Friday, June 29, 2007

Authority and Youth Ministry

Have you ever been told to do something you didn't want to do? How about something you didn't believe would work? I sat down with a friend recently who has been asked not only to do something they didn't want to, but something they had significant doubts about. In youth ministry this happens often. How should we respond to this kind of request?

There is not one right response or one set of rules that will help you determine how to work your way through this kind of situation. The advice I gave my friend was specific to that situation and would likely not help you. Instead of offering some kind of broad advice I would like to ask some questions that might help you when you face this kind of a situation yourself. I hope these questions will help you work through the difficulty you face.

  • If you were to do what you are being asked would you have a clear conscience? Is it morally acceptable to God? I would hope the answer to this question would always be yes, but perhaps it is too much to assume.
  • Has the program or action been thought through well?
  • Does this fit with the mission and values of the church?
  • Is this something you knew you would have to do when you signed on?
  • Is there a way to change the program or action so that it would work better for all involved?
  • Most importantly have you been honest and respectful in communicating your opposition?
  • Is it worth losing your job over?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Missions is Here and Now

I guess I can understand how we ended up in a place where missions is understood as something you do when you go to another country. Missions is perhaps the most important thing a church participates in, but it is too often misunderstood. Fortunately things are changing.

Now we talk about being missional. Of course being missional is simply being a missionary wherever you are. It is about time we begin to change how we talk about the mission of the church. It is unfortunate there has ever been a time when missions was considered something you do in other countries.

We must continue to work on changing not only the perception of missions, the language we use to talk about mission, but most importantly the attitude people have about missions. Being missional has a prerequisite of understanding that the mission is every one's mission! It is the responsibility of the church to do missions every day wherever they are. This attitude change must start with two and three year olds and it must be hammered home in the teenage years. God's mission is every Christ follower's mission.

I wonder what kind of perception we create about the mission of the church? What do the words we use communicate? What to our ministry events communicate about missions and being missional?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Marketing Jesus?

It just sounds wrong doesn't it? Marketing Jesus seems almost sacrilegious. I must admit this is contrary to my nature. Jesus doesn't really need me or any one else to market him, to "sell" him. There is a real sense in which we do need to market Jesus.

When Jesus is mentioned people begin to have a certain perceptions about who he is and what he stands for. Mention the word church and people may have a whole new set of perceptions. Let's be clear, we need to market the Bible, the church, and even Jesus because we need to change peoples perceptions.

Marketing isn't just brochures, TV commercials, and print ads. It is everything from the logo we use to how we preach the word of God. It is how we worship, how we speak, and even how we dress.

In reality every ministry must market Jesus because we need to help people understand what is true and remove false perceptions. It isn't necessarily about crowds or numbers as much as it is about truth.