Saturday, September 6, 2014

Culture and Great Posts

Often times I come across some awesome videos, blogs, and articles while searching the internet and more often than not I will through up on twitter or facebook.  But every once in a while I like to put all that stuff together so I remember them.  So in your spare time check them out.  Some are to learn and others are just random ideas

Discussion on Violence
Celebrities talking about Gun Violence

Airbnb for Youth Workers
Youth Workers working together to share rooms and space to save cost.  Yes I am a fan of this. 

Just For Fun... So Funny
Ellen makes a call to one of her audience members

Friday, September 5, 2014

Youth Faith Longevity P6... Environments and Graduates

       For parents teaching seminary classes, the payoff of four years of early morning teaching (an act of solidarity not lost on teenagers) is its immediate relevance for sons and daughters who will embark on mission (Dean, 2010. P. 40).  This quote comes from the book, Almost Christian; where the author is talking about the reward the parents receive from giving so much time to their children in the Mormon tradition.  Youth group should prepare students for the world they are about to enter.  Preparing students for the outside world should include discussions about but not limit to: God’s grace, peer pressure, finances, relationships, loneliness, time management, boundaries, finding a faith community, as well as every day skills.  These students should have a firm understanding that God loves them and there is nothing they can do to make God love them more or less. 
            The Gospel of Grace becomes exceedingly more important in the lives of youth as they prepare for college. These students are about to venture into a world that they know not of.  They are going to stumble many times and when they do, the church should be there to pick them back up.  The more churches lose our ability to barricade ourselves off from one another, the more God’s grace flows through us into the world (Dean, 2010. P. 65).   In order for youth to fully experience the grace of God, they need to have developed relationships within the body of Christ.  The church needs to be surrounding every youth with a minimum of five adults who are willing to invest in them into their college years and hopefully even beyond.  Included in these five adults should be a spiritual mentor to help them navigate the treacherous waters of their senior year of high school and their freshman year of college. 
            The primary adult(s) in a student’s life will most likely be a parent or guardian.  As the youth ministry prepares the students for transition into college, they need to also prepare the parent.  The 3000 hours a year investment by the parent or guardian could lead to significant faith development if the ministry chooses to partner with them correctly.  Including the parents in discussions, encouraging them to share their faith, and providing resources to them will further the growth much more, then if the ministry seeks to solely focus on the student. 
            Too often we think of religion as a far-off, mysteriously run bureaucracy to which we apply for assistance when we feel the need (Peterson, 2000. Kindle Location 482).  The church has to make the Gospel tangible for our students.  When graduating seniors were asked in the Sticky Faith research what they would like more of their senior year, two of the top items were mission trips and community service.  Students want to take part in the living Gospel on a regular basis within their local community as well as partake in transforming communities abroad.
            The last year in my youth ministry, as we prepare to send forth our students, is filled with conversations, relationship building, and prepping.  During the final months we help the youth transition by calling churches in the area that they are going off to and help them to make contact with at least one of the churches prior to leaving.  In the youth ministry we have the other students make a care package for each college student for them to receive within the first couple of weeks.  In the past I have asked other leaders of the church to participate in these care packages.  Throughout the year I make an effort to remain in contact along with encouraging other leaders to do likewise.  Faith longevity has a lot to do with the relationships we develop along the way.  The way those relationships turn out can hinder or help to support one’s faith growth.  As a youth pastor, I find my primary responsibility is often helping people be connected.  Connecting students to God, connecting students to adults, connecting students with one another, connecting students with their families, and connecting each individual with each other so we can be one body of Christ. 

Clydesdale, Tim (2007). The First Year Out: Understanding American Teens after High School (Morality and Society Series). University of Chicago Press - A. Kindle Edition.

Dean, Kenda Creasy (2010). Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church. Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Holly Catterton Allen;Christine Lawton Ross (2012). Intergenerational Christian Formation: Bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community and Worship. Kindle Edition.

Jenkins, Philip (2011). The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Future of Christianity Trilogy). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Joiner, Reggie (2009). Think Orange: Imagine the Impact When Church and Family Collide... (Kindle Locations 295-296). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.

Peterson, Eugene H. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society (2000). Kindle Edition.

Powell, Kara E.; Griffin, Brad M.; Crawford, Cheryl A. (2011). Sticky Faith, Youth Worker Edition: Practical Ideas to Nurture Long-Term Faith in Teenagers. Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Schultz, Thom; Schultz, Joani (2013). Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore: And How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Church Irresistible: 1. Group Publishing, Inc.. Kindle Edition.