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

Blog

What Is The Goal Of Your Youth Ministry This School Year? . . .

Okay. . . . this one might get me in some trouble. And it’s all because I’m increasingly convinced that we’re doing something wrong in youth ministry. . . and perhaps in ministry in general. We’ve been chugging along thinking that we’ve been doing it right. As a result, we continue to do it wrong... more »

The Empty Promise of Stuff. . .

When you’re a kid, the prospects for happiness and fulfillment seem endless. There’s a yearning for the accumulation of experiences and material things. . . all of which, at some point, we believe will allow us to rest our heads on our pillows at night with a sense of satisfaction and completeness that is permanent.... more »

Praying For Our Kids. . . Beautiful And True After 400 Years. . .

When the nexus occurs, it brings great joy. It happened again yesterday. . . and it always leaves me excited.  Yes, God still speaks. I reached the milestone of 61 years on this earth yesterday. (The birthdays seem to come around more quickly these days, and I seriously feel like yesterday was the day I... more »

Scripture. . . Not What You Think It Means. . .

One of my morning companions over the course of the last 25 years is Scripture Union’s Encounter With God. For the last several days it’s been taking us through the latter half of Genesis. What I read this morning prompted a memory of a conversation from my high school days that shaped me in ways I... more »

Watching Gender. . . Kids And Media Stereotypes. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

Our media mantra here at CPYU has always been this: Media serves our kids as a map. In other words, it shapes the way they think about and live their lives. And, with teenagers engaged in 9 hours of daily media time. . . and tweens (ages 8-12) engaged with media for 6 hours a day. .... more »

Identity. . . Searching For God Knows What. . .

This morning I’m teaching a class on how technology and social media are controlling and shaping us. . . and what we can do to use the good gifts of technology and social media. In effect, how we can take control of it rather than it taking control of us. One of the most significant... more »

Hijacked by “Look At Me”. . .

“What’s the best advice you would give to a young youth worker?” Implicit in that question I’ve been asked many, many times is the reality that I’m getting older. I hope that with my increased age has come growth in wisdom. I hope. There are many ways I’d answer that question. . . most of... more »

Summer “Coming-of-Age” Movie Suggestions. . . .

As a youth culture watcher, I’ve developed a special place in my heart for movies. French film director Jean-Luc Godard once said that “a film is the world in an hour and a half.” For those of us who need to keep developing our knowledge of the world of kids, movies offer a great window... more »

Happy 10th Anniversary iPhone . . . .

Happy 10th anniversary iPhone. . . and all smartphones. You are an amazing tool. Those who conceived of you, made you, and have kept growing you have lived out the image of God through their creativity. . . whether they recognize that or not. You’ve changed our world, our neighborhoods, our churches, our selves, our... more »

Do You Control Your Phone? . . . Or Does It Control You? . . . A Helpful Infographic

A few minutes ago we finished recording an interview with Tony Reinke for our “Youth Culture Matters” Podcast. We talked about Tony’s book, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You. The book is a beautiful piece of accessible, hope-filled, practical theology that offers a timely critique of how our phones are shaping us, and how we... more »

This Is Who We Are. . . But Is It Who We Should Be? . . .

“Can’t you see what’s happening around you and to you?” Good question. How would you answer? Because history tells us that we typically don’t recognize the fall-out from our believing and behaving until we are paying the consequences of that fall-out, we need to be constantly on alert as to how and where the winds... more »

Camille Paglia on Transgenderism. . . .

I’m not a reader of The Weekly Standard. But I was directed there this week by my friend Sean McDowell, who had posted a link to an interview with feminist Camille Paglia. Going straight to the source, I read Jonathan V. Last’s interview with Paglia. I’ve been tracking with a wide-spectrum of opinions on transgenderism as... more »

Youth Ministry Hazard: Emotional Affairs

One of the basic habits effect driver education instills in student drivers is the habit of scanning the road ahead for hazards. That’s a healthy habit for us as we engage in youth ministry. For those of us in youth ministry, a “perfect storm” of cultural forces and vocational nuances makes us especially susceptible to... more »

Pornography: Necessary Talking Points With Kids. . .

“I want to talk about pornography.” That’s what the 15-year-old boy said to me after hearing me talk at his Christian school on “God and Sex.” Sadly, he wasn’t a curious young dabbler looking for someone to help him understand whether pornography was right or wrong. Instead, he was already spending time every day looking at... more »

Learning Who We Are From Bill Cosby, Michelle Carter, and The Law. . .

I hope you’re tracking with the news this week. Of course, in today’s world there’s that difficult task of sorting out the real news from the fake news as the constant flow of mediated reports flood the feeds on our smartphones. Are we being fed truth? Or are we being fed lies? Still, there are... more »

Why Youth Ministry Shouldn’t Be The Greatest Show On Earth. . .

The truth is that I was jealous. I was convinced that there was no way I could compete.  Even worse, I believed there was a competition. I was a young youth worker doing ministry in a suburban church during the 1980s, a decade marked by excess and greed. I realize now that I had allowed... more »

Teens And Anxiety. . . A Helpful Infographic. . .

It was all quite telling. It would be an understatement to say that our nation was anxious as last November’s Presidential election arrived. Social media, water-cooler, and family dinner table conversations were all windows into the anxiety and nervousness we all felt as we faced the inevitability of wandering as a nation into uncharted cultural... more »

I’m Surrounded. . . And We Should All Be. . .

One thing I’ve always loved about the Old Testament are the passages of remembrance. These are the times when the leaders of Israel would call all the people around to remind them of what God had done in their midst. Then, they’d look to the future, issuing calls to obedience in response to God’s great... more »

Ed Sheeran, Body Image, and New Rules For Dating. . . .

It’s been on the charts for 18 weeks. It peaked at #1. Today it sits at #4. “It” is Ed Sheeran’s single “Shape of You,” one of two lead singles from his third studio album, ÷ (divide). The video (embedded below) has amassed well over 1 billion views. And with Sheeran currently touring in South America and... more »

Culture In The Comics. . . .

My grandmother used to call them “the funnies.” I can still remember a few occasions when she read me comics from Philadelphia’s “Evening Bulletin.” For me, the best comic strips are those that capture some aspect of reality, twist it around to shed light on some kind of absurdity, then cause me to grin while... more »