I asked my confirmation class yesterday what they knew about Islam. They drew a blank. They knew nothing. So–the Islamic Studies nerd in me started babbling–same God, Abraham, Five Pillars… They sort of rolled their eyes.
It occurred to me that many of my students receive their only education about religion from me–their youth director–and I’m so busy trying to give them a taste of Christianity, that I never thought that their only education about other religions comes from hearsay and the news media. Continue reading Talk to your youth groups about Islam. Do it now.
Last weekend, I designed a lock-in retreat for the 14 7th and 8th graders in my Confirmation group. They are a group of stupendously intelligent young people, each with amazing gifts for thinking, theologizing and creating things. Here are some ideas from that retreat that are worth sharing.
Continue reading 5 Confirmation Lock-In Ideas for Fun with Spiritual Integrity
Often times, churches get confused about the purpose of their youth ministry. Kids have sports, schools, and after school programs to be involved in that’s all about them and their space. But in the congregation, I’d say it’s a different thing.
In the church, the congregation as a whole is called to raise children from infancy to adulthood in a wide, extended family. Continue reading What Youth Ministry looks like for the Whole Congregation
A lot of people are very invested in the Hunger Games, many of them young women. Here are 10 things that youth ministers ought to know about the novels and how they affect their kids.
1. This is a novel of resistance to oppression, death, and resurrection. It is a profoundly Christian story in which love conquers death and community opposes tyranny.
Despite all the grief that this story gets for being violent, strange, and over dramatic, it also teaches young people how to preserve a self in great danger, and how to resist oppression through genuine acts of kindness. Even the evil empire that the revolution resists is a thinly veiled Roman Empire. Continue reading 10 Things Every Youth Minister Should Know about The Hunger Games
One of my earliest memories of church as a child was of Advent candles. I don’t really have an image in my head, but rather the calm cadence of my mother’s voice, and the smell of sulfur after a match struck. It’s a very sense-based memory, but it is a memory of watching a candle being lit, and the ritual and purpose for that candle.
Continue reading Kids + Fire = Moments of Serious Spirituality
So, when I arrived at Hamline Church, there were some books about Youth Ministry on my desk.
One of them was Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries. I was a huge fan of that book, and I ate it up pretty quickly, hoping to save myself from over-eager mistakes. (And it worked, theoretically, at least. It gave me lots of things to think about before jumping off the deep end of becoming solely a program coordinator.) Continue reading Generational Proclamations in Youth Ministry texts…