Creating a Multiplication Movement, Leadership

Strengthen Your Spiritual Muscle for Church Planting

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As we continue this expedition to build the foundation for a church planting culture, we have so far unpacked several obstacles.  This journey began challenging churches and their leadership to face your fears, and our resentence to change.  Biblical vision and values need to be aligned.  So, now we are ready to go run off and do something revolutionary for God, right?  Not quite.  Anytime we want to do something bold for God, the enemy Satan wags his finger and says not on my turf.  The unbelieving culture we plan to plant this new church in will fight tooth and nail to resist.  This past week I revisited Revelations 12 as a reminder of how Satan views the offspring (Christ and later Christians) of the woman (Mary, the mother of our Lord.)

“And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.[1] Revelations 12:13-17

  1. Deepen Leaders’ Prayer Lives.

Because Satan is not rooting for your current church or any future mission endeavors to succeed,  it is the task of the leadership team to be spiritually prepared for the slings and arrows of the Evil One.  Here is a true story from a Christian leader that will explain what I am saying.

A Christian leader — we’ll call him Steve –was traveling recently by plane. He noticed that the man sitting two seats over was thumbing through some little cards and moving his lips. The man looked professorial with his goatee and graying brown hair, and Steve placed him at fifty-something. Guessing the man was a fellow-believer, Steve leaned over to engage him in conversation. “Looks to me like you’re memorizing something,” he said. “No, actually I was praying,” the man said. Steve introduced himself. “I believe in prayer too,” he said. “Well, I have a specific assignment,” said the man with the goatee. “What’s that?” Steve asked. “I’m praying for the downfall of Christian pastors.” “I would certainly fit into that category,” Steve said. “Is my name on the list?” “Not on my list,” the man replied. – Common Ground, Vol. 10 No. 7.

Our best example of early church planters was a group of believers that gathered together regularly and prayed.  Early in the Book of Acts, we see that pattern established.  42 The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles.”  Acts 2:42-43

Build your new mission plant on prayer.  Raising up a group of people to be prayer intercessors confronts the enemy on God’s terms.

  1. Develop and Support Prayer Intercessors.

 

Connecting to people outside the God’s grace is a passion of mine and is my calling in ministry.  If you share this desire to plant a church or ministry that connects with people outside of the body of Christ, then stick with me as I devote time over the next several months laying out how to develop that team in further detail.  However, here are some fundamental qualities to look for in that development.

First, you can’t lead people where you are have not gone beforehand.  Make your first prayer intercessor, YOU! Second, make sure you and your team are on the same page.  That place of unity is grounded not on the leaders’ agenda, but on the guidance and direction of God’s Word.  Third, a Prayer Ministry Leader should be identified to lead and shepherd the group.  It doesn’t have to be a paid staff person, but should be someone with the spiritual gifts for that ministry. Finally, pray and ask God to send laborers to partner with you in this new church plant.  Pray for discernment to select who will be an appropriate fit for your core leadership team.

Next week’s post will dig deeper into the formation of the intercessory prayer team.  Thank you for all who have been reading and following.  I can sense the movement of God leading and directing churches to get more rooted in the mission entrusted to His saints.

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Re 12:13–17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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Congregational Life and Ministry

The Church: Museum, University or Lifeboat?

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Ross Perot Museum

This story is a familiar one. In 1972, and after 308 years, the First Church of Newton, Mass., called it quits. It gave its assets to a museum, sold its building to a Greek Evangelical Church, and disbanded. The church started in 1664. It rose to a high of 1,200 members in 1952 but dropped to 325 in 1972. Three-fourths of the membership was over fifty.

In my current ministry position, I see congregations at various stages of the life cycle. But that is not the focus of this post. For the church to carry out its mission, it needs never to lose sight of the reason for its existence. The church can easy fall into the first two descriptions listed below without every realizing it has done so.

The Church as a Museum.

What does that mean? First, by way of a definition. “A museum is a building or place where works of art, scientific specimens, or other objects of permanent value are kept and displayed.” – Webster’s Dictionary.

works of art, scientific specimens, or other objects of permanent value are kept and displayed.” – Webster’s Dictionary. I remember my time in Detroit as a parish pastor vividly. I toured so many historic churches in that once great city. These buildings were massive structures, that displayed with great detail man’s ability to create amazing buildings. These monuments are a fitting tribute dedicated to worship a God worthy of those accolades.

The problem is those days had passed for many of the churches in Detroit. There were not thousands of people praising God in those beautiful structures. There were less than a hundred people there. Those few faithful souls left were spending every penny they had to maintain the building’s beauty. If you took the time to stop and talk with those who remained, they would regale you with stories of the past. They would walk you down memory lane. It felt like a museum tour. They could tell you how the church was built and how it was making a difference in the lives and fabric of their community.

Sunday morning becomes the major donor event to keep the museum open. The patrons have very little time for outreach. And the outreach they do is to increase the donor base. I don’t blame the supporters; the mission got lost when the focus became survival. Don’t get me wrong I know that God is still proclaimed there, but if reaching the lost is not the primary focus, survival has replaced mission.

The Church as a University.

“Knowledge is useless without consistent application.” Julian Hall

I have been blessed in my life with great Christ-centered brilliant men of God who taught the mysteries of the faith. It was a joy and blessing to learn at the feet of such scholars. There are a certain number of churches that have been blessed with similar people of God who teach and share God’s truth in a powerful way to the flock who attend. The caution with a focus that centers primarily on education is there is a need for mission action as well. I love this quote. “Knowledge is not power. Applying what you know is power.” That applies to the work that the church is called to do. We are called to take the message of truth that we learn from gifted and knowledgeable people of God and take that into the world to be ambassadors of Christ. The apostle Paul reminds us of this in 2 Corinthians 5. “…in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The call to reconciliation is the work the church is called to do.

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The Church as a Lifeboat.

C.T. Studd, said, “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell, I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”

The church has been given the task to carry on the mission that our Lord Jesus Christ began. He did not spend all his time in the Synagogue. Nor did he just go around preaching and teaching the truths of the faith. He never lost sight of his mission. Jesus’ mission was to give up his life to save others. Jesus came to set the captives being set free. He conducts a search and rescue mission to find the lost sons and daughters. Jesus’ ministry afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted. We are called to continue the work our Savior started. The Church is not about meetings and building projects, or even denominations conventions and politics. It is about the lost, the brokenhearted; the disenfranchise all finding their place in the King’s kingdom through faith. Reaching those outside of God’s sheepfold is the burden of the Gospel; this is the responsibility of the Church’s mission. We are called to go out daily on search and rescue mission and proclaim the love of God to those who are looking for hope in a hopeless word. Go armed with your grounding in the Word of God and be a lifeboat.

God in His plan for us (and for a lost world) spared not His own So tell the world of His love. Love is costly, but we must show it to the world at any cost.

 

Parenting, Youth Ministry

Youth Retention: Can We Return to the Glory Days?

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Take a journey with me back into time.  Now for some of you, this trip will take a lot longer.  Think back to the day after your high school graduation.  Once all the parties had ended, you and your classmates then began the process of discovery.  Questions abounded about the next chapter in our lives.?

Why Did You Abandon Me?

For some who had already made a decision as to which college, if any, was selected, their arrangements for that transition were in full swing.  For others, life would be filled with uncertainty and desert wanderings.  At some point, many of us, over time, would find our way, discover our path, and settle into a career.  Many would start a family and build a new community.  But those years after high school where difficult.  The post-high school years were filled with much change and loss.  There were lost friends, loss of community, and loss to some degree of innocence.   It was a shock to the system to leave the relative safety of high school to find yourself thrust into the world now labeled as a young adult.

Imagine that same feeling but after eighth-grade.  You have finished your spiritual journey, or so it seems.  Youth experience a sense of loss after confirmation.  When I asked some people who work with youth, what is the most significant challenge they face in youth ministry.  Here are some of their responses.

  • “The biggest challenge I think we are facing is that students see confirmation, and here at St. Mark’s, communion, as the carrot at the end of the stick. It’s that “graduation type” thing that they have to do, and once it’s done, they think the engagement with the church is over. We’ve been working hard on finding a way to build relationships between our confirmation age students and that post-confirmation to help those younger students see a reason to keep engaged. That reason simply being an authentic Christ-centered community with their friends and peers.”
  • “The primary challenge is meeting the individual’s value for long-term faith development. Parents are a factor in the long-term development. There has been a perception of confirmation equating to spiritual achievement. Many parents, who experienced the process, buy into the need for their child to make this rite of passage. However, for the student and the parent alike, I believe confirmation has failed to instill the value of individual long-term faith development. Our congregations are perpetuating the value of cheap grace through its inability to step away from the programs and focus the programs on personal, individual faith development.”
  • “Post confirmation, even pre-confirmation in a small rural town here, a smaller congregation – we have about ten middle-school age youth from a variety of schools, and this is a struggle. Parents are somewhat engaged, but the youth are disconnected.   Some seem tired from their schedules with school/sports; we have spent a couple of years now studying this and considering how to keep them. We are looking at engaging them in the whole church instead of separate activities,

preparing them for larger events such as servant events or youth gatherings by connecting youth to adults for longer relationships; exploring and planning how to start mentoring relationships. And exploring how they build relationships through confirmation.”

What the church is experiencing with youth today is the same way I felt after confirmation over 40-years ago.   What I missed during my most challenging time of transition was, my church.  My church, after confirmation, abandoned me.  There was no room for my friends and me.  There were no programs for us, and I just assumed after the instruction that I was a mature disciple ready now to take on a leadership role in God’s kingdom, the problem was there was no position nor opportunities to lead.  No one showed us how to refine, develop and use our God-given gifts to serve God and His kingdom. The church sent an unmistakable message, “You are the future. It is our time now!  Your time will come. Come back, when you are all grown up.”  Sadly, one by one my confirmation class attendees dropped out.  Some I have not seen since eighth-grade.  I get the sense from when I visit churches that this feeling was not my reality alone.

We Need a Shift from Ministry as Usual.

If you have followed my blog long enough, you know that I can’t leave you feeling all of this is hopeless.  What needs to happen is a shift from ministry as usual. We need to see confirmation as a process, not a singular time anomaly. What is the way forward?  How we view youth and their role in the kingdom now, will determine how we can stop the backdoor losses.  Here are some titanic shifts in thinking my readers have suggested.

  • “Post High school groups: Many of the groups I have developed and facilitated always seemed to miss the mark. The groups would feel forced, unoriginal, and not authentic. With that said, there was a strong personal commitment to make the group more than what really it was proving to be. This age group was found to be more engaged in doing. Many of my best volunteers have come from this age group. This age has a desire to experience a lived-out faith rather than a talked about faith. In this age group, I have also found some of the deeper conversations about how faith is applied to our daily walk. This has happened in a relational way that is limited by group process.”
  • “At Lord of Life, we confirm young adults when they were ready and not in a large group of eighth-graders. My last Sunday there I “confirmed” two high school students who shared their testimonies. Doing it this way meant we had “confirmation” on an ongoing basis through the year.  It is a great witness to members! By doing confirmation as a group (eighth-grade), we often make an assumption that all are ready and that this is a terminal point in their Christian life when in reality it is only the beginning! Specific ministries are always necessary since discipleship is a life-long process.”

 

It’s all about relationships.  What keeps youth and their parents engaged in the life and ministry of the church is authentic, meaning relationships, first with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and then with His saints.  We were built to live life in a community.

More posts on the subject:

https://revheadpin.org/2018/01/09/the-secret-to-retaining-youth-in-church/

 

Congregational Life and Ministry, Urban Ministry, Videos That Will Make you Think

TED Talk: Poverty Isn’t a Lack of Character; it’s a Lack of Cash

“Ideas can and do change the world,” says historian Rutger Bregman, sharing his case for a provocative one: guaranteed basic income. Learn more about the idea’s 500-year history and a forgotten modern experiment where it actually worked — and imagine how much energy and talent we would unleash if we got rid of poverty once and for all.

Congregational Life and Ministry

How We Deal With Poverty Impacts Our Witness

The Light Breaks Through

lightstock_99258_small_byrene_haneyHe (Jesus)will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:41–46 (ESV)

Almost…

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Dealing with Depression

How Anxiety Robs us of Our Trust in God

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Growing up I thought something was amiss with me because I was not a happy go lucky kind of kid, I perceived the world from a more intellectual context, a more concerned point of view.  At that time, I had no idea there was a clinical name for my condition.  I assumed it was just me being more introspective than my peers.  I had a hard time just living life in the moment.  Thoughts of “what if” regularly ran and still do at times through my head.  Later I would discover I am not alone.  Other poor souls are on this journey with me, it’s called anxiety.    Like many other conditions, there are many various levels of this trust-robbing monster.   Here is how one article describes this situation.

“It’s a normal part of life to experience occasional anxiety. But you may experience anxiety that is persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, and overwhelming. If it’s an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it can be disabling. When anxiety interferes with daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are real, serious medical conditions – just as real and serious as physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes. Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States.”1You may be asking yourself why in the world would you share something so intimate?  I believe that in sharing you will better know me and also maybe it will support how you deal with life if anxiety is your constant bedfellow.

The Triggers:

There are seasons when the anxiety is so modest I don’t detect its existence. However, I have likewise noticed that there are triggers in my life that set the stress in high gear.  One of those triggers is pending changes or uncertainty.  I am at a stage in my adventure with the next four months is entirely up in the air.  So, the anxiety is running at Usain Bolt speed.  During a recent conversation with God, where I let him do the talking, He gave me this phrase to calm my troubled spirit. “Worry gives you the false impression that somehow you are doing something to contribute to the solution of your fears, but what you are doing is getting into my (God’s) business.”  Wow, that hit me like a ton of bricks.  I had allowed my issues to shove God right out of my soul, or at least relegate him to a back seat.  My anxiety was robbing me of allowing God to take control of my life.  Once I acknowledged that I had a sense of peace, I don’t know how long that will last, because Satan also knows my triggers and peace is not what he seeks for the children of God.

The Calming Presence of God:

When anxiety is visiting your heart, seek refuge in the presence of God’s Word.  Here are some verses that over time God uses to remind me He is in control.

“We can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Matthew 6:34

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:5-7

What has worked for me is to calm my heart and mind.

  • Trust in the promises and the power of God.
  • Take time to pray and mediate on His grace and love.
  • And focus your mind on positive things.  As Paul writes, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).  The unfortunate reality of anxiety is that usually 98 percent of the things we are anxious about or worry about never happen. The fear is unrealistic, and the more you focus on it, the more significant the anxiety grows.  Learn to live each day to its fullest.

[1] https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety

Creating a Multiplication Movement

Church Multiplication: Starts with a Shared Vision and Values

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In order to move forward on a path to create a culture where multiplication is commonplace, there are three key foundation elements that need to be quickly established. The church or organization must:

 Clarify and Communicate its Vision and Values.

 The word vision in a church context often makes people nervous.  However, God communicated with his prophets with vision.  For example, in Ezekiel 37 remember this exchange with God and the prophet? “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” [1]

The Eerdmans Bible dictionary describes how vision is an old biblical tradition.  “In the biblical tradition visions were a means by which Jews and Christians experienced God’s self-revelation and were able to learn about the future. In the patriarchal period even before Moses God revealed himself and Israel’s destiny through dreams (Gen. 28) or the appearance of an angel (chs. 16, 18).” [2]

As I talk about vision it is the idea that God is providing His Church with a divine revelation about its future work for the kingdom.  Visions that are given to us by God are always bigger than us and can only be accomplished with His strength and direction. Will Mancini, in his book, “Church Unique”, makes this critical point about vision, “God is the chief visionary who leads us to push forward, not with arrogance but with confidence, because we know we are a part of His divine chain reaction.” We must be clear about this point; vision is from God. Vision may seem far beyond our reach and, if so, that may be an indicator that we are heading in the right direction. If the vision is comfortably within our capabilities, God does not receive the glory. But if the vision is “God-sized” in scope, meaning impossible without God’s intervention, then God receives the Glory and Him alone!

Your values are defined by two key questions:

 How Are You Sharing Your Story (Narrative)?

What stories you highlight in your public assemblies (worship) communicate what you value.  What do you talk most frequently about with your people? What are the metrics you commonly measure? Do worship attendance, the dollars collected toward the budget or the numbers of people in Bible study define who you are? These things are important indicators of church health. Do you want those to be measurements of success?

What are You Doing (Behaviors)?

We can have the best intentions, but in the end, people judge you by your actions. How are you investing your time? That’s what determines your values. Your behavior reveals your real core values. Where you invest your time, talents, and treasure express to the organization what you value.

What is the message you are communicating with your tribe? The stories you are highlighting are necessary. Shifting to missions may be as simple as telling different stories. Try modeling the behavior you want to be emulated.

“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker

It’s our time to make a kingdom difference!

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eze 37:1–3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Myers, A. C. (1987). In The Eerdmans Bible dictionary (p. 1040). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Christian Family, Community Outreach, Parenting

The Secret to Retaining Youth in Church

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The church’s desire to connect and retain teens is an age-old battle.  However, as the church continues to suffer considerable losses in membership, this problem takes on greater significance.  The church may see youth as the one group that can rescue a bleak future. “If we can just stop the youth from drifting away after High School, then we have a chance to reverse the decline.”  Look around, this is a very different generation.  Their values have shifted.  What matters to them is different than previous generations. What matters to their marginally committed parents has changed.  This post will be based on some research by Barna on the different goals for youth ministry between senior pastors and youth ministers and the parents of those elusive teens.  But just look at the unexpected changes to culture and notice how little time it took for the changes to occur.

Surveys in 1986:

70% of high school grads leave the church, never to return
65% of evangelical teens never read their Bibles
33% believe religion is out of date and out of touch
40% of all teens believe in astrology
30% read astrology column daily
93% know their sign
58% of Protestant teens believe students should have access to contraceptives.
25% of high school students contract some form of V.D.
42% of protestant teens say there are many ways to God.
60% question that miracles are possible
28% feel the content of the Bible are not accurate.

According to surveys in 1990:

65% of all H.S. Christian students are sexually active
75% of all H.S. students cheat regularly
30% of all H.S. students have shoplifted in the past 30 days
45-50% of all teen pregnancies are aborted
3.3 million teens are alcoholics
1,000 teens try to commit suicide daily
10% of H.S. students have experimented with or are involved in a homosexual lifestyle.

-Bruce Wilkinson, 7 Laws of the Learner.

Imagine what the survey would discover today.  As church leaders what are you trying to accomplish with young people today?  When I asked this question of a young couple one striking observation was shared with me.  “After High School, the church had nothing for us to do.  We weren’t a part of their planning and strategy.  There was no space nor place for us or our friends.  So, we just drifted away.”  Church, what is your plan to reach post-High School students? Do you have a ministry plan for the youth you claim you desire desperately to engage? If you are not intentionally planning and preparing to connect with youth and their parents, it probably will not happen.

It is my prayer that this post and the ones that follow will give you encouragement and direction.

One of the questions the Barna researchers asked was: “What are the goals of the pastoral leadership team?”

The goals of the pastor and youth leadership team?

The Barna researchers found that senior pastors and youth leaders were fairly united with the goals they were seeking to accomplish.  Barna’s research discovered this:

  • The top two goals of youth ministry for a substantial majority of church leaders were: “discipleship and spiritual instruction.” Also, seven in 10 senior pastors (71%) and three-quarters of youth pastors (75%) say this is one of their top goals.
  • “Building relationships with students” is a primary objective for about half of youth pastors (48%) and two in five senior pastors (40%), while “evangelism and outreach to youth” is selected by roughly one-quarter of each group (29% senior pastors, 24% youth pastors). “Evangelism to the parents of teens,” on the other hand, does not appear to be as important (7% senior pastors, 4% among youth pastors).
  • Even if most church leaders don’t prioritize reaching out to parents, many express a hope that parents will reach in. One in six senior pastors believes “getting parents involved with spiritual formation” is a top goal of youth ministry (18%). And youth pastors are even more likely to say so: One-quarter identifies this as a priority for their ministry (23%).[1]

One of the shocking revelations is that most pastors and youth do not rank evangelism to the parents as a high priority.  This may explain why youth groups have become a safe house ministry more than an outreach opportunity.

Two other interesting facts came out of the research involving engaging youth in community outreach.

  • Similar percentages of senior pastors (12%) and youth pastors (10%) feel that providing a “safe and nurturing environment” is an important goal—which, as we will see, is a much higher priority among parents.
  • Senior pastors (17%) are more likely than youth pastors (10%) to emphasize “serving the community”— but “serving the church body” is at the bottom of both groups’ lists (6% senior pastors and 4% youth pastors).

Church, you are missing the boat if you ignore involving youth in service outside their church.  Studies also show that teens are flocking to churches that are involved in the community.

 One bright spot in the research is that teenagers are flocking to the local church when they feel the urge to volunteer. The desire to be a part of a community that is making a difference in the world is our doorway.  What are the most common forms of service for teens?

  • The most requested form of service is feeding the hungry/helping the homeless (35%)
  • Second are educational opportunities (31%)
  • Then environmental/cleanup (28%)
  • Less popular are volunteering with animals (20%), service trips (18%), social advocacy/political (11%), or medical or healthcare (10%).[2]

Retaining young people today is not low hanging fruit.  It will require the church working hard to find a way to connect with them and their families by creating a community that engages their passion to serve outside the walls of the church.  What a tremendous opportunity.  Here is your assignment:  Do you have youth ministry as a priority in your church?  If so, what are you doing to connect with them and their families?  If you don’t what will you need to change to make youth a priority?   Let’s start a discussion of what is working.

[1]https://www.barna.com/research/pastors-parents-differ-youth-ministry-goals/

[2]https://www.barna.com/research/teen-attitudes-toward-service/

Videos That Will Make you Think

TED Talk: How we can face the future without fear, together

It’s a fateful moment in history. We’ve seen divisive elections, divided societies and the growth of extremism — all fueled by anxiety and uncertainty. “Is there something we can do, each of us, to be able to face the future without fear?” asks Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. In this electrifying talk, the spiritual leader gives us three specific ways we can move from the politics of “me” to the politics of “all of us, together.”

The Week in Review

The Kingdom Impact for January 8th

lightstock_154218_small_byrene_haney

The Week Ahead:

As you head into the new year may this quote from C. F. W. Walther give you comfort. “Now then, all of you who believe in God’s Word, let your watchword for entering the new year be this: ‘I am baptized!’ Although the world may laugh at this comfort, the enthusiasts vex its confidence…nevertheless, abandon any other dearly held pledges and speak only throughout the entire year to come, in all terrors of conscience and necessity through sin and death: ‘I am baptized! I am baptized! Hallelujah!’ And you shall prevail.”

Reflect on that notice this week.  Looking ahead.

Monday: TED Talk: How we can face the future without fear, together

It’s a fateful moment in history. We’ve seen divisive elections, divided societies and the growth of extremism — all fueled by anxiety and uncertainty. “Is there something we can do, each of us, to be able to face the future without fear?” asks Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. In this electrifying talk, the spiritual leader gives us three specific ways we can move from the politics of “me” to the politics of “all of us, together.”

Tuesday:  Retaining Youth in Church is an Uphill Climb

The church’s desire to connect and retain teens is an age-old battle.  However, as the church continues to suffer huge losses in membership, this problem takes on greater significance.  The church may see youth as the one group that can rescue a bleak future.   This post looks at what opportunities lie ahead.

Wednesday: Church Multiplication: Starts with a Shared Vision and Values

“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference.” Joel Barker

 Thursday: How Anxiety Robs us of Our Trust in God

This post deals with the impact anxiety has on our ability to trust God fully.  Fear and anxiety combine to erode our confidence in God. The fear is unrealistic, and the more you focus on it, the more significant the anxiety grows.  Learn to live each day to its fullest.

 

Looking back on the week that was on: The Light Breaks Through.

Monday:  What Does the Year Ahead Hold?

https://revheadpin.org/2018/01/01/what-does-the-year-ahead-hold/

As we come to the end of one year and the beginning of another, our society tends to stop and reflect on the lives of those who passed away.  It is usually a somber time of reflection because there is such uncertainty for many when it comes to the afterlife.  I thought now would be a good opportunity to begin the year taking a closer look at heaven.

Tuesday: The US Factor Barrier in Church Planting

https://revheadpin.org/2018/01/02/the-us-factor-barrier-in-church-planting/

In this post, we will look at the four barriers you must navigate to create a church multiplication movement in your congregation. 

Wednesday:  You are Part of God’s Plan: You Were No Accident

https://revheadpin.org/2018/01/03/you-were-no-accident/

Have you ever felt unsure about your importance in the world or wondered if you matter to God? It is possible you have felt uncertain about your usefulness or whether God found you acceptable. I will examine important things about our identity in Christ.  It is my prayer that you will gain a greater sense of your divine purpose.

Thursday:  Warning If You Track Church Attendance: The Numbers Are Lying to You

https://revheadpin.org/2018/01/04/warning-if-you-track-church-attendance-the-numbers-are-lying-to-you/

This post was the most read of the week.  With over 1,000 reads and dozens of people sharing it with their congregational leaders.  I pray it will serve as a source of encouragement for you.  You are also welcome to share any of my posts. It is my prayer they are a blessing to many.

 

A bonus Read: What Millennial Parents Want in a Christian School

https://revheadpin.org/2017/11/21/what-millennial-parents-want-in-a-christian-school/

This post is a summary of a presentation I gave at a teacher’s conference in the fall of 2017.  The presentation was on what do millennial parents want in a Christian day school.  Some of you are thinking they want what everyone else wants, right?  Well not so fast.  Because this generation is not as grounded in faith as previous generations there is a shift in what they value and desire for their children.  I will give you just a taste of what four factors will determine their educational choices.

 

Disclaimer

The information in this weblog is provided “AS IS” with no warranties and confers no rights.

This weblog does not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of the Northern Illinois District. It is solely my opinion, and if you know me or follow this blog long enough, you will learn I have many. Some profoundly insightful some may be the result of too much Cajun spice in my diet.

Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts you would not be the first to do so. In the comments section of each blog entry, but I reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason whatsoever (abusive, profane, rude, or anonymous comments) – so keep it polite, please. It’s just a blog. It is designed to be a place for people to come and be encouraged. And don’t we all need a little more sunshine in our lives?