I have the habit of keeping articles from magazines that somehow pique my interest. But there was quite a stack accumulating on my desk and so I decided to work my way through these again. One article I had saved was from the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Group Magazine, in which Rick Lawrence detailed some research about students and being ‘all-in’ for Jesus. [Read more…]
I love TED talks. They’re often inspiring, challenging and it’s a quick and easy way to get fresh perspectives and new ideas.
For youth leaders, TED talks are a brilliant resource. I’ve truly learned a lot by watching a few talks each month and in this post, I want to share my favorites with you. Here are the 10 TED talks that every youth leader should watch:
1. Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability
This is the ultimate TED talk in my opinion. It’s brilliant, it’s funny, it’s personal and it will completely change your perspective and paradigm. Literally life changing.
This video shows why N.T. Wright is such an influential theologian at the moment. In just seven minutes he explains how you should read the Bible: as a whole, not as a collection of soundbites. His analogy of listening to only a part of a symphony instead of the whole thing is as brilliant as it is understandable. I also love that he especially wants to challenge students to read the whole Bible, whole books and not just verses and soundbites.
(embedding was disable for this video, so you’ll have to watch it on YouTube)
When we want to think about discipleship in youth ministry, it’s good to start with defining some terms. What do we mean by discipleship?
Literally a disciple (mathetes) was a learner, a follower, usually of a significant master. Discipleship then is simply learning from, or following a master, in our case Jesus Christ. When we say we want our students to become disciples, we mean that we want to see them following Jesus and learning from Him.
Discipleship then means spending time with Jesus, for instance in prayer and worship. It means learning from Him by studying His words, discussing it with others and trying to understand it. It means spending time with other Christians, learning from them. It means serving God and His Kingdom, like Jesus did. But above all it means obedience, being willing to do what He says, or to do what He did.
When it comes to spirituality, to growing closer to God, one size does not fit all. Yet often we not only try the ‘standard’ pathways ourselves, but we also only teach them to our students. If our students ask us (or to put it more correctly: of we want our students to know) how to grow in their faith, what do we tell them? I’m guessing it’ll be something along these lines: do quiet time, read your Bible and pray. Oh, and go to church every Sunday obviously.
We seem to prescribe one general one-size-fits-all spiritual pathway for everyone, even though we know very well people are very different from each other. Just look at the sixteen basic personality temperaments according to the Myers-Briggs test: introvert/extravert, sensing/intuitive, thinking/feeling and judging/perceptive. I’m an extravert, sensing, feeling, judging type, whereas my husband is an extravert, intuitive, thinking, perceptive type (yes, we are the classic example of ‘opposites attract’!).
How is it possible that we would both be able to find ourselves in one single pathway to God? We’re different on all accounts!
This post is part of the series on Preaching for youth. Growing up in church, I have heard hundreds, thousands of sermons over the years. Some were extraordinary, some were good and some were mediocre. But there’s one thing I heard time and again, especially when people were preaching for youth and that’s this: preaching the rules instead of the relationship.
When we prepare a sermon, we (hopefully) determine a key message that we want to stress. A lot of these key messages are about something we either should or shouldn’t do as a child of God. We want to stress that people should trust God, should pray, or should tithe. We want to make clear that you shouldn’t tell white lies, disrespect your parents, or have sex before marriage. In short: our key messages are about rules.
In itself, that’s not a problem. We are called to become more and more like Christ, to change and grow mature as Christians. And we need sermons and talks to teach us, to instruct and exhort us to do just that. But we need the relationship first.