Student Leadership

We’re doing a short little series on leadership with the students in our church and so I’ve been teaching some of the things I’m learning in class. It’s been fun ’cause some of them are really into it. They’ve got lots of good questions.

We also started a group this week for those who want deeper studies. They’ve all said their willing to do homework in developing their relationship with God. Anyway, we had our first meeting and talked about the vision I have for the group. We also discussed what materials to use, and they want more of the leadership stuff too. It’s exciting to think what God is gonna do with this. I believe this group can and will be leaders in the church of the future, and so this opportunity is really exciting! To be a part of developing the leaders of the future – it’s kind of overwhelming to think about.

Thank you God for letting me be a part of it. Help me to follow You through the whole process. AMEN.

My Mentor Meeting with Mike (01) – Technology in Preaching?

Don’t you just love the alliteration in that title? (Sorry, it’s doesn’t take much to distract me.)

I asked Mike Mathews to be my mentor for my next series of classes and he called me last week to arrange a time to get together. We had breakfast this morning and it was a great time. He cracks me up. He’s really gotten into this whole thing. He even did some of the assignments that I have done for class just so he could understand the material. It’s so good to have someone who cares enough about me to go to those kinds of lengths. Of course it doesn’t hurt that he has many of the same dreams as I in regards to being involved in a church plant.

Anyway, today we talked about our life stories. He did the exercise and shared much of his story with me. I knew alot of it, but was able to see a larger picture of what all God has done/used to make him the man that he is.

We also talked about church planting. We dreamed about what a church body should look like? And what kind of facility would be appropriate for it? He also shared a lot with me about National Community Church and how they’re doing ministry. He also said that he thought they were associated with the Acts 29 network. Whoa! That stopped me dead in my tracks. I have always thought that some sort of association/support is vital to a church plant and once I discovered Acts 29, I thought they’d be the kind of group I’d like to be connected to. To discover that NCC is connected to them is beautiful news. That means that my gut reactions about Acts 29 are probably right. We have friends who are are part of NCC and we could certainly talk to them about the whole association thing. I also can’t help but wonder if God is up to something else here too? It’s just like Him to pull people together in the most random ways so that He can be lifted up and glorified.

Technology
One of the thoughts that came out was in regards to technology in preaching. Throughout the years it’s been important to use technology as an instrument to carry the Gospel message to the world, and today it’s more important than ever ’cause technology is so integrated into our lives that we cannot separate ourselves from it. I was explaining that I really enjoy the interactive things I’ve experienced in school. We don’t sit at desks, but at tables in little communities. We can get on-line and download the same powerpoint presentations that we’re looking at on the screen that the teacher is using. (This allows for specific notes to be recorded on the presentation itself.) I also described to him how MTV does it’s request shows with scrolling comments made on-line at the bottom of the screen and phone calls “interrupting” the videos with people’s comments. (I’m not sure the viewers see it as an interruption – it’s all a part of the program to them.) Our discussion became about imagining a new way to preach. Rather than a completely planned out prepared sermon, why couldn’t the Scriptures be “discussed/preached” by a man who also responded to comments from others?  (Why do we consider the sermon so important? Is it the sermon itself or the instruction and understanding it brings to the Word? Within our culture, is the sermon the best way to communicate the importance of the Gospel message?) It would take a very disciplined person, and certainly every comment couldn’t be addressed, but the interaction itself would engage the people in ways that I’ve certainly never experienced in a service. I think the “preacher/teacher/interviewee” would need to be very grounded in his subject matter to pull this off ’cause he could get all kinds of questions thrown at him. He would also need to be disciplined as far as knowing when to get to the point and get back to the Scriptures, and how to get to the real meat of the message too. This particular style might even allow for multiple “preacher/teachers” who could all be prepared for the topic. In some ways this might even end up looking like a talk show if you weren’t careful. I guess, what I’m imagining would be a delicate balance between a talk show and preaching. I wouldn’t want to lose to authority of good preaching, but I’m looking for ways to engage people in the process a bit more. It wouldn’t take a whole lot of work to prepare a venue for this kind of interaction either – just a WiFi connection and a chat room that could be monitored by some trustworthy person who would then relay the appropriate comments/questions to the main screen that the speaker was working from.

Anyway, he challenged me to start experimenting with this sort of thing. I’m not sure we could really pull it off with the youth program, because I don’t think many of our students have laptops, but I’d probably be surprised. I may start asking questions in our group which could lead down this road soon.

What do you guys think?

If you’re one of the youth in my church, tell me what you think? Should we try to do this? Do you have a laptop or access to one that you could bring to U-TURN?

“Go Fourth and Teach”

Yes – I spelled “fourth” wrong on purpose – you’ll understand later. (It’s a really bad pun – but I’m just that stupid.)

Are you growing the way you should?

An interesting thought came out in class last night. We were talking about 1 Corinthians. Dr. Loken explained that Paul had planted the church in Corinth 4 years prior to writing the book we know as 1 Corinthians. (It’s actually at least the second letter he sent to them. – Check 1 Cor 5:9) Anyway, in Chapter 3 Paul makes it clear that he is disappointed in the Christians there for not growing to maturity. He assumes that after 4 years, they should have a basic understanding of their faith and even be able to teach others by that time. If you read Hebrews 5:10-6:2 along side 1 Corinthians 3, you can see the kinds of things the writer of Hebrews thinks they should understand: (1) repentance/life change, (2) Faith/trusting God’s sovereignty, (3) Baptism/Holy Spirit’s indwelling, (4) Laying on of hands/healing (James 5), & (5) Resurrection/Judgement – heaven & hell. (Each of these can be found in Hebrews 6:1-2)

Anyway, this whole 4 year thing is interesting to me – think about it – Jesus was with the disciples about 4 years – Paul expects maturity in about 4 years – we send students to college for about 4 years hoping that they would have a basic understanding of their subjects. Dr. Loken suggested (I think appropriately) that if you were discipling someone for 20 years and they hadn’t grown enough to disciple others themselves, then something is wrong. He never suggested that we don’t need long-term accountability or deeper teachings – but in regards to these basic tenants of our faith – we should be able to teach them to someone else after about 4 years of discipleship. This is not a scriptural law or some hard-and-fast rule, but simply a guide which the Scriptures seems to point to as a basic benchmark.

As a youth minister who will have students in my ministry for about 6 years, this was especially interesting to me. I think I’m gonna begin working on a plan to make sure that these ideas are clear in each and every one of our students by the time they graduate. I’ll try to work with our childrens coordinator to begin this process during the time when our students are transitioning from childrens ministry into youth ministry. For us, that happens in a “confirmation” process.

Anyway, it was a fun class – which brought up quite a few ideas which were new to me.

John Commentary

Gospelofjohn Well, I’ve finally finished this process. We have been through the entire book of John with our students and I have typed up my notes. I have attached them here for anyone who would like to have my thoughts on these verses. I’m sure that over time I could add or change quite a bit of this, but this is where I am for now in it all.

Download John Commentary.pdf

It has been a fun process to study this book (My favorite part of my job.) Our students have grown quite a bit during this time together and I know that the fruit of this time will be incredible. For many of our students/branches, just as John 15 describes, God has lifted them up from the dirt, washed them off, and now they are able to grow and be fruitful for His Kingdom. I pray that’s true for me too. Lord, let me abide in You. Remain in Your hands. Labor for You and be fruitful for Your Kingdom. AMEN.

Journey

06-08-28 How powerful is a journey? That’s what I’m thinkin’ about today. I mean, the disciples were regular guys until they journeyed with Jesus for 3 years. After that, they changed the world. Of course the power in that last sentence isn’t in the journey, but in Jesus.

But still I wonder why Jesus chose to use a journey to teach them? I wonder how things would have been if they had just stayed in one place instead of traveling all over? Would the disciples have gotten the experiences they needed to grow and learn the ways of their rabbi – Jesus?

What if every Christian High School graduate spent 3 years on a journey with a rabbi before going to college? Some people might say that’s what college is, but a rabbi isn’t just a knowledgable teacher. He is a wise spiritual leader. What would that look like? Who could be that rabbi in today’s culture? Are there any rabbis in the world today? What kind of man would I be if I were to follow the rabbi (Jesus) for three years on some kind of journey? Where would He take me? What would He want me to experience? What miracles would I witness? What kind of conversations would I be involved in and with whom?

My Prayer: Lord, I know that my whole life is a journey, but I want to live it following You. Show me how to do that. Give me courage to step out of the boat like Peter (out of my comfort zones) and into the next part of my journey with You. Teach me Lord! Be my rabbi, and I’ll try to be Your “talmidim” (disciple) That means I’ll try to be like You in every way.