Thursday, November 5, 2015

A little less conversation

I'll admit, I'm a bad blogger.

Those who "know" how to successfully blog say that everything should be about the readers.

Personally, this has never really been the case.

I've always blogged for myself.
I blog about the things bouncing around my head.
I documented things which I knew I'd want to revisit.

You, dear reader, have just been looking over my shoulder.

Well, now I need to take a break.

So, for the rest of the year, I'm going on a blog hiatus.
In fact, I'm going on a complete ministry fast.

Over the next few months I've been given the opportunity for time and space... 

But, I'll be back.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The new numbers that matter

I didn't grow up in the church.

Like many teens who gravitated to a youth group, I followed a girl (who I didn’t end up getting!) and, over time, the message of Jesus became more important than the unrequited love.

Nonetheless, over the years it took for me to find my faith, there were some people who especially invested in my spiritual development. Some of these people were “on staff,” most weren’t.
Do you have similar people in your past?
Can you think of those who, especially, took the time and made the effort to engage with you and nurture your faith?

Classically, the golden ratio in ministry with young people is around 1:5 – one adult for every five kids.

But, progressively (from places like the Fuller Youth Institute), it’s being realised that the effective ratio in growing and, importantly, retaining young people within a church is 5:1 – five adults for every one youngster.

For children and teens need to feel that there’s a group of people caring and investing in them and their faith development, not just a select few.

Historically, it’s the smaller, heavily volunteer driven, churches who've been doing this effectively across the generations, not the flashy mega-churches.

It’s the churches which develop a culture of making space for the children, engaging with them in conversation, and supporting them as they explore who Jesus is, where the kids’ faith – long-term – is healthier.
The challenge for churches is to find ways, and develop an intentional culture, where adults can naturally find avenues to show young people that there's an entire village concerned about them.
For, the new number in effective long-term youth ministry seems to be as intricately linked with adults as it is to youth. If you don't have the tribe of adults - the five, then it's far less likely that you retain your youngsters - the one.
The person who said that it takes a village to raise a child may have been on to something far deeper than they're aware…

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Going beyond the Jesus example

Traditionally, in church, the answer is always Jesus.
Or the bible.

If one of these is not the correct answer then you've misheard the question or the person posing the query is greatly confused...

But, having Jesus as your sole example in a sermon may not be as helpful as we assume.


Because Jesus was faultiness and those listening have never personally seen Him nor are able to follow him around for a few hours.

Don't get me wrong, Jesus is a phenomenal God-man. Perfect even. I'm not bagging out Jesus in any way...

But, when giving an example of holiness, sacrifice, integrity, holy discontent, compassion, ect... if the ONLY example we present others is Jesus then, at times, the example might feel out of reach.

Because, let's face it, who can measure up to Jesus?

I know I can't.

And, if He's the only example you give me to emulate, then a part of me wonders why I should bother... (I'm fully prepared to admit that this is only me, but I suspect it's not)

A better plan would be, in addition to using Jesus, pointing to someone known personally by the congregation.

I feel, if they're able to associate your point with someone they're familiar with - having had a conversation with them, knowing their life-journey personally and being able to observe your point lived out - then the goal or holiness, sacrifice, integrity, whatever... seems far more attainable to those in the pews.