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Parents, Youth Ministry and Change

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My church is currently shifting to a family-integrated emphasis, doing away with the Youth Pastor position. Instead we will focus on equipping and training parents to disciple their children as we believe God intended.

At least that’s the plan.

The church I received Christ in did not have a youth pastor. We had just about everything else. Kids sat with their parents and if the baby cried or a toddler got too restless, the parent took the child out of the sanctuary.

Personally, while I still favor age appropriate curriculum to empower and equip youth for Christ, the primary responsibility to shape and disciple children rests with the parents.

Just a thought….

Written by missional girl

August 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Posted in Discipleship

The Horrific Theological Implications of a Holding a Grudge

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Yes, the title is long. But as I was loading the dishwasher, a thought came to me as I asked God why I cannot “let things go” when I get offended about something someone has said or done to me. I really felt that the Holy Spirit showed me the following:

1.) Jesus’ death on the cross dealt with both the power of sin and the PENALTY of sin.
2.) If someone has actually sinned against me, He alone has borne the penalty and has sole authority to deal with the sin.
3.) My offense is attempting to address what only God Himself can fully deal with. (This doesn’t mean that we as God’s people don’t confront and speak truth in God’s love)
4.) When I get offended, I must still love (agape) the person but leave the exacting of justice to Him because I WILL screw up the situation. Holding a grudge means I hang on to things God has already covered by the blood of His Son. YIKES!!!

God deliver me from holding a grudge!

One Thing to Do: RENEW your mind with a Bible verse and put it into PRACTICE.

Written by missional girl

April 28, 2011 at 3:05 am

Jesus, the Ultimate Disciple Maker

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After journeying through the gospels to see how Jesus made disciples during His earthly ministry, I saw the following:

Invitation—–>Declaration——->Demonstration——–>Multiplication———>Imitation (thanks to Pastor Scott for this one)

 

I’ll spend the next few posts explaining each of these. The little bootleg diagram in no way suggests that Jesus was all about the linear process of disciple making. In fact, several of these often occurred simultaneously during a given event or story from the gospels. I do believe, however, that these aspects of Jesus’s earthly ministry are worth taking a closer look at if for no other reason than to learn from our Savior and Lord what authentic ministry is all about.

Written by missional girl

November 30, 2010 at 2:01 am

Posted in Discipleship

Popping the Christian Bubble

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I teach at a private Christian high school out here on Long Island. One of the things I have noticed over the last several years with my kids is that many of them who are professing Christians are completely ignorant of what is swimming in culture.

This point was driven home to me during a rant on the part of my nephew who lamented that his private Christian education did not prepare him for the challenges to the veracity and reliability of the Old Testament his liberal, disgruntled Catholic professor offered in a class.

“How come my teachers didn’t tell me about this stuff?”

I had no answers for him.

My nephew and students’ issues can easily be translated into youth ministry. Ministry to youth must not only be about building foundational truth into their lives but also about preparing them for “out there.” That is not easy and should always understanding the defaults maturity levels of the youth you deal with.

I’m currently taking my students on a journey through major schools of thought and faith systems like secular humanism, Islam, and atheism and they are asking honest questions and making powerful insights about how to engage folks from different contexts.

Bubbles have no oxygen. They are great for preserving that which is sick. But they are not great for preparing its inhabitants to advance into the real world.

Let’s pop the bubble but still hang on to the truth of God’s word.

Written by missional girl

October 14, 2010 at 12:54 am

Posted in Discipleship

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10 Awesome Things I Learned From Church As a Kid

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Slightly different from last night:

1. Activities outside of worship services
2. A respect for hymns (yeah, I think hymns still rock)
3. Inter-generational friendships
4. Good Sunday school teachers (they impacted my perspective toward the teaching ministry more than anyone else growing up)
5. Decent kids program
6. Faithful participation of the senior saints (who are now passing away)
7. Children participating in the worship experience (I got the chance to read the Easter passages one Easter Sunday. I could barely see over the podium, lol)

Ok. Seven is all I have at the moment.

Written by missional girl

September 4, 2010 at 1:10 am

10 Things I Hated About Church As a Kid

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What bugged me as a young PK growing up in the eighties?

10. Deacons sitting in special chairs in chairs up front facing the congregation. Two words: worship police.
9. Hobby-horse sermons that always focused on the evils of girls wearing shorts-shorts. Do I really need to go there?
8. Ordination by association. I saw guys with unproven character get licensed and ordained like that just because they knew the right person. Wrong.
7. Women not being allowed into church in pants. I always use to think, “What if that’s all they have to wear to church? Would Jesus still tell them to stay home?” I don’t think so.
6. Discipleship gone wrong: Actually, there was little discipleship or spiritual information after a person received Christ. Teen discipleship? BTU, ushering, or the choir. Pfff!
5. Homogeneity: everybody in my church looked like me. I thought black churches were the norm until my teens. Not God’s plan at all for everyone in your church to look only like you.
4. “Yawn!”: Making Jesus boring is a grave sin. My then 3-year old brother would complain to me, “I’m bored!” Out of the mouth of babes….
3. Deacons in a smoky back room: I always got unnerved going to the back room where all the deacons sat, smoking and counting the offering. It felt more like a casino than the house of God.
2. Irrelevant Preaching and Teaching: This wasn’t the case every Sunday but it happened enough for me to write about it over 27 years later and pray to Jesus that I never commit the same egregious error. Preaching and teaching that is not Spirit-led leaves the spirit dead. Match. Point. Game.
1. High-level hypocrisy: I know for a fact that there was major moral compromise at the highest levels of leadership in my church. One major incident destroyed my family so I’m not blowing smoke here. Here’s the lesson: pastors will never deal with issues they themselves never deal with. And churches get strangled by this nonsense.

Tomorrow: 10 Awesome Things I Learned About Church As a Kid

Written by missional girl

September 3, 2010 at 2:23 am

Discipleship and Leaders

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“If there’s a mist in the pulpit, there’s a fog in the pew.” At least that’s what a spiritual father of mine use to warn years ago whenever we talked about leadership and discipleship issues in the church. With the plethora of church conferences and leadership conferences to assuage any leader’s inner guru, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of systems, leadership styles, and the like.

But when I considered how I wanted to lead my high school students through their Bible study and how I wanted to influence them in growing in Christ, my mind kept going back to those foundational years with the Navigators and all that talk about discipleship and pouring one’s life into a few.

Pastors are constantly caught in the crossfire between the numbers game and the cruel realities of undiscipled disciples of Christ. Small group and “life” groups are certainly a help but they are not the end-all, be-all. Pastors and other church leaders cannot lead in a vacuum. Furthermore, we cannot for one minute believed that following is not part of our leading. If we cannot follow Jesus, if we cannot listen to those godly leaders He places in our lives to sharpen us, then we ourselves are disqualified from being effective leaders. I can smell a shipwreck a mile away when the leader stops listening to wise counsel from godly, Christ-centered sources.

When it comes to discipleship, pastors ought to model it by allowing others to disciple them and by discipling those God has placed on their hearts. Congregations need to understand that pastors cannot disciple one-to-one every member of their local fellowship. Any such expectation is ridiculous and not grounded in Scripture. Jesus Himself did not disciple crowds!

Written by missional girl

June 30, 2010 at 10:00 pm