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9/13/18 Thought for Thursday

In October of 1517, Martin Luther penned his 95 Theses – a document that would shake the western world to its core and change the course of the church for years after. As I thought about what I would share in this Thoughts for Thursday, I kept going back to Martin Luther. Now, I am not going to write something that will change the course of the church but rather I would like to copy his style for 95 Theses and give you Travis’ 10 Theses on Youth Ministry. You see a thesis, back then, was a simple thought meant to provide insight and to provoke a deeper discussion. I hope that through these you can hear my heart for Youth Ministry, Southland, and how Students are transformed by the Gospel. So without further ado here are Travis’ 10 Theses on Youth Ministry.

  1. Youth Ministry should not shy away from encouraging students to encounter the deep and rich theological truths of our faith. They can/will/should wrestle with these truths as God shapes their faith and as they grow in their relationship with Him.
  2. Youth Ministry should involve the Parents of the students as best as possible. They are still the greatest influence on their teenager’s life when it comes to faith and their view on God.
  3. Students, like most individuals, want to be known. The more we can connect students with their peers and caring adult leaders the greater the impact the Gospel will have on that student’s life.
  4. Youth Ministry and Church should be fun.
  5. Christian students are the church today not just in the future. This means that God has a unique role for them in the Body of Christ that they can start doing today. This also helps them see how they can continue to serve God in the church throughout their life.
  6. Christian students are also best equipped to reach their peers for the Gospel. These students should be trained to see their schools/extra-curricular activities/etc. as mission fields.
  7. Youth ministry must be done with a sense of quality and integrity. We are presenting the best news around, FREEDOM IN CHRIST, and it should show in how we present it to students. Like Paul, we must also avoid underhanded ways to sell the Gospel but rather teach, lead, and nurture with integrity (2 Corinthians 4:2).
  8. The Bible is still relevant when teaching teenagers. We must train them in how to read and study it for themselves and hopefully start decreasing the Biblical illiteracy that has plagued the current generations.
  9. Youth Ministry takes a team to accomplish. It cannot be built on one person but must have a solid team of Adults who can reach out to students from various backgrounds. The more Christian Adult you can put in the path of a student the greater the chance their faith will remain strong after High School.
  10. Youth Ministry is not an island and must partner with other ministries, like children and preschool, throughout the church to best accomplish the goal of students being transformed, nurtured, and sent.

I want to again express my gratitude in how welcomed you have made my family feel during this transition. We are so excited to be here and I am so honored to be your Student Minister. I hope this serves as a good introduction and I look forward to what God will continue to do in the days ahead. May you all have a blessed week.

Posted by Travis Garcia with

9/6/18 A Message From Chris

Tish Harrison Warren wrote, “We are shaped every day, whether we know it or not, by practices—rituals and liturgies that make us who we are”

            I dream of my rituals and practices being extraordinary, exciting, life changing for those who encounter me.  I fantasize about mountain-top experiences in the Christian life where each person who crosses my path see a face that has seen the presence of God (Read Exodus 34:29-35) and lives invigorating faith.  I envision a life that is constantly moving, never dull, and always worthy of a social media post.

            However, my daily practices and rituals consist of taking my daughter to school, stopping by the cleaners, feeding the dog, folding clothes, doing the dishes, calling a friend… and wondering where God is in all of the boring, daily duties of one’s day.

            “A sign hangs on the wall in a New Monastic Christian community house: Everyone wants a revolution.  No one wants to do the dishes”[2]  I sense that God desires to teach us how to “wash the dishes”, because it is in “washing the dishes” that:

  • Car rides to and from practice become holy moments where a child and parent are able to connect in daily conversations that express unconditional love
  • Feeding the dog reminds us that just as our pets are dependent on us for nourishment, we are dependent on God to nourish our soul and body.
  • Folding clothes resembles order in our chaotic closets which then reminds us that God has order and is still in control of this world no matter what the circumstances.
  • Our interactions with the Grocery Store cashier allow us an opportunity to connect in face to face conversation with an individual created in the image of God rather than settle interaction that is done through text, email, and other social media.

So yes, daily routines are monotonous, ordinary, and time consuming, but pay attention to them, because it is those rituals that shape you and make you who you are.  Furthermore, if you pay attention, you might encounter a Living God who became flesh and lived on this earth partaking in everyday rituals of His own.

 

 Tish Harrison Warren, “Liturgy of the Ordinary”, Downers Grove, IVP Books, 2016, 29.

 Ibid

Posted by Pastor Chris Curran with

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