Send me your kids who want to have fun and I'll send you my kids who want to learn.

Re-Imagining Youth Ministry :a blog mentorship experiment

Yesterday I was visiting with a Senior Pastor and Youth Pastor of a church here in a small town in Oklahoma. I am coaching them and will be working with them to train some of their youth workers. These folks desire to be church B. They have a missional approach to ministry that to some, feels less flashy than the average youth ministry.

So the youth pastor (let's call him Nate) was talking to the youth pastor down the street, who is in his 50's. As Nate was describing his ministry to this older youth pastor this is what the other youth pastor said to him. 

"You send me your kids who want to have fun and I'll send you my kids who want to learn."--posted by Gerald Fees

I totally get this. I just turned 50. I was raised under youth ministry professors who tried finding the balance to give to use youth ministry and Christian ed students, but hey, we were college students and we were already all about fun. 


I'm Kickin' It with Spiritual Gifts

If you have read anything about spiritual gifts, you probably know everything there is to know about them. Today I just want to go through a few passages to remind you what spiritual gifts really are all about. The kicker: When each part is working properly, the body grows, built up in love. There are three major passages that give the listings of not just spiritual gifts, but gifts, services, and activities of the Godhead in a believer's life: 1 Corinthians 12 (and lesser 14), Romans 12, and Ephesians 4.
Number 1: The gifts (services and activities) are SPIRITUAL, which means they come from another realm and operate in the realm. These are not natural gifts, however natural gifts (like singing, artistry, etc.) can be used by God to bring about spiritual services and activities. In other words, our spiritual gifts can utilize the natural gifts to bring about God's purposes (say, healing, or encouragement).
Number 2: These spiritual activities are EMPOWERED BY GOD. They are not …

What Could Be Better In My Life?

What would you say is one thing you wish was better about your life?
Things on the other side of the fence hold an attraction to us--are temptations for us. It is part of our human nature. 

Some of that nature helps us to search for God. Most of it betrays us.

The temptation is for us to become covetous, greedy, self-absorbed, selfishly ambitious, and hold on to the belief that the good we have is the best--for anyone and everyone. 

One way we respond when we think something good we have is losing its street cred is by pretending that it is better than it really is. Mark records the prophet Isaiah's description of hypocrites in his gospel as:
(1) honoring God with their lips while their heart is far from Him = How does this happen? (2) worshipping God in vain = What does this mean? (3) teaching doctrines that really are just commandments of men. (Mark 7:6-7)
Have you ever been surrounded by hypocrites?
Ever been found among them?

There is GOOD news, even GREAT news. Well, it is actually t…

Not all Christians Will Go to Heaven

Not all Christians will go to heaven? What!?!

I posted a while back about a lady who asked her pastor why she should become a disciple because she was already a Christian.

My pastor preached recently on the growing body of people in our society who call themselves Christians but do not attend church.

My children have spoken to me of teachers in school speaking about religions and listing Christianity among other religions.

With these statements in mind, I have come to the conclusion that not all Christians will go to heaven.

You can call yourself a Christian, and while this should express faith in Jesus Christ, it evidently means that you subscribe to a system of beliefs I would call "the religious practices of Christianity." Among them is the belief in Jesus Christ, which amounts to believing that he existed, walked this planet, did good, performed miracles, died, and was resurrected, ascended to heaven, left behind some disciples (who became apostles) who carried on in be…

What if I never had to sin again?

What if I never had to sin again? Part 1.

I have been pursuing some answers to my sin problem--or my overcoming sin problem, that is of being able to move beyond forgiveness to developing patterns in my life that keep me connected to God and all that that means.

Isn't that called Sanctification? Well, most likely, but stating the word now locks me into a theological debate I do not want to get involved in. But yes. I purchased a book not too long ago entitled, The Five Views of Sanctification, which basically has each view beating up on all of the others in Jesus' name while rising to the top. I bought it because it added yet another feather into the hat of my search for perfection--it continues in humanity too. It is a viable question of merit.

Perfection? Another theological term I do not want to debate (but discuss? Yep). It doesn't mean to me what it means to so many others. To me it means responsibility to the best I am able. Some would say it is the Garden of Eden. …

Review: Evangelism More Caught than Taught

I teach Evangelism & Discipleship I & II online for a Christian University in Ohio. I was looking over an assignment that really threw me for a curve because the exercise goes against what the course is teaching.
The course uses as one of its textbooks, Becoming a Contagious Christian: Communicating Your Faith in a Style that Fits You, which teaches that there are several ways of evangelizing referred to as "styles" and that there isn't only one acceptable way. Those styles are: Direct style, Intellectual style, Invitational style, and Serving style.
Then the course has students read an article that emphasizes one style (Direct, or perhaps Intellectual) and asks them to attempt to do so. The article gives the following statement for its rationale:
"We are dedicated to equipping people for evangelism, not because large numbers follow us, but because it is the command Jesus gave to His followers. We don’t take others with us for OJT because it’s convenient, comfo…

Name-Drop the Right Name

You have no doubt been in circles where someone has name-dropped. Perhaps you have done so yourself. I know I have. I happen to know some "big names" in some areas of ministry that I can drop at times to gain a hearing. To be honest, I don't know why I do it. And even more honest, I don't think it has ever done anything for me.

I teach evangelism and discipleship courses for OCU (is this name-dropping?) and have done so now (online) nearly ten times. One of the projects in the class is for students to write out their testimony as if speaking to a non-Christian who might be interested.

Did you catch that last part? Write it out for someone who doesn't know, or perhaps has never heard about, God, Jesus, the need for salvation, and how God has answers for their life's problems.

I've graded over 150 of these testimonies and just started keeping track of some patterns I am seeing. One of the things I am hearing over and over again is:

When evangelizing, be su…