Thursday, January 31, 2008

Students fully alive

St. Irenaeus, the bishop of Lyons, said, "Man fully alive is the Glory of God."

Today, I am thinking about what it would be like to have a community of students who believed this and lived it out.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The sheep are coming

Every Wednesday and every Sunday I wake up thinking, "The sheep are coming!" I, and the rest of my leaders are shepherds, not chaperone's. And as shepherds it's our responsibility to


the flock of students God has entrusted to our spiritual care. The sheep are coming and Peter has something to say about how we should treat them.

"2Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away." - 1 Peter 5:2-4

Canon Ball

Upon blowing his nose last night and finding that something actually landed in the tissue, Josiah said loudly, "That was like a canon ball shooting out of my nose."

Seriously, where do they learn these things? I love being a dad because my kids make me laugh, even when it's kind of gross!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dr. Larry Crabb @ Panera

I'm sitting at Panera this morning and Dr. Larry Crabb is across the room writing away, probably working on another book. What's crazy about this post is that I just downloaded the sermon he gave at Lookout Mountain Community Church on January 20th. I looked up and there he was, getting coffee right in front of me, as the file finished downloading! Rich Van Pelt recommended that I listen to this sermon, as the church just lost their senior pastor, and he spoke on "The Church I Want to Be Part Of." Larry's book list is here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm a usurper sitting on a stolen throne

“‘What shall we do?’ is the deep heart cry of every man who suddenly realizes that he is a usurper and sits on a stolen throne. However painful, it is precisely this acute moral consternation that produces true repentance and makes a robust Christian after the penitent has been dethroned and has found forgiveness and peace through the gospel.”

–A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

I am more convinced that understanding Tozer's words will transform the way I lead our student ministry.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The lonely place in student ministry

Mark 1:35 "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

"I want to reflect on this lonely place in our lives. Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our lives are in danger. Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure. Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our actions quickly become empty gestures. The balance between silence and words, withdrawal and involvement, distance and closeness, solitude and community forms the basis of the Christian life and should therefore be the subject of our most personal attention." - Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Something they'll never forget

It's Wednesday and I am eagerly anticipating our Winter Retreat this weekend. I can't wait to see what God is going to do. It just seems like God does special things in the lives of students when they get out of town.

This morning I was captured by this thought, "I get the privilege to be a part of a weekend in the lives of our students that they will never forget." When they're 33 they are going to have some impression or memory of what is going to take place this weekend. You can't have that thought about a lot of the things that happen day in and day out in student ministry, but you can with Winter Retreat.

Monday, January 21, 2008

6 presenting tips for student ministry leaders

The Presentation Zen has a great post - 6 Presentation tips from a Steve Jobs keynote that is worth a look this week. He walks through Steve Jobs presentation that he gave last week. I think there is a lot in here for all of us no matter what our profession or where we serve in the church. From presenting an idea at a meeting, giving a quarterly report, giving announcements, leading a small group, speaking at chapel, teaching a Bible study, teaching a short "devo" before Adoration, or giving a 35 minute message to students, these 6 tips, if practiced, will surely increase your level of impact and communicating with your audience. Presenting tips number 2 and 5 are what I will be working on for my message that I will be giving on Sunday, February 3rd our students.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A student's faith in college

The Denver Post ran a great article in December while I was on vacation about a student that attended our church in middle school before he left Colorado to attend Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota to play hockey. He's currently playing hockey at the University of Denver. Tyler Ruegsegger "goes on faith" the article boasts. I love the title of the article.

I am excited to share this article with our students in a couple of weeks when we get to the message about having an uncompromising integrity in our walk with God, which will be the final message in our series "Ordinary 2 Extraordinary."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Southwest Connection Student Ministry Network 2

Yesterday we had our student ministry network meeting with the student ministry pastors in our area. Assemblies of God, Baptist General Conference, Presbyterian, Mennonite, Evangelical Free Church, Young Life, and Noah's Ark made up our affiliations. We had a great time discussing Kenda Creasy's Dean, "Somebody Save Me."

We discussed this quote, "Adolescents look to the church for a story of somebody who will save
them, who will keep them from going under in the adolescent search for self—a story about whom they belong to, where they come from, and what they are doing on this planet."

Our conversation centered around this questions, "What story of salvation is your ministry telling to the students who walk through the door? What will our students say "saved" them as a result of being in our ministries? How does the way we spend our time impact the story we tell?" Awesome time!

Monday Night Jihad

The Broncos place kicker, Jason Elam, just released a new book, Monday Night Jihad.

You can get a free download of chapter one here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ginger Kids

One of my friends, who will remain nameless "Brian Stephens" informed me that I am a Ginger Kid. I have gingervitis. There is no cure.

Check out the FAQ's for more information.

I had no choice. I was born with this disease. Thankfully, I didn't pass gingervitis on to my kids. I seriously can't believe this website exists. It's quite sad.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Vision Generation

Fuller's Center for Youth and Family Ministry just released a great resource to engage students in learning about Poverty, Aids & World Justice in conjunction with World Vision. They offer one lesson a month. I am very grateful for this resource as I hardly have done anything with this in my ministry. I think this would be a great resource for small group leaders to walk through with students, or use the monthly lessons as outlines to teach students on Sunday mornings.

Vision Generation

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A student's power against the world

"God likes to see His people shut up to this, that there is no hope but in prayer. Herein lies the Church's power against the world." - Andrew Bonar

Therein lies a student's power against the world.

Therein lies their hope.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry 2

I love this book! One reason is that he is helping me to redefine what incarnational youth ministry looks like "God became human to be with and for us, not simply to influence us toward this or that end." All to often we see it only as influencing students towards an end, when in reality we need to see it first as being with them. He says it more eloquently than me on pg. 79,

"I had been working so hard to make things better by influencing adolescents to do this or do that, to believe this or know that. But in the process I was more concerned with their decision, behavior or commitment than with their broken humanity that desired someone to share in their deepest sufferings through relationship. When I tried to influence them, I had neither the patience nor the vision to truly share in their suffering, to make it my own and to join my own broken humanity with theirs. I was so busy making assertions about heaven that I refused to see and accompany them in the darkness of their personal hells."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Building Bridges to Your Senior Pastor - 2

Continuing off the first post in this series I've found it extremely helpful to DTR (Define the Relationship) with my senior pastor. It's been very important for us to determine what our relational style is going to be with each other: Best Buds, Partners or Ships in the Night. Best Buds hang out all the time together outside the context of church stuff. Partners share a mutual respect for each other while they are in the office and work together to be a part of a team that is moving forward, but don't spend hardly anytime together outside the context of church stuff. Ships in the Night never communicate and it takes a student ministry pastor 3-4 weeks to set up a meeting and when the meeting happens it's about 30 minutes.

Knowing your relational style is very important to this relationship succeeding. For example, if a student ministry pastor wants a Best Bud and the senior pastor wants a partner then there is going to be tension. I've heard many student ministry pastors say that their senior pastor doesn't care about them, but it's because they are viewing the relationship from a Best Buds perspective while their boss is looking at them as a Partner. I am grateful for the Partner relationship I have with my senior pastor. I want a Partner. He wants a Partner. Knowing that we aren't Best Buds or Ships in the Night allows us to be loyal Partners to each other.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Student ministry prayer

Psalm 119:18 "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law."

Over the last couple of years this has become a regular prayer for me for our students before we gather on Wednesdays and Sundays.

As we are gathering again for the first time after the Christmas break, and studying the power of the Word in our lives this Sunday morning, this is my prayer for the week. I am praying that God will open the eyes of our students to see wonderful things in His Word.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Wedding

Today I fly to Decatur, IL for Julie and Mark's wedding. I can't wait. I feel so privileged to be performing their ceremony. Julie has served as a leader in our student ministry for six years and her new hubby Mark has been around for 6 months. Several of our leaders are going to be present. Going to this wedding makes me so glad that the people who serve in our student ministry aren't just leaders, but they are my friends. It's not like we all hang out together all the time, but there is what I would call a deep affection for each other and I love that.

It's going to be incredible for all of us to be together in another state, what a memory!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Social media in student ministry

Pew Internet is a great resource. I signed up a few years ago to receive by email all their reports. While I was on vacation they released a report, Teens and Social Media, that is full of great information and should impact the way we do student ministry. Specifically, I believe we need a presence in their social networks online. I've chosen Facebook. In addition, this pdf is also a great resource for our leaders and parents. Here's a summary of their findings:

1. The use of social media – from blogging to online social networking to creation of all kinds of digital material – is central to many teenagers’ lives.

2. Girls continue to lead the charge as the teen blogosphere grows; 28% of online teens have created a blog, up from 19% in 2004.

3. The growth in blogs tracks with the growth in teens’ use of social networking sites, but they do not completely overlap.

4. Online boys are avid users of video-sharing websites such as YouTube, and boys are more likely than girls to upload.

5. Digital images – stills and videos – have a big role in teen life.

6. Posting images and video often starts a virtual conversation. Most teens receive some feedback on the content they post online.

7. Most teens restrict access to their posted photos and videos – at least some of the time. Adults restrict access to the same content less often.

8. In the midst of the digital media mix, the landline is still a lifeline for teen social life.
Multi-channel teens layer each new communications opportunity on top of pre-existing channels.

9. Email continues to lose its luster among teens as texting, instant messaging,

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

undercover atheist

I've been following the blog Leaving Eden since July. I found it while I was on my sabbatical. It's been an interesting blog to follow as the writer is an undercover atheist who just graduated from Wheaton college in December of 2007. They started attending Wheaton as a Christian and are leaving as an atheist. Here's an excerpt from a post,

"I wonder if my professors can tell, when I write in the evangelical voice, that it’s not my real voice. So much of evangelical culture is like that anyway, requiring fluency in the language, that they probably can’t. Like people who stand up and raise their arms during worship at all-school communion– some of them are just regurgitating choreography..."