Where Youth Ministry Must Go

If you were unable to attend the "Where Youth Ministry Must Go..." event at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary last month, they've put the MP3's online.

Youth Ministry Must Go Deeper by Kara Powell

Youth Ministry Must Go Closer by Steve Argue

Youth Ministry Must Go Broader by Mark Oestreicher

I've only listened to Marko's but I'm looking foward to hearing all of them.

Making a Difference

Whether you are a teacher, full time youth pastor, volunteer youthworker or any other person who is investing in lives, particularly young lives, this is a GREAT reminder of why we do what we do.

I remember reading this story years ago as a chain letter that was passed around to encourage others, not to have someone down your line send you a $1 but this is a far better way to convey the message.

Making A Difference Movie

2008 Election coming soon!

Dobson Offers Insight on 2008 Republican Hopefuls: Focus on Family Founder Snubs Thompson, Praises Gingrich

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson appeared to throw cold water on a possible presidential bid by former Sen. Fred Thompson while praising former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is also weighing a presidential run, in a phone interview Tuesday.

"Everyone knows he's conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for," Dobson said of Thompson. "[But] I don't think he's a Christian; at least that's my impression," Dobson added, saying that such an impression would make it difficult for Thompson to connect with the Republican Party's conservative Christian base and win the GOP nomination

I think Gingrich is a great thinker and I buy into almost all he's selling but there is no way he actually gets elected. Since J. C. Watts isn't going to run, I'd love it if Thompson would run. I'd prefer a committed Christian but since God is in control regardess of who's elected I want somone who will be a conservative with Reagan leanings. Also we don't know his heart and I know we all play the odds according to fruit about who we think is saved but there is no way I call somone a non-believer in an interview.

BTW, my new senior pastor has a baseball card on his desk with Reagan wearing a Cubs jacket throwing out a first pitch. If he had on a Red Sox jacket, it'd be perfect.


Good Prayer Article by Tony Jones

Tony did a great job with his Prayer Beyond Father Weejus article in Leadership Journal.

In two decades of youth ministry, I've heard a lot of conversational prayers to Father Weejus. You know, "Father Weejus ask that you'd be here tonight, and Weejus hope you'll really bless our time." I've heard a lot of unnecessary "justs" and "reallys" over the years, and inappropriate uses of the subjunctive mood ("We pray you would move your people and you would do your will …").

I'm all for conversational prayer. But a lot of it is sloppy, which, I'm afraid, has been bred by too much informality. . . .

Read the rest and see if you agree.

Being Prayed For

I got this e-mail the other day:

I just wanted you to know that a number of us are praying for you as you deal with adjusting to a new job, a new church, a new area, and new people. I hope that you will be patient with yourself during this transition time. We are so glad that you are here among us.

I remember a speaker talking one day about the wonders of praying for students and how especially for the fringe kids you may be the only person who intercedes for them, by name.

I am blessed to have a prayer team that does this but now to have more people in our church who are praying for me by name, for the family and our needs. I'm looking forward to seeing what the answer to those prayers will be.

When I was younger I would have given you the list of things that would be an answer to prayer, because I thought I had good and Godly goals. Now I just want to minister to the people and their souls, join them in their journey and find and pursue God's agenda for our lives.


People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.

Rogers Hornsby

HT2 Jasper (even though he's a Cards fan - Go Red Sox!)

The Ministry of Presence

I read this quote today on Mike King's blog from Henri Nouwen:

"More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them."

This is the primary way of ministry for Army Chaplains and why it was such an appeal for me for a while. Youth ministry should be that way but typically we get so busy doing ministry activities for people (students, volunteers and parents) we fail to do deeper ministry with those same people.

Sometimes the church mentality makes it worse, because of the demands of "Success" put on you but if that's happening to you, remember it's okay to get fired for the Glory of God. It's not easy, but it's okay.

This is the type of pastor I want to be and I'm excited because I got my first lunch invite with a student yesterday. The danger is to walk in with an agenda but the only agenda should be to practice the ministry of presence.


Review of Through a Screen Darkly

Here's the rough version before Will does his magic for The Journal of Student Ministries. I loved this book and it'd be a great read for anyone but especially for anyone in youth ministry.

This isn’t a programming book for video illustrations but it will enable you to develop a personal hermeneutic as you watch movies. This understanding will help you in your professional life when you incorporate scenes into your teaching but more importantly it will help you begin to see truth from sources and people that may surprise you.

Overstreet goes beyond counting the morally offensive elements of movies and focuses on the truth and beauty that is portrayed in the film as a work of art. Though he is a movie critic and he talks about the joys of foreign films that had limited runs he’s also “one of us” and enjoys more popular movies.

A good bit of the book is a narrative regarding his journey from “all movies are evil, except Disney movies” to being a professional movie critic. He shares his experiences as a movie viewer but more importantly he helps us better understand movies beyond the stories that are on the surface.

There is great bonus material on the book’s website that includes a collection of questions to help film discussion groups explore the movies they watch with greater discernment, three bonus chapters and more useful material.

He weaves scripture into the book but it’s not a devotional book with “the moral of the story is” endings. He writes in a way that respects the reader and expects you to wrestle with the things that he says and he’s fine if you don’t agree with everything he says.

After reading Overstreet’s insights on movies, their value as art and a way to discover truth, beauty and God it feels like you have a personal spiritual director sitting besides you whispering in your ear while you eat your popcorn and watch a movie.


Loser or Fanatic? It's a fine line!

I'm happy because I was the first person to post a comment on Curt Schilling's latest blog entry.

Off to have dinner with a family at the church. Thanks for all the comments and encouragement as we begin a new chapter in life. It's been a good week. Gotta jet.

A True Evangelist

My friend Eric ,with MUD Ministries, is a full-time traveling evangelist. Here's one of his latest stories:

A man named William called my home and had the wrong number. I believe it was a divine appointment. We talked for 45 minutes and he is convinced that he cannot be saved. I shared scripture with him and we talked for a long time. He was open and I plan on calling him back and talking more with him.

Those kind of things are not abnormal for Eric. It's just encouraging and challenging to get his updates and to hear his heart for the lost. He's a great speaker to bring in for an event or for my SBC friends, a revival.



My First Day

My first day at the church was yesterday. Went to Sunday School and chatted with a few students but basically got to hang out. Sunday afternoon was a big game of Capture the Flag and then pizza with students, parents and volunteers. What other food would you serve? It's youth ministry!

So woke up this morning and just thought about all the awkwardness it is being "the new guy" and not knowing names yet and trying to meet people and remember faces with names and families. Top that off with a dose of, I just ain't cool like I use to be (if I ever was), since I'm now a parent of a jr. higher and trying to understand the culture and the area. Awkward and out of place describes what it feels like trying to enter the world of students as a 37 year old youth pastor but so does WONDERFUL!

I believe I am and will be loved for who I am and it offers a great opportunity to focus on two things, loving my family and loving the students. I had interviewed with three nationally known churches that would have been amazing opportunities. Two of the three went beyond the initial interview and would have been the way I would have ended this last chapter in my life.

As I decided to come here I realized that I probably could have done the job/ministry that the other two places would have required but what would have been the cost to my family to perform at that high of a level consistently? I'm thankful that God gave me the great gift of an unanswered prayer regarding those churches. I'm looking forward to focusing on my family and my "little place" as I focus on being consecrated for Him and His service at each moment.

I'm back!

Passion, Not Anger, Fuels Sox-Yankees Rivalry

Joe Torre recently told the media that Boston Red Sox fans are instilled with anger and resentment towards his New York Yankees. The longtime manager of the Bronx Bombers believes that is what fuels the rivalry. Passion, not anger, is what has catapulted the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry to an all-time high, Jeff Louderback believes. The fervor that Red Sox and Yankees fans share for their respective teams is what led Louderback to create Sox and Pinstripes, a blog where readers discuss, debate and learn about all things Red Sox, Yankees and baseball.

Read more

I really like Torre but he's so off on this because 2004 changed things for most of RedSoxNation. I can understand him wanting to put the Greatest Comeback (or Choke) of Sports History out of his mind, but it changed everything.

The Red Sox will win 98 games this year and the AL East. There, I said it.


Oh, By The Way

I'm a full time youth pastor again starting Sunday.

If you want more info e-mail me at SnaveNel @ aol dot com and I'll send you more info next week.


RIP Bloggedy Blog

Andrew C is no longer blogging at Bloggedy Blog.


The Secret about The Secret

The Secret is "hot". The author has been on Oprah twice and the book is on the top of all kinds of lists but the secret about The Secret is this:

The Secret is nothing more than Name It-Claim It, Positive-Confession, Prosperity Theology (without God and the Bible), built on a foundation of New Age self-deification. In other words, the book is just another version of what some TV preachers have taught for decades, namely, if you will sustain the right thoughts, words, and feelings, you will receive whatever you want. But The Secret adds this important twist: your thoughts can bring anything into your life because you are god.

Thank you Rhonda Byrne for the secret about The Secret.

Spread the word.

Family Progressive Dinner

Last night was get home from work, run do errands with the family and grab dinner on the road.

We considered 2-3 different places and couldn't quite decide when my wife said, "Let's do a progressive dinner".

The girls didn't know what that was so we explained to them that we each had to get at least one item from each place for our dinner.

I had chips and queso (from Taco Cabana), a cookie (from Whataburger), onion rings (from Burger King) , spicy chicken and dirty rice (from Popeye's).

Fun night.


Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

24 years ago 77% of American TV's watched the final episode of M*A*S*H. I was 13 and watched it with my family.

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