The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.
― Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC
Youth + International = Authentic Missiology
Crossing into other cultures (and subcultures) often raises questions. This is good for our theology. Theology is simply asking questions and seeking the answers to those questions in the Bible. Engaging in relationships with people across ethnic and geographic boundaries forces us to use our energy to think authentically about theology. I find this especially true among young people internationally. They have keen insights if we take the time to ask them. Relevant local theological development begins to happen when we engage in cross cultural missions. We discover new questions and we have to go to the Bible to search for answers.
For example, if you look at the past 10-15 years of evangelism among youth in Nepal, local youthworkers would tell you that it has actually been fairly easy and fruitful so far. But the process of helping them to grow in faith is very difficult. If a parent discovers that there child has become a Christian, they can become very angry. They may even stop their child from going to church forever.
Nepalese youthworkers wrestle with what they can do about this problem.
Jesus loved to hang out with outcasts. Here’s a PALS 15 Minute Devotional on Mark 2:13-17 that will help your small group of students notice others around them who are hurting. This devo will challenge your small group to do something obvious and counter cultural in your school to impact kids who may feel alone or unliked…
One of the highlights of my week is when I meet at a nearby cafe at 6:45 a.m., Friday mornings with my son and 8-12 of his friends who are high school juniors. All we do is drink coffee, eat cinnamon rolls, and spend 15 minutes discussing a passage of Scripture and how it might relate to their lives and their school.
Students are busy these days. I wish I could change that, but just like surfing… its not very effective to fight against the wave, it usually works out better to just ride it. So I’ve started using a 10 Minute Devotional format I call “PALS.”
If I had a thousand pounds China should have it- if I had a thousand lives, China should have them. No! Not China, but Christ. Can we do too much for Him? Can we do enough for such a precious Saviour? -Hudson Taylor (circa 1900)
The church in China has been growing rapidly for many years. We know some things about the development student ministry in China but it is still somewhat of a mystery to the outside world. Yet one thing that China has a lot of is students. So what challenges will the Chinese church face in the coming decades as they raise up the next generation of young leaders? How will they provide the needed mentoring to grow the church and reach the millions of Chinese who do not yet know Jesus? Here are 5 current needs for mentoring among Chinese church leaders…
Non profits and churches depend on volunteers. A non-profit organization without a growing community of volunteers is like a ranch without enough ranch hands. Things break down and eventually the ranch goes belly up. A great vision or cause gets a non-profit started or a church planted, but without teams of healthy, motivated, volunteers to help, you will likely not go the distance. To finish what you have started you need a steady stream of volunteers joining in and remaining on board.
Volunteers freely offer to undertake a task. They want to do what they are doing or they wouldn’t be doing it. So can you recruit and retain more volunteers for your mission? Here’s how…
Burned out? Leaders who last focus on impact, not activity. Longevity depends on having the right motivation.
Did you know that the average tenure of a youth pastor is somewhere around 9 months? My friend Mike Dodge, with Canterbury Youth Services tracked the ministry of youth pastors for several years in New Zealand and he verified this statistic. It doesn’t take a rocket science to look at that number and think there must be some sort of a problem in the system.
If you invest in young people as a parent or youth leader, if you are a youth pastor or know a youth pastor, then this article is for you. I could suggest many reasons why youth pastors and youth workers on average don’t last very long in ministry, but I would rather approach this from a more positive angle. Young people in every culture and every city need committed leaders to pursue them with the Gospel. We can’t afford to avoid the topic of sustainability in youth ministry because it is one of student ministry’s greatest threats.
Leadership qualities like being humble, hopeful and vocal leave a lasting impact. Before you read any further, take one minute and think about 3-5 memories from your life that deeply shaped you to be who you are today. What were they? When did they happen?
This probably won’t surprise you, but recent adolescent research affirms:
Nearly everyone recalls adolescence more powerfully than any other stage of life (Age of Opportunity by Laurence Steinberg).
Why is that true about adolescence (ages 13-25 or so)? One of the reasons people have so many shaping memories from adolescence is that the brain’s last period of heightened malleability is during adolescence (Steinberg, 10). Because this is the last window of opportunity for the brain to be so radically shaped, we tend to remember things that we experienced from that stage of life. Here’s how you can make sure to leave a lasting impact in the lives of the students you are investing in…
As a youthworker or parent, to give hope and solace to teenagers, we need to tell them how to find peace. The world has questions. The Bible has answers. Students, ages 13-25 in particular are beginning to shift from a totally concrete view of the world to a more abstract perspective.
This means that adolescence is a time where we begin to process our environment and relationships by asking lots of questions. Most of these questions go unspoken, but they are there if you dig for them.
Kathy Caprino’s recent article in Forbes highlighted 7 ways parents may be contributing to the stunted growth of their kids’ leadership potential. She interviewed a guy named Tim Elmore who has written some books on leadership. From the article, he seems to have a pretty good pulse on the current generation of youth and parents.
7 THINGS ABOUT YOUR PARENTING THAT MIGHT BE CRIPPLING YOUR KIDS’ LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL:
- We don’t let our children experience risk
- We rescue too quickly
- We rave too easily
- We let guilt get in the way of leading well
- We don’t share our past mistakes
- We mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity
- We don’t practice what we preach
I love this list and it really challenges me in some of my common parenting mistakes (the article really fleshes this out, I recommend reading it).
3 MORE COMMON MISTAKES SOME PARENTS MAKE THAT STUNT LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL IN THEIR KIDS
As a parent and a youth worker I thought of three more things that I would probably add to this list. These are 3 common ways we stunt the leadership potential in our kids:
- We subtly communicate the false notion that we are more different from one another than we are alike.
- We fail to show respect to our kids in ways they need it.
- We unknowingly communicate that we are doubting they have what it takes.
If you’d like to delve further into ways you can avoid these pitfalls, please read my post: 3 Things Teenagers Need to Hear from Adults.
To read Caprino’s full article, “7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders,” just follow the link below from my Twitter feed.
The best way to keep the communication lines wide open with teenagers is to consistently show them respect. Distance is what adolescents often feel from adults. They think adults don’t understand them, are vastly different from them, and don’t struggle with what they struggle with.
This could not be further from the truth. Here are three things that teenagers need to constantly hear from you through verbal and nonverbal vibes…