I am taking a break currently from my second research paper, due Dec. 7! Jen, the girls and I just got back from Ohio for a Thanksgiving vacation with my parents, and extended family. It was a great visit. One of the cool things for us this year, was that what normally takes us 18 hours to drive was reduced to 15! On the way back from Dayton, we got into Tulsa in 13.5 hours. I can’t explain it. I know 13-15 hours is a long time in the car, our girls travel well. We didn’t need to stop often, and we packed our lunch, and snacked throughout the day.
My paper, for those interested is a comparison of the roles of women in Christianity, and Islam. I am sure there are many ideas and views that will be no doubt shared by any and all who read this post. My research has been interesting to say the least. That’s all I am going to say at this point.
Jen and I stole away one afternoon this past week and went watched New Moon. We were looking forward to it. The second film was better than the first. Go Team Alice!
This next week will be busy, with research paper stuff and the preparation for a speaking gig on Sunday night for an area wide teen gathering. I have been asked to talked about God as a jealous God. It should be fun. Also, I am preaching at Chisholm twice in December, on the 20th and the 27th. The 20th we will be looking at 1 Corinthians 13, and on the 27th we will be looking at 1 Corinthians 15. I am looking forward to all three speaking engagements.
Jen and I also have been doing some thinking about our family, and ministry, and what we want for our girls. I think essential for us in our conversation in the van ride to Ohio was the importance of Deut. 6. This text paints a picture of parents who are infinitely and intimately involved in the lives of their children. Whether at home or on the go, all of life is a teaching moment, one that parents are called to point their children to God. But, its not just teaching and pointing, parents have to live out their own faiths before their children. All the sociological data about teenage spiritual formation demonstrates that the key players in adolescent spiritual formation is mom and dad. The years prior to adolescence are crucial as well. Faith in God can’t be relegated to Sunday and Wednesday. The church needs parents to take the lead in training their children up in the fear and admonishing of the Lord. And parents need to know that they don’t have to scholars to teach their children. Pray with your kids at meals, at bed times, when times are good, and when times are bad. Let them see you reading the Bible, read the Bible together. Do things together as a family.
Our kids will be inundated by contrary messages and images as they encounter the full onslaught of the world in which we live. The buffers that mom and dad can provide will help your kids to learn to navigate through the clutter of our culture, and once the fog of adolescence occurs, what you are hoping for is that all of your efforts, prayers, and love will be the light guiding them through the often difficult and arduous teenage years.
Jen and want to be an example to our kids, but to other younger parents as well.
In talking about youth ministry, Jen and I noted seven pillars if you will, of what we believe a youth ministry should focus on. It will be no surprise, these things are already the centerpiece of what we are trying to orchestrate in our current ministry setting:
- God’s Word
While this list is not exhaustive, it does come out of some extensive research out of a couple of grad. classes at LCU. I believe that at the center of our faith and practice, must be Christ. He is our cornerstone, our starting point, and the author and finisher of our faith. God’s Word tells of God’s love story for humanity, culminating in the coming and work of Jesus the Messiah. Journey, and Transformation go together. But journey is my word for discipleship, or follow-ship. Our walk with God is no doubt a journey, and through this incredible journey, we pray for transformation for the students who have encountered the Risen Christ. Worship and Service/Mission is the natural outflow of a life devoted to Christ. Worship is a reminder that life is not about us. Such is the call for God’s people to serve and to live out Christ’s mission to “Go into all the world.” Of course community, or fellowship is important for a Christian life. The church needs each other, and the world can see the love of Jesus through the love we have for one another.
All of the above list really boils down, not to programs or the latest fads in youth ministry, but in relationships. Our dream for youth ministry is vertical and horizontal. We love and need God, and we in turn are called to love and serve one another and be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus.