Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Princeton - Student participators

Kenda Creasy Dean spent some time talking about Henry Jenkins observation that adolescents are no longer just consumers of culture but participators in it. One of the ways this truth is going to impact my student ministry when I come home is that Sunday mornings are going to change. As I have been thinking about it today, I've realized that students show up and consume what I want them to and don't have any way of participating in what I am talking about. I speak for 40 minutes straight. They sit and listen...that's it. I am excited for our students to start participating in their learning. If I have 40 minutes I am no longer going to be speaking for 40 minutes straight! I am going to mix in dialogue, different forms of prayer, stories, video, audio, etc... I am excited to grow in this area of my shepherding of our students.

Princeton - Translation

"Information is hard to translate. Love translates 100% of the time." - Kenda Creasy Dean from session two this morning.

This afternoon I have been imagining a student ministry full of adults who are translating 100% of the time they are with our students.

I am imagining myself translating 100% of the time. I wonder how many times I've sounded like a clanging symbol?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Princeton - Jar of Fleas

Is your church more concerned with the membership of mission of young people?

Are you training fleas to stay in the jar (pews)?

Princeton - Gated Community?

Does this remind you of the church? Does this remind you of your church? Kenda opened up her session today, "Going Viral for Jesus" with this video clip.

Princeton - Embracing Paradox

Mark 9:24 "Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Tony Jones busted out this pericope from Mark 9:14-24 and said that student ministry should embrace paradox. He told the story of a physics professor who said this to him, "In physics we embrace paradox, why can't we do it in theology?" The boy's father believed, but he didn't believe. In our context students believe, but they don't believe. Our students have faith, but they also have doubt. Is there room in our theology for paradox? Is there room in our small groups for paradox? Is there room in our church for paradox?

Princeton - Fire Hydrant

This picture represents what it's been like to be here for less than 24 hours. My face is on one side. My friend Jim's face is on the other side. I've had the chance to listen to these three speakers so far:

Christian Andrews
Kenda Creasy Dean
Tony Jones

More to come later as I get a chance to put what I am processing together!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Princeton - 2/3 of the Word God

2/3 of the word God is GO! - John 20:21 ,"21Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Urge to Merge - Week 1

Today we kicked off our series by inviting Barb Wise from Wise Choices to tell us her amazing story of living with HIV. Her husband surprised us all by joining her halfway through the presentation. It was one of the most powerful love stories I have ever heard. She spoke with conviction and passion and I think it was an amazing day in the life of our student ministry. Our students were pointed to falling in love with God and His Word as the foundation of their opposite sex relationships! I can't think of a better place to begin and I can't wait to build upon what she started next week.

If you want to hear what she had to say click here.

Princeton baby!

I've waited for five years to go to Princeton Theological Seminary's Theological Youth Ministry Forum - tonight I am done waiting. I am taking the red eye into Philly where I will meet up with a close friend of mine, Jim Newberry, and we will travel together to the campus. I am so excited for this time and plan to be sharing it with you on this blog. More information on the conference can be found here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Urge to Merge

Our 5 week series on Dating, Marriage & Sex begins tomorrow. I can't wait to see what God does in the hearts, minds, souls and bodies of our students.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Encouragement folder

A few years ago my senior pastor encouraged me to create an encouragement folder where I could save all the emails that I got from people that were encouraging. It was great advice.

Today I read through them and through tears remembered why I am sitting in this seat and in the lives of students and families at Southern Gables Church.

I am so thankful for the number of people who have taken the time out of their day to drop me an encouraging line. They will never know how much they mean to me.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Class nights

Our small groups that meet from September to April took a break last night so our classes could be together. We realized a few years ago that because our small groups are gender specific and not age specific (we have all four classes represented in each small group) we needed to provide a time in our calendar where we allowed the classes to meet to develop an identity. Last night was one of the three nights this year that the classes met together in homes around our community. I had the privilege of being with the juniors...our soon to be seniors. We had a great discussion about the distinctives that each class below them has and I asked them what two things have the seniors done that they want to continue this next year. We closed our time in Acts 2:42-27 and I reminded them how this passage is a picture of what we want to see in our spiritual community. We desire to have a community of students adoring God, committed to understanding the Bible, committed to establishing and developing community and serving the needs of students inside and outside our group.

I am pumped to see how God uses this class in our spiritual community to help the other students in our group become faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Administrative Professionals Day

I am blessed to have Carey on our team as our Administrative Professional. You rock Carey!

In honor of Administrative Professionals Day she posted a blog that made me laugh out loud.

Carey's blog post is here!

Is it in you?

"If we want to have all our bases covered before we act, nothing exciting will happen. But if we dare
to take a few crazy risks, because God asks us to do so, many doors, which we didn’t even know existed, will be open to us." - Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Jesus Storybook Bible

My friend Seth pointed me to Sally Lloyd-Jones' book The Jesus Storybook Bible. What caught my attention was the subtitle, "Every story whispers HIS name."

This book is described as "...containing forty-six Bible stories from creation to Revelation with beautiful, rich and vibrant artwork, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures and discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God's great story of salvation - and at the center of their story, too."

My kids LOVE THIS BOOK! I LOVE THIS BOOK! BUY THIS BOOK! The artwork is amazing, but what's more amazing is how each story ends with us talking about how the story of our lives intersects with the story of God and our need for Jesus as Saving LORD.

Here's a thought, and I am serious, this might just be a perfect thing for our teenagers to walk through to grasp the story of God in a small group setting. I can imagine sitting down, reading a story every week and having an amazing conversation about where we heard His name whispered. Thank you for writing this book Sally Lloyd Jones!

Monday, April 21, 2008

4 Bear Creek Girls

So today I headed out of the office to work at Panera, which I never do on Mondays. As I was sitting down in my seat, at my normal spot, 4 Bear Creek High School girls sat down at the table with me. I had a great time interacting with them! After they walked away I realized that I just got a short overview of what's going on in the lives of some of the students in our community. Here's what's going on in our context!

and For kicks and's what we covered in about 25 minutes: the video of the cheerleaders beating up another cheerleader, why are girls so mean, how they (being cheerleaders) are better than poms, how I married a girl from Bear Creek, how my wife and I fell in love, our up and coming series at the church (Urge 2 Merge), whether or not any of them had been to church (one had never, three used to attend but don't now), being real when talking to people, they sent a text to a student in our church that they knew (that was awesome), how excited they were to graduate and yet scared of the future, where they each were going to college (ASU, Metro, CSUCSU Pueblo), we talked about the names of my kids (one girl said the name Josiah kicks A$%), they asked me about what I will do when my daughter starts dating, they wanted to know what I would think if it was another girl, we talked about senior ditch day, we talked about partying and running from the cops, we talked about Taco Bell being the bomb, they told me I should see Juno and that it rocked, each of them has a job and pays for all their own stuff, we talked about the racial diversity at Bear Creek High School, whites are the minority in their opinion, they couldn't believe I was a pastor (I still can't believe it), we talked about how fake religious people are, I shared with them that I think it's about a relationship with Christ and not being religious before they left.

Then, after they left a grandma came up to me and said, "You must be a husband and I were watching you make them laugh for 25 minutes."

I am so glad I left the office. I love planting and watering when you least expect it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Planting and watering

1 Corinthians 3: 6-7 "6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow."

I'm a planter. My leaders are planters. The parents in our ministry are planters. I water. My leaders water. The parents in our ministry water.

God causes the growth. He's the one that brings about the harvest.

I am looking forward to Sunday...a day of planting and watering.

Generation Y

My buddy Chris sent this to me:

- The Silent generation, people born before 1945.
- The Baby Boomers, people born between 1945 and 1961.
- Generation X, people born between 1962 and 1976.
- Generation Y, people born between 1977 and 1996 .

Why do we call the last one generation Y? Maybe this picture will help!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I am not anything

1 Corinthians 3: 6-7 "6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow."

I am not anything.

Christ is everything.

In my ministry...I often take credit for planting, watering and growth - EVERYTHING. Oh I'll tell you God causes the growth...but at the end of the day...somewhere deep inside me I want to believe that it was up to me. It was a great message. Saying the right prayer. Getting all visitors contacted. Motivating leaders. Having a great relationship with my senior pastor. Serving on a national level in our denomination. Spin here. Spin there. Smiling when I am hurting. Laughing when I should be crying. Being loud and crazy when I should be quiet and motionless.

I want to be a part of a student ministry that strategically plants and waters...then sits back watches God grow a mustard seed, 10, 30, 50, 100 of them.

I want to start saying, "But only God!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Forbidden Fruit

I just picked up this book to read before we start our Urge 2 Merge (a look at dating, marriage and sex) series in our high school ministry next week.

You can read more about the book here. Here's a brief summary, "Forbidden Fruit reveals the complexity of teenagers' sexual decision-making, documenting that religion affects their sexual attitudes, but that it does not often motivate their decisions to act. Instead, religion often accompanies other "secular" reasons for delaying sex, like concern for safeguarding one's educational future. Forbidden Fruit describes this largely religion-less "middle class sexual morality" in detail, and concludes with a new typology for documenting how religion shapes human action among adolescents and adults."

Monday, April 14, 2008

An epic Sunday

Tonight I am home and praising God for the courage of my senior pastor as he lead our church yesterday by bringing into the light the topic of pornography and sexual integrity issues. We split the men and women up in two different rooms and had two guest speakers make presentations. It was an epic day and I am praying that lives will be changed, marriages will be saved and that the future marriages of our students will be saved. We addressed this issue as a part of our James preaching series and used these verses to start the conversation,

James 1:13-15 "13When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Did You Know?


Noah is playing baseball for the first time this spring on the White Sox. He's playing first base because he can catch the ball! He is having a blast! We're 0-2. Yesterday's game time temperature at 8:00 a.m. was 37 degrees! You gotta love spring time baseball in Colorado! Watching Noah play has rekindled my passion for the game. I can't wait for our 70 degree practices this week!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Enroute 2

Yesterday was the first of what we hope to be several Enroute's throughout the state of Colorado by the end of 2008. We are looking at Littleton, Boulder, Greeley and Colorado Springs to be host sites for training this fall!

We are also excited to be one of 12 cities hosting Reveal on September 12-13, 2008.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Today is our first Enroute in our district and I can't wait! 25 of us are gathering from Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota for this experience. Chris Folmsbee, author of a New Kind of Youth Ministry and President of Sonlife is here to present the material. Spring snow is falling and I can't wait to wrestle through the material together. You can check out Chris' blog and read a sample chapter here of his book.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Cut to the chase

I think we need to "cut to the chase" with our students. Our pastor asked a great question of us on Sunday that I am looking forward to asking our students,

"Let me cut to the chase, if over the next 10-20 years you could be reshaped into the likeness of Jesus, would you want to be?"

Monday, April 07, 2008

39, 120

Within 10 miles of our church there are 83 high schools with approximately

39, 120 students.

I don't need another reason to get up in the morning!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Living in Community

Tonight is week 5 of my senior study! I can't wait to hang out with the class of 2008 in my home! This week I experienced something absolutely wonderful in our spiritual community. A lady I have never met in the church called me this week and asked if she could provide the snack for our study tonight! She noticed last Sunday in our bulletin that the seniors were coming over and figured that they would probably want to eat! How sweet is that? Since I started working here in 1996 I've never had that happen. It means a lot to me to know that there are people not involved in student ministry who are thinking about ways they can serve!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The dog better not eat my homework

Great stuff over at Trends and Tudes in this article, The Dog Better Not Eat My Homework. I've found this research to be very informative and a great tool to pass on to leaders and parents!

With over 90% of our students going to public schools I was fascinated to find that a large percentage of people that think the education system is at least good. I received a great public education while I was in school. One of the hard parts about this research is that it didn't track how much effort students put in to getting something out of their education. It's a two way street.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Exposing the Wizard of Oz

"What if an adolescent we know actually does identify with the God of the cross, and therefore does love something truly, with the kind of passion that exposes all lesser loves, including greedy, self-fulfilling ones on which human society stands?

Mimesis (imitation) of Jesus Christ does not create 'good teenagers' or 'wholesome youth programs.' It creates radicals and prophets - people who reveal the root of cultural deceits with the searchlight of Christ's love, and who unmask avarice, violence, rivalry, and smallness, exposing them like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain. And like the Wizard, the ideologies of self-fulfillment can no longer intimidate once the humbug has been revealed." - Kenda Creasy Dean, Practicing Passion

What if this started happening in our student ministries?

Are you ready for football?

It was announced last night that the Broncos will kick off the season on MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL against the Raiders on September 8th!

159 days away!