Notes from the Big Room Speakers for the 2011 National Youth Workers Convention in Atlanta, GA.
November 18-20, 2011
- Reggie Joiner
- Harvey Carey
- David Livermore
- Shaun King
- Dr. Robert Epstein
- Jamie Tworkowski
- Kenda Creasy-Dean
- Doug Fields
Big Room Session One
Mark, Tic, Kara, Sasha, Doug intro…
Talking about the Theme: Adventurously Expectant
“What’s next, Papa?”
- Picture of his son playing with cheap Happy Meal toys
- Son didn’t want to go to Disneyland. He wanted to play with his cheap toys
- Dad hauled his son off to Disney, son kicking and screaming “I don’t wanna go to Disneyland!”
- God has great plans for us, that we cannot imagine or understand.
- You are his beloved
- And we have to be reminded, because of our shorts-sidedness, that we are loved by God.
This conference is about being led deeper into the story of the Holy Spirit. This conference is about who and whose you are way more than youth ministry.
We’re a youth ministry family.
- Maybe the disjointed part of the family J
- Let’s celebrate each other
- Not all family members get along, but be open to being stretched
Lost & Found – Funny, good stuff
Reggie Joiner – Founder of “Orange”
Think about someone.
- We all need someone in our life that doesn’t think like us.
- You need someone, maybe outside your ministry, that you’re in relationship that doesn’t think like you
- Someone that can push you, help you to consider why you do things the way you do.
Story of Jennifer
- Works on staff with Reggie now. She used to work at the restaurant the church staff would frequent
- They got to know her. Then realized that she didn’t know “who you pray to…”
- “Maybe we don’t know Jennifer as well as we thought…”
- Reggie reached out to get to know her a little more.
- In conversation with her, she said that she likes to hang out with her friends and just talk about God.
- Talking about all aspects of God. A safe place. Like putting together a puzzle. And not being told what pieces go where. They were just able to put the puzzle together as they could.
- Jennifer was not anti-spiritual or anti-God… but she had strayed through the church. Yet she still had questions! And she was still looking for answers.
- Who are you investing in? That person that you’re in relationship with that is why you do what you do.
The “Youth Ministry Box”
- Reggie, as a youth director, received this box of expectations
- Teach the Bible
- Keep them from going to hell
- Get students baptized
- Make sure students get in trouble with alcohol, smoking, drugs, pregnancy
- In the conversations that we have with a student (Jennifer), she needs something more than “How to manage your sin.”
Adventurously Expectant – What’s it mean? (not sure…)
- It might be the need for adventure and expectancy to hand off a generation and mission
- Romans 8:14
- What’s this mean? Let’s play the opposite game…
- Opposite is predictably unremarkable
- If we don’t hand this off to the next generation, game over.
- If we’re predictable then we haven’t tapped into the adventure of being the church.
Is your version of Christianity adventurously expectant or predictably unremarkable?
We get so busy in the programs, that we forget the main issue
- If we are going to raise a generation to be the church, we must make sure this is true:
- Love must be true. It is the greatest commandment.
- The Pharisees probably were not surprised with Jesus’ answer, “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”
- The Pharisees thought that they were the people doing this
- It wasn’t a surprise, but then came the curveball
- “…Love your neighbor as yourself.”
- The Pharisees were good about loving God with appearances
- But the Pharisees were not good about loving the neighbor.
- That is the issue!
- Make the main issue the main issue. We must cultivate a generation that understands that the greatest thing that they can do is to pursue a relationship with the GOD who loves them.
- That relationship must reflect how we see ourselves
- It must also reflect how we see others.
Somehow, we have students that miss this. Somehow…
If Reggie could take it back to the 7th grade and start over, creating different experiences and learning there are things he would change.
- 1. God’s love keeps this from being a religion.
- People were confused about what it meant to be in relationship with God
- Jesus turned this around by saying that it’s not about the law and policies.
- He pointed out that the Pharisees “lifestyle” was the best, but that does not equate to loving God
- People were confused about what it meant to be in relationship with God
- Jenn wasn’t rebelling against the church, she was rebelling against the Christians who made fun of her and rejected her.
- If you would take the anger out of the Christian message, then the next generation would be able to ‘get it’
- Not take out the passion, take out the anger
- Christianity is set apart from ALL religions because it is about a relationship with Jesus who died for us.
- We can debate issues all day long. Or we can decide that we don’t need these walls because we have a common denominator, driven by love.
- Story: Working with teens who were apart of a cult
- This was a horrible cult that students were in
- Claimed to be ‘Christian’ but it was horribly distorted
- One of the gals asked, “If I never become a Christian, would you still be my friend?”
- Are you racking up your “Converts” or are you truly caring for those around you
- 2. Your faith will never have to be 100%
- David Kinnaman’s book “You Lost Me” touches on the issue of how we handle doubt
- We need to understand how students will stick to faith
- The reason Jenn was able to sit around on a Friday night and ask spiritual questions is because she felt safe.
- She can ask a question and not simply receive a pat-answer…
- Story: Reggie’s 7 year old daughter asks, “Dad, one of my friends says that he doesn’t believe in Jesus. How do we know that we’re right and he’s wrong.”
- Reggie’s son says, “You can’t ask that question.”
- His other daughter says, “Guys, Dad will answer and we’ll all go to heaven.”
- If you do not allow the process for the students or your kids to wrestle with doubt then they will NEVER own their faith
- Part of the problem is that you’re putting faith in your faith.
- It’s not the amount of faith, it’s how you take the faith and what you put it in.
- Analogy: Anybody afraid of flying?
- Nervous Nelly flyer is 80% confident we’re going to crash. Yet, he takes that 20% faith and steps on the plane
- Reggie may have 99% faith that the plane will not crash. Yet, steps on the plane.
- Who arrives at the destination? Both! Who has a more enjoyable ride! J Reggie.
- The question is not, “How much faith do you have?” The question is, “Where will you put the faith you have?”
- I don’t know everything about electricity, but I will not sit in a dark room until I figure it out.
- It is not about the amount of faith that you have, it is the object of your faith that makes the difference.
- 3. You don’t have to change your life.
- You don’t have to change your life. Now, I didn’t say that your life won’t change…
- For some reason, we paint the picture that you have to change before you come to Christ. No, that’s not how it works.
- There is a word: TRANSFORMATION
- You can’t change people. That’s the role of the Holy Spirit!
- You can be hopeful that people change around you because God changed you.
- This is why there is hope for middle schoolers J
- Guess what. Some of your middle schoolers will become middle school pastors!
- If you will just RELAX, the Holy Spirit will do the work. Transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit
- Someone, the Holy Spirit, does the work we cannot do.
- 4. The Bible is more than a good book
- There are good books around. CS Lewis, Kara Powell’s “Sticky Faith” book…
- The Bible isn’t just a book. It is 66 books written by 45 different authors over 3500 years.
- Somehow, all these people worked together to tell the same story of God
- The story of the love God has for his people
- Story: In the bookstore in Portland, OR looking for a Bible
- First, trying to find a Bible
- No, give me Bible cliff notes instead… To get the context…
- Its hard to invite someone into a story when they don’t have the context
- We have got to hand this generation the Truth in a way that they can understand the context of it.
- 5. You’re designed for a better story
- Somewhere along the way, the message that the LOVE we receive compels us to do something in the world has been missed.
- We haven’t invited this generation into the concept of an adventurous Christianity
- You are sabotaging the spiritual growth and discipleship of students’ lives if you are not giving students the opportunity to serve and plug in around them.
- Somewhere along the way, we must invite this generation in to serving
- If you want to raise consumer Christians then go to a room, and just stay there
- Give them the opportunity to bring them into BEING the church while they are still here
- Story: Jenn, what do you want to do with your degree(s)?
- “I’d like to serve in a 3rd World country….” Why is that?
- Reggie: “We are the only species that is naturally trained to tie into a bigger story.”
- He really believes that you could tell a teenage that he is significant every day of his life but until you give him something to do he will not feel significant.
- Let’s listen, hear, and see the students and figure out what we can do to reach them.
- How can we help them understand who God is in a different way?
There are leaders who want to give you the time, process, and margin who want to help you figure this out in a safe way. Do 3 things:
- Give Tic Long an encouragement for this ministry
- Buy and read “Sticky Faith”
- Think about Jenn. What are you going to do to reach the kids in your church to hand them a faith that will last their lifetime?
Big Room Session Two
- We are better together.
- The Table Project – Connecting Youth Workers all over the country online
- They’re launching the YS Network.
Interview with Verna Klein, an 81-year old youth worker
- “I’m still learning…”
- “I talk to a lot of children. They are hurting. We just try to show them that we love them.”
- There is no upper age limit to working with youth.
Harvey Carey – The Citadel of Faith – Detroit, MI
Walks the talk. Spent time with all those who needed it.
Can we give Jesus the biggest praise of them all?
All glory to God, may our fingerprints not be on it.
“I am a different type of speaker. You will not need to worry about falling asleep…”
2 Kings 6:8
Tonight, you will need God to open your eyes.
There hasn’t been a time that we’ve been attacked like this before.
We ought to be leading the way for what God has prepared us to do in being relevant in ministry.
- There are hurdles to this.
What I’ve learned about Christians is that we could win academy awards at acting.
- “What are the real thought bubbles?”
- We have to pretend that things are okay when they’re not
- Doubts and fears creep in
- Economic challenges, personal challenges, and other challenges have been sprung upon you
- What happens when we are surrounded by incredible opposition?
Story: Growing up po’
- Lived in the hard part of the ‘hood
- Oppositions galore
- It is in the oppositions that we are defined.
- It is in our weaknesses that God’s strength is made perfect!
- If you feel overwhelmed, tired, upset, about your calling then God is ready to show up.
“I’m not going to allow you to find safety in the familiar.”
It is time for you to experience something that you have not had regularly scheduled. God is interrupting the regularly scheduled programming.
Addressing the cultural response to when you understand something…
- White people: Hmm…
- Black people: Amen!
Verse 8: A war was at hand
- The enemy was developing a strategy to overtake the people of God.
- Whether you know it or not, we are not at a battle with people.
- We don’t battle against flesh and blood
- We fight against the spiritual beings
- And we need spiritual tools!
- You cannot overcome spiritual darkness with cool glasses, hair gel, or ripped jeans.
- We need people who are not ashamed of the Gospel and live it out!
- That is our mandate.
Verse 9: The prophet of God gave Elisha information to prevent calamity
- What would happen if we would pray. Ask God and seek God for the next initiative.
- Not be looking at what everyone else is teaching
- What if we stopped trying to figure out how to be like someone else and figured out how to be yourself?
- What happens if you have knowledge that the enemy doesn’t know?
Story: Becoming a youth pastor
- Harvey had no budget and no meeting space.
- No stage, no band, no stage, no curriculum
- Where do you look?
- Hey. How about… the Bible!?!? Wow. Ain’t that a thought?
God warns Israel about the impending attack of the enemy
- God is always ahead of the enemy
- He is not taken off guard by the enemies plans
- So, God warns Elijah.
- What would happen if God spoke to you? And gave you the plan. He sees ahead.
Think about your calendar
- What is on this calendar that is transformative?
- What is on the calendar that God must show up? Or are we just relying on what we can do well, slap it together and then call it ‘God’
Story: Harvey’s crown jewel as a youth pastor
- There was a strip club that was allowing young people to go inside of it
- Harvey went to the owner to address the issue.
- Owner called Harvey out for being a “kid’s pastor” and then said “What can you and a buncha young people do to me?”
- Harvey then went back to announce that they were taking part of the youth group to go do a “drive by” to the club.
- They went in buses to the club. Went into the club. Because light goes to the darkness.
- Darkness never argues with light.
- “If the darkness stays when you turn on the lights in your house, get outta your house!”
- It is amazing how many church people and youth are scared to take their light to the darkeness!
- We need to take light to the darkness, not bring darkness to the light.
- Harvey asked the rules of the club: Must have a hat, shirt, shoes
- The attorney at hand made note of these as the only rules of the club.
- Now, the buses were set to move on the building.
- The came out of the buses, kneeled at the building to pray
- Harvey was inside, praying on his knees at the stage with the other youth ministry team. He was praying LOUD. Began to pray for the ‘young women’
- The manager told Harvey he couldn’t pray. Harvey said, “Hey, I’ve got a hat, shirt, and shoes on. Those are the only rules.”
- No women danced that night. The club closed that night. And never opened again.
- God will do big things through those that will do his work.
What would happen if God would give you insight on how to carry out his plan
- What would happen if there was a paradigm shift from YOU trying to do ministry to the youth being equipped to do ministry.
- Why are you still putting away hot dog buns? No youth was raised up to do that?
- Have you decided to be the Cruise Director instead of the Equipper?
Verse 10, 13 – Who is the snitch?
- When the King found out about Elisha, he sent his mightiest men to surround him.
- They came at night when Elisha was sleeping. Unaware
- How many things have come at you in the night? Surrounding you when you are not on guard?
- What happens when you are overwhelmed and this attack happens when you are not on guard?
- What happens when a generation is surrounded by the enemy?
- Back in the day, we were tempted but not like students today
- Back in the day, we had to find ways to sin…
- It is a new day. And it’s not a laughing matter really.
- There is a secular-godless person surrounding the students
- Sometimes it’s a parent. Unteaching what is learned at church
- Messages of the media
- The body is not able to do what it’s to do because the enemy has surrounded the Body in the night. Camouflaging it as a part of this world.
- What happens when you look up and you see that you’re surrounded?
- Story: Making a little go a long way (that’s what Black people have gone through)
- This economic crisis has brought this feeling on for white people
- When you find yourself surrounded, no longer relevant to do ministry, how do you minister?
- “My Lord, what should I do?”
- That’s what you ask when you realize that the army is surrounding your crib.
Verse 16 – Don’t be afraid…
- …those that are with us are more than are with them
- The servant must be baffled by this, right?
- Elisha prayed, “Oh Lord, open his eyes so that he may see.”
- The servants eyes were then opened, and he saw beyond the army, and there were chariots of fire all around the enemy.
What if your hope was renewed tonight? What if you could see what you have not been able to see?
No matter what is said in communication, it will not be realized without revelation
Your eyes can be opened to what God can do!
When you realize what you’ve got, there is no reason to sit back and wait.
“I pray that God will open your eyes. That you may see differently and act differently.”
No matter what your abilities are, they are nothing without God.
Lord, open our eyes that we might see. And when we see, let’s invade darkness.
And when we do this, let’s proclaim that Jesus is Lord and he is in charge of all we see.
Big Room Session Three
- Son of an architect
- Got to see a lot of buildings in transition.
- One day received a call. Water was waist high in the basement of a building… where the cadavers were..
- Another story, someone has to be on site at the funeral parlor when bodies are there
- Our job is not to look over dead bodies…
- We are to be adventurously expectant. Romans
- Let’s live! God has called us to this.
Propaganda performed. He is so tight.
- This is a runway, man, why you ain’t flyin’?
- I ain’t afraid…
Txt questions to 27138
David Livermore – Talking about Cultural Intelligence & Global Leadership
Story: Speaking in DC. Introduced not so kindly that day.
- The presenter said, “…and he’s from Grand Rapids, MI. What could he say about culture?”
- So, Dave made the comment of going 3% Hispanic to 17% over the last few years. We have multi-cultural happenings.
- 51 million Hispanics
- 43% growth in Asians
- 49% kids 5 and younger
- It is not going to be long before the white folk are no longer the majority
Let’s address this. We’re not just talking the coasts, we’re addressing NE, IA, KS
Who are the culturally intelligent?
- There are a few things that do not predict success in cultural intelligence
- Thos that travel the most
- Not the top leaders
- Not the multi-lingual
There are four key areas of those CQ (Culturally Intelligent)
- 1. High CQ Drive
- Leaders who were interested in other cultures
- Curiosity of how others think or live.
- “What’s it look like for me to have lunch with my “other”?
- Who is your other and what would it look like to try to understand how someone with opposing views see the world
- 2. High CQ Knowledge
- People involved in youth ministry that understand how culture shapes the way we do ministry
- Thinking about a lesson on fear. How does culture respond to that?
- Japan – Losing a parent to death
- Singapore – Feared academic failure
- America – Rejection of fears
- The ways we think and express our fear are expressed by our culture
- “Well, can’t we just stick to the Bible? Everyone can see that, right?”
- Well, we actually read the Bible through our cultural lens
- The Prodigal’s Son story – Why does the Prodigal end up in the pig pen?
- Russians – Famine
- Africa – No one gave him food
- America – Squandered his wealth
- Well, the Bible does in fact reference all of these things. Luke 15:13-16
- When we interact with other cultural backgrounds, we gain more understanding of the scriptures
- 3. High CQ Strategy
- Can I actually teach in a way that reflects this?
- An awareness of how culture perceives things.
- CulturalQ.com – to what degree am I aware of these things?
- 4. High CQ Action
- At the end of the day, these people could communicate the action steps to the culture
- These people were able to present the truth and help people understand
Diversity is not some problem to be solved or conquered. Let’s celebrate it!
Story: Pastors talking about what heaven will be like.
- What Bible character would you want to meet
- Moses was mentioned
- The prophets – Isaiah, Deborah, Jeremiah
- Mary – what was it like to be Jesus’ mom?
- Eventually, Bishop James stood up.
- I don’t see it the way you do
- As I think about what awaits there, I can see Moses asking me, “What was it like to be a 21st century leader for Jesus?
- “What was it like for Africa to not just be the receiver of missions?”
- I don’t know if this is an accurate picture of heaven, but this was a paradigm shift.
- What does it look like for us to steward well these issues.
Now, time to text in your questions and have some conversations.
Think, “How can you be more culturally intelligent?”
Q1: How do you welcome diversity in a predominitly white and still somewhat racist community?
- A community doesn’t have to force itself to be diverse if it is not
- Don’t do the multi-cultural thing just because it might be the flavor of the month
- Let’s not just put on a program, let’s start with relationships and conversations.
Kara asks, “How do we think about who is on stage?”
- We do need to balance diversity but also white males on stage…
Q2: How would CQ strategy work? What if we bring someone in, who takes the lead/how does it work?
- CQ needs to work in both ways. It’s not just a one way street
Kara asks, “Asain culture tends to have the fear of failure. That can feel like a stereotype. How do you deal with this?”
- It is a tension
- We have to balance these
- Don’t’ just go by the stereotype, but understand it.
Q3: How do we teach our youth to see the scripture through a more diverse lens?
- If you’re a culturally diverse group, this will naturally happen.
- Instead of having the minority speaker come in and just talk about race, have him/her talk about fear.
- You will get culture from that.
Q4: What are some resources
- Deep Justice Journeys by FYI
- Mark Powell? Can’t recall that name.
Shaun King – Newsong Church in CA. Working on web stuff.
One of Shaun’s family members goes to a psychic for advice.
- Shaun heard through a family member that the psychic said something about Shaun
- Then Shaun wanted to know what the psychic said about him…
- Maybe that’s just as bad as going to the psychic himself…
- Curiosity got the best of him, so he requested to know…
- “The psychic told me that your most successful years will be before age 32.”
- Shaun was 30 at the time. This became troubling for him. Ha! An 18-month window to have a ton of success.
- “Why did you even share that?”
- Crazy thing is, Shaun had an 18-month run of incredible success. Wow.
- Planted a church in Atlanta. Was huge on international aid in Haiti.
- Tech company: Twitchange. It won a Mashable award. Huge!
- Shaun forgot about the psychic. Yet, as age 32 came around, the success fizzed out.
- He got let go from his job.
- Announced change in his congregation.
- Well, people love to hear about change
- People don’t love actually making radical change.
- “Being fired from the church you started really sucks.” Remember that.
- After all of this happened, Shaun’s wife came to him and said, “Hey, do you remember that psychic…?”
- She brought a verse to him: John 14:12
- “Your most successful years may be behind you, but looking ahead you will be moving toward God.
- Now you are about doing God’s success
Looking at John 14:12 – Anyone who believes in Him will do the works of Him
- God wants us to go and do the same works that He has done, and more.
- Anyone who believes!
It is time to focus on what God’s success means to you.
Story: The twitter account
- His password was changed
- Called Twitchange support to figure it out
- On the phone, Jim, said “we’re letting you go.”
- Another job when he was being let go.
YOU are also who Jesus is speaking about. You are anyone who believes!
- No matter what you’re going through, have something bigger than yourself
- Be anchored in the Word and the Truth
- Don’t become a “former Christian”
Your success will come and go. As you begin to focus on God and anchored that will help you ride the storm.
Your success is really not that big a deal to God.
Q1: Why do people want to hear about change but don’t want to do anything about it
- People love to hear about Jesus and his change
- Whatever you are, it is way harder than you know.
- God wants us to have the faith to walk on water. So we got to the water and they said, “You go.” And they didn’t like the result
- Talking faith is exciting, doing it is hard.
Sasha asks, “What lessons did you learn after you lost your jobs?
- Don’t wrap your identity up in the position you have.
- Reduce yourself to the base. You are a disciple of Jesus. That is the base and that does not matter or depend on your job/title.
- Focusing on being a disciple of Jesus will bring more energy.
Sasha asks, “What have you learned about taking a prophetic stance?”
- People don’t always like prophets.
Sasha asks, “What do you think the church needs to change the culture?”
- A frustration with the church and culture is that the church is 2 years behind on culture. And they’re planning on doing that next month…
- Churches can be creators of culture
- The more we step out and do something that no one else is doing, the more we’ll see God
Dr. Robert Epstein – Author: Teens 2.0 – Rethinking how we view teens in our society, Professor UCSB
Finding the inner adult in every teen: The scientific and Biblical
I need you to open your minds. We’re going on a journey that is a different point of view.
- It’s different, but it is true.
Photo: The brain.
- Studies reveal: If you show pictures of the brain then people will believe you more
- Even if what you are saying has no fact to stand on
The Myth of the Teen Brain
- There is no evidence that says the teen brain has an issue that
Study of teen dysfunction: 49.5% of American teens are diagnosable with at least one emotional, behavioral, or substance abuse disorder.
- Pathology increases over the teens years
- More than 5 million teens are in counseling
- Teens conflict with parents 20x/month on avg
- Only 1 in 3 graduating high school seniors are competent in English. 1 in 4 of math.
- More facts shared…
None of this has to do with the teen brain
- Long after puberty has passed, we continue to treat young people as if they are kids
- Subjected to twice as many restrictions as active-duty U.S. Marines
- Your people are subjected to more than 10 times as many restrictions as mainstream adults
- Subjected to nearly twice as many restrictions incarcerated felons
- We call young people “kids” “boys” “girls” or “children” long after puberty
- We trap teens in the inane media-controlled world of teen culture, isolating teens from adults and adults from teens
- Teens in the U.S. have more than 70 hours of contact per week with peers
- Teens only have 5 hours per wee that are contact with peers.
- We trap teens in the inane media-controlled world of teen culture, isolating teens from adults and adults from teens
In the Bible, there is no infantilization or isolation
- In the Bible, young people are welcomed into the adult world as soon as they show readiness
- OT: Almost no age restrictions
- NT: No age restrictions whatsoever
- Jesus in temple at 12, Mary likely birthed Jesus at 13, Disciples were likely teens
- Age of accountability: The age at which you become responsible for your actions
- Individual basis, based on ability
Historical Background: How did we extend adolescence to age 26 in the USA?
- Industrial Revolution – 1880-1920
- It ended the apprentice system that was in place
- Compulsory education laws
- Youth labor laws
- Juvenile justice system (or the juvenile injustice system)
- Takes away rights of young people
- Women’s rights movements
- Massive immigration
- End the apprentice system
- Industrial competition
- Rise of corporate-staffed youth culture
- G. Stanley Hall (1904) – Labeled and, in effect, created modern adolescence
- Infantilization Over Tme
- There used to be no laws of “you are too young to do this….”
- Today, we have hundreds
- There are dozens of crimes that have been invented for young people
- Wearing cologne, perfume at school
- Bringing aspirin to school, video games
- There is more pressure on parents to restrict their offspring
- $150,000 fine if son/daughter illegally downloads a song from the internet
Infantilizatoin Study – To what degree is the infantilization?
- Teens are subjected to this 26.2 out of 42
- There is a discrepancy between a teens ACTUAL ability and what their perceived ability is
- The infantilization peaks during teen years
We underestimate teens
- In many ways, teens actually out perform adults.
- The highest raw score that we typically achieve on an intelligence test comes at age 15
- By the time we’re 70, our brain has shrunk to the size it was when were age 3. Wow.
There is a ne Lifespan Competence Study
Take the test: HowAdultAreYou.com
The most competent people survive.
The teens had way higher scores. The study showed that teens are more competent than adults!
- To throw these competencies away is why teens get frustrated!
Two factor theory of youth dysfunction (Table)
- Can you get this online???
The teen brain is a fraudulent concept?
- The drug companies want us the think that the teens need the medicine
- So that way they can sell more!
- They are taking a difference and connecting it with a prejudice. Wow!
Conclusion: Teen turmoil is entirely a cultural creation and is unnecessary
- We’re moving in the wrong direction
- We’re further along in infantizing them
What to do?
- Increase contact
- Nurture adult competence
- Say, “You decide…”
- Be a loving guide, never an adversary
- When you oppose or control you drive he behavior
- Set age aside
- Create opportunities for young people to escape teen culture
- Stop pathologizing
- Stop drugging young people
- Change our language
- They are young adults!
- Certainly not children
- Reduce government interference in the family
- Consider homeschooling
- We must modify or eliminate outmoded laws against young people
Can this be done?
- Queen Victoria quote, 1870
- “poor feeble bent”
We must learn to judge people based on their competence, not by their gender, race, ethnicity, or age.
Mark asks, “Explain what you mean why homeschooling can help?”
- The classroom is a very bad place for learning to occur
- It is a factory system
- Explicitly modeled after the manufacturing factories
- Learning works better when you are actually being taught something.
Q1: Can a youth program effectively develop a teen by giving the reasonable responsibility if they are constantly receiving an overload of restrictions at home
- This is a mixed-messages issue
- Students can learn to figure it out and understand the restrictions based on their environment
- Yet, this depends on how strict students are at home.
- Let’s start at home!
- We need to help mom and dad
Q2: How do you avoid infantilizing teens when they are irresponsible?
- Look for the areas where they show competency
- The school system tries to make us all the same
- Strengthen the areas of competence wherever you see it. Nurture it!
- Competency is huge to this.
- The “when you turn 18” rule is stupid. What, the night before you didn’t understand it!?!? But now you do????
These inventories will provoke conversations that you need to have.
Big Room Session Four
Jamie Tworkowski – To Write Love On Her Arms
It’s an honor to talk about things that people don’t normally want to talk about…
We can all relate to pain. Questions. Moments of these…
We deserve the right to be honest. And we were created to be in relationship with each other
- Met Renee through a friend, David, who was in a new season of life. Renewal.
- Renee was currently in a season of depression.
- David received a call from Renee, asked Jamie if he & the other guys would be willing to meet the gal
- They did. She was not sober. There was a glimpse of the weight and confusion she was living with
- “We will do anything we can to be a part of the process to get you help.”
- Renee said she needed one more night. A few more hours…
- She went back upstairs to the apartment to her “friends” and they didn’t agree with that message of the other friends offering help
- Renee took the razor blade and carved into her arm “fuck up”
- If you had the chance to meet Renee, it wouldn’t be a conversation about profanity, instead a conversation about identity.
- She felt like she didn’t have much to show for her 19 years of life. Nothing to be proud of. Regret
- David picked her up the next morning to take her to the hospital for help.
- Because of the wound and the drugs in her system, the treatment system rejected her for that time
- The treatment center said “If you can be clean, sober, and wound free then you can come back…”
- So Renee stayed in Jamie’s living room. Many conversations about her life.
- Talking about sobriety, healing, and others. Even talking about Jesus. “Yes, these things are real.”
- Renee: “Songs are like friends.” They took her to a few concerts for her to enjoy
- Jamie asked, “What do you think about telling your story?” She said she loved the idea
- There could be a purpose for her pain. Maybe someone else could find hope, purpose, redemption
Jamie sat down to write the story
- The line: “To write love on her arms” was the theme
- If that “word” she had cut into her arm was about identity, she needed a new identity of love
- Wrote it. Emailed it. Had a good response.
- Two ideas to raise money
- Let’s make t-shirts, sell them to raise money for Renee’s treatment
- Share the story. Take it to the campuses.
- Where everything changed was when the shirts showed up at the Switchfoot concert
- John Foreman of Switchfoot, asked if he could wear the shirt on stage.
- “Yea, sure, pay us later…” J
- John announced that “I have a friend who has a project, ‘to write love on her arms’ and you can find it out on the internet…”
- That night, the MySpace page blew up! They saw the story and shared its relation to them
- They shared struggles
- Depression, anxiety, suicide, etc.
- More people continued to write. They wanted to know how to help their loved ones.
- “I realized that we were bumping into something bigger than we’d intended to.”
- Jamie felt like he was in over his head. Felt unqualified.
- He started to do some homework to point people into a good direction
- Books, help centers, phone numbers, etc.
- Jamie felt comfortable telling people that their story mattered.
- “It was an important privilege to ask people to not give up.”
- Other bands got on board with wearing shirts and spreading the message.
- The t-shirts took off.
Running the charity
- For the last four years they’ve been running the non-profit business in FL
- Jamie stepped away from a “dream job” to do this
- Over 160,00 messages have been responded to. ALL over the world.
- This is not an American conversation, or a white people conversation, or an emo convo.
- Maybe this is part of living on this planet.
- We will encounter pain and struggle.
- In this country, there is roughly 20 million of us that struggle with depression.
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death
- 2 out of people who suffer from depression never get help for it.
- Depression is stigmatized.
- For most of us, to address the need for getting help is scary.
- Afraid of judgment
- Afraid of the response
- “They’re too busy to listen to me…”
- A lotta times, we think as Christians that we’re to have endless joy
- If we’re not careful, we do ourselves a disservice
- If someone broke their arm, you would pray. But wouldn’t you pray as you’re driving to get the arm fixed…
- We can certainly pray with these issues, but there are also tools to help heal this
- Be reminded that its is okay, and these are steps that we’ve taken in our own lives
- Jamie realized recently that he needed to go to counseling.
This road is a fight, and it is a choice. It is not to be done alone.
- People need help. These issues aren’t limited to being cause/effect of a music genre
- People have called suicide hotlines and decided on the phone to live on.
- Living on is not to be done alone.
- Community is key. As a person, we’re wired to be in relationship with other people.
Quote from “The Shack”
- Most of our hurts come through relationships, and so will our healing. Grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside.
- If you think about a movie, there are scenes. And the there are always people in the scenes that you want to change.
- Whether good or bad…
- Wounds and celebrations come in the context of other people
- Our healing isn’t when we give up on people. Healing actually happens when we let some people know us
- Answering the question “How are you for real?”
Wrapping up with stories…
- Jamie isn’t here to preach the story of his non-profit and get you to buy a t-shirt.
- The message is: Everybody in this room is living a story.
- Everybody back home is living a story.
- Unique, priceless, sacred
- Yet, sometimes we don’t know how to hadle things…
- There are also celebrations
- We have both of these.
- Psalm 34:18 – The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit
- God is with those that have struggles
- “Thank you for loving those who are hurting.”
- We all deserve to be known and loved.
Big Room Session Five
Dude, get the Propaganda CD. For real.
CBEMini – a Bible reading resource.
Kenda Creasy-Dean – Professor at Princeton
Always asking the question, “What does this mean for youth ministry?”
- Stick finger in the air
- Hermeneutics is a 10 dolllar term for a 10 cent concept
- Stick finger in the air, trace the clock
- Above your head it moves clockwise
- Below it moves counter clockwise
- What you see depends where you sit
We’re supposed to help students see their lives from God’s side of the clock.
- The reality is different when you’re trying to see from God’s side
- The church, though, isn’t helping students do this.
- Research says that what is happening in churches isn’t helping this !
- Youth ministry has been playing up our perpetual selves.
Video of the fleas in the jar
- They are put into the jar
- They are unable to jump out because of the lid
- When the lid is lifted, they still will not jump out
- Nor will their offspring
- “Does your congregation expect you to train fleas?”
The National Study of Youth and Religion
- Interviewed 3500 students and parents
- Longitudinal study – will check in every 5 years
- Students mirror the faith of their parents
- Teens are incredibly inarticulate about religious faith
- Most teenagers adhere to a “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” their unacknowledged faith
Moralistic Therapeutic Deism:
- God exists to govern earth
- God wants people to be nice
- God wants people to feel good
- I don’t need God in this
- Good people, like dogs, go to heaven if they are good
That outlook serves the self. Not God.
The study concludes that Moralistic Therapeutic Deism has replaced Christianity as the dominate faith.
It is practiced because it is what we have taught in church.
This isn’t good news. It’s tough. What do we do with it?
The rich young ruler wanted to know what to do so that he could get the benefits.
- Jesus said, “Go sell all that you have and follow me.”
- Why would you spend your money and resources on things that don’t matter?
- The rich young ruler can’t do it.
You want the benefits of a religion that reaches the young. Then do something that brings Jesus in! Follow!
- Maybe it is selling all your stuff?
- I tj is certainly leaning into him
2 questions: Why and How…
Why has MTD infiltrated Christianity?
- The church has lost its missional focus
- Mission is not a trip. It’s what it’s all about!
- Four classes of Seminary in South Sudan: You go there to get involved in life-saving business, not run the church business.
- You don’t start a church and then get a committee to determine what the mission will be.
- If you don’t have a mission, you don’t have a church.
- Mission is the business we are in!
- What makes our ministry distinctive isn’t its form, it is the flock.
- Why do we share God’s love?
- Not because it’s a morally good thing to do…
- It is because we can’t help it!
- We can’t hold God’s breath to ourselves, we must exhale.
- [Hold your breath activity… what do you want to do?]
- Unless we grasp this, then all youth ministry will be about is training fleas.
- Sometimes we think mission is simply dumping Jesus on people.
- Pitcher of water demonstration.
- Get filled up
- Dump it
- Get refilled
- Dump it again
- Pitcher of water demonstration.
- It should look like the pitcher (God) constantly pouring into us and then we are overflowing.
If mission isn’t dumping Jesus on people, what is it?
- Mission is Translation
- What if we are to translate God’s love for people? Instead of dumping!?!?
- Good translation tries not to add too much…
- It takes a conversation that was already in progress and makes it accessible for others to be invited in.
- And then the translation can occur
- Jesus Christ is God’s perfect translation
- Your life is a translation of God
- John 20:21 – As the father has sent me, I have sent you.
- The same dynamics are true when the gospel crosses cultural and generational lines.
- We must be human translations of God for our children
- Jesus is not saying, “Follow where I go…” he is saying, “Follow where I go.”
How do we do this?
- If you want your children to see Christianity, do something radical in front of your children
- Whatever radical is for you…
- The most radical thing we can do for our faith is to live it as you believe it.
- Reimagine your life story from God’s side of the clock.
Story: Improv Everywhere
- Street theater group.
- They went to the courtroom and asked a just-married couple if they would like a reception on the street after getting wed in the courtroom
- Aren’t we, the church, supposed to be doing this? Giving people the experience of a lifetime!?!?
- “Best Game Ever” Video.
- That is a picture for what the church should be like. Not around for ourselves.
The best way to be a translation of the gospel is with people, not programs.
- If we leave the gospel to be translated through programs, it will feel wooden and fake
- We need real people to translate the gospel through relationships
- We also have to deal with parents who have grown up with this “program” mindset
We have been sharing the gospel as information and not transformation
- Let’s shift away from a paradigm of expertise to a paradigm of love.
- Think about the things you pass along to your kids, simply because you want them to enjoy it too.
- This is what sharing faith should like
- White Castle
- Kenda’s Dad always took her to White Castle
- Although she doesn’t like Whit Castle so much anymore
- But when she drives by she remembers those great times with her dad
- This is what the church needs to be
When you love something, it is easy to learn about it.
- You get a taste, and then you go bonkers for learning about it
- You learn best about what you love most
- We get this backwards in the church by teaching Jesus and now “go love him”
- The translation idea does have an underside
- Translation threatens the people in charge
- Translation gives power to the people outside of the conversation
- Everyone is in the game
- It’s not about one guy keeping the flies jumping within the jar
- The gospel is for all, not just Jews.
Translation is a power move
- It puts the power of God into the people who don’t know what to do with it
- When we do this, it says that we are ready to put the power of the Word into the hands of teens, and newcomers who will see the Gospel in a different way and GO do it too.
Two-thirds of the word “God” is “Go”
If we’re honest, we got into ministry because we first understood God and how much he loved us.
- Video “Cat herder”
God breathes life into the dry bones of the church and gives us, the church, the power of God to go.
Big Room Session Six
Doug Fields – Author of 50+ Youth Ministry Books
I’m good at discovering the “magic eye”
- The 3-D image pop out photos.
- Standing in the mall, Doug couldn’t find it.
- “Was I color dumb?”
- Three weeks in a row, couldn’t ‘get it’ or see the image
- Finally someone coached him and helped him get it.
- Then all the sudden, he was ‘getting’ everyone of the ‘magic eye’ photos
- Perspective changes everything.
What perspective do we need to gain about youth ministry?
- How are we at developing other leaders?
- Doug doesn’t think we’re very good
- Not very good
- That describes a ‘self-preservation’ type of leader
When leadership development is lacking, it is at the hands of a ‘self-preservation’ type of leader
A lot of us think that developing other leaders is important, but we’re not being intentional about it.
Churches are filled with self-preservation leaders.
The majority type of leader in the church is the self-preservation leader. Here’s the characteristics:
- Worried about how ‘they will affect the kingdom’
- Silo worker
- Views their identity as their success
- Treats others as a means to the end
Denial is a beautiful thing. Nobody wants to be known by their weaknesses. But, we do need to sit down and be real about this.
- There are excuses we give
- Too busy
- Don’t know how we got there
- Finances have been tough
What type of leader are you?
- “Andy Stanley” like
- A spotlight leader…
The challenge is to be a spotlight leader
- One who puts the spotlight on others
- You as a leader right now is to put people in the spotlight.
- You are either putting people into the spotlight or pushing people out of the spotlight
- A selfish leader doesn’t want to share the spotlight
- Self-preservation leaders don’t want to stand in the dark off to the side while others are in the light
- Are you a self-preservation leader or a spotlight leader?
- What matters is what those around you think
- We can think we’re spotlight leaders all the time, but really, what do those of yours around you think?
- If you’re the only person that can handle problems, you don’t understand spotlight leadershp
- Or the only one to teach
- Or the only one to select curriculum
More about a spotlight leader:
- Story: Purpose Driven Youth Ministry
- Doug was discouraged writing this book. It was tough stuff. Doug called Jim Burns for some help. Jim is Doug’s former youth pastor and he had previously written a youth ministry book.
- ‘Am I done?’ Doug asked. ‘No.” Jim said. ‘I want more. And if you stop this now it will disappoint. I want your book to obliterate mine.’
- What leader says that? A secure one.
- Story: Purpose Driven Youth Ministry
- Purpose Driven Youth Ministry was huuuge!
- What made it the best?
- Jim Burns.
- He was secure in who he was and loved Doug enough to be honest
- A spotlight leader is conscious of putting others in the spotlight, even at their own expense, for the Kingdom.
- This ought to be easy, right? After all, we’re Christ followers.
- Twitter – “If someone affirms you on twitter, don’t retweet it. It screams insecurity.”
- Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see ministry leaders tweet authentic stuff?
- My message bombed
- Nobody showed up b/c there was a home football game
- When things point back to how awesome you are, that screams insecurity.
- A lot of insecure people go into ministry. “I want the spotlight” syndrom.
- Some severe security issues will be at hand.
- Story: Scar on the shoulder
- Doug needs to go to the dermatologist b/c of sunburn issues
- Going to the dermatologist is brutal. He searches and names every mole.
- I don’t like this process at all.
- But this dedicated search is keeping me alive.
- Story: Scar on the shoulder
- A spotlight leader is committed to a dedicated search to see who the next leader is
- What do you see that is unhealthy that could be healthy?
- What do you see that is under the surface and could be used?
- This will help leaders come alive!
- We have people who are on the sideline, waiting for someone to ask them to come and use their gifts.
- Those people don’t want to hide in the darkness!
- When people are around selfish and insecure leaders their gifts are squashed
- A competitive leader doesn’t want to make you look better. A competitive leader values you make them look better.
- Story: The self-preserving senior pastor
- The pastor just wanted to fill a position of the choir director
- He never asked about his heart or passion
- The senior pastor was more concerned about winning the weekend
- Here is a test to see if you can find the unique talents of others
- Think of someone who has talents that you may have a bit of tension with
- Do you like their success?
- Are you threatened by the success?
- Are you willing to come alongside and put them in the spotlight & help develop?
- Tic Long describes spotlight leadership
- Hasn’t written a book
- Hasn’t spoken, although he’s a good teacher
- He served the needs of the youth worker over and over and over
- Servant leaders are rarely celebrated. Not on this side of heaven, anyway
- Tic Long describes spotlight leadership
- Think of someone who has talents that you may have a bit of tension with
- God calling you to youth ministry is not about you building your own little kingdom
- The idea of being a servant is not new to our leadership culture, it’s just rare
- A lot of serving opps turn into self-serving opps
- “If you want to be great, you gotta serve.” –Jesus
- If you want to be first, you gotta put yourself last.
- You are never more like Jesus than when you serve
- Being a spotlight leader isn’t about never using your gifts in the spotlight
- God has an economy of blessing people
- It comes down to motives
- If God has given you a spotlight, it’s not that you run from it, it’s that you share it.
It’s great that you learned a lot this weekend. But the challenge is not go back to work and just be about yourself. Share it!
It is easy to be self-preservation leaders. That’s the temptation.
Hey, when you affect another leader’s life you are affecting another family life. A whole family structure
- When you become a spotlight leader, you can affect another network
- It can make a difference in a whole family structure
Youth ministry leaders can move from being self-preserving leaders to spotlight leaders.
- Let’s not be entertainers for consumer kids
- Let’s not have our volunteers simply be the ‘spiritual Gestapo’
- When this becomes your paradigm, this will filter into the DNA of the congregation
“I’m not going to be a self-preservation leader anymore. I’m going to be a spotlight leader.”
It’s called Upward Influence.
A spotlight leader is secure, serving, and searching.
When you become a spotlight leader, everybody wins.
Let’s be an army of spotlight leaders. Join the battle.