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Holy cow! This is a great curriculum!! If you are a youth worker, set this up for your parents. If you’re a parent, gather some other parents and use this. It might be the best parenting a teen DVD curriculum I’ve seen in a while.

Here’s the lowdown… Six lessons: Identity, The Toolbox, Turmoil, Rebellion, Legacy, and Discipling Your Teenager. Lots of good questions. Lots of great (and accurate) statements from youth and parents. Lots of practical examples and exercises that would help parents prepare for life after the Bible study. I would practically guarantee great discussion will take place.

For more information, contact the Kansas Area Resource Center or to purchase, click here.

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A pastor from Minnesota used to say this constantly (rest his soul) and often to the point of irritation. It got so bad that people would make fun of this saying even when he wasn’t around. Well, my family and I got to go sailing last night and I’ve got to say… IT WAS AWESOME!! I loved it. Kara loved it. The boys loved it. We were out on Lake Cheney in Kansas (apparently Kansas does have lakes) with a pastor from a church in Wichita (thank you, Larry). We were on a 27-foot tri-maran (it’s a sailboat like was used in Waterworld with Kevin Costner, but smaller) and it was probably the most enjoyable three-hour family experience we’ve ever had.

If you get the chance, by all means, go sailing. And now I know why that first pastor was so passionate about a slight breeze for yesterday was “a great day for sailing!”

I saw this in The e-Journal for Student Ministries. Thought someone might be interested.

 

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Some articles are so good that you have to copy the whole thing and hope people read them. Below is one of those articles. It offers questions to help people discover faith. Please read!

 

the slow embrace
chuck bomar

Moving from their parents faith into a faith of their own is something every college-age person works through. In fact, not only does this impact the detachment of high school grads from Christian communities, but it’s an issue all religions face. This issue of college-age people separating from the roots and convictions of their parents is not just a Protestant Christian issue: it’s a college-age stage issue.

This is very important to realize and interact with as leaders. Dealing with this issue and guiding their reevaluations is essential in college-age ministry! If we’re not the ones guiding their questions someone else will. Sadly far too many are being guided by others outside of our faith convictions.

But, how do we guide our people toward biblically mature conclusions? How can we force thought in the right direction? For me, it comes down to asking the right questions. Here are 5 questions I’ve used to get people thinking about what it is they personally believe – I’ve even used these all for one talk. I’ve found these five questions to lead to great discussion and help college-age people think through what it is they actually believe, themselves. These types of questions help them move past a religious conscience driven by parents and into a personal faith of their own:

  1. How do you know you’re a Christian? It’s important to force this question to move beyond the religious routines of life. If your student replies with anything behavioral in their life (going to church, being born into a Christian family, reading their bible, etc.), reply to them by asking, “Well, is it possible for a person to ‘do’ all those things and not be a Christian?” It’s absolutely crucial to get our students moving beyond simply doing the right things and avoiding the wrong things! We don’t want to negate proper conduct, but we do want them to think through this deeper than behavior.
  2. Why do you believe the Bible? If your students reply with talking about the Bible’s credibility through history or prophecy fulfillment make sure you ask them specifically what they’re referring to. Most just say this, yet have very little knowledge of the historicity of the Scriptures. Forcing them to think beyond simply regurgitating something you may have taught them is vital in this stage of life. If they bring up these types of things be sure to force them to state specifically what they mean, pointing to specifics. If they do in fact point to specific things, ask them how they know that’s true! Is it because a Christian book told them so? Is their faith based on what some author says? How do they know the “evidence” that particular author brought up wasn’t based on a Christian bias? You can even ask them directly, “Well, people of the Jewish faith take the same evidence we use as proof for our faith and use it to support theirs. What do you do with that?”
  3. How do you know you believe it? The point of asking these things is to get them thinking about the abstract elements of faith, beyond scientific research or anything they’ve read. The reality is there is a plethora of “scientific evidence” that opposes our faith. People of the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, etc. faith have plenty of evidence they hold onto as well. So, what does your student do with that? Are they aware of that opposing data? Ultimately we need to get them to come to the reality that their belief’s must move past any other persons observations of creation or history (i.e. Science). If we base our faith on scientific research our faith isn’t really in God, it’s in the person who performed the observations. So, what does your student have “faith” in? We cannot negate all science, but we also can’t base our faith on it.
  4. What do you think the difference between conscience and faith is? The reality is too many high school students graduate with much more of a religious conscience than they do a personal faith. It’s very important for your students to think about whether they have a conscience or a faith. A conscience is based on information we’ve received. A conscience affects our behavior, but unfortunately it doesn’t save us. Faith does. We have to help our students decipher between these two. A faith is unwavering, no matter what anyone says. It’s deeper than information and data. A conscience however is solely based on information heard or read, thus making it easily swayed by differing information. Ask your student, “Do you think you have more of a conscience driven by what you’ve grown up with, or a personal faith of your own?”
  5. What do you think a mature Christian looks like? By the time you get to this question they will likely be hesitant to answer with anything behavioral. It’s likely that after asking these five questions and replying to their answers with more questions/challenges your students won’t have much to say. They’re even likely to be a bit confused. This is perfect and exactly where you want them to be. By getting them to this point you’ve caused them to dive into the area of faith, beyond religious routine and behavior. Now, you can begin to guide their thoughts!

I’ve found that if we are the ones getting them to the point of questioning their own “faith,” we set ourselves up to be THE one’s guiding it! If we leave it up to others with other faith convictions to cause our students to dive into the abstract areas of faith, we lose.

I’ve asked these questions in large formats as well as in one-on-one times over coffee. These may seem very intellectual. That’s because, well, they are to some extent. But, we have to dive into these areas of our students. Moving past all physical observations and behavioral routine is getting into the “faith” of an individual person. Granted, I realize that conduct is an outcome of a faith we hold, but on the flip side we can go through life doing all the right things and be nothing more than a Pharisee. This is not where we want to be personally, nor do we want our students to settle into this mentality.

Our role as shepherds is helping people love God and people, not just do all the right things. In order for this to happen our students must come to a point where they can say, “I believe in the God of the Bible and it doesn’t matter what anyone says about it.” Now, that’s faith.

I finished previewing the Rings of Fellowship curriculum from Disciple Outreach Ministries today. Allow me to share the pro’s and con’s:

 

Pro’s: (1)20 weeks of curriculum broken into 5 segments utilizing the acronym “RINGS” (and I love acronyms). These are: Responsibility, Invitation, Neighbors, God, and Service. (2)The curriculum also encourages students to be reading a reasonable amount of Scripture each day leading up to a group meeting to discuss it. (3)There are a variety of activities to do during the group meetings. (4)There are brief videos to show each week.

 

Con’s: (1)There aren’t a lot of questions to help discussions along. (2)The videos are good at making the point fun, but a bit cheesy (if that’s still a word). (3)It may lack some depth for those who really want to “dig in” (like other Disciple material).

 

I think it could work well with middle school or high school, but would use it with a group that may not have a lot of Biblical knowledge about these subjects.

 

For more information and to download a sample, click here.

Strategic Direction

“A business can tolerate a truly enormous number of errors in detail—if the strategic direction is relevant and correct.”

                          – Mr. Richard S. Sloma

(This information comes from Bobb Biehl at www.quickwisdom.com.)


I previewed another Pam Stenzel video. As always, it was excellent (although familiar to her other ones in content).

This video, Sex Still Has a Price Tag, is broken into two sessions: Session One – God’s Plan for You, Pregnancy, and STD’s, and Session Two – More STD’s, Emotional Consequences, and Spiritual Consequences. There is also a booklet with the DVD’s that offers a few decent suggestions for you meeting, as well as some good discussion questions and information about diseases and resources.

For those of you who are looking for abstinence training, Pam Stenzel is one of the best!

I’m throwing this article in the blog because I too experienced the infamous “Freshman 15.” Actually, for me it was the “Freshman 25,” but who’s counting?

If you’re interested in what causes this and how to avoid (dare I say, “curb”) this, click here.

I recently read the book titled Youth Ministry by Jason Gant and Adam Hamilton (from Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City, as many of you UMC-ers know). Here’s my take:

Very practical book for those who are just starting a youth ministry or looking for direction within youth ministry.

It offers good ideas on how to frame youth ministry based on mission and vision as well as good things to be doing while in ministry.

My favorite piece would be the section called Who’s Coming Along? Or, more often known as recruiting. This alone was worth the extremely affordable price of the book.

Second favorite thing? It’s only 64 pages. Yeah! Now, I can brag to others that I finished yet another book.

Previewed the Chasing Daylight curriculum by Erwin McManus. BluefishTV (www.bluefishtv.com) told me that this would be good for youth. Here’s the scoop:

  • It’s a 10-week DVD curriculum crafted from McManus’ book of the same title.
  • It utilizes student guides to help groups learn about living a life of genuine purpose through the life of the Biblical character Jonathan.
  • It’s appears to be absolutely excellent and well worth the time to use. The Leader’s Guide is packed with useful information and even answers many of the questions students are to be going through as well.
  • I would be hard-pressed to use it with middle school students, but would definitely consider it for high school students, committed students, or any adults. It truly is a high-quality material.