I’ve been on medical mission trips that would set up free clinics in villages. The first place in the clinic that people would go to is triage. This is where people are assessed by someone in order to determine to which doctor they should be sent. If there’s an issue with headaches, they would be sent to one doctor. For stomach problems, they would be sent to a different doctor, and so on. Triage is super important, because if you get sent to the wrong doctor, you might not be treated for whatever problem you have. A correct diagnosis ensures an effective treatment and recovery. Continue reading
I wear glasses. Even though I own contacts, I prefer using my glasses when I know I have lots to read for school (which is pretty typical, nowadays). Those of you who own glasses have experienced those moments when you put on your glasses and notice smudges or dirt on your glasses. Do you typically just shrug your shoulders and go on with the day? Poppycock! You spend 10 seconds cleaning your glasses so you can see clearly.
Why all the talk about glasses? Continue reading
You will spend years preparing for your career. But very few Christians spend any time at all preparing to effectively follow Jesus in that career.
Recent research has shown that only 16% of Christians report learning how the Bible applies to their field or area of interest. This means that 84% of Christians spend their lives in a career, but have never been taught how their Christian faith should play out in that career!
And the problem begins earlier than a person’s career. Only 11% of Christians report receiving helpful input from a someone in their church about their education.
This means the church is sending people out to be educated and devote their lives to a career, but leaving them clueless as to how their faith informs their education or career. The church may be doing a good job of teaching people about church life, but it is not preparing the next generation to take their faith beyond church walls.
In my class Historical & Philosophical Foundations of World Civilizations (aka Foundations), we finished reading and discussing the book When Helping Hurts. One of the big point of the book was that the problem of poverty is a problem of relationships, not one of material goods. Despite millions dollars of relief poured into certain countries, they remain destitute, largely due to corrupt governments (which consist of corrupt people) and a poverty of being for individuals in those countries. Even with all the help and information a person would need to escape poverty, he remains in poverty because of a poor view of himself. A fundamental change needs to occur within a person in order to overcome such a “poverty of being.”
The authors noted that there are four fundamental relationships that need to be addressed: relationship with God, with self, with others, and with creation. They then explain that the gospel can restore these relationships, one person at a time. This requires much work and effort, but the result is a person coming to know God, which transforms their identity and causes them to overflow with love to the people around them.
The world’s problems are problems of relationship. The gospel provides the solution because at its core, the good news is all about restoring relationships. The fundamental relationship which the gospel addresses is the relationship between God and people. Once that relationship is restored, the other three fundamental relationships are transformed as well.
This problem (and solution) of relationships was made very clear to me in a recent conversation with a friend. My friend told me of people who were very devoted to their religion, keeping all the rules and doing all the right things. However, these people weren’t good friends, being self-centered and jealous. My friend noticed that despite doing all the right things (according to their religion), these people had more fundamental issues: a problem of relationships. Having just read When Helping Hurts, these problems of relationships were fresh in my mind, and I affirmed my friend’s observations.
The problem with people is that they are in need of a heart change. The gospel provides this heart transformation through Jesus’ sacrifice, and that inward change and restored relationship with God changes everything.
Relationships is the problem, but with God, relationships is the solution.
This is just a list that I put together for someone who asked me to make one. This is just a short way to sum up some of the important things I’ve learned. I don’t know everything. So it’s probably not rock solid.
Top 3 things a youth group needs:
1. Committed leaders(healthy leaders)
2. Good communication between leadership
3. Always having a goal in mind(either short term or long term)
3 Things that helped my ministry in NM a lot
(I totally stole some of the phrasing from Cornerstone’s YM packets because they said it better, but I came up with this list separate)
-Intentionality (Definitely #1):
1. Go out of your comfort zone to make sure kids feel wanted/notice/loved!
a. Text students when they don’t come to an event (especially Youth)
b. Communicate with them in any way to see if they will be at an event (Social Media is a great way to communicate with multiple students at one time)
c. Invite student to hang out (regardless if you know they won’t want to)
d. Calling students is a good way to express that they are important
e. Include them when you are doing stuff with other students as well
2. Prepare for your conversations with students beforehand
a. Read your Bible
b. Read some articles on teens, youth ministry, or even cultural trends
c. Pray for wisdom and opportunities
***You won’t know all the answers and you won’t always be prepared. Other leaders can help assist you as well, but never trade that for actually doing your own research on issues
(This one is really important. It doesn’t take much to say that your time goes a long way with students)
1. Actually follow through and hang out with students
a. Sometimes kids just need to know that you care before they can care about what you know
b. You don’t always have to spend money on them to hang out with them
c. “Doing life” with students will help you better understand and minister to them
1. Meet with students regularly
a. Once a week is ideal, but once a month says a lot, too (And that’s not even hard!)
b. Kids like to know that you actually care and consistency actually shows how important something is to
c. It’s hard to impact anything when you are only around for a season
2. Be consistent with who you are
a. integrity will teach the students a lot
b. try your best to focus on being like Christ not only on Wednesdays but even when you home and in your most comfortable place
c. Sometimes we leave our faith outside our home, but students need to know they can trust who you are
3. Be consistent in what you say
a. Consistently encourage students
b. Try not to contradict yourself
c. Do NOT be a hypocrite
d. Remind students who they are in Christ (in God’s eyes)
***None of this stuff happens over night. Also, it’s not supposed to be something that you just do. You should enjoy this stuff and not make it into a task or job. These are just tools to utilize. It’s not a legalistic list of rules to follow.
*Some stuff was added by my roommates as well.