What is the future of Christian proclamation in a society increasingly driven by networked technologies and 140-character communications? What place does preaching to young people have in such a society, and what form might it take? How might we move from mere sermons and “youth talks” into affecting the lives of young hearers?
I'm excited to participate in this important Conference. COME JOIN US.
youth worker was been confronted by the question, “What does God want
me/us to do?” Whether around big changes to the ministry itself or
around individual young people trying to discern the direction of their
lives, we seek to follow God’s leading or God’s will.
But how do we go about such processes of discernment? How do we know
when it is God leading us and not just our conscience or something
else? This presentation will explore a process of discerning with young
people that focus on the action and direction of God in their lives.
Join other youth workers from around the city, along with Andy Root,
to explore the topic, “Youth Ministry and Discerning God’s Action.” The
training will begin at nine on Wednesday morning, October 24, and last
through lunch. Lunch from Oklahoma Joe’s will be provided in partnership
with MidAmerica Nazarene University.
In our Theology Track at the National Youth Workers Conventions this fall we are addressing the topic, "How do Scripture and Theology Interact?"
“What is the point of reading the
Bible?” What youth worker hasn’t heard that question? How that question gets
answered depends on theology. Any answer we give suggests something about God,
the church and discipleship. The Bible and theology are inexorably bound
together, so this panel will engage broadly around the topic of their
interaction. How do theological commitments impact how we interpret Scripture?
How does culture shape our understanding of the Bible? What role do communities
play in helping us read Scripture? What really
is the point of reading the Bible? And, are we ever just reading the Bible? How do we help young people grapple with a
Bible that is complex, ancient, enigmatic and yet normative and authoritative
for our faith?
One of our panelists is Dr. Dean Blevins. Here is a guest blog post by Dr Blevins to help frame this topic.
I am looking forward participating in the Youth Theology panel
discussions at the National Youth Workers Convention in San Diego and
Dallas. The panels, sponsored by Immerse Journal, are designed
to engage youth ministers theologically, encouraging a deeper reflection
over the role of theology in the practice of ministry.
I am thankful Mike King invited me to address this issue with a
really stellar panel of youth ministry specialists who share deep
theological convictions. The challenge reminds me just how deeply
theology shapes our reading of scripture alongside how scripture informs
our theology. This may be a “chicken and egg” issue since we never come
to scripture without some theological assumptions (a theological
horizon) which influences our understanding of scripture. To be sure, we
ought to be disciplined enough to attempt to take scripture seriously
on its own merits. However, I really do not believe we can ever approach
scripture without a theological framework. The challenge may be more
accepting our assumptions first and then recognize how they may or may
not hinder our interpretations.
However, I really wonder if our theology remains so deeply rooted
that often it shapes our understanding of the very role of scripture. In
short, what do we assume happens when we read, teach, discuss, and
engage scripture? How does the Bible “function” in our ministry from the
standpoint of how it informs actual participation in the Christian
life? What actually “happens” when we read scripture and what does the
Bible “do” for us as we read it?
The question came home early in my ministry when I was engaged in a
conversation with a really intelligent young adult finishing his
doctoral program in American history. He was struggling with his faith
journey and I was there to help him sort out his past with his vision
for God’s salvation at work in and through his life. I asked if he read
scripture and, if so, why? He frankly admitted he never read scripture
anymore and saw no need. When pressed why, he merely replied “I already
learned all the answers so why bother?” The response took me off guard.
Much like passing a driver’s license exam, my friend was raised to see
scripture as a deposit of data, a manual, with requisite data to be
memorized, tested, and passed. He did admit that he might consult
scripture when he “forgot” the guidelines for a particular way of
living, much like checking for a long forgotten traffic law. The very
source of life for some Christians had become a hurdle to overcome and
nothing more. It was almost “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt”
Bible study. Why? READ THE REST OF THE POST HERE.
The FirstLight United Methodist Church is looking for a Director of Youth Ministry. The church is in Gardner, KS, only seven miles from Youthfront Camp West. Brad Wheeler is the pastor and is a friend of mine. He would be a great person to work with. The church is growing and has a lot of potential for growth. Gardner is one of the fastest growing cities in Kansas. The position is part time. Here is the Position Description. Download Youth ministry description with Mike King
If you are interested, please send your resume to Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ideology: a set of beliefs, especially religious,
philosophical or political beliefs on which people, parties or countries base
Ideologue: a person who zealously advocates an
ideology with an uncompromising and dogmatic manner. Ideologues often employ
questionable tactics to advance their positions because they believe the end
justifies the means.
I am a recovering ideologue. Ideologues
often colonize environments and justify the use of dubious means to accomplish
results supporting their ideologies. Because of their passionate advocacy, they
are willing to throw people under the bus to
advance their causes. They are black and white in their thinking. You’re either
with them or against them. There is no middle ground. They see categories, not
people. They guard against looking into the faces of real people, knowing that
might shed light on the hypocrisy of their ideological dogmas.
If you think I’m talking about
someone you radically disagree with, you just might be an ideologue. Perhaps a
little self-reflection is in order.
We must ask ourselves, In what ways am I willing to twist a
theological position just to advance a cause I believe in? We must learn to
read Scripture over and against ourselves instead of assuming the warnings are
always directed at the other and not ourselves.
Having come out of a conservative
background (both politically and theologically), Ironically, I find it hard not
to be dismissive of the people who are like the person I used to be. My world is
more expansive now. As my world of relationships has expanded, I naively
assumed political and theological liberals would be kinder and more
progressive. However, I’ve learned that all ideologues are the same. They want
their way. They’re right; you’re wrong. If you think differently, you’re an
enemy. They label and dismiss those who don’t agree with their positions.
Youth workers, don’t be ideologues!
Our vocation is pastoral. See people as people, not issues. Be open to the Holy
Spirit taking you places you assumed you would never go . I wonder if Jesus was
initially uncomfortable hanging out with sinners. I wonder if Jesus was
troubled with being constantly criticized by the religious elite for pushing
against the prevailing positions of those ideologues. I wonder if we experience
the same level of frustration he experienced when we shed our desire to be
I’m not saying in any way that
this means we should be wishy-washy or unconcerned with truth. I have no
hesitation in saying I am Christian to the core, orthodox in the doctrines
stated in our historic creeds. I believe Jesus Christ is fully God and fully
man, born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died and was buried and that he
arose, bodily, physically from the dead on the third day. For some, those
beliefs make me an ideologue.
But I will not torch others. I do
not feel the need to be the Holy Spirit and bring down judgment on those who
have a different perspective than I do. I am committed to conversations and
relationships with those I don’t agree with. I want to be open to learn from
others. I seek first to understand. We can be people who disagree on important
issues without demonizing one another. We can demonstrate theological,
sociological and relational generosity to our students. I’m thrilled that more
and more people are rejecting old categories like liberal and conservative or
right and left and discovering new, more biblical ways to navigate difficult
and complex issues.
If you are prone to be an
ideologue, as I am, please take a few minutes and read what Paul says here in
Romans 12:14-18. Let it sink in. Meditate on these words from the Lord.
those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who
rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not
be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be
conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in
the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at
peace with everyone.