Philosophy of Ministry

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In searching for a youth ministry job, my dealings with churches have included a question about your philopshy of ministry. So what is your philophy of ministry?
 
Here is mine: (what would you change, add, or delete)

I believe that ministry should be intentional, relational, Christ-centered, transitional, and supplemental. It is in the building of intentional relationships that the best chance for ministry takes place. If we want our kids to stay in church, it will not be programs that keep them there. A life long, life-changing relationship is what will add staying power to the lifespan of that young person's commitment. We build relationships with the teens by immersing our lives in their world, meeting them on their turf, attending school sponsored events, meeting them at school for lunch, etc. Another key aspect of relational ministry, is the building of a Youth Ministry team. Christ had a leadership team of twelve men. He spent considerable time with them, teaching them, equipping them, modeling how to live, and loving them. I believe that Youth Ministry works best when there is a community of committed Christians with a heart for young people, eager to serve.

            Jesus was the presence of God in the world when He walked the earth, and as His disciples, we should be the hands, feet, and voice of Christ to those we minister to. In today's culture, people are looking for authenticity in the lives of those that claim to be a Christian. As a minister of the gospel of Christ, I believe that we are to live transparent lives, allowing people to see the heart of Christ in everything we do.

            The writer of Hebrews urged his readers to "fix their eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of their faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God"(Hebrews 12:2). Also Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23). It is my goal to fix my eyes on Jesus in every area of ministry, and model Christ-centered living to my students, so that they can observe authentic Christian living.

                As a Youth Minister, I believe that one of my main goals is to move students from a dependence on me -- the Youth worker-- to a dependence on God. The transitioning from dependence on me to dependence on God is a process that will include nurturing, modeling, and walking with the student through his/her Christian life, and above all thingsā€¦unconditional love.

            As noted in the first sentence, I named a few characteristics that in essence define my philosophy of ministry. The last of those things was that I believe youth ministry must be supplemental. What I mean by this is that I believe that parents are the number one influence in the lives of teenagers today. As a youth minister, I want to help families grow together spiritually and relationally especially through the critical years of adolescence. Certainly as a youth minister I realize the potential impact I can have in kids lives, but I also recognize that the number one influence is moms and dads, and I believe that it is my job to partner with parents on the journey of faith, and equip them to understand the world of today's teenagers.


blogger or bust

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We will stay on blogger. I appreciate the feedback and the work you do with young people. God Bless!


Question

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Do ya'll want to transition over to Word Press, as in move this blog to Word Press?


Please note!

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I am officially switching to Word Press. I will keep this blog open for re-direction purposes, but please make the change!
 
Thanks,


The Da Vinci flop?

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I think the movie was a let down. My wife and I went to see the Da Vinci Code this afternoon. Again, it was disappointing. This film is a testament to the notion that the book is better than the movie. The film plays down some of the harsher criticisms of Christianity, and there is a noticeable difference in the portayal of Langon and Sophie.
 
Prof. Langdon is no Indiana Jones. I give this movie two thumbs down and wouldn't recommend you waste your money. Instead, take the money you would spend on tickets, a coke and popcorn and give it your favorite charity.


Your youth ministry and the Da Vinci Code

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Have any of you had conversations with your students about the Da Vinci Code. What has been your church's stance towards it? Have you read the book, have your students read the book? Have you seen the movie?

How do you help your students navigate the waters of fiction and stand on the bedrock of truth?


The Student Ministry Journal

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Anybody seen the new Student Ministries Journal put out by the old Youth Worker guys. Youth Worker is under new editoralship direction, and the Student Ministry Journal is a new magazine.

What do you think about the new journal?


My Latest Article

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Brian McLaren on The Da Vinci Code
An interview by Lisa Ann Cockrel (www.sojo.net)

With The Da Vinci Code poised to go from bestseller list to the big screen on May 19, pastor and writer (and Sojourners board member) Brian McLaren talks about why he thinks there's truth in the controversial book's fiction.


What do you think the popularity of The Da Vinci Code reveals about pop culture attitudes toward Christianity and the church?


Brian McLaren: I think a lot of people have read the book, not just as a popular page-turner but also as an experience in shared frustration with status-quo, male-dominated, power-oriented, cover-up-prone organized Christian religion. We need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown's book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church. Why would so many people be disappointed to find that Brown's version of Jesus has been largely discredited as fanciful and inaccurate, leaving only the church's conventional version? Is it possible that, even though Brown's fictional version misleads in many ways, it at least serves to open up the possibility that the church's conventional version of Jesus may not do him justice?


So you think The Da Vinci Code taps into dissatisfaction with Jesus as we know him?


McLaren: For all the flaws of Brown's book, I think what he's doing is suggesting that the dominant religious institutions have created their own caricature of Jesus. And I think people have a sense that that's true. It's my honest feeling that anyone trying to share their faith in America today has to realize that the Religious Right has polluted the air. The name "Jesus" and the word "Christianity" are associated with something judgmental, hostile, hypocritical, angry, negative, defensive, anti-homosexual, etc. Many of our churches, even though they feel they represent the truth, actually are upholding something that's distorted and false.


I also think that the whole issue of male domination is huge and that Brown's suggestion that the real Jesus was not as misogynist or anti-woman as the Christian religion often has been is very attractive. Brown's book is about exposing hypocrisy and cover-up in organized religion, and it is exposing organized religion's grasping for power. Again, there's something in that that people resonate with in the age of pedophilia scandals, televangelists, and religious political alliances. As a follower of Jesus I resonate with their concerns as well.


Do you think the book contains any significantly detrimental distortions of the Christian faith?


McLaren: The book is fiction and it's filled with a lot of fiction about a lot of things that a lot of people have already debunked. But frankly, I don't think it has more harmful ideas in it than the Left Behind novels. And in a certain way, what the Left Behind novels do, the way they twist scripture toward a certain theological and political end, I think Brown is twisting scripture, just to other political ends. But at the end of the day, the difference is I don't think Brown really cares that much about theology. He just wanted to write a page-turner and he was very successful at that.


Many Christians are also reading this book and it's rocking their preconceived notions - or lack of preconceived notions - about Christ's life and the early years of the church. So many people don't know how we got the canon, for example. Should this book be a clarion call to the church to say, "Hey, we need to have a body of believers who are much more literate in church history." Is that something the church needs to be thinking about more strategically?


McLaren: Yes! You're exactly right. One of the problems is that the average Christian in the average church who listens to the average Christian broadcasting has such an oversimplified understanding of both the Bible and of church history - it would be deeply disturbing for them to really learn about church history. I think the disturbing would do them good. But a lot of times education is disturbing for people. And so if The Da Vinci Code causes people to ask questions and Christians have to dig deeper, that's a great thing, a great opportunity for growth. And it does show a weakness in the church giving either no understanding of church history or a very stilted, one-sided, sugarcoated version.


On the other hand, it's important for me to say I don't think anyone can learn good church history from Brown. There's been a lot of debunking of what he calls facts. But again, the guy's writing fiction so nobody should be surprised about that. The sad thing is there's an awful lot of us who claim to be telling objective truth and we actually have our own propaganda and our own versions of history as well.


Let me mention one other thing about Brown's book that I think is appealing to people. The church goes through a pendulum swing at times from overemphasizing the deity of Christ to overemphasizing the humanity of Christ. So a book like Brown's that overemphasizes the humanity of Christ can be a mirror to us saying that we might be underemphasizing the humanity of Christ.


In light of The Da Vinci Code movie that is soon to be released, how do you hope churches will engage this story?


McLaren: I would like to see churches teach their people how to have intelligent dialogue that doesn't degenerate into argument. We have to teach people that the Holy Spirit works in the middle of conversation. We see it time and time again - Jesus enters into dialogue with people; Paul and Peter and the apostles enter into dialogue with people. We tend to think that the Holy Spirit can only work in the middle of a monologue where we are doing the speaking.


So if our churches can encourage people to, if you see someone reading the book or you know someone who's gone to the movie, say, "What do you think about Jesus and what do you think about this or that," and to ask questions instead of getting into arguments, that would be wonderful. The more we can keep conversations open and going the more chances we give the Holy Spirit to work. But too often people want to get into an argument right away. And, you know, Jesus has handled 2,000 years of questions, skepticism, and attacks, and he's gonna come through just fine. So we don't have to be worried.


Ultimately, The Da Vinci Code is telling us important things about the image of Jesus that is being portrayed by the dominant Christian voices. [Readers] don't find that satisfactory, genuine, or authentic, so they're looking for something that seems more real and authentic.


Lisa Ann Cockrel is associate editor at Today's Christian Woman.


+ Learn more about Brian McLaren's latest book, The Secret Message of Jesus


Top 10 Things to know when starting in a new ministry

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1. Get it in writing. Get a contract, job description. Know what is expected of you.

2. Get your office organized. The more organized chaos you have the better you have for administrative and relationship building.

3. Get to know your leaders. Know their giftedness, take them to lunch. Spend time together building a team. The more you support the Church Staff and stand united - the better.

4. Get to know the parents. Know what their expectations are. Get feedback on what they want for their child. Spend time building relationships with the parents (Moreso than even the teens)

5. Build your team. Get to know the sponsors. Slowly build your team. Get to what what they have do in the past, and what you are planning for the future.

6. Get to know your students. Especially your student leaders. Mentor, disciple, impact, have a plan and a purpose for every activity and lesson you do.

7. Don't change a Thing. At least not yet. Evaluate. Spend the first couple of months - maybe not even teaching but observing, look at the overall - what works, what doesn't. Be prepared to get your Senior pastor on board when you have to REVAMP, and possibly fire or rather re-assign other volunteers to other ministries. You are in charge - but that takes time to make the program Yours (After much consideration and prayer of course of where God would have you)

8. Have a network. Have some mentors, a network of youthworkers to rant, to bounce things off of, as well as some accountability. Build long lasting friendships outside even the congregation you are serving. Be Kingdom Building, not always Congregational. (There is a difference).

9. Build your resources. Have a library. Learn. Goto Conventions. Adapt, steal, borrow, use what might fit in your context of youth ministry.

10. Take Time for your own Spiritual Journey. Make sure you are feeding your soul. Don't get burnout. Be encouraged.



Other Resources That you might Find helpful:

Your First two Years in Youth Ministry by Doug Fields.
Starting Right - thinking theological about Youth Ministry - Dean, Clark & Rahn.
The Top 12 Resources Youth Workers Want - Jonathon R. McKee
10 Things I wished I had known when I started Youth Ministry - Revellyn Pletcher


Daddy's Rules for Dating

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I found this over at Dean Hawk Ministries, and I thought you would get a kick out of this:
 
Rule One:
If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure not picking anything up.

Rule Two:
You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.

Rule Three:
I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing a "Barrier method" of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

Rule Four:
I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Five:
The following places are NOT appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness.

Rule Six:
Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house.


Useful Websites

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My brother just made me aware of these websites. He is majoring in graphics design and one of his professors made him aware of a couple of websites that offer free high quality jpeg photos. There is an unbelievable number of professional quality photos available for download. They will definitely aid your powerpoint and mediashout presentations. The first site is:

www.sxc.hu - You do have to create a profile to download on this site, but the profile is free. They will send you an email and you then activate the account.

www.morguefile.com - This one is completely free and ready for download. This is my least favorite of the two, but still a good site.

Hope these help your ministries!


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