however, I can’t. There have been some things that go on with youth pastors and churches that I can’t elaborate on at this point. Part of the problem is that I have a heart for the hurting youth pastors, who have been used and abused by churches. I once attended a NYWC in Pittsburgh in 2002. There I saw a seminar entitled “The Church has Fangs,” or how some churches don’t always act very Christian-like, with Len Evans. My church at the moment is pretty good. We have some typical things, but most of those things seem to have smoothed out as grace has been applied. I need to remember that grace when I get angry about situations where the church has shown its fangs.
Since that seminar, and then later during a guided prayer session in Dallas (2004) at another NYWC, I saw youth workers crying and in my heart, I felt God whispering in my spirit of me being a pastor/spiritual director to youth pastors. In the meantime, I read everything about youth ministry. I talk to kids. I look for ways to speak into their lives. In short as “Tiger” McLuen once said, “Be a Bob.” (I won’t tell the whole story, but it has to do with building a relationship with kids.)
This has taken my faith into radically new directions at times as I question what the Christian church really wants.
I question those that think that their buildings are more important than their kids.
I question those that don’t look at the youth as worth the effort. They question why the need for a youth program.
I question those that seem to stay in their comfortable country club and think that their tradition is the only correct theology. There is a difference, and I have to constantly go back to God to question whether I am letting that interfere with my relationship with Christ.
That last one was a poke at some denominationalism that I have run into as of late.
I like to think that when I get mad at a church that it is a holy anger. I’m just not sure that I always channel it constructively like Christ did when He healed on the sabbath in the book of Mark.
On a twitter post I said something about the Republican party hijacked Christianity. I don’t agree with the Republican party because they have some unholy planks that most ignore. The Democrats are no different. I look for who agrees most with me.
Instead of spreading the wealth that Obama would like, if Christians were just generous to the poor and oppressed, Show mercy and do Justice, their wouldn’t be a need to spread the wealth.
While I agree with a couple of big issues that the political parties talk about, most ignore the mercy and justice that needs to be done at their own home.
I wrestle with these things.
Someday, I’ll write what I am trying to not rant about, but it is too soon for the things to have happened, and I can’t even speak in generalities at this point without tipping my hand.
However, as I think about it, all of this has to do with pride, and being self centered. I admit that I struggle with that. I know that I am not always right.
This is an interesting article which I’m not sure what to do with. If this is the case, then the church has some serious work to do in training up its leaders, or place more emphasis on “youth ministry.”
Why do you think the “youth market” has expanded? Boomeranging millennials moving back home? Youth culture as pop culture? What’s behind this alleged case of arrested development?
The hat tip goes to ysmarko with this. Although, I read the article from the youth marketing site called Ypulse. It brings about a good point that behavior doesn’t always follow attitude, especially with teens.
here’s an extremely key sentence:
Regnerus argues that religion is a good indicator of attitudes toward sex, but a poor one of sexual behavior, and that this gap is especially wide among teen-agers who identify themselves as evangelical.
(ht to ypulse)
Second time today that God has said don’t look at your feet while listening to a sermon.
I agree it sounds quite weird. However, after working my 9 hour shift, I don’t always communicate what I’m thinking in a clear way. Not to mention that I’ve always had a bit of a crazy streak, just ask my sister, my wife, my kids, and former roommates.
Okay, the explanation.
Toward the end of the shift, I was listening to Rob Bell on the Mars Hill Bible Church (Michigan) and he mentioned that there is a rabbinical tradition that says and I’m paraphrasing, you need to keep your head up and see that God has parted the sea for you, or else if you constantly look at your feet you’ll begin to complain that the mud is getting all over your feet.
Then while I was in early service at Gaylord Community Church, Pastor Steve made a remark that you need to keep your head up and not stare at your feet.
I took that as a gentle reminder from God that I need to remember to keep my head up and look to where God is taking me, rather than looking down at my feet, i.e. my current situation and grumble about it.
Actually, now that I thnk about it, I’m supposed to tell that to somebody else, but that’s another story.
So no, I’m not hearing voices in my head.
I was listening to Brian Zahnd at the Word of Life church podcast from a couple of weeks ago and he was doing a series about showing mercy. Pastor Brian had pointed out any interesting thing, that the Pharisees said to get your act cleaned up and then come to the table to eat.
However, Jesus says come to the table to eat and I will help you get
I guess I am wondering aloud, how do you reach out to show mercy? If you have read Mary’s Rock Band Post then you know that there has been a little thing about Rock Band and using it as an evangelistic tool. The thing I see is that most kids that walk into our church come from families that don’t know love and aren’t clean in one way or another. So if we can show them that we aren’t that different, that a lot of us like to play Rock Band or on the Wii or any other video games, won’t that let them open up so that maybe they will see that they can sit at the table and we will help them get clean?
One other point that I need to say as well. One of the objections was that there is a screen that shows skulls with wings coming out of them. I thought about it a bit, and this is what I realized…Didn’t God create the skull? wings? How did these things get associated with evil? I think that while God creates, we as humans use them to worship them for other purposes. Well, I remember that God had Ezekiel prophesy over the bones and they came to life. Didn’t the apostle Paul use the altar to the “unknown god” and quote poems from Greek poets while preaching at Mars Hill?
So if we can invite some kids to come into our midst, to show them mercy, compassion, and love, then do you think that maybe we can use Rock Band for a good purpose?
I like youth worker conferences and conventions. I have been following the NYWC that YS puts on each year. I would love to go back to one. Well, Group publishing and SYM have teamed to put together a conference in Columbus, OH. It sounds like NYWC but on a somewhat smaller scale. It would be cool to go, but funding will be the problem.
Danah Boyd starts out with:
When I read the Chicago Tribune’s coverage of why teens have eschewed dates for school dances, I wanted to scream.
I did too, well maybe not scream, but the conclusions of the article she writes about to me are wrong. There has been a slow movement toward not coupling in high school for a long time. The only thing that I would add to Danah’s article is that what I notice is that even though there is a movement away from the mating ritual as far as dances are concerned, the pressure to have a significant other in high school is still just as strong as anytime. I see this in the youth at church. I may do security duty, but the main thing with us is to be relational. The kids tell me a lot and most of their dramas is do to trying to find a someone to be boy/girl friend with.
Actually, if there is another reason for the non-couple of school dances it is partly from my previous post about girls self-esteem. However, that is only part of it. The guys have to be more encouraging so that the girls aren’t more prone to have low self esteem. Anyway, read the whole thing.