Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

What Acts 2:42-47 means today

Acts 2:42-47:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Here is what I think this passage means for me/the Church today:

We ought to be “devoted to the apostles‘ teaching and to fellowship and to breaking of bread and to prayer.” I don’t think we ought to do this simply because it’s in the Bible, but I think, when looking at how we ought to follow Christ, we ought to observe those who literally “followed” christ. They probalby had a pretty accurate view on how to apply Christ’s teachings. So, does that mean that we need a church service with communion every day? I don’t think so. I do however, think we would do well to move in this direction.

We ought to be “filled with awe and wonder.” In our western culture, beauty is a bit lost. Miracles are less evident and much less publicized. Amazing transformations are happening in our midst. I know high school students who have seen there situations dramatically change. There aren’t too many times when a church will stop and simply marvel at God’s creation (unless you count using a nature scene as the backdrop of a powerpoint slide). Does this mean that if we’re not performing miracles on a regular basis, we ought to give up? Nope. But the Western church would do good to move in this direction.

We ought to be united as believers and have everything in common. Does this mean that we all live in a commune and share are produce, cars, and clothes? It doesn’t have to, but I think churches definitely need to move in this direction. We (me included) are doing a freaking horrible job at this in America (though there are some who aren’t doing such a horrible job).

We ought to sell our possessions and goods and provide for those in need. Does that mean that we have to be homeless? Nope. I do think we’d do well tois at a  sell things that we have and give the money to those in need. I write this thinking of two friends. One friend has a summer car (an expensive car that they joy ride around in the summer) and the other friend doesn’t have a job. So, if we apply this passage (or – frankly – many many other passages) what would the result be? You decide….

We ought to meet regularly. We do this in church services, however, many of our church serves aren’t condusive to community (if they were, why would we sit in rows?).

We ought to “eat together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God.” I think this one is obvious.

I think the last part of the passage – “enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” – is more descriptive of the results of this Jesus community.

Stop Not Being the Church

Churches are a million different things these days. They’re can be online, big, emergent, multi-site, small, liberal, urban, political, country clubs, tech savy, old fashioned, ethnically diverse, wealthy, conservative, or broke. A church can have a multitude of descriptors.

All those things are fine.

But the church has got to quite defining itself using minor issues and start focusing on major issues. Sections of scripture give super clear-cut examples of what it means to be a community of Christ-followers. Sometimes I think these passages are so easy to understand that we miss them. They’re so obvious that we lose interest. They’re not sexy. They’re not the secret to success. They are the meat and potatoes of what a church ought to be. Those passages – Acts 2:42-47 comes to mind – should be pretty obviously central to our church practices.

And youth ministry should be all about helping young people connect to Christ and His body. Sure, there are millions of resources out there that are good and helpful and useful and valuable. But if you’re youth ministry doesn’t look anything like Acts 2:42-47, you’ve got to ask yourself if you’re being effective in the right direction.

after 13 years: “If I could do it all over again”

Chris, over at the “A New Kind of Youth Ministry” blog put together a solid list consisting of what he’d do if he could do it all over. As a guy who is just finishing up my first year in student ministry, Chris’ list was challenging and very timely. I’m definitely going to print this out, send it to my volunteers, and reread it as I’m making decisions. Here are a few items from the list, head over to his blog to see the whole list:

  • Act theologically before methodologically
  • Be more of a spiritual director than a program director
  • Hire a parent to be a part of our youth staff
  • Spend more time investing in interns/co-pastors

10 Signs You’re a Bad Leader

Scott Williams pumped out a baller list called “10 signs you’re a bad leader.” Here is an exerpt, head to Scott’s blog to check out the rest:

  1. they are not willing to fail.
  2. they only talk and never listen.

Student Teaching Pool. Week 2

Today I gathered with 5 students and we dug into Romans chapter 1.

We argued about the point of the chapter. Students argued with me. Told me they didn’t agree. Other students disagreed with one another. I had to work to keep us on topic.

The end result, we sat down and studied scripture in community. We boiled the scriptures down to their point. We dreamed up ways to communicate these messages to our friends.

Perfect.

If you’re in youth ministry, get some students together to help you with your teaching. Maybe just get one student. I would guess that the impact of our teaching pool will extend farther/deeper than the impact of our Sunday nights. Just a guess….

i’m about to marry a youth pastor… (part 2)

My fiance, Allie, wanted to write a guest post describing what she’s excited about in terms of marrying a youth pastor. Last week, she wrote about what she’s skeptical of, this week, she’s going for the positive. Check it out:

———–

I’m excited about:

I loved my youth pastor’s wifegrowing up. She held small groups in their home and I always felt honored when she was the leader that stayed in my room on trips. I don’t remember if we had anything in common. All I remember is that she loved Jesus and I was trying to do that.

I am completely willing to take on that roll. I am so excited to walk beside these students and be who I am. If I feel like God is leading me to start a small group with junior high girls, then I am there. If I feel like God is calling me to start up a community outreach event with students, then I am there.

But I am also excited to pray for them on my own. I am excited to be there for Adam and watch a basketball game on T.V. when he’s worn out after a lock-in. I am excited to live my life alongside the church. The Body of Christ. No matter what church Adam and I find ourselves, our lives should be consistent. I am excited to be a consistent presence in the students’ lives, Adam’s life, and the church’s life.

I am excited to be who God has called me to be, no matter what profession my husband takes on.
posted by: allie

student ministry and technology

I don’t presume to be any sort of leader in ministry or in technology, but here is the “tech” i use for in our ministry. I’d love to hear your suggestions and opinions about what is better to use or why you use something different:

Facebook – We have facebook groups for our jr high group (roots) and our sr. high group (current). I send out messages whenever something is going on. I create events, write on students’ wall, upload pictures, chat with parents. Pretty great place to network.

Twitter – None of the students are on twitter. In fact, very few people in our church are on twitter (though I do have a twitter account for our church). I use twitter to get ideas, learn from smarter people, and connect with other youth ministry types.

Simply Youth Ministry Text – I use this program to send out scheduled mass text messages. I can pre-schedule a message to an entire group, to students from a certain school, or just the guys. This is my primary way of communicating with students. If I had to cut down to using only one thing on this list, I would keep this one and drop all the others. I do have a couple of students who don’t have cell phones yet and they tend to fall through the cracks when I only use this medium.

YouTube – I upload videos to our youtube channel. Sometimes it’s promo videos, sometimes it’s dumb stuff. Good stuff.

EasyWorship – This is our presentation software. I pretty much hate it and would rather use anything else, but it is what our church has right now. It crashes a ton, doesn’t work well with video files, has ugly fonts, and is pretty limited. Don’t pick this if you’re shopping around.

YouthTracker.net – I don’t have an assistant or anyone who can keep an excel sheet up to date and functional and Chris recommended this gem to me. YouthTracker.Net is a gold mine. I use it to track attendance, keep track of registration for trips, remember birthdays, compile addresses/phone numbers of students, and keep track of which students haven’t been contacted in a long time. I love this. I’m on it every day.

WingClips – I use this to find relevant clips to download for message illustrations. I get pretty frustrated with the database, but our church uses it so I essentially have a free membership. Also, easyworship doesn’t handle big file sizes so i’m left either showing low quality clips or trying to not crash easyworship. Nice.

PollEverywhere – I use this to have audience surveys. Students can text their responses in and I get to track them real time. We used this service to do a series called “txt” where the students sent in questions for the adult leaders via text message and we were able to get into some interesting stuff. I’d recommend it for anyone.

that’s all I got. What technology services or products to you use in your ministry? Which of these would you tell me not to use? Which of these would you recommend to others?