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Is that what you believe you actually do? Do you think of yourself as a "Saver of people." The simple and selfish Christian answer is probably yes to that question. But I believe the real answer is "no." An absolute "No!"
June 27, 2013 0 0 comments
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Social missional ignorance is more extensive than feeding the poor, providing beds for homeless, or AA meetings. A socially missional church not only aims to protect the broken, it stands to prevent the issues. And it’s my belief that we haven’t done an overwhelmingly good job of preventing issues because we’ve been afraid to openly or honestly talk about them.
June 20, 2013 0 1 comments
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The other woman spoke, “I love Jesus, but I hate Christians.” “Yea, they’re terrible,” the first woman agreed. They both chuckled a bit and continued on with their browsing, soon moving to another section of the store.
May 30, 2013 0 0 comments
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Much has been written about going on short term mission trips, both good and bad. I would define a short term mission trip as less than one month. Usually they are from one to two weeks. There are many good books written on the subject, one of the best is “  When Helping Hurts” by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert.  I still remember when I first read it, I was half way through and I was convinced we should never do short term mission trips again.
May 21, 2013 0 6 comments
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One of the things I thought when God first charged me with this challenge was that somehow it was going to be so easy. It was as if I was going to walk into my Youth Support Team meeting and tell them how I thought things were sucking, and we were all going to hold hands, pray, smile, cry, and walk out changed and ready for a fresh start. 
May 2, 2013 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

The annual youth ministry conference is being held at Western Theological Seminary in Holland Michigan featuring Pete Ward from King's College, London. The topic is "Made Known: Youth Ministry and the Gospel" and will run Thursday May 9 to Friday afternoon May 10. Please see the Journey website...

April 30, 2013 0 0 comments
Q&A

Does anyone use this Faith Alive youth resource?  I am looking at it for my junior high youth group, ages 6th to 8th grade.  What are your thoughts on depth, discussion starting and "corniness" factor??  Thanks for the input!

April 25, 2013 0 0 comments
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One of my most beloved passages comes from Ephesians 4 where Paul is instructing this group of Christians (who of course know their religion very well) of they way they ought to be acting. And in the middle of condemning them, he cautions them to watch their tongue, among a plethora of other cautions.
April 17, 2013 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Over the past few years, the RCA has been working closely with several of the leaders at Fuller Youth Institute’s Sticky Faith program to give RCA youth leaders opportunities come together and consider how they can best prepare their teens for life after youth ministry and help them form a faith...

March 26, 2013 0 0 comments
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We probably already know his name: former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Ares, now known to everyone as Pope Francis I. The new face of the Catholic church. But even more, it seems the newly minted Pope has a desire to see faith communities bridge gaps that have long separated us by painful memories of the history between evangelicals and Catholics; he has a desire to see the two refocus.
March 20, 2013 0 3 comments
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It is my belief that the church finds itself at a very interesting and pivotal moment in history. Moral questions have taken the most fascinating turn because secular culture is pointing the Church back to her own Gospel message: grace; forgiveness; inclusion; and most of all a love for God and each other. 
March 17, 2013 0 4 comments
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One of our pastoral roles is to help bring our students into greater maturity both in their schools/homes, and in their lives. And with Facebook developing unwarranted drama among our students, we must stop and ask, “Are we guiding students through the land mines of Facebook feed?” 
March 6, 2013 0 2 comments
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The water has returned to the sea, but the path of destruction still remains for those who were part of the tragic Sandy Hook shootings. And in the wake of that tragedy is a deep desire for answers to why killer Adam Lanza took his rage out on so many children and their teachers at an elementary Connecticut school.
February 20, 2013 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

When I was a youth director I was always looking for new fundraising ideas, so I thought I'd pass this along. Equal Exchange now has a fundraising program that involves selling candy bars at $2 a pop for a 50% profit. Sell candy, do justice--sounds sweet to me! See details here.  

February 18, 2013 0 0 comments
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Let’s face it: students are hard to break through, and it can be a major challenge getting them to open up. So here are a few tips to help get us thinking and, hopefully, talking. 
February 7, 2013 0 0 comments
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My wife, daughter and I have just returned from Atlanta where we, along with 60,000 young adults, attended the 2013 Passion Conference. We have been volunteering at Passion since 2005 and it is so exciting to see so many young men and women  passionately worshipping God with a desire to serve Him on their campus and in their churches. Experiencing all of this at Passion, I long for my youth back home to also have this kind of passion for Christ
January 28, 2013 0 0 comments
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We all feared them when the broke the scene, but now cannot live without their convenience or instant gratification. Sometimes they’re slim and sexy, other times their robust and powerful. But most importantly, they’ve become integrated into our daily routine: smartphones, tablets, computers.... Devices.
January 21, 2013 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

On Thursday, January 24 at 7pm, Brookside CRC (Grand Rapids, MI) will be hosting an evening of conversation with youth ministry expert Chap Clark.  This is a great opportunity for youth workers and parents in West Michigan to hear one of the premier minds in youth ministry talk about how to help...

January 14, 2013 0 0 comments
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I remember it so clearly, that moment of enlightenment. I was sitting in a local cafe with someone from our congregation and was sharing my sense of wandering with him. I was confiding in him and trying to identify the direction in which I should go with something I was struggling through. Then he suddenly stopped me and said, “You just need to get out there and do something.” 
January 8, 2013 0 2 comments
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In practice, I and other youth leaders that I work with, often do all the leading ourselves. It is less complicated, isn’t as messy, and takes less time. In the rush of our week, with work, family and other obligations, who has time to involve the youth in actually leading youth group on a Wednesday night. It is just easier to do it yourself.
December 28, 2012 0 3 comments
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In a time when our society is devastated by the actions of a single broken human being, it’s good for all areas of a system to bind together and aim for reconciliation and consonance for the families of the victims of Newtown, Connecticut.
December 18, 2012 0 0 comments
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One of the things I fear this generation is leaving behind (and my generation alike) is the idea of traditions. If I'm starkly honest about myself, I'm personally not the biggest fan of traditions. But, I think I'm more frightened by the word than by the practice in an of itself.
December 11, 2012 0 1 comments
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We talk about losing youth in our congregations.  We talk about having less and less people wanting to be part of council.  I wonder - why don't we start talking about youth on council. How young is too young?
December 10, 2012 0 11 comments
Discussion Topic

For those of you who are looking for quality Reformed materials for your youth ministry library, now is a good time to stock up on many of the great titles that Faith Alive Christian Resources offers. Whether you’re looking for resources on teaching the Heidelberg Catechism or preparing your...

December 6, 2012 0 1 comments
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I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I couldn't believe the island I had found myself on, and the lack of awareness for where I was spiritually. The well was dry, and the rains had come. Yet, someone had forgotten to remove the roof which was redirecting all the water. I had failed to communicate.
December 1, 2012 0 1 comments

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Don't want to throw a wrench into the works, however, serving on council also means sitting on a board of an incorporated NGO. State/Provincial legislation in this area usually requires one to be of legal voting age. 

Consequently, the denomination needs to separate the matter of "profession of faith" from "membership in a society", i.e. church as a legal entity.

a person is called by THE LORD to be part of HIS CHURCH.  after public profession of FAITH, he or she has not only the  RIGHT BUT ALSO THE DUTY to fully participate,in all aspects of KINGDOM  work/

Some interesting words from Job 32:

“I am young in years,
and you are old;
that is why I was fearful,
not daring to tell you what I know.
7 I thought, ‘Age should speak;
advanced years should teach wisdom.’
8 But it is the spirit[b] in a person,
the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.
9 It is not only the old[c] who are wise,
not only the aged who understand what is right."

Recently, I have been watching some presentations by John Piper, and sermons by Mark Driscoll.   They are addressing and evangelizing the youth.   They are somewhat entertaining, but mostly engaging.   When you have numerous twenty year olds coming back week after week to listen to an hour long sermon, this might give you a clue as to the difference between entertainment and engagement.   Or how an "entertaining" speaker can "engage" the audience.   There is probably no formula to this, but young people will be engaged  when they are directly challenged in a real way about their faith and lifestyle.   And this means that some of them might walk out, because the message is indeed life changing, which they will not all want to do. 

How young is too young for council? Shoot, before we ask that question maybe we ought to deal with the question of how young is too young to be allowed to vote at congregational meetings. My congregation answered that by banning those under 16 from voting, even though they've made profession of faith. My motions to elimnate that were quickly shot down during both my terms on council. I mentioned that, given the policy, and in the interest of honesty, maybe we oughtn't read that part of the profession of faith form that says "I now welcome you to all the privileges of full communion. I welcome you to full participation in the life of the church. I welcome you to its responsibilities, its joys, and its sufferings."

For me, a few ideas come to mind here.  First and foremost, maybe it's not about pushing the age limit lower and lower, but rather about first addressing the issue of the council strongholds being willing to pass on the baton to a younger generation of leaders, and to walk alongside them (as a council member ex-officio, or similar).  My guess is, without having this discussion first, and making this a council-wide priority, plugging in a 21 year old into the council room will have negative effects.

Second, I get frustrated when I hear about "youth representatives" on committees.  This creates a two-tier system, which essentially minimizes the voice of the youth.  Each person who sits at the table comes by nature as a representative of certain groups or demographics, but we name only the "youth rep" for our own agenda.  How come we don't have the "working moms rep" or "over 80 rep" or "knitter's rep" at the table?  

Last, never underestimate the potential having a young adult at the table can bring to the meeting.  What would it mean to have someone constantly ask, "So, tell me, why exactly are we doing it this way?" might slow the meeting down, but it would quickly bring intentionality back to the purpose of your church.  Not to mention the fact that there are some youth that simply have the gift of leadership, perhaps moreso than some of our existing members.  What better place to develop that than within the church?  We have a whole pile of children, youth, and young adults that love Jesus, love the church, and deeply desire to belong and invest in a local congregation.  They want to pour back into the community that helped shape their faith.  We absoutely must give them the opportunity!

I don't think a teenager has the maturity needed to be an elder or deacon. Having said that, I think it would be a good idea  to include them in the council somehow so they can become aware of what it means to lead the church. What I would like to see is more young people, teenagers and post high, given the responsibility of heading ministries in the church - youth groups, Gems, Cadets, Sunday School, etc. This will give them a chance to mature in their roles as leaders. It will also make them feel like they can make an important contribution to the church.  If the older generation has been in charge of youth ministries, it's time to turn over the job of leadership. This also gives the older members a chance to look at new ways God might be leading them. If we give our young people a chance to lead in ministry, to experience the joys and frustrations, that will help them to develop their leadership skills. Then they will be ready to lead as elders and deacons. Maybe they will even think of pursuing the call of ministry, after gaining some experience.

This is really great ! Thanks, Derek! I've shared this with others. 

There is another aspect to the youth program that could help to bring in the entire congregation.   The most successful youth program is one that enlists the help and support of every single adult in the church.   By that I mean that the congregation needs to pray for the youth, teach the youth, encourage the youth in coming to Christ, and encourage the youth in faithful living for Christ.   No youth pastor or any other pastor can do that all by himself.   Every parent and grandparent needs to be taught how to do that, to help with that at home, on vacation, at school activities, in evening discussions, shared meals, and at every opportunity.  The preaching of the lead pastor should also be mentioning that from time to time.  The youth are the closest and most neighborly mission field, in which everyone can be a missionary.  

posted in: From The Shadows

Thought I'd give you an update on our monthly service projects.  Our first project for our high school students fell through as it was a bad weekend for illness and students being out of town.  Instead, my family and one other student and her family went out for dinner - which was a great way to get a better insight into the life of this student.

Our middle school group hosted a Trunk or Treat event on halloween night.  They were joined by some of the high school students and all of them did a good job setting up, making the neighborhood guests feel welcome, guiding them through the church (moved it inside because of the weather), and helped clean up.  Not sure if students were that impacted by this event but it was a fun, non-threatening way to get them started on the idea.

Last Sunday evening, I bought some Little Caesar's $5 gift cards, made up a note stating why were doing this and identifying our church, and took the high school students to a strip mall to hand them out to whomever was leaving one of the stores.  All the students were required to go up to person and say something like "Hi, I'm Ken from Southern Heights and I just want to give you this Little Caersar's gift card.  Merry Christmas."  Even the super shy student managed to do this and enjoyed it!  Afterward, we went to Steak N Shake and discussed the night.  They were surprised that about 1/3 of the people turned them down.  We also had a great discussion about how just about everyone who took the card couldn't believe they were getting something with no strings attached or that we refused any type of donation.  They're now looking forward to our next service projects.

Last night, I bought about 180 candy canes at the dollar store, attached a note that said "Merry Christmas from Southern Heights", and brought our middle school group to the same strip mall.  We divided into teams of 2 or 3 and went to various stores where the students greeted people with a simple "Hi, I'm Ken from Southern Heights. Merry Christmas!" as they handed them a candy cane.  We had talked in advance that some people might not take one, and that helped the students as about 1/4 of the people turned them down.  Once they got into the groove, they were so excited to see the smiles on people's faces and hear their surprised "Thank You".  Some people immediately reached into their pocket for a donation, but the kids were quick to let them know that this was their gift to them and they expected nothing in return.  One clerk from the bookstore we were standing at apparently had made a quick errand to another store and was heading back into the store when one of our young men approached her and said his piece and gave her the candy cane.  The look of pure joy on her face was priceless - and then she gave him a big hug while she thanked him.  I was interested in what his reaction would be to that and when he came back to the group his reaction was "She smells nice!"  Just as we were finishing handing out our candy canes, this clerk came back out with a cup of hot chocolate for this student and told him she was so touched because that was the first time in her life a non-family member had wished her a "Merry Christmas" just because - wanting nothing in return.  Other groups had stories of people who were so touched they also gave them hugs (all hugs were appropriate and leaders were right there for protection).  When we got back to church and shared our stories, I could tell the kids really got the concept of giving of themselves without expecting nothing in return.  We talked about how this student gave 5 seconds of his time and a gift that cost less than a dime, and how that impacted this person's life.  This group is now pumped to do more service projects.

I was amazed at how God used these simple ideas in such a great way.  He is so amazing in what He can do!

Our next project will be joint projects as our youth groups join our community in a community food drive.  We will drag boxes on carts around an "assembly line" where others will pack the boxes.  After we make a few rounds on the assembly line, we will then take several names and bring the food to families.  Seeing a community work together impacts the students, as well as the gratitude of the recipients. 

I'll keep you posted on how our events go.

Thanks so much for the support! One of the many challenges of ministry is breaking traditional models or understanding of church, and what you've said above tells me you understand how to approach the issue. Thanks again! 

No, they don't need a spouse who plays the piano.   They need to train their children to play the piano.   Even a child who only plays the melody, is still a greater gift than "buying" a pianist, because that child will grow and develop and improve.  And when that imported pianist leaves, then what?   Back to square one.   While the child who learns will be there longer.  Even in a small church with less than 100 people, it is possible to have six children learning to play, and others can play different instruments.   Music is a gift from God;  a gift to be used, not just to be listened to. 

Not that there's anything wrong with having a "spouse" who plays the piano, but concentrate on the children first. 

Hi Simon,

I've assembled several commissioning liturgies for a non-ordained youth pastor/youth director. If interested, send me an e-mail (pastor@bethelsc.org) and I'll attach them as Word documents.

In Christ,

John Lee

Hi Simon

I have a liturgy we used to ordain our youth pastor when he became a ministry associate (now commissioned pastor).  I think that's what you're looking for.  I don't want to add it here if it's not what you're looking for, but if it is, let me know at dbslof@telus.net and I'll send it to you as an attachment.

Bert Slofstra

Hi Simon, a few years ago I wrote a commissioning litany for leaders and teachers for congregations to use as faith nurture programs kick off in the fall. It's not exactly what you are looking for, but it may offer a helpful pattern that you can adapt. You'll find it posted here on the Reformed Worship website. 

A pet peeve of mine is when worshiip leaders include songs with reference to raising hands, and then they don't!  Better then to not use a song with those lyrics, lest this detail show us to be less than sincere.

posted in: Are You A Player?

Shane, 

Thanks for the question.  By commissioning I have in mind a moment in a  service when through a liturgy (i.e. prayer, responsive reading, charge to the youth director, charge to the congregation) the congregation will commission the person we just hired to fill the youth director position here at our church.  

Simon

Are you speaking in terms of "Commissioning" through classis? Or in terms of simply calling a youth director? If you're seeking ordination ("Commissioned Pastor) through the classis, you simply have to set something up through classis clerk. The process (as far as I understand it) varies from exactly how the process goes. But when I did my Article 23 (Commissioned Pastor), I had a mentor who guided me through the process in conglomeration with our congregations pastor (worked on my strengths and weaknesses together).

 

Does that help?

Great article, Ray! I would also question what we're doing outside of our "everyday youth jobs"? This is a challenge I've been forcing myself to do recently because it's so easy to get sucked into doing "youth work". Doing something volunteer without payment (the "service" work we always preach about) is different than leading a Bible study or an event or a praise team or a service project we're being paid to be present for. True volunteer time without your youth by your side I think is also a valuable tool for teaching, leading, and instructing students. The best teachers I learned from were mentors who told life stories, not metaphorical scenarios. 

Love the article!

posted in: Are You A Player?

My passion and focus at church is in worship and how we use art and liturgy in an instructive way. For me, in the worship setting, it's about treating people like adults and focusing less on the "show" and more on the content. Are we telling the gospel story in the art and liturgy we use during the service? Can I as an artist take liberty with a text or scripture to make a broader point that helps people connect with the sermon comming next? Can we provide context for the message? Like I said about memorizing "Bible facts", it isn't just about rushing though a few happy songs so we can get to the sermon. It's looking at the service through a comprehensive lens and helping people connect the dots through word and song and silence. Worship extends far, far beyond a set list of hymns and praise choruses!

Jonathan! You've hit the nail on the head and I'm happy you understand what I'm trying to communicate. I perceive from your comment that you're somehow involved in leadership which makes me curious: What sort of tangible ways you're carrying out the initiatives (living scripture in a palpable way) you've referenced above?

I think in your second paragraph you point out that it's more complex than simply calling millennials (I assume that's who you're refering to) a "60-second" generation. Our attention may seem to last 60 seconds at a time, but we can spend hours dedicated to those 60 second chunks. Also, as anyone who has tried for a perfect 3 stars on all levels of Angry Birds can tell you, those simple puzzles aren't always so easy.

Speaking as a millennial and "technically-still-young" person, I think the obstacles we face in ministry sometimes have more to do with our frustration that old models aren't working anymore rather than anything. I think where in the past youth ministry has been more about the rote memorization of Biblical knowledge, maybe it needs to take a cue from these little puzzle games and be about helping young people make conclusions themselves about their faith. In stead of saying "Jesus wants us to do X, and here are three versus that prove it", it needs to be more like "what do these three versus tell us about how we are called to live as Christians in a complex and messy world outside the Church?"  Now if you'll excuse me, there's a squirrel and some shiny objects outside my window that need my attention. =)

Pete! That's an amazing story! And I totally agree that we are changed by every humble action we do for Christ!

Ken, I'd love to hear more about your mini mission trips! Being that this is a new venture for me personally, I'd love to hear from you more about a) what it is you are doing and b) how you think it's helping your youth. You can post it here (helpful to all of us), or if you prefer email: youth@avcrc.org.

Wholeheartedly agree with the "hands on" gospel.  The leaders of our tudent ministry watched a webinar by Greg Steir from Dare2Share which emphasized getting out there.  How to keep the "mission trip high" for Christ has always been an issue that we've dealt with.  So, we've decided that both our middle and high school student ministries will take one meeting a month to go out and be Christ's hands, feet, ears, etc. to the world - mini mission trips.  It's been proven that students draw closer to Christ through prayer and studying His word when on mission trips, so we're praying that these mini-trips will help draw them to a better and stronger relationship with Christ.  The students can't wait until the service meetings when they get to leave the building and be Christ's church in action.

Ken VanderLugt

Shane,

I'll never forget the first service project I led to inner-city Chicago in 1985.  As the students went behind three locked doors and had to sleep on tables to stay away from the cockroaches, they started asking serious questions like   "how come I have a clean bed and a safe home and these people don't?"   As we painted and cleaned that weekend, I talked alot about grace, sin, and the mercy of God.    We all came back changed and humbled.  Doesn't that happen everytime we serve from the heart?

-Pete Byma

 

Thanks for the excitement, passion and desire to continue and bridge the gap that many times as leaders we fail at; Reaching in both directions we will bridge that transitional gap easier....God bless you as you continue to experience what He has laid on your heart to proclaim without shame!!!!!

Every so often, I think it's a good idea to take a look at how you are doing your youth ministry.  We did that this year with the premise that our vision is good; however, are we doing ministry in way that is in line with our vision?  Then we approached it with the mindset that not only is this a new year, but how would we do this ministry if it was a brand new ministry.  After a good discussion and tossing out quite a few ideas (some wild) we ended up making some significant changes while keeping parts that were effective and will help the students feel continuity from last year. 

It was scary, as a leader, to ask my team these questions, but I'm glad I did as it not only gets us closer to our vision but also gives ownership to the rest of the volunteer team. 

posted in: Why Ask Why?

Jason: Great Questions....it is not usually so Black & White because there are so many factors that effect those changes; to stay ahead of the culture trends, over the last 30 yrs, I believe in the 7 year rule; that is it averages out to 7-10 yrs a new generation evolves with different, likes, goals, visions, technology etc. etc. etc. So making a goal of every 7 years keeps you ahead of the average trend. HOWEVER, if you are honestly "tweeking" your program/curriculum, when you get to that seventh year, not only will you very close to the next generation changes, but it won't look like the changes are that drastic. Also, you are not tweeking the moral foundations/fiber that your beliefs are built on, only the presentation that makes it understandable and easier to chew.The bigger question is "How do we keep youth Ministry worker/pastors to stay at any one given location for more than 3 years. That statistic is a true one, and if yth workers are not staying, they can't even come close to successful ministry in these terms. I'd even be thrilled if that statistic doubled. Also training them to create programs that can be passed along to the next one in line. So the answer to some of that is better training for both employed and volunteer yth minitry workers...

posted in: Why Ask Why?

Albert,

Thanks for sharing your wisdom on this - very practical information!

My question is this - while "tweaking" programs is important, what happens when it comes time to complete overhaul?  How does a leadership team know when it is time to go "back to the drawing board"?  How do we discern the difference between "tweaking" and "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic"?  In other words, sometimes our congregational cultures can be prohbitive in terms of the "model/strucutre" of our youth programs - how do we know when it is time to challenge the perceived knowledge of "the way things have always been done" without throwing the baby out with the bath water?

posted in: Why Ask Why?

JAson: Great way to begin a new Blog.....that is how I began! When I started at my present job (thankfully in the Summer months) my first task was to construct a Mission Statement, a Vision Statement, a Curriculum Overview and then everything and ideas that support it. By doing this I have a birdseye view of where I am going -  a road map, per se, of where I'm going with my approach throughout the year. Do I have detours - Sure, Do I have Road blocks - Absolutely, Do I need to plot a different course - Many times, but it allows me to (1) see my feet in front of me, (2) look down the road and not fall off the path (a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path) and (3) Evaluate it more clearly when I've arrived. At the end of each School year we sit down with our yth and evaluate what went well and what didn't. We correspond this with a Parent Survey to see what their parents see valuable/invaluable about the program. If you do this for 3-4 years then down the road you will have a program that you can use over and over again and just tweeking it a little each you use it to stay up with the times. Also, it creates a program for someone new who may step into the youth ministry position down the road. Always make sure that you are picking issues that are relevant to the times and to the kids; that's one of the biggest benefits of a year-end POw-Wow. MAking sure you're on Target!

posted in: Why Ask Why?

Thanks for the welcome and encouragement, Albert.

I'm definitely "in" for the CYWC and I hope many other Canadian CRC youth workers are able to attend as well - it will prove to be a rewarding and helpful event and the discussion with other CRC youth workers sounds excellent!

Welcome Jason! You are no fraud if you are involved in youth ministry in any capacity....Love the passion, the enthusiasm and the excitement....keep your seatbelt on and and strapped in at all times for the YM roller-coaster ride! at times thrilling....at times scary! You might want to look into attending the CYWC conference in Nov/Dec. www.CYWC.ca

.....we're trying to plan a session of Youth Ministry brainstorming with just the CRC YM leaders....might be extremely beneficial as the new "guide"

Glad to have you aboard!

Thanks, Paul. I hope you'll continue to share your wisdom in this section and across the site.

Well done, Paul.

Thas for your commitment....many times the catalyst us quiet Dutchmen/women need to stand up and shout out!!!

Paul,

Thanks for your leadership and wisdom over the past year.  You're leaving big shoes to fill!

Blessings!

Paul,

We've all enjoyed working with you and following your posts on this network week-by-week. I hope you won't be a stranger and that we'll see more of you in the future as you enter "guide retirement." 

The posting of this blog article highlights the fact that if four blogs are posted in one day, they will no longer be identified on the "latest blogs/articles" box on the discussion page.  Henry Hess informed me that if you go to the "top 10"  link at the bottom of this page, that you can find the ten latest comments and ten latest blogs.   For those who do not want to subscribe to all the blogs, this is a useful way to check if you have missed some comments or blogs you may be interested in, especially if you only check in once every two days or less. 

posted in: Just A Minute

Bernard: You are right on both accounts and I apologize for any remarks that may have caused inappropriate assumptions. I was wrong in making those statements that may have been perceived as critical. I, in no way, was trying to attack you personally and at the same time, I am glad that we can have an open and free discussion without mixing in hurt feelings. By your response, I do understand, now, I think, where you are coming from by offering the article as citation for Bill's comment. I may still not entirely agree with Bill, I do still think we need to be cautious and aware of teaching to the younger generations a watered-down version of theology, just because we/they think/say it's outdated. God bless you and I am relieved that I was wrong about the church issue; we are becoming less in numbers and need to stand firm side-by-side in faith with one another.

Albert:  your response can only be characterized by what in intro philosophy we learned was one of the weakest of arguments: ad hominem.  Attack the messenger when the message cannot be swallowed.   But, to answer the attack:  my wife and I attend every Sunday--I take it that this website is now presenting what one thought was information gathered for confidential purposes and like many political polls the answers allowed are too limited and confining so one picks what might apply given how one reads the poll.  We do not attend CRC churches which is how I understood the question to be posed for statistical purposes.  I can write much more on my street cred on this but it would likely be self-serving sounding.

Now:   I did not do the research, write the book, or put it in Christianity Today as the cover story.  You need to address the author, who apparently has been in the field for quite some time, and address the editors of Christianity Today.  

Bill Wald made a point and having just read the article thought that it in some way supported the point he was trying to make before that point was swept away in a tide of homogenous opinion.

OK, so you're pointing out an article in which they claim that the organized church (a big generalization, since all denominational frameworks are different) has adopted, as a whole, the philosophy of the younger generation. Namely, that we need to be entertained and feel good about our theology, and that there is no solid, theological underpinning; and then in the next breath you point out that there is overall disagreement amongst theologians concerning this point. Coming from a self-proclaimed non-church attendee, that observation seems translucent since (1) how can you evaluate something you're not a part of and (2) it is a self-defeating statement and looks like it's just tossed into the discussion to muddy the waters. If however, you are taking a stand and have facts to back it up, then I challenge you to do so.....BTW, I would not agree with the statement that all churches have this attitude; Some denominations strive to even discourage this type of thinking. I would agree that there are good number of churches have fallen prey to this type of thinking because they have been trapped into thinking that numbers is the answer to a successful church, thus making the vision of the church unclear and difficult to define. The mandate of the universal Church should always be clearly understood. That of the Great Commission! The success of the Church depends entirely on the obedience to that command!

I suggest you either read the book, published by Eerdmans 2012,  or perhaps read the most recent Christianity Today where this was the cover story, titled "When Are We Going to Grow Up." The author is professor of ministry and missions at Huntington University . Three individuals were tasked with reviewing the professor's book, and when one drills down beneath what might be their biases based upon their own vocations, one finds they are hard put to disagree.

Bernard: Please expand on what you are trying to point out here....

 

The Juvenilezation of American ChristianitybyThomas E. Bergler, reviewed by Robert Hosack in The Banner 

Jun 22, 2012 — In this critical but constructive study of the intersection of Christianity and youth culture, Bergler explores a “quiet revolution in American church life.” Teens and their youth leaders have convinced churches that “the religious beliefs, practices, and developmental characteristics of adolescents” are now “appropriate for adults.” While these changes have breathed life into four major American church traditions over the last 75 years—African American, evangelical, mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic—white evangelicals have led this revolution, resulting in adults “embracing immature versions of the faith”—with consumerism and self-centeredness popularizing a feel-good, theologically ignorant faith. As Bergler notes, “at least some traits that should be included in Christian maturity have been decoupled from adulthood in post-1960s America, encourag[ing] [a] . . . juvenilization of American Christianity and the emergence of the new immature adulthood [that] have mutually reinforced one another.” In sum, “we’re all adolescents now.” (Eerdmans)

WOW! not sure where this came from....worship as entertainment isn't even mentioned; I agree that worship is an obligation that God requires of us to glorify Him - and BTW that's not legalistic - but it shouldn't be done with stone-cold stoicism. While I appreciate your wisdom, I also think God wishes us to bring "pleasing" sacrifices or worship to His feet and ears. You may be referring to those churches who confuse what worship is really for - and, yes, therre are many out there - but, God also demands that we don't hide our heads in the sand, just because there are new "tricks" - or rather ways to worship - to learn. Make the connections with those younger generations, get to know them better, and you'll be surprised, I think, how you each have in common, in furthering God's kingdom and homoring His majesety. You may even bee pleasantly surprised that there is a mustard seed of desire to left in you to be a part of it in some god-glorifying way. 

I was hoping that was being assumed already, but maybe not, in which case it is a good point to insert.

I have to say to  Paul who initially started this discussion.  I am not seeing a lot of room for the Holy Spirit to work.  Too much emphasis on contemporay/traditional, church plant/established.  We need to set all of these personal preferences aside and allow the work of the Holy Spirit to do wonderful things in our denomination/congregations

Thank you all for the replies. I know it is a new world out there. At 72 years, I am set in my ways and don't want to be a part of it. In my mind, worship is an obligation, not an entertainment. I'm a legalist at heart.

In  the OLD old days the pagans understood that a popular entertaining civil religion kept the population under control. Maybe the CRC should try public sacrifices and fighting (for Jesus) in the arena. That would be an interesting test of the first amendment. After all, the Rastafarians can now deduct the cost of sacrificial chickens from their income tax.

It's important for both the seniors and the youth to get to know each other better; Although, I know this happens in many churches, I honestly believe it's due to a great disconnect chasm between seniors and youth. In our church we try to do some events together that gets both generations building relationships and bridges to each other. A deeper understanding goes a long way, and spills over into other areas like respect for gtraditiona/ and contemporary styles of worship...

This is an excellent idea. Especially when the pastor - especially in the CRC denomination - is making special efforts to coordinate all aspects of the worship experience to blend as one experience.

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