Seder Meal Experience: go deep and authentic this Easter

Seder plate

A few years ago we wanted to do something different for Easter, to make our students more aware of the Jewish roots of the Pesach or Passover fest. We decided to organize a ‘traditional’ Jewish Seder meal, also known as a Pesach or Passover meal, but with Jesus at the centre. You could call it a Messianic Seder Meal.

The Seder Meal is held on the Thursday before Easter and it’s a combination of a ritual meal with lots of rituals that have a deep symbolism and an actual meal with great (Jewish) food. It’s the famous ‘last supper’ Jesus celebrated with His students. [Read more…]

Creative ideas for memorizing Scripture

Memorizing Scripture is a powerful discipling tool in youth ministry.

In the church I grew up in, we spent quite some time memorizing Bible verses. We always had vacation Bible weeks for kids where we were taught one or more verses, we did the same every Sunday in Sunday school and even the teen ministry gave it a shot.

But after that, I didn’t devote much attention or time to memorizing Scripture. In the last few years however, I’ve become more and more convinced of the importance of knowing verses, passages and maybe even whole chapters or books from the Bible by head.

If you want to know the many benefits of memorizing Scripture, I refer you to this excellent post (with very inspiring quotes) by John Piper and a more recent one from Sermon Central. I’m convinced that memorizing Scripture is a very important part of discipling our young people and I’d love to do more of this in youth ministry.

Memorizing Scripture is a powerful discipling tool in youth ministry.

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The lasting power of simple images

Campus train

I was still a college student when I first encountered this image, or drawing actually. My husband and I were part of a Campus Crusade for Christ group and that’s where we first saw it. In the years we spent there, it became sort of funny, because the thing kept popping up in sermons, speeches, talks, Bible studies and testimonies. We referred to it as the ‘Campus-train’ and by the time we left the group, we could draw it off the top of our heads.

It’s a powerful demonstration of the necessity to put the facts first, followed by faith and then feelings. In this postmodern culture with its focus on experiences and ‘what feels good’, the temptation to put feelings first is big. But as we all know, our feelings aren’t reliable and they certainly are no indication or evidence of what God is doing in our lives. It was a deep truth, the depth of which we didn’t even fully realize at that time. Still, we found the image to be a bit silly.

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Introducing the sound of silence in your youth ministry

Do you know what silence sounds like?

It’s a noisy world we live in. We’re bombarded constantly with sounds from cars, our neighbor’s dog barking, crying babies, phones ringing and music playing in stores.

For teens, even more so. They have constant auditory stimuli from their iPod, phone conversations, the racket a huge school full of teens make, games they play or friends they hang out with.

Silence is hard to come by these days. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton calls silence ‘the fastest disappearing resource’ and he’s on a mission to record and preserve silence before it’s destroyed by man-made noises (look at this fascinating initiative One square inch of silence for instance).

All the noises we have to process all the time can drive you crazy…as it (almost) did author George Michelsen Foy who describes his quest for absolute silence in his book Zero Decibels: The Quest for Absolute Silence.

We’ve forgotten what silence sounds like.

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