“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.
An evangelist who came to our church when I was a youth would read this verse before he sent us out in cars to bring people to church. He would add a little to the end each time he would say “till my house is full and sloshing over.” It was a long time before I realized that wasn’t part of the actual verse, but the idea has stuck with me.
We are getting ready for Youth VBS. It starts on Sunday and runs through Thursday and it is a whirlwind of activity, singing, and Bible study. There are always a smattering of new people involved and every now and again someone shows up who hasn’t been around before and sticks around for the long haul.
This year I am praying for that and more. I don’t normally put my prayers out into the world. I don’t want to have to explain God if He doesn’t answer, but today I am praying for all of them. I am praying for every last student in our community who is lost. There are a whole bunch of them. If we bring in just a small portion of the people that don’t have a church home we will have to go outside and have our lesson, but I am still praying for all of them. I want the gospel to be presented to lost people. I believe that the gospel, the promise of Jesus, the love of God for us, all of us, is what people need to thrive in this world and to be with God in eternity, so why should I pray for anything less.
Lord, I want all of them.
That is my prayer today, so I am going to head out and get our portable sound system ready so we can move outside if we need to.
So last week I was at kid’s camp (which in and of itself is a remarkable thing and should be discussed, but that will be later). At camp I didn’t spend a whole lot of time on Twitter and Facebook. I would spend the morning checking out a couple of headlines, but I wouldn’t pull out my phone all day and read through my feeds.
It was about the 3rd day when I realized that unplugging for that stuff actually lowered my stress level.
You see my feeds are interesting. My Facebook feed is primarily people from church life and so it runs very, very conservative. The stress I get from there mostly is the stress that comes when someone you respect posts a subtly racists picture with a whole bunch of facts that actually aren’t facts and I am left trying to decide if I should explain the truth to them.
My twitter feed is actually very liberal. I tend to follow a bunch of celebrities, media personalities, and new organizations. So this means that it leans further left. The stress there comes mainly from feeling like I can’t fix any of the problems and that as a Christian I feel this deep desire to help people who are in pain, and there are a whole lot of people who are upset and angry. My stress also comes from the fact that I believe (even though I know it isn’t true) that the right words and right argument can make a difference and help any situation. So I get stressed trying to find the words to say to make situations better.
But honestly after being away from it all a week I realized just how much those feeds add unneeded stress to my life. In the end I can’t help the people who are willfully ignorant and just repost whatever picture with some text on it they see. I also can’t help explain that all Christians are not evil and that all of us don’t hate you or think you are a terrible person.
So instead of chasing down the things that I can’t fix I am committing to work on the things that I can.
And most of those things require looking up from a screen and doing something in the real world.
Today was one of those staple youth group events, the trip to the amusement park. This is something I have been doing for pretty much all 20 years of ministry, and really don’t quite understand how it fits in with the overall vision, but it is fun.
In many ways the amusement park trip is a leftover from the days when parents expected the church to entertain their kids and come up with activities and such, sort of like a social club. But in some ways it is a unique opportunity for kids to invite their friends, and for me as a youth minister to get to see new people.
The problem is there is very little chance for interaction and there is an almost 0 chance that the gospel will be shared. Maybe that is my fault. Maybe while we are all standing around praying for the trip I should throw in a testimony and the Roman Road. But that ain’t how I have been doing things, so in the end it becomes a fun trip with a few brief chances to interact with students.
So what do you think? Is the Youth Group Amusement Park Trip still a viable part of ministry? Do you have any ideas on how to make it something that is more effective in fulfilling our mission?
OK, so Nailscars.com has been down for 4 days. It seems that just as I decided to start coming back this site decided it didn’t want me back. Anyway, for the last two days at Centrikid I had this really profound post that was something about God and the way that we see things. I kept meaning to write it down somewhere other than on here so I would have it, but I kept forgetting.
Now I can’t remember what it was.
So whatever life changing profound thing that was ready to be placed here apparently is gone for now. Oh well, that’s the cool thing about ideas, when one goes another comes. You can’t keep chasing the old ideas, you have to run after the new ones.
Tomorrow I am going to Holiday World with the youth group. The fun never stops when you are a youth and children’s pastor. Every week this summer we have some sort of extra thing happening.
John 10:10 says: “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”
This abundant life isn’t just eternal life, it is abundant life now! Jesus is inviting us to Come Alive!
So I though I would use that verse as the jumping off point of a new Bible study series based on the songs from The Greatest Showman. The cool thing about The Greatest Showman is that the movie is covered by CVLI so you can probably show clips of it using the license you already have at your church. Below you will find an overview of the study, and check back in a couple of weeks for how you can purchase the whole thing.
Week 1: Jesus Invites us to Come Alive (Song: “Come Alive”, and quotes from “To the Other Side”)
Week 2: We come alive when we seek God more than stuff (Song: “Never Enough”)
Week 3: We Come alive when we are willing to stop hiding our scars (Song: “This is Me”)
Week 4: Jesus offers us a way home when we mess up (Song: “From Now On”)