Saturday, May 31, 2008

Youth Culture, part 1 of 4: Artifacts

Jesus models incarnational ministry to us... that is to say, he came into our world. Following Jesus' model, we are called to go into our students' world(s), wherever that may be and wherever that may take us. There are lots of ways to do this, but this next series of posts focuses on one way in particular--learning about youth today and their culture.

In asking “Who are youth?” and "What is their culture?" it is helpful to consider 4 elements of identity formation in culture: (1) Artifacts, (2) Behaviors, (3) Ideas, and (4) Language. I'll take each of these in turn, one post at a time, in the coming days:

(1) "Artifacts" are what a future archaeologist would find if she or he were to dig up remains from this time and place. Artifacts are what youth wear, carry, and consume. These are best thought of as the status symbols that define a given culture.

Some examples of youth artifacts today (complete with hyperlinks for you to follow!) are:

Uniforms, Jackets, and Emblems
Clothes and Style (and Accessories)
Cell phones
How they wear their hair
Messaged T-shirts
Piercings and tattoos
Beauty and Athletic Ability
Music Videos


Any more you can think of?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Article Link--Relational Basics: How to Develop Relationships with Kids

This is a great article by Doug Fields. He talks about what "relational ministry" is, some obstacles to it, and the "how" of it. This applies across volunteer and staff roles to anyone doing youth ministry.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Be realistic... start small... do not despise the day of small beginnings.

If reading Scripture daily is a challenge for you, check this out.

I don't totally agree with, "I'm not saying these will ever replace in depth Bible Study, but that is a luxury we just don't always have." Because Bible Study is a discipline to be loved and to value and be proactive about, not a luxury to be enjoyed only as time permits.

But her practical tools are great if you need a jumpstart. I've been doing the audio Bible thing of late, and it's been very helpful for getting me (and my 7-month-old) into Scripture more consistently.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Beyond Smells and Bells

As part of my preparation for Liturgy Lab, I am reading this book by Mark Galli of Christianity Today (and formerly of St. Mark's Episcopal in Glen Ellyn, IL, where I used to serve as Youth Minister).

You can find out more about Beyond Smells and Bells: The Wonder and Power of Christian Liturgy at Mark's blog, linked here.

It's a very good, basic overview to the church's liturgy: its shape, outline, relevance, communal nature, and so on.

Galli's writing style is warm and inviting and accessible. If you're looking for a short (less than 150 pages) primer on understanding liturgy (Anglican and otherwise), this is the best place I know of to start. (Although Galli may very well tell you the best place to start is by visiting a liturgical church and participating in its liturgy!)

If you'd like to read a longer sample of what Galli has to say, check out this article on the "relevance" of Christian liturgy.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Liturgy Lab

Check out what we're doing at Awakenings on Sunday mornings with the teenagers at Truro. It's about the liturgy and explaning its content and meaning.

I could see this being adapted to other ages and for other settings beyond just youth ministry. Have a look and let me know what you think!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Excellent Small Group or Mentoring Resource on Equipping for Bible Study

This is honestly one of the simplest, most in-depth, easiest to use resources I've ever seen for leading Youth in understanding prayer and Bible study. Great for use in a small group setting or in a one-on-one mentoring relationship.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Praying Scripture over our Youth

The best thing we can do as youth ministers is pray for our Youth.

God has blessed us as youth workers to have influence over the teenagers in our midst, but God changes hearts and reaches people before we ever do.

One of the best ways I have found to do this is to pray particular Scriptures over students. With some help from the mom of one of my small group guys, here is a compilation of Bible passages that can help direct our praying for Youth and their families (and for each other).  To use these prayers in a public worship setting, simply substitute the youth's name into the passage of Scripture.

(By the way, this blog is now inactive, but I currently blog here, beginning June 2012.)