Friday, August 31, 2018

Prayer points you don’t celebrate

I’ve decided to give up looking at porn!
We’ve decided to stop sleeping together!
I’ve made the choice to abandon my emotional affair!

These are just a sampling of the significant prayer points which we don’t, and in many cases can’t, share in public.

But, these are points which we should celebrate.

These are significant steps in discipleship.
For new believers, these are important steps in sanctification.

Yet, we could never speak them aloud.

So, largely, they go uncelebrated.
And, unfortunately, those taking the significant steps of faith do so unsupported.

Do I have an answer?

Not really.

But, I suspect, that the solution may lie in small groups which cultivate authentic relationships.

The challenge is to find a way to develop these groups...

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

You need to hear that you were annoying as well

“You were exactly the same at their age”

This message is majorly important for my six year old because she has a sister going through the terrible two’s.

This involves tantrums.
This involves occasionally throwing things.
This involves the unwillingness to share.

And, this greatly annoys Little Miss 6.

The message she often hears is, when she was younger, that she was exactly the same at her age.

This is why we don’t get as frustrated or surprised as her.

We have seen it before.
We have heard it before.

I think this message is also significant in youth ministry.

For those who have been around long enough to see a generation of teens grow into their fledging youth leaders, it’s important to remind these young leaders of the times when the modern teens emulate their previous generation.

They were just as annoying.
They were just as loud.
They were just as frustrating.
They were just as smelly.

And, vitally, they had leaders who had to show grace. And patience. And forgiveness. And perseverance.

These are a few of the reasons why they felt so welcome, accepted and cared for.

Now it is the young leaders turn to do the same.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The ministry of repeating yourself

Jesus must have been quite frustrated because, frankly, the disciples were, at times, were very dull.

There must have been lots of occasions when Jesus was explaining something and His followers just didn’t understand.

They missed the point. Often.

In many ways they were like teenagers.


For those in ministry, there is a grace and patience in the ministry of lovingly repeating yourself.

I’m sure this is what Jesus did.

He repeated Himself.
He explained things again.
He, once again, started from the top.

In a growing community of broken people reminders will be nessesary.

They will need to hear the gospel, for the first time or as an encouragement, often.
They will need to hear the message of hope.
They will need to hear the words of grace.
They will need to hear the declaration of forgivenness.

An important role for those in ministry is to be willing to repeat yourself.

And again...
And again...

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Why I’m learning German

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. 

Over the last month I’ve been travelling around Southern Germany with my fiancĂ©, which may be news if you don’t know me personally, and launching into an expanded university workload.

Leading up to my European holiday, I had an important challenge - Learn German.

Now, I’m not a keen linguist, with the only language I’ve been forced to study over the last 15 years being Biblical Greek. But, ease was not my motivation.

Why did I do it? 
Because I was going to Germany (duh), newly engaged to a German and meeting her family who are German.

These were my motivations.

To honour her family.
To honour her culture.
To open ways to connect and understand.
To share an important thing with my fiancé.

It reminds me of the things that those in ministry will do in order to connect with members of their congregation.

They will dabble in gaming.
Or try out for the musical.
Or do a crash course in the newest social media craze.
Or read up about the university subjects of their young adults.

In ministry you dip your toe into a lot of subjects, behind-the-scenes, in order to have easier avenues of connection with those you minister to.

But the aim is not to become an expert in their hobby.
I certainly didn’t leave Australia fluent in German.

But this effort shows they those around you, be it within the home, work or church are important.