long way to go to removing the stigma we place on others. I pray your story is another step forward. 

Hats off to Jarrett, Josh, Annika, and the whole group for making this work for Jarrett! I wonder how this experience will linger with everyone in the days, weeks, and years to come. I have a guess about one thing: Jarrett's openness about the challenges he was facing may have helped everyone to become a bit more open and vulnerable about their own struggles. 

For those eagerly waiting, part 2 is now live

Looking forward to part 2!

 

Eagerly awaiting part two!

Annika, thanks for posting this. Looking forward to part 2!

Thanks again Mark, and you too Ron,

currently our Jr. high group is reading the Bible together out loud, one verse and paragraph at a time. And we are using about ten different translations, so the kids have to listen well. The goal is to improve their reading of the Bible skills, attenuating their ears to the variances. The experience has proven to be quite effective thus far.

the next skill we want to teach them is to engage in reading the Bible as a conversation with God (active listening). So I wondered how a text might end up speaking to a youth about 'discrimination' and/or 'bullying' should we read the story of Hagar? Or how a youth might ponder suicide when reading the story of Elijah after the Mt. Carmel story?

based on your comments, I am hearing you say that we need to allow the youth to actively listen and if the story speaks to them about such thoughts/actions - great! But do not attempt to deliberately the youth there.

if all this sounds great, thanks!

if I missed something, please comment.

Dale

Thanks Dale, very much appreciated.  I've used a variety of texts.    I've found poetry (Psalms) to be very good. And I've used the stories where Jesus is interacting one-to-one with another person.  I would be cautious of attempting to use a text with the attempt to speak into an issue.  The goal of Lectio is the practice of active listening, not the "lesson" of the text.

Something I've also found helpful is to use an alternate translation, especially for well-known passages. The new terms help bring a freshness to the passage.  

I hope this is helpful, and that your experience with your teens is beneficial.

A few I have used were Psalm 23, sections of Psalm 139, and sections of Psalm 145. 

Hello Mark,

thanks for posting this article.

Ron De Vries, you indicate that you have done this with some youth in the past.

Can either of you, or others, suggest particular texts that you have used? 

And, did you have a theme or goal that you wanted to achieve with the youth?

I am wondering if there are particular texts that might help broach subjects that the youth are struggling with...

Many thanks!

Dale

Thank you for this encouraging post and great reminder of I prayer we should all be praying in our ministry work!

That sounds like a wonderful idea!

Perhaps we need to record, via DVD, "elders" testimonies about their walk with the Lord?

 

 It appeared in May of last year, either the 19th or the 26th as a guest post. 

Here's the article on the network that Michele is talking about: On Chronically Normal People

Thanks for the information. Michele, where on the Network can we find that one article?

 Oh, and by the way there will be two articles in the Spring issue of SZMAGAZINE due to appear on April 4th that I wrote. They only publish online now, but you can get a subscription for $50.00 that will allow you to print as many copies as you want.  These subscriptions are mostly for organizations since they usually have the funds to afford that. One of them was already published on the CRC Network. 

I am very encouraged to hear about this cross training teaching at Neerlandia. When I am there in June, I would love to hear more about how it went.

Hello again Ron: I am commenting from home tonight as I am thrilled to see the "conversation going". If I were in my church office I could add to the list of resources.  At Neerlandia CRC, during the month of March, Pastor Ron Klok and I put together a CrossTraining series on Mental Illness Toward Understanding and Responding. That prompts me to say that for now I would add that our church family can be a valuable resource once we open up the topic for discussion. Blessings to all as we continue the conversation. Liz Nanninga, RN and parish nurse NCRC

Thanks for sharing, Austin! Having a personal relationship (and following through on commitments!) is huge. Really appreciate your thoughts. 

Great idea, Arthur! That personal connection is huge and what a great question. It gets at the deeper question of "How is your heart?" 

I really LOVE what Arthur Abbott said! In my experience, I have taken students out to our local coffee shop and we just sit together. I also got to their school every week. Being present in their lives has opened the (he cares) door and that has been helpful for starting the meaningful conversations. 

 

There is a man in my church by the name of Alvin Vandegriend. He and I have been meeting for weeks talking about payer and spiritual gifts, and one of the greatest things he told me was, "Keep track of who they are and what they do and be in prayer consistently for them. Whether they know it or not that builds a bridge between you both." 

So I guess to summarize it I would say continuously be present as much as you can(school, talking at church, events they participate in) and continuously be in prayer. That has worked for me.

Thanks for the recommendation Mark. I plan to add this to my reading list

Ron, thanks for this. Another book I highly recommend is Ministry with Persons with Mental Illness and Their Families. Mark

Thank you for this Michele. 

 Among periodicals for people who are not specialists in the field of mental health are Anchor Magazine for people who suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. SZMAGAZINE targets those who suffer from schizophrenia and schizo-affective disorder. I believe there is also one for those afflicted with bipolar disorders, but you can check out the site mentalwellnesstoday.com for more information.  These magazines are published by an evangelical Christian, named Bill McPhee.

 I did watch this webinar, and it reminded me that even though anxiety is not a major problem of mine, I do tend to get anxious when responsibilities pile up and I have to be careful that I don't take more than I can handle.  Having schizophrenia even if I'm functioning at a high level still leaves me more fragile than people who are healthy.

I have found it useful to approach one-on-one or a group in the narthex before and after services, and say, "Can I ask you guys/gals a question?" I wait for an affirmative response and then ask, "What's been the most difficult thing you are facing in your spiritual lives this week?" I wait for a response and then take off from there with a deeper level spiritual conversation. I always get a response, and the challenge is having enough time to continue the conversation because the service is starting or someone gets called to the car.

 

Great post, Marc! I hope that the questions you're asking stir up some prayerful reflection in those who have an opportunity to shift their church culture in the right direction.

Greetings Tim:

  "In the 1969 book Recollections of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West, Benedictine monk Br. David Steindl-Rast wrote that Thomas said that he wanted "to become as good a Buddhist as I can."  [from Clark below] To me that is as close to practising as it gets.

But just for accuracy, a well balanced piece by Anthony Clark entitled "Can You Trust Thomas Merton" clearly demonstrates his move towards Eastern mysticism and Zen especially. It is here:

http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/can-you-trust-thomas-merton

 

Another recent post by Justin Taylor, who does not seem to engage with former Eastern mystics, but mostly scholars is a well-balanced treatment that even looks at some of postive givens of Roman Catholic mysticism. However he waves a huge caution flag and states the following dangers about such. Sadly the above article fails to address any of them. Taylor in his "An FAQ on Mysticism and the Christian Life" states:

What are some differences between Christian mysticism and biblical spirituality?

First, Christian Mystics tend to have an optimistic understanding of human nature. As noted above, they do not believe that mystical experiences can be self-generated, and hence it would be incorrect to label them Pelagian. But it would not be inappropriate to suggest that many of them were semi-Pelagian, or at least practiced spirituality in such a way that would lead one to this conclusion. For some, this is more explicit than for others (note George Fox’s notion that all of us are born with a divine “spark”). If all of us have a principle of grace or a ray of divine light residing within us, no matter our eternal spiritual condition, it follows that the ultimate difference between those who progress toward illumination and on to union are those with whom the human will has made a self-determination. The biblical view, to the contrary, is that all of us were “dead in the trespasses and sin in which you once walked . . . we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and of the mind and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Paul proceeds immediately to reveal the difference between those who remain in this state and those who change: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:1-7).

Second, there is another deficient element to the Christian Mystic’s anthropology: he does not fully recognize the healthy and holistic way in which God has created us. The Christian mystic tends to rend asunder what God has joined: doctrine and devotion, head and heart. Because the mystical experience is not open to falsification, external examination, or even rational analysis, the role of the “heart” must be elevated above the “mind.” In fact, part of the purgation process is to rid oneself of one’s thoughts that could supplying distracting data that would prevent a divine encounter. Whereas the biblical model is to fill our hearts and mind with the great and precious promises of God (2 Pet. 1:4)—meditating on his Word day and night (Josh. 1:8), such that it is compared to our daily, sustaining bread (Matt. 4:4)—the Christian Mystic seeks to not only purge himself of all that is sinful and encumbering (stage 2) but ultimately wants to purge himself of even his delights in the character and presence of God (stage 4). This is deeply and manifestly unbiblical.

Third, despite what they might profess, the Christian Mystic’s actions tend to undermine the necessity of grace. Biblically, there is grace to forgive and there is grace to empower. We are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8-9), and yet Paul also regularly imparts a benediction of “grace and peace” to his readers. Paul is livid with the false teaching in Galatia that suggests that we start with grace and then move on to works as the means of spiritual sustenance, incredulously asking, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3). The Christian Mystic often gives the impression that God might begin the process but it is up to us to find the right formula or set of rules to experience a deep and mystical encounter with him. Whereas the Christian Mystic is content to speak about the ascent and descent of the human soul in its question for a divine encounter, God tells us in his word that we are not to say in our hearts, “‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down) or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). Rather, it says: “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:6-10).

Fourth, the previous point flow is bound up with  the Christian Mystics’ downplaying of the legal and forensic aspects of divine salvation. The work of Christ on the cross not only wipes our slates clean, but it also provides us with full, legal righteousness in the sight of God. We are not merely put back into the pre-probationary garden, where Adam was sinless but with the potential to fall; rather, we are united to Christ and adopted as his young brothers and as sons of the Most High. Everything he has, we have. Our salvation is secure not because of our works but because of his work. The Christian Mystic seems to view Christ mainly as our example, with the danger of Christ as our savior at times downplayed—and usually with Christ as substitute almost completely obscured. Only in so far as we realize that we are possessed by Christ and fully accepted by our Father can we be freed to walk with him in love, without servile fear. In so doing, our relationship to God is more like living with a loving Father whom we aim to please than it is like working for a boss whom it is difficult to visit with and where one’s job is always on the line.

Fifth, the Christian Mystic confuses the biblical order of union with Christ and communion with God. All who are spiritual—that is, all who are born again and made alive with God—are united with him. There are not some Christians who are united and some who are not. It is part of a package deal. With the legal and relational reality of union with Christ, we have communion—fellowship, participation—with the triune God. Whereas our union with Christ is immovable and secure, our communion with God can have ups and downs. There can be moments of greater and lesser closeness and relationship as we repent and return to the Lord again and again. The Christian Mystic conflates these two aspects of the divine-human relationship because he has such a small category for the forensic reality, and thus he is—in a sense—seeking that which he could already obtain from a childlike trust in his substitute and savior, and runs the serious risk of perpetuating self-righteousness in seeking to work for that which could be his as a gift. Another way of describing this is that the Christian Mystic has an under-realized soteriology.

Sixth, combined with the Christian Mystic’s under-realized soteriology, there is an over-realized eschatology. As mentioned above, we are united to Christ and seated in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:7). Those in Christ have already died and our life is “hidden with Christ in God.” What the Christian Mystic seems to fail to recognize is that when Christ returns, the—and only then—will we “appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:3-4). The Christian Mystic is seeking for something good—to be in the full and final presence of God without sin or stain and to be ultimately absorbed into the life of the Trinity—but he is seeking it at the wrong time. Our focus should be on communing with God through the means of grace, through individual discipline and corporate worship, seeking to know him more and more as we love God with all that we are and seek to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Seventh, the Christian Mystic makes a fundamental misstep in seeking to have a direct and immediate experience of God that is unmediated. At first glance, this desire can be seen as commendable. Should we not want to experience the presence of the Lord apart from any barriers or intermediaries or encumbrances? The biblical answer is that we should want to experience God in the way that he has ordained. First, we return once again to the issue of the work of Christ, who was sent by the Father to have a mediatorial role. He did not come as only a teacher or as a great example, but as our substitute savior, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), the “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:5-6). The only way to the Father is through him (John 14:6), and the Spirit and the Son combine to intercede for us before the Father and interpret our inarticulate prayers (cf. Rom. 8:27). Secondly, returning to the idea of an over-realized eschatology, we must recognized that on this side of the new heavens and the new earth, God “has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:2), and we have access to his Son through his written Word. So the Word of God must be an irreducibly central role in both our communication to, and our communication from, the living God. To seek to separate God from his word, and Christ from his work, are unthinkable unrealities. And to bypass both of these mediatorial aspects of divine communication is a grave mistake that opens the door to that which contradicts the word of God.

Eighth, though not all Christian Mystics have the exact same presuppositions regarding the corporate nature of fellowship, there is a troubling tendency in the tradition to practice spiritual isolationism. We noted earlier in this essay that the Christian Mystic rightly obeys Jesus’s command that there are times when we must get alone in our prayer closets to pray in secret to our Father who is in secret. But the Christian Mystic sees the height of spiritual achievement as involved the mystical process of purging all distractions and individually seeking a communion with God. Even many Mystics who have sought to live in community have done so in a way that is isolated from society at large. What seems to be a noble quest for God, involving a renunciation of earthly pleasures (from marital love to clothing that does not scratch) is not held forth in the Bible as the ideal of godliness. We are to be eager to gather with the saints in order to stir one another up to love and good works, to encourage and meet with one another instead of neglecting each other. The idea of full-time Christians withdrawing from society and banding together may seem more spiritual, but it is not biblical. Spiritual growth takes place not only in the prayer closet, but in corporate worship as the people of God gather together to hear the Word of God read, and the Word of God proclaimed, and the Word of God sung.

Ninth, the Christian Mystic may be critiqued for having an incipient Gnosticism in his theology and practice. While biblical spirituality would certainly encourage every professing believer to purge himself of sinful thoughts and behavior, the Christian Mystic tends to go beyond this. The body, and the things of this world, are frequently regarded as competitors with God rather than gifts from God to be utilized and enjoyed. When Paul tells us to “set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2), he does not have in mind a fundamental spiritual-material duality. This is seen by his explanation of those earthly things we must shun just a few verses later: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. . . .anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” (vv. 5, 8). These are contrasted with “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (v. 12). The Christian Mystic must seriously reckon with Paul’s association of deceitful spirits and demonic teaching with the forbidding of things like marriage and foods under the guise of godliness (1 Tim. 4:1). Instead, Paul says, “everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:4). If the Christian Mystic insists that some of God’s created goods must be purged, and that even his enjoyment of God’s very presence must be put away in the dark night of the soul in order to achieve union with God, then he is walking in contradiction to the very way and will of God.

Finally, although this has been touched on before in various ways, we may note again the crucial place that Scripture should play in our understanding of and practice of biblical spirituality. A bedrock principle of spirituality that is biblical is that Scripture itself plays an essential, norming role. God has spoken, and he is not silent (to use Francis Schaeffer’s memorable terminology). His word is clear, not obscure. His word is authoritative, not just advisory. His word is necessary, not optional. And his word is sufficient, not just helpful. The Apostle Paul proclaimed that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). At the end of the day, this is one of the clearest contrasts between Christian Mysticism and biblical spirituality. In the former, spiritual quests are made that are not informed and constrained by God’s self-revelation in holy Scripture. If we want our spirituality to be biblical, Scripture must be our norming norm.

Source:  http://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2015/10/30/an-faq-on-my...

Great Treasure chest full of valuable information......Thanks Again, Leslie!!!!

I have had good experiences leading lectio with grade 9 students. I have led sessions with students as young as 12. 

I'm curious about peoples' experience with a younger group, such as grade 9.  

Merton was a practicing Buddhist? I'm no Merton scholar, but a quick glance on Wikipedia shows that isn't the case. And even if Buddhists or Hindus practiced something similar to Lectio Divina, I don't think they'd be doing it using scripture from the Bible.

I glanced at the Challies article and it seems to address pastors who might use Lectio Divina as the sole basis for their sermon-writing (rather than other hermeneutical tools, commentaries, etc). I can't imagine a pastor doing that and, even if some would, it's a very different scenario than what is described here.

 

Greetings:

      As much as I agree that more quiet is excellent, and that less rah-rah is helpful, I wonder if you have allowed the pendulum to swing too far. It is a known fact that Lectio Divina has its roots in Roman Catholic mysticism and by definition mysticism is the attempt of a person or a group of persons to have unmediated access to the divine, or simply put "union with God.". It is no secret that Thomas Merton one Roman Catholic who advanced this mystical strand and was very much popularized by Richard Foster's book, "Celebration of Discipline" was a practicing Buddhist. In Buddhist and also Hindu thought, the idea of self-emptying to be in touch with the spiritual is well known. The very description above, of quieting and centering could be just as Buddhist or Hindu as it is supposedly Christian.

I think a big buyer beware sign is needed.

Shalom

PS. Tom Challies who is a very consistent and well-balanced blogger has written a piece called "The Dangers of Lectio Divina" in which he worries about its highly subjective approach.

http://www.challies.com/articles/the-danger-of-lectio-divina

PSS. The website Lighthouse Trails features a former new-age guru who became a Christian. He often comments on mystical strains in Christianity. Here is a link to a "Lectio Divina: What it is, What it is Not, and Why It is a Dangerous Practice" on that website that documents the influence of another Catholic mystic, Thomas Keating who advocated "naked intent directed to God" through centering prayer.

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/lectiodivina.htm

 

 

   

 

Steve,

This is not a CRC resource, but it seems to be decent. It is called Re:form by Sparkhouse. It has three different studies foundational theology, youth bible study, and traditions. The traditions does have one that is geared towards the Reformed faith. It is a little bit corny at times, but kids seem to enjoy it. Here is the link http://wearesparkhouse.org/teens/reform/

HI Steve, 

Yeah, unfortunately most of what Faith Alive has available is a little dated at this point. I used the HC and Me materials earlier this year with 9th graders and if you can get over some of the dated references, it's still a great tool for discussion... but I can see the need to check out other things. There's always another Faith Alive publication, Questions Worth Asking that might fit, but again that's also going to be in need of an update and aimed more at 9th/10th graders. 

There's a few CRC youth ministry groups on Facebook that are good places for these questions too... if you email me at datkins@crcna.org I can try to get you hooked into those conversations as well. 

 

 

My kids LOVE and look forward to VBS every summer.  And, let's be honest mom's, who doesn't want a "healthy" break from their kids during the summer so we don't hear those dreaded words "I'm BORED!"  I look for a VBS that will suit all 4 of my kids who's ages range from 5-12.  I look for a VBS at a church close to home, but one that also aligns with our family's Christian foundation.  Since I work from home, I look for a VBS that meets during the day time hours (preferably mornings).  Although for working parents that can be a challenge and I have seen several churches offering VBS in the evenings.  You will notice that several churches use the same VBS curriculum too.   I noticed the VBS near my home (which is a CRC church), has a program called Weird Animals Vacation Bible School.  I also noticed that during this week the kids will also participate in a hands-on mission project, through World Renew, that will let the kids in our community show God’s love by providing farm animals for children of families struggling economically.   HOW AWESOME!!

Every year my kids walk away from their VBS week long experience fulfilled.  And as a parent I love seeing God work through them during their week long journey.  So I encourage parents to get your kids involved in a VBS this summer - most churches have all the info right on-line now have registrations available on-line too!!

Excellent. Thanks for this, Ron!

Thanks for this additional suggestion Cindy of continuing the relationship with the missionary. I especially like the idea of exchanging video greetings. We've done that in my own church where it was well received by the missionary as well as members of our congregation. This allowed relationships to be developed with a broader group of people beyond the mission team that had gone out to serve.

These are great suggestions for following up on a trip.  I would like to add one: Help the youth cultivate an ongoing relationship with the missionary or ministry they visited.  It can be discouraging to have a group come in with exciting music, colorful materials, and other things and then disappear, leaving the missionary to continue his or her work on a limited budget unable to provide the excitement the short-term group generated.  If the group keeps in touch, relationships can be cultivated.  Perhaps the group can send Christmas gifts or holiday supplies, do a fundraiser for an outreach program, exchange video greetings regularly, or adopt a project financially.  These continued contacts will show both the missionary/ministry leader and the people he/she serves that the visiting group wasn't just there to add another notch on their experience log, but to build friendships in Christ.

 

Great article, thanks!

Yes! We would love for you to share the videos. Let me know if you'd like any help or have questions! 

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No problem, Aaron. Feel free to share a link or two. Either here in the comments or as a separate post (just click 'start a new post' button in the upper right corner). Welcome to The Network!

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