"I think evangelicalism is destined to die of its own success and it will go the way of mainstream Protestantism because there’s just—it depends far too much on charismatic pastors, and charisma will only take you so far. Evangelicalism is constantly under the burden of re-inventing the wheel and you just get tired. For example, I’m a big advocate of Morning Prayer. I love Morning Prayer. We do the same thing every morning. We don’t have to make it up. We know we’re going to say these prayers. We know we’re going to join in reading of the psalm. We’re going to have these Scripture readings. I mean, there’s much to be said for Christianity as repetition and I think evangelicalism doesn’t have enough repetition in a way that will form Christians to survive in a world that constantly tempts us to always think we have to do something new."
If you are a pastor or staff member of a church, we want to extend an invitation for you to join us at LaCygne any Monday or Tuesday night in February. You are welcome to stay both nights and leave sometime on Wednesday or just one of the nights. You can set your arrival and departure times. This is a great way to start off 2014 with a time to replenish your life with Christ.
LaCygne is a community centered on 3 daily prayer gatherings, contemplation, and serving others. You are invited to study, rest, pray, walk the trails, or work. The community will take care of everything for you at LaCygne: a private room to stay in with a bed made up, meals, and space for work or study. There’s wifi available too.
The community prays at 8:30am, 12pm, and 5:30pm. On Monday nights prayer is at 8pm instead of 5:30. Prayer times last 15-20 minutes. You are invited to join the community for prayer if you would like, but you are certainly free to use the time however you wish. There are no requirements. You are free to join the community for meals or eat in solitude, or with others who have joined you for this time.
This special absolutely free of charge. It would be a gift to us to be able to serve and host you. LaCygne is about 1 hour south of downtown Kansas City on highway 69.
Several months ago I was asked by Dr. Fred Edie, Associate Professor of the Practice of Christian Education at Duke Divinity School to write an article for an edition of the Liturgy Journal in which he was serving as guest editor. Here is how he approached me, "At the Dallas National Youth Worker Convention I snuck into several prayer times led by members of the Youthfront staff. I was impressed by their passion and, obviously, by their attentiveness to a rule of life rooted in liturgical prayer. Since this is not your mom and dad's evangelicalism (or youth ministry, for that matter), I was deeply curious about how this vision took root, how Youthfront, an organization with an historic Evangelical heritage, their staff and other young people are engaging with it, and why they imagined it is an important way of being in youth ministry in the present age. Can you write an article telling the story of how this came about?”
I entitled the article, A Liturgical Transformation. The first 50 people who click on this link can download a free copy.
The word advent means the coming or arrival of something important. Advent is the season when the church celebrates the coming or arrival of Jesus. The Advent Season is all about anticipating the arrival of "God with us" as a human being born in Bethlehem. Traditionally, Advent is celebrated on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Youthfront invites you to join us during this Advent season by participating in this Journey to the Manger, a guide available to you through download.
Suggestions for observing Advent together as a family:
1. Create the right atmosphere. On Sunday night, turn down the lights, light some candles and play some soft Christmas music. Gather your family together in a comfortable room and sit close together.
2. Go through the appropriate week's lesson provided in this guide.
a. Set up the manger scene as described for that week
b. Read the assigned Scripture with quiet enthusiasm. Consider taking turns reading each time.
c. Select some questions that seem to be most appropriate for your family and discuss them together.
d. Engage in the activity together. Be sure to read through the activity beforehand so that you are prepared. (Note - week 2 the activity is before the Scripture reading and discussion).
e. Read the closing prayer.
f. Sing a Christmas song together.
3. Enjoy a favorite family snack together. Consider choosing a snack that is usually enjoyed only during the holidays. Over the years it is fun to see how your family comes to associate that snack with Advent and Christmas.
The most important thing to remember is that being together is the most important thing! Don't try or expect to create the perfect evening (especially if you have a two year old or an adolescent!) It is not about perfection but being present to God and one another. Expect that there will be fidgeting, bizarre questions, distractions and maybe even some fighting. That is all OK. Know that what you are doing matters deeply and will be remembered. It will shape and form your family for years to come.
Youthfront LaCygne 22626 E. 2400 Rd. LaCygne, KS 66040
Youthfront LaCygne is set on 600 acres of beautiful prairie land,
dotted with trees, streams, a lake and sacred spaces, all inviting
people to discover what it is to be fully alive.
October 11 and 12
7:30 on Friday – 5:00p on Saturday
What to expect:
This retreat is not going to be filled with sessions you feel
obligated to attend. Rather, you will have unhurried time to play with
your kids, take a walk through the autumn leaves, hang out in the snack
shop with friends, tell stories around the campfire and pray together.
You will be encouraged to slow down and connect with those you love
The following is a prayer that Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, grew up praying every morning as a child.
"Blessed be the Lord, who has created human beings wisely. In their bodies are a multitude of arteries, cavities and openings: if but one of them were to be blocked or damaged, they could not survive an hour."
Micah Thomas is my guest blogger today. Micah is my son-in-law. Before he became my son-in-law, Micah was the Director of Youthfront Camp South. I know he is a smart young man because he married Jessica nearly three years ago. Last Thursday, Jessica gave birth to Teagan. This is their first family picture. We have pretty much done nothing since her arrival other than be grandparents. The transition to parents is big for Micah and Jessica. In this post Micah writes about his experience at Youthfront South this summer and the importance of Christian community and prayer.
A WAY OF PRAYER by Micah Thomas
This summer our team has worked harder and more intentionally than ever on perfecting our prayer times. We think prayer is at the heart of life and ministry here and that if we can orient ourselves to this reality—that we need God-space in which we can be silent, pray, listen to scripture, and declare what we believe as Christians—then we truly have something unique and special to invite people into.
In fact, while all of the work we do here is important: the relationships, sweating it out on the sports field, cleaning up from meals, mowing the grass, watching people swim and blob, leading discussions, hikes, musical worship, and experiential learning opportunities, our times of fixed hour prayer (9:00am, noon, & 9:00pm) are what anchor us.
What is interesting is that as we grow in understanding this reality for ourselves…first as people choosing to be a worshipping community, we find that teenagers discover the same gift of beauty, peace, and contemplation as they are immersed in this environment, even if only for a short time.
I know this because I hear it from several sources. I had the privilege of being our storyteller for a week this summer, and I spent some time asking kids what their favorite experiences had been from the week. Of course I heard about the blob and ATVs, but I also heard about space to take a walk early in the morning, or the opportunity to worship and learn together in our outdoor worship space: the altar field. I heard about morning prayer, midday prayer, and evening prayer, and time each evening to be still, be alone, and read or reflect.
During the week of storytelling I met with a youth worker, Jacob Taylor, who brought his group here for the first time this summer. In our conversation he related to me how the rhythm and practice of prayer at South had caused him to rethink some of the programming in his weekly gatherings with youth. While it may seem that kids need an experience to charge them up and unleash their adrenaline, often the result is a group of people who have had their stress response systems piqued and are in fight-or-flight mode. Especially in the course of a week of camp, if we choose to do this because it seems that kids respond in bigger ways, we are probably doing more damage than good. Instead, providing regular, intentional, and quiet space to worship may be the best medicine.
Jacob told me that he did not have to deal with any incidents or bickering among his kids during the time they were here. He told me that even though there is a lot of open time and kids have the ability to make their own choices, that having an environment that isn’t built on hype may be the reason kids settle down and function better.
It’s not just behavior modification either. How do I know? If all we were doing here was getting kids to fit the design of our expectations for a week, they would instantly return to their normal way of life and patterns upon leaving. What do we find instead? At least in small ways, an awakening to new practices of faith that do not end when a week of camp does.
Two weeks from today the youth worker retreat with Ian Cron begins. The dates are August 6-8, 2012. It has been a hot and busy summer so treat yourself to a time to refresh and recenter on why we do what we do.
We have created an opportunity for you and your family to step out of all the business and demands of youth ministry and into the strong and loving arms of God. Our hope is that this holy rest will restore your soul and help prepare you for another season of fruitful ministry.
We have carved three days out of the schedule at Youthfront Camp South for vocational youth workers and their families. We set these days aside for you in hopes of providing a place and time for you and your family to get away, laugh and have fun together. While there will be things for you to do, there won't be a program to keep up with. You will have the space and time to do whatever it is you feel like doing.