When I was a teenager my youth pastor gave me an opportunity that changed my life. Obviously, I didn’t know it would be so influential, but as I look back I wonder whether or not I’d be where I am today without this invitation.
It was a simple opportunity to teach Bible Study. It wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t a big announcement. The invitation was simply, “Hey Mike, do you want to lead next week?” … “Uh, sure, I guess.” It was nothing special, there wasn’t a huge revival. But something about the opportunity spoke to me and as other similar invitations came along I knew that something inside of me was changing.
Now, it’s important to realize that at this point in my life I was a freshman or a sophomore in high school who was extremely uncomfortable talking in front of groups. I would turn beat-red whenever the teacher would call on me in class. I had a stutter, which was the cause of much teasing throughout my childhood. But as I took the risk of leadership in youth group, something in me was changing.
More and more I want to give that opportunity to our students today. So here’s what we’re doing… We’re launching a Student Ministry Crew this year. Leadership and servanthood are a risk, but I’m really excited about this opportunity for our group!
I hate the word “old.” It makes it automatically seem like the thing that’s old isn’t any good anymore. If something’s old, maybe it’s still around for a reason – it’s worth keeping around!
Now look at your Bible and you’ll notice one binding. One book… all Scripture. 1 Timothy 3:16-17 famously declares, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” While this may be familiar, it’s important to remember the “Scripture” being referred to is what we call “the Old Testament.”
As Christians, we need to remember that the Old Testament is just as much authoritative Scripture as the New. The problem is, we don’t always know how to interpret the Old in light of the New. Here are some reminders that will serve you well.
When I was a teenager the “What would Jesus Do?” (WWJD) bracelets were all the rage. If you went to youth group you were pretty much required to wear one. These were meant to encourage us to always ask the WWJD question, and to do what Jesus would do in that situation. What music would Jesus listen to? What TV shows or movies would Jesus watch? Who would Jesus choose to be friends with? etc.
It’s a great question to ask, WWJD? But that type of question can easily encourage us to think about “Christian” as an adjective rather than a noun. There was a Buzzfeed video (which I wrote about here) last week which was titled, “I’m Christian, But I’m Not….” One of my biggest frustrations with the video is how it reflects this thinking that Christian is an adjective more than it is a noun.
Have you ever been asked a question and immediately thought, “That’s a stupid question!” Then you realized that you actually had to give an answer, and it suddenly becomes a really hard question. In those situations we often answer and then walk away thinking, “Ugh! I have a way better answer now. I want a re-do!” I wonder how many of us would feel that way if we were asked the questions in the video below.
Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote for the Rooted Ministry’s Blog. It’s part of a series focusing on the biblical, theological, and historical foundation of youth ministry in the Church. It’s an important issue and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to contribute to the conversation…
It’s a common misconception: Youth Ministry is a new phenomenon and didn’t exist until the Sunday School movement in England. If we insist on “youth ministry” only meaning what we generally mean today (a whole division of the church focused on creating fun, high-energy events where teenagers receive a culturally relevant combination of evangelism and discipleship), then it’s true that youth ministry probably began in the mid-20th Century. The goal of this article is to present the historical precedent for age-specific ministry in the Church for the sake of cultivating faith in the next generation.
Have you ever been part of a group that was truly great? A group that you wish could be copied whenever you had to do anything. It could be a team you’ve been on or it could simply be a group-project where you all worked really well together. The group just worked.
I think most of us have also been a part of terrible groups. Teammates constantly fighting to be seen as the “most important” person on the team. Group members who don’t do anything, leaving the project’s success up to everyone else. No one wants to be in that group again.
The Bible has a lot to say about how we are supposed to treat each other. In fact, the phrase “One Another” is found almost a hundred times in the New Testament. That’s a lot of focus on how we can build great relationships! Continue reading