Learning my lines . . .
. . . discovering what it means to follow Jesus, seeing my story swept up into his . . .

Blog

Who’s Changing Who? Youth Ministry, Culture, and Truth. . .

It’s  been an interesting couple of weeks spent with my good buddy Duffy Robbins. I’ve been poked, prodded, and pushed to think about new things in new ways, and new things in light of old ways. Last week it was facilitating a Symposium on Traditional Biblical Sexuality in a Changing Youth Culture on the Massachusetts... more »

A Streaming Peek Into Today’s Youth Culture. . .

Netflix is now streaming the film “Eighth Grade.” If you’re a parent, grandparent, or youth worker who wants to jump into the world of today’s teens and and learn what it’s like to grow up in today’s youth culture, then this is a film you need to watch. Be forewarned. . . there are a... more »

How To Block Porn On Kid’s Devices. . . .

Whenever I’m speaking to parents and/or youth workers about matters related to our Digital Kids Initiative, I am inevitably asked for recommendations regarding blocking software or technologies that can keep kids from danger and danger from kids. I never know how to answer. I’m not up-to-date on these things as new filters and work-around’s seem... more »

Youth Workers. . . Guilty Of Oppression? . . .

Oppression is a word that’s used quite a bit these days. In most cases, I think that’s a good thing. One way that the dictionary defines oppression is as preventing people from having opportunities and freedom. When a people group or individual is being oppressed, we need to be made aware so that steps can be taken... more »

A Youth Worker’s New Year’s Resolution. . . “Read And Feed!”. . .

Quit and begin. That’s just about always what a New Year’s Resolution is all about. We resolve to quit something that’s destructive. In it’s place, we aim to begin a habit that promotes our flourishing in constructive ways. Typically, our resolutions have to do with our physical health. This year, like last, a bunch of... more »

Parents. . . Christmas And How Time Flies. . .

A few simple words today and something that caught and brought a little bit of moisture to my eyes. My wife decorated our tree with a scheme that put these four hand-made ornaments in close proximity to one another. . . right in the middle of the tree. When I saw them all together, it... more »

Teens, Wicca, And Alternate Spiritualities. . .

“Huh???” That was my response when, as a young college student, one of my campus pastors told me that “all human beings worship.” In my naivete, I wondered how one could worship when they weren’t a follower of Christ. But when the pastor explained that since all human beings are created by God to worship, we... more »

Your Mid-Year Youth Ministry Checkup

I’m not a hunter, but I’ve got a son who is. A few weeks ago he took a couple of hours to head out to friend’s farm to “sight in” his rifle. It’s a process of getting everything lined-up so that when he pulls the trigger he can send an accurate shot toward his target.... more »

Movies, Ministry, And Asking The Right Questions. . .

Later this morning I’m engaging in a fun and eye-opening little exercise that can yield powerful ministry opportunities, responses, and results. I’m going to be meeting with a group of local youth workers who have a passion for knowing Christ and ministering to kids. We’ll spend time watching the film Eighth Grade. It’s a good one... more »

Self-Injury. . . The Scream On The Skin. . .

As a culture-watcher, I sometimes like to “rewind” as a way to gain perspective on just how much and how fast youth culture has changed. The practice serves to wake me up at times when familiarity with what was once relatively unknown lulls us to sleep because it’s become all-too-common and widespread. That creates huge... more »

He Makes Her Walk To School. . . This Dad Is Awesome! . . .

This morning, someone I know sent me a link to the video I’ve embedded below. It’s going to be very interesting to see what kind of response snowballs as people watch a 10-year-old girl walking 5 miles to school as discipline for getting thrown off the school bus the day before. Listen as her dad... more »

Detecting Body Image Issues In Teens. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

We’re told that the average teen in America sees between 4,000 to 10,000 marketing messages a day. So many of those messages picture idealized human beings. . . defined primarily by appearance. These standards imprint themselves into the minds and hearts of our kids. As they grow and ponder what they see in the mirror,... more »

What Do Kids Brag About On Social Media?

I ran across this data on teens and social media bragging/boasting from Pew today. I’m reminded that our sinful/broken default setting leads us to try to assuage and eliminate our insecurities (we all have them) any way we can. Social media, if we’re not careful, can become an enticing playground on which to boast. .... more »

Youth, Faith, and Church. . . Will They Stay Or Will They Go? . . .

I’ve been around way too long to think that it really isn’t an issue. Sadly, my personal “way too long” includes way too many stories of kids who were a part of my youth groups. . . who then graduated from high school, youth group, and church. And judging from the number of ministry efforts... more »

Navigating The Difficult Sexual Issues With Kids. . .

“Transgender” . . . “Pansexual”. . . “LGBTQ” . . . “Hook-Up”. . . every one of those terms was part of a foreign language for those of doing youth ministry in the 1970s and 1980s. I could have ventured a guess on definitions, but I certainly had no idea on the specifics regarding how... more »

Thanksgiving Communication With Teens. . .

Happy Thanksgiving! Your kids are home for a few extra days of vacation, you spend more time around the table at meals, and you might even be spending extended periods of time together in the car as you travel to visit family and friends. The good news is that all this time together opens doors... more »

The Deadly Path of Following Your Heart. . .

It’s the mantra for life in today’s world. It accurately reflects the spirit of the times. It’s a recipe for disaster, destruction, and death. It’s the advice we give, get, and follow so often in today’s world: “Follow your heart.” I’m pondering those three dangerous words this morning as I prepare to speak this week... more »

Kids and Sleep. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

If we are truly called as followers of Christ to do all things to the glory of God, then we’ve got to include sleep in that list. Yes. . . sleep is actually a form of worship. Who knew?!? And since worship of God through sleep requires holding to that sacred rhythm of work and rest... more »

Teens And Dating Abuse. . .

If you start your day with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, you are aware of two realities in today’s world. First, relationships and dating among our teenagers are horribly broken. And if that’s the case, then those of us who love, lead, and minister to kids need to embrace... more »

Facing Grief And Other Difficult Stuff. . . This I Know. . .

A recounting of a 1962 interaction during a post-lecture Q and A session between a university student and the late theologian Karl Barth tells of the inquisitive student asking Barth, “Can you summarize your whole life’s work in theology in a sentence?” Barth answered, “Yes, I can. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the... more »