Save the date for our last training session of the school year! Dr. Jason Lief will be with us to talk about "Poetic Youth Ministry," and will explore the issue of young people and faith, specifically focusing on the various responses of the Christian community to the research suggesting young people are leaving the church.
Don't miss this opportunity and register now for this session!
I've always wanted to sky dive but haven't worked up the courage, YET, to jump out of an airplane. Experience iFly just might help me cross the line to courage. I'm excited about this Youthfront event coming up on May 5th because it will also help send lots of kids to Youthfront camps that otherwise couldn't afford to come. Check it out and come join us.
For the last two years I have been a part of an amazing project called the Museum of the Bible. I have served as a Senior Advisor for the museum. I am working closely with former Youthfront staff member and current Youthfront Board member, as well as my dear friend and colleague for the last forty years, Tim Smith. Tim is a Vice President and Director of Development. The video below is is an extended virtual tour of the 430,000-square-foot Museum of the Bible being constructed in Washington, D.C. The Museum is slated to open in November, 2017 and is located a couple blocks off of the Washington Mall, near the US Capital Building. Watch the video and you will see why I am so excited to be a part of this legacy project. Below the video is the Official Executive Summary for one of the projects that I'm heading up for the Museum. In the fall I secured a substantial planning grant from the John Templeton Foundation for Museum of the Bible and I'm excited about the potential to change the conversation concerning the Bible and Science.
Official Executive Summary for the Museum of the Bible and John Templeton Foundation Planning Grant:
A narrative has developed in the Western world that scripture and science are incompatible. Many believe science has shown the Bible to no longer be relevant and even responsible for holding back human progress. There are also those who believe that scripture necessitates an adversarial position against science. While elements of this narrative are certainly understandable in our current cultural milieu, we believe they are mistaken and damaging. The MOTB has an opportunity to help overcome these misleading views. We will use this planning grant from the John Templeton Foundation to determine the best, most effective ways to develop initiatives, programs, research, scholarship and exhibits focusing on the Bible and its impact on science in an accurate, comprehensible, compelling and memorable manner. This grant will support planning for the Bible and science portions of a signature traveling exhibit and for the Museum itself, and add rich science and scripture content to other projects and initiatives of MOTB. The planning grant will enable us to plan and facilitate up to seven strategic gatherings involving scholars, theologians, scientists, practitioners, literary and cultural experts who will together explore how MOTB and its initiatives can enhance the public dialogue concerning the convergence between the Bible, science and scholarship. In addition, we will engage in a small but high leverage research project to assess secular openness to initiatives we hope will change the conversation in the broader culture concerning the relationship between science and the Bible. This project will produce a detailed plan for compelling exhibits focusing on science and the Bible and create a fully- developed proposal for the John Templeton Foundation requesting support to implement plans. We believe the stakes are high if the presentation of the Bible and Science relationship is not informative and intelligent.
Jason Lief teaches Theology and Youth Ministry at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. He is also the founder and director of The Prairie Project—a week long ministry event that introduces high school students to the diverse culture of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Jason is the author of the book Poetic Youth Ministry: Learning to Love Young People by Letting them Go and is currently writing a book focusing on the intersection of Theology and Heavy Metal music. Jason is married to Tamara and they have three kids: Naomi (13), Christian (11), and Savannah (8).
Session 1: “I Didn’t Know we had a Pool”: Taking WALL-E to Youth Ministry
This session will explore the issue of young people and faith, specifically focusing on the various responses of the Christian community to the research suggesting young people are leaving the church. Using the film WALL-E this session with explore the social and cultural issues that impact religious belief. This discussion will provide the framework for a “poetic” form of youth ministry that is informed by a particular way of thinking about what it means to be the “church”.
Session 2: The Politics of Poetic Youth Ministry
This session will focus on the practical side of a “poetic” approach to youth ministry. What are the issues young people struggle with in the West? How do young people form and shape an identity? How can the Christian community engage in a form of ministry that invites young people to embrace their humanity in the new humanity of Jesus Christ? Using insights from theology, cultural theory, and philosophy this session will explore the practical wisdom at the center of a poetic approach to youth ministry that provides the basis for formative practices and a political approach to pastoral care.
Date: Thursday, April 7, 9:00a – 1:00p, lunch included