I wonder how many youth leaders are in accountability groups.  I would suggest that if you are a youth leader and you are not in an accountability group, you consider doing so.  It’s a very personal decision. I can only tell you that I have been blessed and improved by my group.

January 16, 2012 0 0 comments

This is a topic that’s discussed in consistories/councils, by congregations, Synods, and pretty much anywhere there are church-going folks or church leaders hanging out.  I don’t expect to solve the challenge in a short blog, but I think youth leaders might have a different perspective than many in the church.

January 9, 2012 0 2 comments

Yeah, I know that we, as youth leaders, parents, students, Christ-followers, strive to seek God’s face constantly.  That’s good.  Keep that up.  I just figured that in this first week of a new year, it might be good to push all of the “stuff” out of your head and just simply listen to God.

January 2, 2012 0 3 comments

For some of us who are, well, not so young, there was no texting 10 years ago. For younger leaders, texting has been a part of your lives for much of the past few years. In either case, I wonder if you are using text messages to communicate with your youth group and if not, why not?

December 26, 2011 0 2 comments

I’ve got a friend who feels a lot of pressure to increase participants in youth group and roll out consistently high numbers of profession of faiths among their church young people. Really?  So this is how we measure performance for a youth leader?

December 19, 2011 0 5 comments

Christmas is a couple of weeks away. The focus in most of our homes is on gifts. Youth group students have created long lists of all the items they “need.” My question is this, how do we cover this topic in our youth groups in such a way that we impact thought without instilling guilt?

December 12, 2011 0 1 comments

Most years, the most successful youth group event was the night when we visited shut-ins in our congregation.  It might not have been the most popular youth event going in to the activity, but it was always the best as the night ended. If you haven’t done this, you gotta give it a try.

December 5, 2011 0 1 comments

I’m getting really old. I think it’s kind of funny to see me morph into my parents. But what’s not funny is the content I see and hear on the phones, iPods, iPads, and other communication tools that students are using. I’m trying to figure out how to deal with what I believe is 

November 21, 2011 0 4 comments

This is a question for which there are an endless number of opinions and answers.  There isn’t even agreement on how involved the CRC is at this point. Some believe there is sufficient leadership and resourcing for congregations around youth ministry. Others believe it should be...

November 14, 2011 0 0 comments

Everyone wants the latest and greatest resources for their youth group. In a changing world, it seems our resources need to do the same. There is a cost to shifting resources and seeking out the latest and coolest study guide. Is there a Reformed perspective? Does it matter? Yeah, it should matter.

November 7, 2011 0 5 comments

We have an abuse prevention policy at our church, but are realizing that we probably need to add something regarding how we, as a church and specifically youth leaders, use social media in our interactions with our youth.  Does anyone out there have a policy regarding this that you can send us...

November 2, 2011 1 1 comments

Here’s a challenge for you and your youth group. See if you can get members of your youth group to commit to reading through the Bible in a year.  I’ve done this the last two years and I wish I had started it when I was young. If you aren’t sure you want to challenge your youth group with this yet, take on the challenge yourself.

October 25, 2011 0 1 comments

Have you ever been in the middle of a crowd where you didn’t know anyone else? It’s actually pretty easy to feel alone in the middle of a crowd. It’s also a common occurrence in our schools and youth groups and it breaks my heart.

October 17, 2011 0 1 comments

It’s Ministry Appreciation Month and showing love to your youth leader is a great place to start. Sure, you could send a card, or offer a sincere “thank you” next time you see them. But what if you showed your appreciation through your actions? Yeah, there definitely are ways to show your appreciation.

October 10, 2011 0 0 comments

I was talking with a friend of mine who was a youth leader for many years and is now a senior pastor of a large church. We laughed as we remembered the crazy stuff that we experienced as youth leaders. We both expressed our thankfulness for the blessings we experienced AND we both agreed it was the most exhausting time of our life. How many really gifted youth leaders have resigned because they didn’t have the time or energy to continue at the pace it takes to do good youth ministry? Then the next question becomes, how do we support those youth leaders so that they can continue to do the ministry for which they are so gifted?

October 3, 2011 0 2 comments

Last week, we had a guest blogger for the Youth Network who did a wonderful job reminding us of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways we label young people and keep them at arm’s length in our congregations. So, if we are going to own this challenge we have with making young people feel welcome, what are we going to do about it?

September 26, 2011 0 2 comments

In the mind of Christ, young people are not animals, aliens or closed spaces. Those things scare us. When we are scared of them, we can’t love them. Instead, we call or yell at them from a distance to come to Jesus, come to faith and come to church, but Jesus said, “Go. . .into all the earth,” not get them to come...

September 19, 2011 0 0 comments

My oldest son has a part-time job and I’ve realized that our church doesn’t have anything set up to receive his tithing.  Sure, he can drop cash in the offering, but there’s isn’t any communication, offering envelopes, or focus on his tithing. How cool would it be to have a focus in our youth ministry around tithing?

September 12, 2011 0 5 comments

We go through detailed and strategic interviewing, testing and discernment to ensure that those who are interested in planting churches have the gifts to do so. I’ve learned through experience that in our narrow focus on finding the right individuals to plant churches, we never look beyond that to youth pastors for the plants. I’m thinking that’s not such a good idea.

September 5, 2011 0 5 comments

So could a youth group actively participate in planting a church?  Yes! Of course! Does it happen very often?  Not that I’m aware of. But I can't think of any reasons why that's the case. What do you think about a youth group helping to plant a church?

August 29, 2011 0 0 comments

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently completed a survey of evangelical protestant leaders and the results show a deep concern around the negative impact of secularism on the future of evangelical Christianity. Do you think your youth group shares that concern? It would make a great discussion topic.

August 22, 2011 0 0 comments

If you’ve been a youth leader for a while, you’ve had to work through the pain of tragedy and death with your youth group members. Whether it’s a member of your group, a family member or a friend from school, tragic accidents and death certainly creep into our lives. Youth groups are a healthy place to help students deal with their emotions ...

August 15, 2011 0 0 comments

Several years ago, a few teens from the church youth group were caught drinking alcohol in a motel room on a school day.  Angry parents demanded to know, “What are you teaching our students in youth group?  What goes on there?” It was shocking that parents were so quick to lay blame on the youth pastor and his volunteers. Didn’t the parents have any responsibility? They’d been raising their children for years. How could the youth leaders be blamed when they only spent a few hours with these teens each week?

August 8, 2011 0 0 comments

In the business world, a significant number of executives rely on coaches or mentors to support their ongoing personal and professional growth. More and more pastors and non-profit leaders are turning to coaches/mentors as well.  Hey, if it works for everyone else, it will probably work for youth leaders too!

August 1, 2011 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic


Thought this might be helpful to some of you.  TechMission's is releasing a new section of our website called the Urban Youth Ministry library at  This library combines all the free resources related to urban youth ministry from our...

July 29, 2011 0 0 comments



Thanks for sharing.

Praise God!

So you've found that the HC is not only relevant but an essential tool in your ministry to youth. How cool is that.

Hey Ty, nice to hear from you.  It's been a long while since we've talked.

I'm wondering if you find traction in your youth ministry around our creeds and confessions and the Lords Prayer. Does this "preach" to youth?  You relate as well as anyone I know to youth groups, so I wondered if you've found ways to pull this material into youth meetings and education.

Thanks Jory.  Well stated.

Within the Reformed Church, the discussion of the Belhar took place over the past few years.  I can tell you that passion around the Belhar came from many areas of the church, but found tremendous energy in the church planting, multiracial, AND youth ministries. 

If there was one area that, looking back, was pretty much ignored in my catechism classes (a long time ago), it was social justice.  Maybe that was just my experience in my church. 

Just thought I would share my experience...

I'm working with kids involved in the juvenile justice system.  They often ask me for "scriptures" that they can use to understand the faith better.  I find them in the HC.  They also struggle with idenity with families and gangs.  Who do they "belong" to?  What better answer than to a FAITHFUL SAVIOR, Jesus Christ.  I find the HC a treasure chest for a very personal relationship with our Savior.

Paul and Ty,

I agree that it is all of us together.  However, I believe it is primarily the church's job to give the parents the proper tools and instructions so they can teach their children at home.  As these things have been thrown out with the "bathwater" to use your term, a dichotomy has unfortunately developed between the church and the home.  This is where faith, the Bible and religious teaching is done at church, and sadly less and less taught at home.  When one's relationship with Jesus and their faith should permeate their lives, it has been limited, (not in all cases), to Sundays and perhaps on Wednesday nights at youth group (where sadly I have been seeing more social time then teaching of God's Word).

I wholeheartedly believe in the wisdom scripture that says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."  Proverbs 22:6  However, alongside many life lessons, if that child does not see Mom and Dad practicing it, or hear them talking about it, teaching it, living it..... It is just not enough for the church to be responsible for it alone.

Having said that, I believe that our confessions, creeds and prayers are exactly those tools that we can give to parents so they can teach their children what it means to be a christian and to be reformed.  Now we only need to teach the parents.

Now to make my point I need to tell you a little about myself.  I am 25 years old and still single.  My family does not come from a Christian heritage.  It was through the mentorship of people in the church I started attending when I was younger, and God's grace that I am where I am today.  I am thoroughly reformed and believe that our confessions are very important, because while the Bible is the authority and the confessions are subject to it, they help me to say, "this is what I believe... Here I stand".

The reason this topic caught my attention was because last night I attended a discussion on the Belhar Confession, and if it should be adopted as a new confession by the CRC Church. I was greatly saddened to see that out of everyone in attendance, I was one of the only people there under the age of 45, perhaps even 55. 

It is my generation and the ones following after me that will have to deal with the long term consequences of this decision. Good or bad, adding another confession to our denomination after 400 years is no small thing.  It should be heavily weighed, discussed and prayed about, and the younger generations not only hardly seem to know what it is about, but frankly do not care.  We have become a confessionally illiterate church.  

As you both have stated above, I believe that our confessions are not only still relevant today, but that it is paramount that we begin to emphasize what it is that we believe as a "Reformed" church, or soon we will not be one.  So perhaps, before we start looking at adding a new confession, we should remember first what confessions we have, and what they really mean. 

Thank you and I am interested to hear your response,





It's all of us, together, teaching the catechism, the faith, our biblical worldview, to our children!

It's unfortunate so many of us balked at our catechism instruction when we were young, but it's amazing theological and biblical treasures that we have lost in the rush to contemporize our church.  What about contemporizing the basic, foundational parts of our faith and sharing that rich treasure with our children?

We have seemed to thrown out or fogotten about...

the Lord's prayer

the understanding of the law



...and so much more with the bathwater over the last decades.  Not everywhere, not all places, but in far to many churches we've let the pendilum swing too far to experience and away from biblical, theological grounding.  Even as an adult youth pastor, I need to be refreshed in my own understanding and abilities to communicate the timeless truths of our biblical, reformed heritage in a relevant way to my students and our families. 

The good gifts that God gives us in this thinking from the past need to be passed along to the next generation to embrace and explore as a foundation for their faith.

I too Paul, have many more questions and concerns about how we do this well and in ways that will allow it to speak to the students we love and work with today!

Thanks for the thoughts.

Ty Hogue

Youth Pastor • Harderwyk Ministries, Holland

Thank you Marcel for your excellent work and contributions to the Network! I appreciated it. =) Stan

posted in: Until Next Time...

Welcome Paul,

   Well Paul, I married a Methodist 31yrs. ago and I haven't been totally corrupted. Anyway, backgrounds are moot to Jesus, so thanks for accepting the challenges of being a moderator. 



Yes i think that the catechism is a great tool of which to learn the word of God, but it also helps us to understand the word of God as well as answer the question that we may have about the word of God.

Thank you so much, Marcel, for sharing our vision for this even before it was built (talk about faith!). You'll alway be the inaugural Youth Ministry Network guide!

Thanks for helping build the foundation over the past year, and we look forward to your continued participation here and on other parts of The Network.

posted in: Until Next Time...

Thanks Marcel, You did a great service for the Lord.

God bless you


posted in: Until Next Time...

I have the full support of my Pastor and the Church board on this.  I have so far acquired the shelving and some mateerials from donations.  I welcome you suggestion on any resources that I can acuire the the initial start up and also what cataloging system do you use.


What questions do you have about starting a church library? There are some resources I can point you to or share with you what we have done at our church. 

That is great that you supply your youth with material. My kids have always been big readers. They would read no matter what. But it has been teachers or other adults who have directed them to a good read or resourse. 

That is great!

I really like this article; not just for youth but for all of us. Learning to recieve from the Lord all the goodness that he has for us is a real challenge; especially in a world where we are pressured to perform (and hide if we don't meet standards). it makes me think of Psalm 23. Our Good Shepherd provides all we need, He makes us lie down to rest and leads us to the green fields and quiet waters where He can refresh our souls. Then, contented and peaceful, we can follow Him along his paths for the honor of his Name (even through dark valleys). Even there He feeds us, our cup overflows, and his goodness and love follow us all our lives until we live with Him in heaven forever. What could be better than that! This is the Lord that we all need to experience. Space to rest and receive is golden.

Hi all,  For what it's worth as the youth director I maintain a small library of books that I own and/or purchase on behalf of our youth ministry right in our youth facility (it's a small building right next to our church).  I have check-out cards in them and regularly recommend them to youth in general as well as when one of the youth has specific questions that a book we have addresses.  It seems to go in spurts as far as youth reading them, but quite a number have been read.

I am in the process of establishing a new library at our Church and would like to have some ideas to get going.  Suggestions are welcome and any aspect of church library.

Hello Chris,

  Great observation about how we Christains sometimes can't see the plank in our own eye's. I have noticed this in how we look at the world in general.  I know at my best I fall so short of what God truly demands. Good thing we have Grace from the Lord.



Great article, and a great no-nonsense approach to a real problem. I would add another angle: by sticking to God's standard on this, you give the entire church body an example to follow--and there are just not enough of those examples! I really believe that just the one issue of gossip can make a church completely ineffective. And the problem is that most people guilty of gossip would never in their wildest dreams believe they have actually gossiped. And why would they, when everyone more or less has the same compromised standard? But that all changes when one person consistently and lovingly refuses to participate. Just one example can reach out beyond just the ministry you're involved in, and start to affect the entire church.

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the reply! Yes - social media can be a way to build better networks between the various ministries/silos! The potential is there but we aren't doing it yet. Just this CRC network alone - we are still having silos here - youth ministry forums, disability forums, leadership forums, church planting forums, campus ministry forums, etc. I hope I am proven wrong, but I think there's still silos even in the virtual world! People are still mainly talking within their own ranks. It happens all over the internet.

I totally agree with you that youth needs to be given leadership roles in church - a sign of whether someone actually belongs or is accepted into community is when they are allowed to lead/serve in some capacity, and not only being served or ministered to. This goes across the board - to youth, to seniors, to people with disabilities, to women, to ethnic minorities, etc. When these people are allowed to serve the community with their gifts and not only receiving ministry from the community, that is a true sign that they are an authentic part of the community, and not merely "customers" or marginal to the community.

God bless you too Ken.

posted in: Silos or Team?

Hi Nicole, Have you asked them? Just a thought.


posted in: Theme for a year!

H iShaioi ,You are on to something important to the church in general. Communication could be acheived in our networked word via social networks or a clearing house type website that is denominational in scope. It we be easy to enter info on your youth leaving the home church and then the campus ministry could just check if anybody is entering your school.

 I sure there are many other idea's out there. We just need some inertia to think out of the box and some faith to implement new methods of youth care.

 This much I know from my children, If we pay more attention and incorperate youth to church activities including leadership, the youth will return. They just feel like wall candy when it comes to regular corperate worship. Sure children make a lot mistakes but that is how some of us learn.

Thanks Shiao, for your efforts, I know God is watching you and placing these idea's in your mind. God bless you


posted in: Silos or Team?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Marcel. 

Certainly, it's not easy to move from the frustration of "When is enough, enough?!?!" to the peace of God. I've found that these same verses (incl. 2:26-27) have provided me with peace in times of struggle, worry, and frustration. 

Yet while this may not have been the intention of your blog post, I wonder how best to communicate that sense of peace to our youth, who are at least as worried as any generation before them yet who are not (in my experience) as likely to appreciate someone bandaging a hurt with Bible verses...

posted in: Enough Is Enough

When I was a youth pastor, I would hold a parent dessert meeting to talk about the upcoming year and how we could work together (not just events but personal issues).  I also did quarterly training stuff geared towards parents.  I would pick hot topics (drinking, porn, talking to kids about sex, etc.) and bring in someone to educate them.  They really appreciated it.

I think EVERYONE should read this book (When Helping Hurts) not just those considering short term missions. It's about the way we see one another, including the people that live down the street or across town. Read it; it's great.

posted in: Build or Empower

The book "When Helping Hurts" by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett specifically addresses this topic in the chapter "Doing Short-Term Missions Without Doing Long-Term Harm." I encourage those considering a short-term missions trip to read this book. See the book's companion website

posted in: Build or Empower

Thanks for the idea, Ken! Our church's ministry coordinator encouraged me to follow up and share the name and some info about our youth prayer partner ministry (in case anybody needs ideas for names or guidelines for establishing a prayer partner ministry).  We decided to go with Prayerforce since it was a name the youth created and really liked.  Here is a link to the logo that was created specifically for this ministry:

To get adults to join we made a request from the pulpit on a Sunday a.m., used bulletin announcements and e-mail reminders and finally personally asked individuals (when we realized we were only halfway there).  Each adult receives a card that includes information about their youth partner (grade, school, hobbies, cell #, and address) to make it easier to be in contact with them and to pray for them, a reminder list of what being a Prayerforce partner entails, and a picture of their youth.  We also included a reminder about the safe church policy so adults are not meeting with youth individually.  (All of the information fit on a small enough piece of paper so it could be pasted onto the back of each youth's pix.)

Valentines Day is coming up and I thought that I would share something that has worked well for our group. We hosted a "Show Your Love Dinner". We recruted someone from the church who could help us plan and cook a wonderful tasty menu. We advertized by putting colorful flyers in the church mail slots along with info on how to make reservations. We decorated our fellowship hall and set the tables nicely. Our youth wore black pants and white tops to take orders and serve the food. Church members showed their love to each other by taking someone to dinner, to the youth by buying tickets and coming out to support us. The youth showed thier love to other youth by donating the money raised to youth in Malowi so that they could afford to go to school.  ( I could give more details if anyone is interested in trying this with there group)  It was so succesful we did it again the next year.    

posted in: SUGGESTIONS Please

I have been at Friendship Chapel for 14 years making youth ministry my vocation 5 years ago.  Some key things that I have learned to avoid burnout include, Making sure I take a day off.  I used to take Friday's off but found I was still going to athletic events, retreats, and other Friday evening events. In essence it wasn't a day off.  I now take Monday's off and find that the break away is very nice & refreshing.  Keeping a folder with positive cards, notes, email's and reminders have also helped.  When things seem to be getting tough, I go back to that folder and read some of the positive things that people have appreciated.  Realizing it's ok to say "No"  has also been huge. If a meeting is scheduled on my day off, chances are i won't be there.  People come and ask for me to organize an idea that they have.  Helping rake leaves in someone's yard or organize a Christmas program.  I simply ask them to organize it or at least be involved in helping with it.  These are just a few things that may help.  

posted in: Burnout

Marcel, You bring up a pressing topic. I think we need to chang the structure so there is a large parent envolvement. If you have a paid youth leader, all the better. One person or couple will burnout rapidly just due to the energy differences. The key is getting parents to value there children enough to set aside two evenings a month for the churches youth.

  The youth need to be incorparated in most facets of the church. This has to be a joint effort. Including all ages< so we can build community in the churches body. The possibilities are endless.



Thanks for your comment Ken. I agree, as a parent, we can not invest enough into our children. We also can not show enough appreciation for the youth workers who invest in their lives!

posted in: Do You Care?

This is such an inspiring words. Our name are parts of who we are , it gives significance on how people may know us. It does gives additional definition to who we are and gives proof that we exists for we do have something to be called and be known of. But naming a person or a thing is as valuable as its existence is. Just like the many names of God that different sects use to call him. it does not only gives praise to God but also shows how people know him and what does God meant to them. Let us all give praise to his name in this special time of the year which is the Holiday season.

posted in: Spilled Salt: Name

Marcel, two more indoor ones, one is about trust I would think.

Have a strong board about 3 feet long, put it on two hymnbooks or bibles (for a strong foundation!) so that two strong boys one on each side can lift it. Another kid stands in front of it, facing the board then bring in someone who has not seen what is going on and tell them that they have to stand on the board, put their hands on the shoulder of the boy standing in front of him/her and tell her that she will be lifted up until she touches the ceiling with her head, then she has to jump of, oh, and she/he has to do that blindfolded. Than the two boys on the sides will lift the board a couple of inches, shaking the board a bit like it is a heavy lift, the one standing in front with the girl's/boy's hands on his shoulder starts to go through his knees at the same time the board is lifted, giving the impression that the board is getting lifted high. Some one tall enough holding a heavy book will touch the top of the head of the one standing of the board, who is then told to jump of, it's scary! even though they are only a few inches from the floor.

Another favourite birthday game was, to have some people out of the room, put up some bottles in a row, far enough apart so that you can step over and in between them, then bring one of the kids from the other room and tell them that they have to step over the bottles without knocking them down, they can have a practice run, after which of course they will be blind folded, put in front of the bottles, who are now taken away, then watch them carefully step over nothing.

posted in: SUGGESTIONS Please

Hi Marcel, sorry for the delay, I am getting lost on the website and it takes some time to find what I am looking for. So, this string across the canal?, I was afraid you were going to ask, mischief in our younger days, pestering the town folks a bit, the good thing was that we never damaged property or injured anyone. The button on the end would tick on the window when we pulled the string and the person in the house would come and see, nothing and again, he came after us but he had to walk to the bridge up the road to get at us, we were long gone, so, not a good game for the church I guess. A physical game we played in school we called "scissors" would work for 8 - 10 year old kids, we did it in the town square, no cars around in those days, all the kids are in the square, one is "it" and tries to touch another kid, now there are two, holding hands. They try to catch some one else who is than added to the scissor which is getting longer each time someone is caught, every one is running around trying to avoid the scissor which eventually starts to encircle groups of kids (depending on how many are playing of course), we had lots of fun doing that                                                                                                                                                

Another favourite was I'll put it in Dutch, you have to find a way to put it in English "Bok, Bok, hoeveel horens op je kop?", the bok being a male goat or deer, the question being asked from the goat is how many horns there are on it's head (kop).  The game starts with one boy or girl being the goat, they are standing bend over by a railing or table and someone jumps on it's back sticks up a number of fingers and asks the goat how many horns it has on it's head, if guessed wrong the next person jumps on and asks the same, untill the goat guesses the right number, the one sitting on its back now stands behind the goat, bend over, holding on to the goat. The next person now has to jump on the second goat and must try to climb to the first one, again asking the question, if guessed right, on to the line he or she goes. The longer the line the more difficult it is to get to the front to ask the question, the boys even had the opportunity to wiggle and shake in order to try to throw off the one climbing over them, pretty interesting to see what everyone tries to do to reach or prevent someone from reaching the front goat.

Then one we did in the gym, I have done it with the kids at the Christian school here is called "Raisins in the pan, any number can play, the big circle in the middle, which most gymnasiums have I think would be the pan, one part of the middle line would be the handle of the pan, this line can not be crossed going either way. One kid is chosen to be the baker, he/she is allowed to run everywhere in the gymnasium, all the others are the raisins, they can run everywhere except over the pan's handle and in the pan. The baker touches  a raisin, and it goes in the pan for the remainder of the game which ends when all raisins are caught.

There you have three Dutch games I played during the mid 1950s, ready for one more mischief story?

My parents ad a grocery/fabric store, through our village runs a canal and there are three bridges, two pedestrian on for traffic which was a draw bridge. When we sold enough fabric we would have an empty cardboard tube about 3 feet long, 2" in diameter, now the bridge keeper, hired by the town would sit at home about 250 feet or so away from the bridge and if a boat would come by they would blow their horn and he would come out, go to the bridge, lower the boom to stop traffic and manually wind up the road bed of the bridge, the boat would go trough, put money in the little bag on a pole. like the collection bags we used to have, the bridge comes down, pole goes up and life goes on, he returns to his house and waits for the next boat, this happened frequently. We would go to the next bridge, use the tube as a horn, since this man was so accustomed to doing it, he wouldn't even look, go through the motions up to and including putting the collection bag out, no boat! How come they let me still play the organ in church? I don't know, all the best with the games.

posted in: SUGGESTIONS Please

Hi Marcel, Good article. I find that most of this support is in the parent's area of responsibility. As parents we must fully invest ourselves in them at all costs.

posted in: Do You Care?

Great ideas.

posted in: Christmas Challenge

Cindy, I'm 67 years old and I still have those questions!  What movies is it ok to watch?   When I'm reading a magazine, how can I keep my eyes and thoughts from "crossing the line"?  When have I gone one bottle of beer too far?  Now granted things are different now than when I was 20.  I'm different and there are different temptations too.  but a lot of the issues are the same, and these questions about morality are still just as vexing.   And where in the world do you look to find some helpful advice?   You want someone who is really believable, and someone who is really biblical, and who is realistic about what it's like to live in 2010!   Soak yourself in the Gospels.  Spend a LOT of time with Jesus.  Let his way of thinking and living drench your mind and heart.   That's the starting place.  And I'm going to say something that is a lot like what Ken and Marcel have said.   Here's the thing - I always tend to ask the question How far is too far?   That is a question that lets me see how close I can drive to the edge and still stay out of the ditch.   But the real question is, How far from the ditch can I drive?    and then the question about HOW CLOSE won't bug me so much.   THAT is a very very hard thing to practice.  I know because I fail at it pretty consistently.  I think we all do.  But that's the right approach to take - not how far from Jesus can I wander and still be ok, but How close can I live to Jesus.    May God empower you and grace you with a new way to live.

posted in: Where's the line?

Hi, I agree with Ken - sorry for not responding earlier. These are tough questions that you are asking but I am sure many young adults across North America are asking the same questions - how far is too far with drinking, sexual conduct etc. As Ken mentioned the Holy Spirit must be your guide.  Dig deep into God's Word - it speaks to every situation. The more you understand Scripture the easier the decisions will be. Please don't misunderstand - it's aways tough to make the right decision when other Youth Adults do not have the same convictions as you do when it comes to 'how far is too far'. Be strong, trust God to guide you, be sensitive to His Whisper and move ahead boldly in His name. Constantly read His Word, seek council from the wise people in your life. I wish there was an easy answer but I am afraid there isn't. Jesus said, "Take up the cross DAILY". Blessings to you Cindy.

posted in: Where's the line?

Yes, I am familiar with it and actually have the manuel sitting on my desk. Very good material. I have not yet used it or recommended it to any youth group for you to follow-up with. 

posted in: 3Story?

Great suggestion Christine!

posted in: SUGGESTIONS Please

OK John, you have me very curious - give us a little more details on the games you mentioned. Perhaps there is a youth group leader out there that would like to take the challege and introduce one of the 'oldies' in their youth group. It would be good to get a little physical with our games once again. Please share some more details for us curious games people.

'Running a string across the canal....' Please tell more. :)

posted in: SUGGESTIONS Please

While I was a youth leader a few years ago, We planed a lunch that matched each youth with an older member of the church whom had something in common with that youth. Provided them with a few get to know questions (just to get them started talking)and served them lunch. This allowed them to discover that they could have something in common with someone from another generation and allowed them to get to know someone new that they could connect with after sunday morning services. This event seamed to somewhat help close the generation gap we were seeing and even started some unsuspecting friendships.

posted in: SUGGESTIONS Please

How about asking us oldies (I am almost 65) what games we played when we were young, at the same time we, old and young can connect with each other, I am pretty sure that many a church has this "condition" of being disconnected. The medical industry is pretty good at developing designer drugs for any phantom disease imaginable, maybe we can develop or reintroduce old games for new people, keep in mind that there might be the possibility that it is going to be physical since we didn't have electronic stuff around. How about running a string across the canal, tie a button to it, pin it to the window frame of a living room window, go lay behind the dike and nock, lot's of fun. (You would think that I grew up in Holland). Oh my, a SAINT like me wouldn't have done something like that would I, let's go!

posted in: SUGGESTIONS Please

Hey Trevor, It's true that Jesus is Lord and he does care for all of it. You brought up what is on my heart also, especiallty the continuing refofmation of His church.

At least as I see it, this matter isn't primarily about the worship wars.  Understandably, many people feel quite strongly about their preferred styles of worship, and it's vital that both sides respect the other in that discussion (Philippians 2:1-11 is crucial here).  And while many people have often equated traditional worship style with a traditional style of church ministry, and vice versa, I think the issue is much deeper than simply about music style. 

I think this discussion is about the more basic questions of What is the Church? and What are we here for?  Having grown up in the CRC bubble, many young people are having a rude awakening to recognize that life is very different outside the bubble than it is inside.  The important questions inside the bubble (worship wars as a good example) are not really (or not readily) important outside.  And the major issues that are impacting youth outside the bubble (is there hope?  truth in other religions?  what to do about the environment?) are rarely talked about inside the bubble.  On the inside, we're spinning our wheels and going crazy about housekeeping matters, while on the outside, life is passing us by at breakneck speed. 

You'd think that, if the Christian faith really was true, and if Jesus Christ as Lord of all creation really was redeeming every square inch of it, then we would be more concerned with what is happening outside the bubble than we are with housekeeping matters on the inside.

Thank you Trevor and Koenraad, for your reply's to my rant, I know no one was saying something against the Hymn's/organ, nothing for it neither, and now I am confessing that I am just emerging from the old stuff is good, the new can maybe be ok, so I am fishing a bit. In some of the forums there looks to be a bit of anti establishment if you will, and I may pick that up perhaps easier than you guys, or perceive it to be that way. I am looking for reassurance on my way to I don't really know yet where, and I have the feeling that I may have some influence on my "buddies" from the other side of the fence, I am playing the keyboard now too (beginner stuff!), and I am being watched. On the other side, I like to have some influence on the "other" (Praise) side as well, I have been noticing in the past three or four years that I received messages that not all was as it should be with me and my fav instrument, our new youth director put the point on the pencil so to speak and challenged me to change, but other messages are bound to enter the fray and it is really not that difficult to see that things can go too fast, too far and without thinking or caring where this leaves the traditional side, without trying (communicating with them) to get them to move as well. So I enjoy seeing something reassuring too, something to calm the nerves in myself and others. just started reading "Someone Stole My Church", interesting book, but in the very beginning there it is, we don't sing the hymns anymore, the organ is not played anymore, and on we go, what to take from it? So you are right, the Spiritual side in all of my concerns is of the utmost importance, yet how....? Thanks guys, John.

I would not assume that the move to a more intergenerational apporach to ministry means less organ or less repetative praise choruses or less of anything for that matter. This sadly underscores the fault we have at over emphasizing losses in this discussion.  I am not afraid of the pedulum swinging any further to the left extreme I think that's part of our problem.  There is a whole area in between that we seem to have passed by.  Jesus Culture and Robert Robinson can and must coexist in the same service... Why is it that we play the older and younger generation against eachother when as declared by your own insights of European concert halls we can co-exist.  After all don't we always just follow what Europe does??? (Please Lord I hope we don't) 

Intergenerational does not mean we cater to this generations worship style nor does it mean we cater to any other generational style of worship...  It means interdependant faith, worship and ministry as opposed to independant...  It also means the previous generation needs to let go of some control of church and let the this generation own, lead and make mistakes while we together refect on gains and losses as we move ahead...

Woah, slow down for a minute.  :)  I haven't read in this discussion anyone bemoaning the use of hymns and organs.  I've read a lot of comments about growing in authenticity, about renewing our methods of making disciples, and about stepping into God's mission for his Church.  I've also read a number of comments basically about shedding some of the selfish mindsets that have settled into our practice of life and ministry.  Nothing about hymns or organs being worthless, though.  Personally, I deeply love a whole bunch of the songs in our grey Psalter Hymnal--and some in the Blue one too!  I hope we won't be throwing the baby out with the bathwater in that regard. 

That being said, I do sincerely believe that a number of the practices and ministry expectations in our denomination have become idolatrous and sinful (even though they were perhaps very faithful in the past).  Reggie McNeal (in "The Present Future") speaks often of the north american church having become a religious social club...and to the degree that he's right, we as a whole denomination have a great deal of serious repentance to work through.  And it goes so much deeper than worship style.

So, is there no place for hymns, oh, and even the use of the organ at what we are now looking at, in appropriate places?Are we to discard everything even if it is good. Does the fabric of a particular church means piddely squat, is it like we might as well stop building concert halls, fire all musicians from the orchestras because they are using old material and to a large degree don't appeal to the young and bright in our midst. You might want to check out the concerts they show sometimes on TV from Europe, all old classics, thousands of youth are present and I would venture to dare say that they make as much joyful noise as is heard at any youth convention. Or would it be a good thing if we retain some of this old stuff and use it regularly in the service, not to placate, but to celebrate that which is good. What does this young, smart, full of fire person know about personal tragedy, which by way of still singing in hard times to God, find solace in Him. Don't kid yourselves, you will get there at some point, so yes, we must move on, but the foundation of that bridge across troubled water must still be there, even if the pavement has been changed from large timbers to electrically heated pavement. Just wondering!

Great points!!! There is a whole pile of brightness and hope out there. Those bright spots are those congregations that are recognizing that the intergenerational approach to discipleship is the place to start.  Sadly I'm not sure the denomination is leading the charge... Again it is the CRC lagging as the larger evangelical community wakes up from a silo ministry focused slumber... 

It is sad because the CRC which is at it's very core built on an internegerational foundation has for so long neglected to produce any effective ministry or disciplship track to meet the needs of this changing adolecent demographic.  This is not a Faith Alive nor Youth Unlimited responsiblity. It's a CRC responsibility that has gone over looked for so long that most "youth proffesionals" have now been trained/emersed in non CRC ministry environments/models.  Sadly we now reap the consequences of not meeting the needs of those youth professionals as a denomination. The worst of which is a distrust that the CRC is even interested in the "youth ministry" arena aside from establishing commitees and highlighting the work of Youth Unlimited in the Banner (which is not even a "CRC ministry").

The move away from the silo or peer based ministry is a counter cultural one that I hope and pray the CRC can lead as it looks at the strengths it can draw from it's roots.  iGEN ministry is in our veins it's what is unique and beautiful about the CRC.  So let's gather up all those wonderful documemts, make some descisions as a denomination and lead!