In too many churches, the youth director focuses only on the youth who show up for youth group. That’s the youth ministry. The youth who show up.
In most churches, however, you’ll often find youth who never attend the youth group. They attend worship services. They may be involved in other aspects of the church, but since they’re not in the youth group, they fall through the youth-ministry crack.
A strong youth ministry cares for all youth—those involved in the church youth ministry and those who never show up.
Each year at about this time, churches all around the world prepare for their celebrations that lead up to the great feast of Easter. Many churches do a dramatic reading of the passion stories from one or more of the Gospels. It’s typical for the pastor to play the part of Jesus, someone else to play the role of a narrator, and still another individual to play the parts of the disciples. Who gets stuck with the part of the angry mob yelling, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Yep, the peons in the pews!
Although Christian education no longer seems to be the “buzzword” we use to describe learning about the Bible or to describe religious education taking place, there are few who do not understand this term. It is still used to describe courses in seminaries and most likely a recognized term to the majority of adults sitting in the pew every week. In most ministry settings today, we tend to avoid using this once fashionable phrase.
A few years ago, my niece Michelle sat on the couch crying. She just received word that good friends had been in a serious auto accident, hit head-on by a drunk driver. Her 3-year old son, Tyler, climbed into her lap, put his arm around her saying, “It’ll be ok, mom, I’m here.”
As our children grow, our hopeful prayer is they will be people of compassion, responding to others’ needs.
I recently was at a meeting with both teens and adults who were planning an event. We had more than enough work to do and could have worked the entire time we were together and still had more to do. We felt the pressure of each day knowing we had to end at a given time in order to have dinner and then relax for the evening. There were times during the day when we had breaks and some were tempted to work through breaks and lunch partly because we had a lot to do, but I think mostly because we all really enjoyed the work we were doing and were energized by it. What I realize in looking back on our time together (and what I’ve known for sometime but can forget) is the value of the break, the value stepping away from work no matter how enjoyable, and the value of playing together.
Most people know about the standard spiritual practices: fasting, meditating, praying, and studying scripture, to name a few. Often we look for new ways to present these important practices. What about expanding the list of spiritual practices and see which ones catch with people? Introduce more spiritual practices to adults through this book, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor (HarperOne, 2009).
Well, it’s true and Harvard proved it! The happiest people are the people in love. People in love are deeply and broadly connected with others and their relationships are characterized by expressions of care. Harvard recently completed a 75-year study on a group of men that began when they were in college. These men are now in their 90’s. The study focused on determining what made them happy in their lives. Here are the five major findings:
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