Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Words on the Word: a new blog

This blog has long been quiet, but I'm back to blogging again at Words on the Word.  Take a look!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Upcoming Mark DeYmaz book: Ethnic Blends

I'm reading Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church for an Urban Ministry seminary class right now.  It's a great book with solid theological reflection and practical guidance for action.  The author, Mark DeYmaz, has a new book coming out this April.  This promo, I thought, was a good visual representation that drives home (in a new way) a salient point about church demographics.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Do Parents Need from Youth Pastors?

There's a great article answering this question here.  In particular, I benefited from the reminder about the youth pastor's role as it relates to parenting, as well as the emphasis on (over)communication.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Good Conflict

I've always been a firm believer that it's not a question in life (and ministry, and family, and business, and...) whether conflict will arise, but how it arises, and how we manage our responses to it.

Very few people enjoy conflict, but more than a few people avoid conflict at all costs.  To do so, however, misses out on the richness of conflict and the catalyzing force for positive change it can be.

I recently came across a Harvard Business Review article (December 2009 issue) that is a good summary of why conflict is good for organizations (hint: lack of conflict can signify complacency, which generally leads to a lack of effectiveness), what conflicts are worth fighting over (generally mission-critical issues), and how to navigate conflict fairly.

The "Idea in Brief" (quick summary) is here.  The full article is here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sustainable Youth Ministry

In 2009 I took our team of youth leaders through Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries, founder and director of Youth Ministry Architects.  The book is for any "stakeholder" in youth ministry, whether paid staff, unpaid volunteer, senior pastor/priest, or elder/Vestry/council member.  Anyone who is concerned about youth ministry and young people should read this book.

We went through a chapter a week, splitting a couple of the meatier chapters into two parts.  Sustainable Youth Ministry deals especially with how to put long-term structures and systems into place so that a church's youth ministry will be effective and long-lasting.  Think ensuring healthy structures and systems is just the job of the paid youth worker?  DeVries will convince you otherwise.  I took our whole volunteer team through this, and I am so grateful for the conceptual tools they now have to work together with me to build the youth ministry here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Youth Leaders University

Wow.  Great, free resource for youth workers.  Top-notch video training, all for free.  Check it out.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I am heading with a small but mighty team of teenagers and one more adult leader to the Southeast White House in Washington, D.C. for a missions/service trip this week. We will be working with the Little Lights camp.

This article has a good take on what it means to be "at-risk." Good food for thought, especially for those of us (self included) whose primary youth ministry practice has been in a suburban or non-city context.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Youth Worker Leadership Style

This is a neat assessment from LeaderTreks. I just took the 40-question assessment, but haven't yet received the results. It looks like it will be very helpful in understanding my ministry and leadership style. It is meant for anyone in youth ministry, whether paid staff or volunteer, or even a parent of a teenager. Everything I've seen from LeaderTreks is good. Click here to take the assessment, and then they email you in a couple of days with the results.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fiction and Silence

I just read a great post on Building Church Leaders' blog about the importance of church leaders reading fiction, and not just the the regular ministry and leadership training fare we might otherwise read.

One of the books the post recommends is Silence by Shusaku Endo, a Japanese Catholic author. In face, I just finished that book last week. It was absolutely gripping. I couldn't put it down (which is a rare reaction for me to have to novels... and a historical novel, no less).

Endo follows a Catholic Portuguese priest in 17th Century Japan as he seeks out his former mentor who, it is reported, has renounced his faith. The book is a very personal treatment of the question of God's silence, suffering, and the evil of humanity.

It's a must-read, especially for Christians who are afraid they may be too comfortable.

Any fiction you've read recently and been impressed with or affected by?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Youth Culture, part 4 of 4: Language

My last three posts have taken a brief look at youth culture. I've mentioned that I see 4 major elements of identity formation when it comes to what constitutes any given culture, all of which apply to youth: (1) Artifacts, (2) Behaviors, (3) Ideas, and now (4) Language.

By the way, if I haven't mentioned it already, I'm indebted to The Rev. Whis Hays for a lot what inspired this material, and particularly the way of categorizing and framing it.

This post, the last in the series, is about the language youth use. As with the other elements of youth culture, there are as many teenage languages as there are teenagers in the world, but there are at least some commonalities here. And because others have done some great work and research on this, this post is link-heavy. Check 'em out!

*The Source 4 Youth Ministry has a great page on teen lingo.

*Media tends to dictate (or at least influence) a lot of what teenagers (and the rest of us) are saying--The Center for Parent and Youth Understanding has a great page here on media.

*The online community (Facebook, Myspace, Instant Messenger) and "online-speak" has really filtered into everyday language. For example, I've heard students (and myself!) jokingly say out loud what was once intended to be an online abbreviation, but it's caught on. Examples: LOL! (Laughing out loud), omg! (Oh my gosh/God!)

*Schools also tend to be a breeding ground for language and its variations. Teens pick up a lot of how they talk from their friends on a day-to-day basis.

*The best way (in my humble opinion) you can find out what language youth speak? You guessed it, befriend and ask a youth! Not rocket science when you look at it that way. Or, if you're really brave, pull up a book and a notebook and pen and cup of coffee at your favorite local coffeeshop, wait for some teenagers to show up, and just listen to how they talk. Not that I'm encouraging eavesdropping.... but some coffeeshop-goers talk loud enough that you can't help but hear their conversations!