Does Youth Ministry Need To Be Harder?

A post mortem on our mostly ineffective summer experiments with youth programming produces some reliable culprits: teens are busy; families travel; new things take time to catch on. All of those explanations adequately account for why our calendar of weekly get togethers in the city and bizarre Sunday morning workshops generated such paltry participation. But […]

I Want To Lead A Youth Ministry That Has All The Conventional Strengths And Experiments With New Stuff At The Same Time

[For those of you who were interested, here’s a link to a pdf of one of the children’s bulletins we’ve been designing this month.] Today I want to share a thought that’s been gurgling the last several weeks. We tried a couple of experiments over the summer to stimulate unconventional youth participation, and concurrently we […]

Morning Morning Quarterback Is Not Back

I used to write these Monday Morning Quarterback posts that narrated Sundays (like this one). It was a fun way to process what was, for a season, a very demanding day full of unpredictable church and family responsibilities. After a couple of years of writing it, though, Sunday got to be less demanding. I figured […]

Your Church Is Awesome

No, really. It’s awesome. These people come together at least once a week to rehearse a good news story about sacrificial grace and ultimate redemption. They sing (who sings anymore?!). They pray–sometimes with one person speaking and everyone else listening; sometimes with everyone speaking at the same time; sometimes taking turns! They even partake together […]

Come Snow, Rain, Sleet, Or Hail

T’is the season for start-of-the-year mailings: calendars, flyers, letters, sign-up forms, consent forms. Watch the website. Watch your email. Watch your mailbox. Yes, your actual mailbox. I’m ready for a straight up analog experiment this fall. Every event announcement we post to our Facebook page and our website and a Constant Contact campaign is also […]

Formal, Structured Conversation Is Useful for Learning

You learn a lot by talking to the right people. Informal, unstructured conversations over coffee can be┬ásurprisingly revealing. But there’s nothing wrong with structuring conversation for particular learning. One on one or with a group, setting aside time to process a particular issue or experience for the sake of harvesting learning and growth is invaluable. […]

Here’s my favorite anecdote from Sebastian Junger’s new book This is a swift little book and powerful. There are some gaps between it’s central claim (the individualism of modern life is destroying people) and a robust body of data, but Junger’s observations are prescient enough to warrant careful attention.  Here’s my favorite anecdote from the book: a man urges a young body to […]