Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Are Students Prepared to be Persecuted?

The sky is not falling, yet. The world is not coming to an end tomorrow (at least it doesn't look that way). I don't intend to cry wolf, unless I see one. Unfortunately there are many wolves in this world we live in. Are we preparing students to live in a world where Christians are persecuted for living out there faith.?

In Canada it is illegal to speak out against homosexuality. In the united states we are getting closer and closer to that point. Christians are told by culture to keep their faith to themselves. Prayer in public could even be a dangerous prospect. It was not that long ago that rumors were being floated about the airport putting in a "meditation room." The consequence would be prayer would not be allowed outside of that room.

I don't mean to sound alarmist, but I can see the writing on the wall. It seems more and more likely that today's students will experience persecution for living out their faith at some point in their life.

I leave you with this question, how do we prepare students to follow Jesus in a world that doesn't particularly like what Jesus taught (some of them just don't know what he taught and wouldn't like it if they knew it)?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Near Sighted Youth Ministry

Driving is on of those mile markers in the life of students. Every time someone got their license or their Learners Permit I heard about it. If it wasn't the student is was the parent who told me the news. Of course I usually had some kind of smart alic remark about how people should stay off the sidewalks or the streets are no longer safe. It is amazing the amount of preparation students must go through in order to drive a car.

Cars are dangerous and can kill. There is good reason to make people go through a lot of training before they are given the license to drive a car. The mind and the spirit are equally as dangerous and fragile. It is amazing to me how little we prepare students to use these and understand these powerful things. A life is a terrible thing to waist. We will often challenge students to avoid waisting their life, but do we really prepare them to use there life well?

This is a daunting task one in which youth ministry plays a small role. The question for any ministry is, "How does your ministry help accomplish this in students lives?" and "What is the Biblical basis for this?"

Monday, February 05, 2007

Retreat Mussings

This weekend I was in Ohio speaking at a retreat. I was at some old school that is being turned into a youth center(www.soncenter.org). My phone didn't work, there was no way to check my email, and it was freezing cold even inside the building. I am not complaining, it was great. Actually it was good for me not to be so "connected" all the time. Over the weekend I was reminded of several things:
  • Those who give their time and money to minister to students are amazing people.
I made some new friends this weekend!! The youth pastors and workers who were there were amazing people. They were servants who gave up sleeping at home in a nice bed for a weekend of freezing (even inside) and sleeping with a bunch of high school students. I would be hard pressed to find higher quality people anywhere.
  • Youth pastors are more often than not passionate and qualified people who are sacrificing much in order to do what they love.
The youth pastors who I spent time with love what they are doing. More than anything they want to serve God. They are not less qualified than "Senior Pastors." They are often younger, but not always. They have chosen a career that does not pay lucrative salaries (though it is much better than it used to be) and it demands odd hours along with frequent travel. Why? Because they have been given a passion by God to reach students for Christ.
  • Youth ministry is difficult and tiresome work!!
Many who have not done youth ministry think it is just a bunch of games and gimmicks. They could not be further from the truth. Sure there are those who rely on such things to give the appearance of success. Good youth ministry, on the other hand, requires much more. The youth pastors I talked to this weekend were tired because they want so much more. They want students to become men and women of God. They want them to learn to follow Jesus with every aspect of their life.

As a former youth pastor and someone who loves students, I want to thank every youth worker who reads this for your efforts. I would also like to encourage you to keep it up. Galatians 6:9 reminds us to persevere with good works. Don't allow yourself to grow tired of doing them.