Merry Christmas


Youth Ministry brothers and sisters,

Merry Christmas. I hope this holiday brings you a time of renewal and joy. Enjoy the time with family and do spend some time in prayer and the Word. For the arrival of the Christ child is truly a life changing and a life shaping moment, one we would do well to ponder.

Can you pass the egg nog?

The "MySpace" Generation




Gulf Coast Mission Trip


There is a group from the Newark church (along with our University of Delaware campus ministry: Blue Hens for Christ)that will be going to the Gulf Coast to help with hurricane relief December 28-January 3 and December 28-January 12. Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare to leave and as we are down there working. I will try to update daily (hopefully with pictures as well) on my blog (

Here is the list of members of the Gulf Coast Mission Trips:

Darrell Swanson
Tom Deadmon
Cliff Bates
Diane Bates
Dave Blackwell
Angie Blackwell
Jon Ginter
Naomi Ginter
Michelle Wood (U of D)
Christina Plack (U of D)
James Lansing (U of D)
Matt Wilson
Caleb Smith
Rachel Friedline
Alayon Friedline
Joel Friedline
Anna Henry
Sean Henry
Curtis Hull
Lindsay Robison (U of D)
Stephanie Robison
Jared Ali (U of D)
Tim Kim (U of D)
Sherol Chen (U of D)
Ryan Matthews (U of D)
Jenn Tretto (U of D)
Tony Francioni
Tiffany Button (U of D)
Gina DiScala (U of D)
Frank Hutton (Nashville)
Phil Williams (Nashville)
Don Knieriem (U of D)
Virginia Besche(U of D)
Laurie Rohm (U of D)
Laura Armstrong (U of D)
Anna Rogers
Kelly Potter
Sarah Kinsley

We will be staying at the Tammany Oaks Church of Christ. If you would like to see the relief effort with this group check out and

***A side note: we are looking at having another trip during University of Delaware's spring break. This will be a CAMPUS WIDE/INTERFAITHS trip. It will be a great experience for this campus to come together under one cause. Keep it in your prayers and as more details come together I'll keep you informed about it.***

I wrote this last year and thought to share again Here:

'Twas the Night Before Youth Ministry

'Twas the Nite Before Youth Ministry,
When all through the church
Not a church was stirring, not even a pastor.
The budget minutes were done for the year with care.
In hopes that funds for the ministry next year would be there.
The church-goers had gone. All full of themselves.
With visions of only thinking of Thyself.
The Leadership wanted the last say on everything.
And the Senior Pastor had to be right on every theological thing.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter.
Several of us had sprung out of the church to see what was the matter.
As we entered the church parking lot What did we see?
But Angry parents and students wanting youth ministry for FREE!

More rapid than insults, the crowd made demands.
They had expectations of what they thought youth ministry looked like and added their demands.

They started to name the youth orgainzations by name:

Now "Youth For Christ, Young Life, FCA, and such, Campus Life, CEF, First Priority too let's put all these youth pastors to shame"

"You need to be like Bo Boshers, Doug Fields or some other mega church name ...maybe its 180 and putting all others to shame."

"To the top of the denomination, to the top of the glee of the crowd, we'd rather have glorified babysitting and we want it now."

So as the demands of the parents, full of themselves ....
Several others had cried as the silly demands had abound.

Youth Ministry is not a thing dressed up and made good.
It sometimes speaks of sex, drinking and peer pressure as one should.

It isn't about looking cool.
Or even having a Dodge Viper or Hummer or 2.

Youth Ministry is sometimes about stuff you don't have a clue.

It's about Jesus, church, loving God and others too.
And not another marketing tool.

All of the gimmicks make me want to laugh.
"Teach like Jesus" or get this item for half price and have your church grow without having the Spirit in it at all!

O the marketing - be the next Mega Thing rather than
Be Who God created you to be and not something else.

When will we learn?
When will we turn from this youth ministry as glorified babysitting thing?

Then I knew I had nothing to dread.
Jesus loved me, instead of these angry parents instead.

Jesus spoke such kindness and did such a good work.
He gave of Himself, and never was a jerk.
He was born as God's Son.
Human became.
Loved, died, rose, and is Coming Again!

As I think of Jesus, Youth Ministry and all ....
Its about being the church
And not this programming call.
So the next time someone gives you a complain.
Turn to them and proudly proclaim:

"I serve my Christ offering Him to all;
Love God and others is my Call."

Thus Youth Ministry is a calling and not sort of thing.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Parody by Gerrard R. Fess.

Copyright 2004. Permission granted to share everywhere just note the author

revisioning my youth ministry


This school semester has provided quite a few unique learning opportunities. I am glad that the semester is over, and I am taking a break this next semester. As it stands I have 33 hours done in an 84 hour program. I am making progress.
I want to talk a few moments about my youth ministry class that I got to take with Dr. Fraze out at LCU. I won't go into great deal now, but through our class project I got to evaluate our current program and dream some. I realize that I haven't been very family friendly. I have not been an enemy of families, but have a lot of room to partner with parents as thier children navigate the tightrope of adolescence (this metaphor did not originate with me -- Dr. Chap Clark talks about it), I also want to equip parents to understand adolescent culture, as well as ignite a passion for discipleship and outreach.
The project looked at the what and why of the need for ministry to youth and family, and over the course of the next several months, I and my adult volunteers will be looking at the how in our setting. I am excited about this process, not real sure where it will go, but know that thinking theologically about our ministry to youth and families will lead to better ministry. A key question that must serve to guide this whole process is, "how am I doing according to God' s standards?" I think this question forces us to answer simultaneously another question, "what does succesful youth ministry look like?" I am advocating that what is needed, is a re-definition of what a successful youth ministry looks like. I don't think this will be a pain free process. As a matter of fact I am anticipating this being a little messy and uncomfortable as we all try to figure out our how. I will try to continually bring us back to the central question, "how are we doing according to God's standards?"
This post sort of piggy backs off what my grad. youth ministry class dealt with. I think we all need to to reevaulate our ministries from time to time. What and how  do ya'll evaulate your ministries? If you have been through this process, how did it go?

Theology of Discipleship


One of the things that I have been giving some thought to lately is a theology of discipleship. Thanks to some great discussion that was had in a grad class at Lubbock Christian University back in October and a recent article I read by Mike Yaconelli (you can read it at:, I have been challenged a great deal to adopt a higher view of discipleship than I have in the past. Here are a couple of thoughts that have challenged me in this way:

#1 - Yac writes in the article above: "I don't believe in student discipleship." His article makes it clear that he is not writing off the good things that adolescents are involved in, but Yac's view of discipleship is much higher than just doing good deeds, attending Bible class or going on mission trips. It is a deeper dedication than most youths are capable of giving at their age. They haven't lived life enough to fully comprehend what it means to be a disciple.

#2 - At the class that I attended back in October at LCU we were blessed to be able to enter into a discussion on discipleship with a member of the ICOC present. They are a disciples' movement. It was interesting to see how radically different our perceptions were of the discipling process. This particular classmate talked about how they would never encourage baptism until late adolescence (around the college age). He interpreted the Great Commission as first going and making disciples and then baptizing them. Traditionally, churches of Christ have joined the two together...disciples are made upon the committment to Christ in baptism. Not so, for my friend. Interestingly enough, its not very hard to accept the difference of interpretation.With these two experiences in mind, coupled with my observances of not just the youth in my ministry but many adults as well...I am quickly coming to the conclusion that I need to modify my teaching on the subject of discipleship. What's needed in our brotherhood is a higher view of discipleship. We have a lot to learn from Yaconelli, the ICOC, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and others about the cost of discipleship. Baptism doesn't make one a disciple any more than throwing on a chef's hat makes me a chef. Discipleship is about understanding the cost, training in Christlikeness, daily self denial, and a step by step journey towards a hill called Golgotha...where the old is crucified and the new is revealed in us. It's radical...its hard's so much more than what our tradition has made it out to be.

I know this view seems to make the road o so much narrower! Why would any one choose this? Because LIFE is at the end of the journey! That's why! For heaven's sake...who wouldn't want to choose this if they new what kind of gift was being given to them? I have died my first death and I am no longer afraid of the second death. What an awesome feeling!

Final words: If we adopt this view of discipleship...doesn't it rescue our faith journey from the flames of mediocrity? Though the path be difficult, this view of discipleship ignites in me a passion for a Christianity that is meaningful and ways that we have forgotten in the modern world. Comfortable discipleship...comfortably Christianity is falling to the wayside in this post-Christian world. Those who will stand the test of time in our generation are going to have to fight to follow Christ...Could it be that this fight will separate the "disciples" from the Disciples?

What are your thoughts?

Kirk talks about his addiction to porn...II


I have been so moved by the comments made from Gary that I took the time to encode the Oprah show into an mp3 that you can download by clicking here. Not sure about the legality of this, but the subject is just too important to be kept "analog." Don't worry the commercials have been removed and it's only about 40 minutes.

Theology from Peanuts


Originally published August 9, 1976 by Charles Shultz

Emergent Critics


The Us versus Them

Saw this over at YSMarko's site
and thought contributed much to the dialogue of the Critics of the Emergent Church. Here it is:

"I feel with many critics, the talking and arguing goes on and we keep missing each other because of the words we use and the different meanings behind them. Conversations can sound a lot like this . . .

emerging church!
ahhh . . . no absolute truth?
no . . . church formation!
ahhh . . . building?
no . . . pub-house-coffeeshop!
ahhh . . . small group?
no . . . church!
ahh . . . youth?
no . . . wider!
ahhh . . . GenX?
no . . . worldview!
ahhh . . . contemporary, CCM?
no . . . yuk . . . hell no . . postmodern!
ahhh . . . hate modern?
no . . . after modern!
ahhh . . . critical theory?
no . . . emergent theory!
ahhh . . . no absolute truth?
no . . . truth!
ahhh . . . philosophy?
no . . . culture!
ahhh . . . culture over Scripture?
no . . . Scripture before culture!
ahhh . . . hate church culture?
no . . . love church!
ahhh . . reforming church?
no . . . fresh expressions!
ahhh . . . traditional church is stale?
no . . . need contextual!
ahhh . . . compromise?
no . . . prophetic!
ahhh . . . charasmatic?
no . . . more holistic!
ahhh . . . new age?
no . . . one true church!
ahhh . . . ecumencial?
no . . . missional!
ahhh . . . overseas?
no . . . cross-cultural right here!
ahhh . . . mission project?
no . . . missional movement!
ahh . . . exploiting?
no . . . redeeming!
ahhh . . . dominating?
no . . . emerging!
ahhh . . . no absolute truth?
no . . . what? . . . shut up!

Kirk talks about his addiction to porn...


Saw this on Oprah yesterday and I plan to show it to my kids this Sunday. It was very powerful and heartbreaking. You can watch and read the segment with Kirk Franklin by clicking here. If you are interested in showing it to your teens let me know and I could possibly send a copy to you. I DVR'ed it and plan to transfer it over to a VHS (remember those) tape.

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