Month: April 2012

Good News in the Neighborhood: A 6-Week Curriculum for Groups

A new curriculum from Youth Cartel.

 More than a series that teaches your students about being Good News in their community, Good News in the Neighborhood offers practical application based on the life of Jesus and the 1st century Church. Our hope is that your students begin to see how God has called them to become good news in their homes, schools, and neighborhoods.



Good News in the Neighborhood: A 6-Week Curriculum for Groups.


Don’t Tweet that Sermon! | Challies Dot Com

This is the latest post from Tim Challies. I love his blog and I have taken so much away from reading it and today was no exception. I love to read blogs and opinions that may be different than my own. I don’t agree with him on this issue, but his points are valid and allow the reader to think about why they may tweet during the sermon.

Tomorrow I hope to post on this subject as I gather my thoughts from reading this.

Have a look at the post, it is great as usual.

Don’t Tweet that Sermon! | Challies Dot Com.

Social Media As Our Third Place.

I have started to read Onward by Howard Shultz and I am loving it. I think I am two chapters in and I have about four posts already to go. So, here is the first.

It all started with a question.

How much is too much when it comes to social media?

When teenagers can access Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr wherever they go, does it at some point overtake some key relational moments in their life?

If home is the primary or “first place” where a person connects with others, and if work is a person’s “second place,” then a public space such as a coffeehouse – such as Starbucks – is what I have always referred to as the “third place.” A social yet personal environment between one’s house and job, where people can connect with others and reconnect with themselves. From the beginning, Starbucks set out to provide just such an invaluable opportunity. … the Starbucks Experience – personal connection – is an affordable necessity. We are all hungry for community. – Onward pg. 13

Before I go on to the connection between this passage from Onward and social media, I would like to point out that the church can fill that “third place” when community building becomes an intentional focus point between the church, the families and the individuals that meet there each week. However, coffeehouses have become the stronger “third place” because people meet there more than once a week.

Okay, so back to social media.

We have the “first place” which is our homes. Here, is where families eat together, laugh together and grow together.

Next, our work place, or “second place.” Community is built between yourself and co-workers. This is where we typically spend the majority of the work week, our 9-5 if you will. For students, their school becomes their “second place.”

Our “third place” is any place that is not your home, or work. Where do you go to unwind? It could be the library, church, coffeehouse, etc. Their needs to be some kind of community happening here, but this is where renewal needs to happen.

This is the balance between home, work, or school and our reconnecting point. Each one provides us with an unique community opportunity and each “place” provides us with a renewal of self.

However, we are now finding community outside of these three “places.” Our relationships are now being formed and acted out without the aid of any of these “places.” Social Networks like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are now pushing the boundaries on how we build and act within our communities.

The question we need to ask ourselves is, how much is too much?

Can true community be built through social media?

We have to figure out how to use social media within community, so that it does not take over or take the place of one of these places. If social media becomes the focal point, then it encompasses all three areas. Social media defines our relationships and dictates how we interact with everyone.

Too much social media in our life replaces connection and replaces it with words. Actions are replaced with tweets and meetings are replaced with status updates. Social media can also take over as our third place.

Where does your renewal happen if you remove your “third place?”

Think of all the times that Jesus just needed a couple of minutes alone so that He could reconnect with God and spend a few moments in silence and solitude. Our “third place” is what gives us the opportunity for time just like that. It is a renewal of mind, body and soul. Jesus would remove Himself from His disciples, remove Himself from the synagogue and public squares where He addressed the people, so that He could enter into another relationship and speak with God.

While it was still night, way before dawn, he got up and went out to a secluded spot and prayed. (Mark 1:35 MSG)

When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully—someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. (Matthew 14:13 MSG)

With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night. (Matthew 14:23 MSG)

36Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” 37Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. 38Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”

39Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?” (Matthew 26:36-39 MSG)

At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him. (Mark 1:12-13 MSG)

This is only a small sampling of the times Jesus would go off for a little alone time to refresh Himself.

I have begun to ask some bigger questions about social media and how it may change how we define and understand true community.

If Facebook becomes our “third” community, what are the consequences?

If Facebook is how we build community, do we really hear and feel the hurt of the hurting?

If social media becomes our “third place,” do we ever get below the surface level of our lives?

Social media has its role in all three “places” in our lives, but it should not overtake any of them. It can help grow the family place as we share pictures, connect with kids away at university, and share what we are up to. However, it does not take the place of family movie nights, family dinners and family vacations. Those are the community moments that will be forever remembered.

Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are all set up to share info in a community-like setting because we all want to connect with someone. We long for relationships because that is what we were created to do. Adam needed Eve and from that point on, humanity lived in relationship with one another. How much social media is too much? Too much is when community and relationships are neglected and replaced with social media. Social media sites are not a community in and of themselves, but they help you maintain and stay connected with the communities to which you belong.

Online Resource – Lead 222 Podcasts

On the topic of youth ministry and mentorship I would like to point you to a great resource found in iTunes. The Lead 222 podcast provides a great foundation for a discussion with your team centring around one of the core principles of Lead 222.

LEAD222 | an International coaching and mentoring ministry » LEAD222 Podcast

Authentic Community 
Christ-Centered Relationships, Honesty and Truth-telling
(Acts 2:42-47; Matthew 22:37-40; Ephesians 4:15, 25)

Healthy Families 
Keeping The Home Field Advantage, No Ministry Gains At the Expense of Family
(Deuteronomy 6; Ephesians 5; 1 Timothy 3:4–5; 5:8)

Spiritual Integrity 

Authenticity, No Pretense
(Romans 12:1-2; Philippians 2)

Kingdom Impact 

The Be With Factor, Investing in Others
(2 Timothy 2:2; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:8)

Having Fun, Enjoying Life, Cultivating Appreciation and Gratitude
(John 10:10; Nehemiah 8; Philippians 4:4, 4:8)

Each podcast features a facilitated conversation between key members of the Lead community and another leader that is gifted in that month’s core principle, such as Chris Tomlin, Walt Mueller and Doug Fields to name a few. This is a great resource to use to make sure that we are continually striving to be a better leader today than we were yesterday.

Mentorship and Jr. High Ministry

Last November I had the privilege to host a ‘Burning Issues’ seminar with Mark Janzen from Willingdon Church at the Canadian Youth Workers Convention. Our seminar and facilitated discussion was on Taking Early Adolescents Seriously.

Our vision is that Junior High students and leaders will recognize the potential they have TODAY to shape the world of TOMORROW by understanding God’s calling for them NOW. We need to become more creative, intentional, and passionate about the students we care for. The students are not simply a younger version of high school, but are unique in their thought processes, activity levels, and their concept of God and Christianity. We as a community need to rethink and restart that which is currently Jr. High ministry. And, we need your help. We need to be directly connecting the Jr. High students and how they conceptualize the world around them. More importantly, we (the youth workers and volunteers), need to evaluate how we are currently underestimating the Jr. High student and how we can best prepare them for high school while allowing them to be themselves.

It was a great afternoon of equipping, empowering and resourcing Jr. High Leaders of various roles and job descriptions as discussion flowed around the room. In the next few posts I am going to post the questions that we brought forth in regards to some of the burning issues that make Jr. High Ministry unique.

The first burning issue that we brought forward was in regards to mentorship. The main question we asked was are we as leaders intentionally fostering relationships between our students and adults who care for them.

We then asked what does this look like in your context. What does mentorship look like in your ministry. That is where we would like to hear your feedback, so that we can continue to grow and communicate as leaders what has worked and not worked so well within our ministry contexts.

Here are the issues we placed up in the seminar.

Issue: Do we KNOW our jr. high students?

Issue: Do we intentionally allow for mentoring relationships within our ministry?

Issue: Does mentorship work in your context?

Issue: Are we connecting our students with caring adults?

We identified the first issue as, do we know our students because when we truly know where they are, what they are passionate about and where they are mentally we can connect them with the right adult mentors that can build and maintain a positive adult relationship in their life. The common feeling among youth workers is that each youth can benefit from having five adult who speak into their life that is outside of their immediate family.

It is not only our students that can benefit from a mentor relationship, but we will grow as leaders when we actively pursue mentors in our own lives. Who teaches you? Who challenges you spiritually, professionally and who challenges you to become a better person everyday.

Our solution was to create four mentorship possibilities in the lives our students and in our lives as leaders as well.

First, the student.

There needs to be a connection with an adult that is connected to our Jr. High ministry that can walk with the student spiritually and can be available to teach them what it means to live life with a biblical worldview.

Secondly, they need friends both in the church and outside of the church that challenge them.

Lastly, as leaders we need to work with our Children’s ministries to connect our jr. high students with the younger students under them. The jr. high student can help by volunteering in whatever ways that are required. This starts the student on their own leadership walk as they become role models for the younger kids in our churches. We did this at camp this summer by having our jr. high students read to the four and five-year-olds. It was great to see them interact and allow for the jr. highers to teach reading and listening skills to the younger kids at camp.

Mentorship is a huge issue in Jr. High ministry. The potential for building lasting and caring relationships is huge for our students, but it has to be evident in our lives as well.

The same issues apply to us as leaders as they do with our students. We need someone that is older, or has been in ministry longer than we have speaking into our lives. That will stretch our leadership potential and grow us as leaders. We also need to be that type of mentor for someone that is younger, or has less ministry experience than we do. I have had the privilege to become a coach with Lead 222. Through this coaching and mentoring team they hope to change the culture of youth ministry through mentoring relationships. I have learned and have been challenged by many of the coaches, which has strengthened my leadership skills. We also need to make sure as leaders that we continue to grow relationships with people that are in the same season of life that we are in. These people need to be both inside the church and outside in our communities.

Mentorship, are we intentionally connecting our students and ourselves with individuals that will make us better than we are today.

Servant Leadership with Lead 222

Looking for a great opportunity for your students this summer? Check out Lead 222’s Servant Leadership Experience page for dates and info. A service expierience for students with hands-on leadership training. It’s coming to Toronto this summer.

Check out Lead 222 and their Servant Leadership Experience happening in Toronto!