Saturday, January 19, 2008


Ugh work has me really busy right now. So here is a quickie.

Discipleship is just as important as outreach. It does not matter if you bring a lot of people into a church if there is no growth. When picking volunteers for youth ministry one chooses spiritually mature adults. Now if everyone in the church is new and not mature then there is no one who should be asked to volunteer. Disciple starts the life-changing experience that lead to someone impacting their world for God. Discipleship gives youth a foundation for them to live by and continue to grow no matter where they go. Discipleship and outreach are a combination that we should live by and not just think about getting more people into chruches.

(This is in response to some meetings going on at work)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Theological Youth Ministry

Something about youth ministry that is not very good or interesting is the lack of depth to it. Instead it is about playing games and getting kids into the church. Yeah it is good the kids are in church but what comes next is weak. They just do what any P.E. course does. PE sometimes does it better too. Youth need to be challenged more.

One way to challenge youth more is to actually teach them theology and the bible. One tells youth about sin. Not just a simple message of sin is bad and don’t do it, but sin separates people from God and leads to death. Then teach the youth about the sacrifice Jesus made for humanity. Youth are able to handle some theology. A High school student may be intrigued by the immanence of God and the Transcendce of god. What happens is a youth can start to use the mental capabilities they use at school on their religion.

Youth do not need to be coddled. They are not stupid. School work generally gets more complicated as time progresses. Youth need to be challenge to something deeper then they are experiencing now. Sometimes Christianity is made to easy for the youth. It is something that is just handed to them. Why keep Christianity so safe? They go to college and they face a world of hedonistic pleasure without a secure base. Where in youth ministry do with talk about the spiritual and theological ramifications of drinking? Where do we talk about the psychological and theological meanings of sex before marriage. Instead we just say that it is wrong. Youth go to college and find out that drinking can be a very enjoyable social experience. Some may have sex and then find out it feels good. That they do not feel bad for having sex outside of marriage. Then what they were told in their youth ministries is partly invalidating. These students have been left out without a solid reasoning and foundation. As a ministry there needs to be thoughts and reasons behind the lessons instead of a mentality that promotes legal rules based on authoritarian traditions.

This does not mean we use abstract reasoning with middles school students but instead that youth ministry combines the benefits and positive elements of theology and then combine that with street level ministry. There can be a new movement towards helping youth become lifelong Christians that will influence the communities they live in.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Politics and Religion

In California there was a speaker at a church that preached against war. Since the current administration brought war it is in essence a sermon against this administration. This brought the IRS to investigate this church and the church almost lost its tax-exempt status. The IRS ended that investigation basically saying that the church was guilty of being political but the IRS was not going to punish them for it.

I find this incredible because Christianity has always been very political. Jesus treated woman as humans having rights and certain expectations of dignity. This is incredible to the old standard that women had been treated at the time. Jesus was being very political. When Jesus was talking about turning the other cheek it was not a message of sub service but a message of equity. Depending on how you hit someone determined whether you were hitting them as an equality or with an attitude of superiority. Turning the other cheek meant a person was forcing the other to treat them as an equality. Equality and justice have always been very political.

Martin Luther King Jr. is a very political figure but he was also a religious leader. A Christian whose beliefs lead him to fight for political change and equality. The original Martin Luther was a religious leader who became a political leader leading to the creation of the protestant churches. Martin Luther broke the Catholic Churches hold of European politics that lead to the Catholic Church returning to more orthodox beliefs and practices. Christian churches are hotbeds for change and progression.

Christianity’s tradition of political involvement is not something that can be turned off. The Bible demands people not sin and then act as God would want them to act. They are not to take advantage of others, be violent, allow evil to continue. A Christian who honestly pursues God finds that they become political trying to align what the Bible says with how they are supposed to live. Christians are supposed to defend the voiceless and not help the oppressor.

The laws that are supposed to prevent churches from being political are anathema to what the church does. The church is intrinsically political and only when the gospel is watered down to nothing does the church stop being political. Churches do need to stand up and continue with their political tradition instead of kowtowing to political wishes.

As an aside the republican party is not anymore Christian then the democratic party. They both are self serving without many politicians honestly living the religions they proclaim.