next gen for everyone

So if you could pitch to your senior pastor to talk about the concept of "Next Gen" to the entire body, what points exactly would you want him to make? I just started reading Compassion International President Wess Stafford's book Too Small to Ignore and already in the first chapter it is rocking my face off. I was reading it out loud to my 7th grade son and I got choked up approximately 4 times. One time was just plain ridiculous actually. I couldn't get through a story about D.L. Moody I've heard a dozen times. I am so passionate about the mission of leading the next generation into a relationship with Christ that I honestly have a hard time even getting my head to comprehend how it's not just a no-brainer that children and youth aren't the number one priority of the church.

Anyway, enough about what I think. What are the driving points about this topic that don't single out parents but apply to the entire body of Christ that you think must be a part of such a series?

next gen retreat

This week the kids and youth staff from all of the campuses at our church are coming in for a couple of days of awesomeness. I can't wait to see many of my good friends and meet in person some of the people I only know from online. If you are one of the campus teams coming in, what would you most like to hear from the content development team while you're in town?

writing team

Our team at work is on the threshold of having an actual writing team! It's pretty exciting really but I was wondering if any of you have had any experience being a part of a writing team. Any thoughts or suggestions about how you think those sorts of dynamics work? I'm not sure what kind of input I'm looking for, so whatever you've got will be helpful. What I'm really interested in is how to work together on a strengths-based basis rather than being departmentalized again. Thoughts?

evangelism vs. discipleship

First of all, just to get it out there, I absolutely do not believe in the idea that evangelism and discipleship are two ends of a spectrum of ministry and are therefore mutually exclusive. I believe Jesus commissioned us all to go make disciples and you cannot fulfill that without both. I know there were times when Peter preached from the temple steps and times when Paul stayed up all night talking and both of those things are still great, but I feel like we keep banging our heads (in my ministry context anyway) with this idea of trying to determine how to program for an experience that draws newbies but still challenges regulars. Exciting the first time but doesn't get stale. So again, we were talking today trying to decide what kind of experience was appropriate for our very seeker-friendly weekend elementary experience (although we talk about it for students too of course).

So chime in and help us:

  • How much small group is the right amount before it feels like a Bible study? 
  • What kinds of elements get to stay if they really only add to the fun factor and don't add to the message stickiness? 
  • How can we leverage more of the hour to add to the stickiness?
  • What's the fine line between milk and just a bite-sized chunk of steak?
  • How can we teach in ways that are relevant to someone who never heard of Jesus and those who love Him like crazy at the same time?
  • Is there an appropriate way to differentiate instruction in this setting like they do in schools?

Come on. Show me whatcha got.

at the movies

For many summers now, has done a series called At the Movies in July. It just silly how much hype it gets and how much it pushes summer attendance. Anyway, on Monday we will be screening and selecting the movies we'll use for our elementary and 5th-6th experiences that month. (Student ministry does movies in March when the attendance is trending up.) We like to use really popular and fairly recent movies. We also need to be able to teach a solid message from it with the clips as support, not do a message about the movie (if that makes sense).

So, what movies should we do? Suggest your faves.

programming to create leaders

I just had a quick hallway conversation about student ministry leadership programming with our Student Ministry Team Leader. So I was wondering, what really works? What transforms a regular student into a student leader?Is it a depth of knowledge (I'm guessing not)? Is is requiring them to serve (might work for some)? What needs to be in the mix? How can you engage students that honestly were already great leaders over in the children's wing as kids while also picking up emerging leaders from new high school students who are just starting to engage? What process will challenge and inspire students to become leaders?

compassion and children's ministry

I'm going with my long-time friend Scott Werner from Compassion International to the Children's Pastors' Conference in San Diego in March to talk about how to incorporate compassion efforts as a strategy for better children's ministry. I already wrote a little about my thoughts on this during Orange Week but I'd really like to hear from you. How can making compassion for the poor a priority increase the effectiveness of your ministry to kids and families?

Share your experiences and/or thoughts. I'll shamelessly steal them, but then you'll get to influence leaders you've never met and that's always nice. :)

my favorite video on the internet

Although I do love a good Tripp and Tyler video and my long-time favorite was the Barats and Bereta Mother's Day video, I have decided to officially name this video by Compassion International as my favorite video on the internet. Enjoy.