Tuesday, November 23, 2010


One of my biggest fears has to do with my relationship with God…my biggest fear is complacency concerning my faith journey. You see, I know many youth pastors, student ministry directors, and even pastors in churches that are going through the motion. When I’ve confronted them, I was told that it’s merely a byproduct of ‘knowing too much’-at the very least I think it’s pride.
Why am I telling you this? Because I know it’s something that many Christians struggle with. In our busy world we have obligations and for some of us God is just another obligation. We often find ourselves with little time and energy for others-whether they’re friends or family members and God is no different.
Now, you don’t have to agree with me, but over the years I’ve discovered that we all need healthy boundaries. This idea isn’t my own, in fact, Jesus himself withdrew from the everyday tasks of life to reconnect with God (Luke 5:15-16 & Mark 1:35). I feel that opportunities such as the Leadership Institute and the National Youth Workers Convention are a time to reconnect and grow in my understanding of who I am, where I am, and why.
These two events help me think outside of the box concerning the ever changing ministry landscape that is Christianity. In order to reach people outside of the church one needs to ReThink what’s been done, how it was done and why. We as God’s people can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results. It isn’t healthy and we need to constantly reconnect with our creator and learn to stay connected with one another-that is true community-connectedness.
So, how are you staying connected? With family, friends, and with our God? Are you where you know you need to be or just where you can be when you can be? What do you need and what is needed of you from family, friends, and God? Do you hear God's call upon your heart to do more? If so, you need to take some time to reconnect and search out his direction-what does he require of you?
These are all tough questions and may lead you to a place you may find uncomfortable. But I truly believe that God doesn't call us to comfort, but to work! We are each called to pick up our cross for Jesus and blaze the trail-changing the way the world thinks about us as Christians. And if you don't already know what those from the outside looking in think-pick up unChristian and When Christians Get It Wrong.
There are way too many who think we're hypocritical, judgmental, and too political.
Join me on this journey inward as we honestly reconnect with relationships that bring true life. Stop going through the motion, humble yourself, and truly become open to God's direction for you and His church universal-not just your church home.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Then they took him to the high council of the city. “Come and tell us about this new teaching,” they said. “You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about.”
-Acts 17:19-20

'There is nothing wrong with Christians sharing their faith. The problem is when Christians share their faith in ways that are arrogant, disrespectful, hurtful, insulting, and insensitive.'
-Adam Hamilton: When Christians Get It Wrong

I have read Adam Hamilton's book: When Christians Get It Wrong and I recommend it to everyone! Adam wrote the book after reading unChristian and various intense interviews with young adults-he wanted to learn more about why young adults have left the church. It's an insiteful book and think everyone should read it-regardless of denomination or faith tradition. I think this book will stretch you spiritually and touch you deeply.
Anyway, if a person were to read all of Acts 17 they would find Paul attempting to connect with the people of Athens. Paul chooses to find common with them in regards to a starting point-a reference he knows will get the attention of those among the crowd. He starts by addressing the 'unknown' God...he goes further to talk about this God they know nothing of. By the end of his sermon, there are those who walk away laughing and thinking he's got a screw loose and then there are those who are so intriqued they have to know more-in fact some even become followers.
When you look at today's church-regardless of denomination, it's no wonder why there are books like unChristian or When Christians Get It Wrong. We as a church have failed to connect and stay connected with those who were once inside and or currently outside of the church-whether its arrogancy or not, we lack connectedness with those outside the walls of our church building. It's nice to have a church website, but we have to have substance beyond our external invitation (the website)...
FACT: 80-85% of seekers (mostly young adults and young couples) go online and search for church websites that resonate with them-whether it's a nursery, Bible Study group, or young adult ministry...they are giving you a 'test drive' before they actually hop into their vehicles and go for the physical visit.
That fact further proves the idea that we live in a market based culture/society. An older generation may call technology a nuisance but it's essential to stay connected and reach out with invitation that meets the needs and curiosities of today's youth and young adults.
So why do I focus on connectedness? Because I believe it's essential to the future of the faith. Too often we find differences in regards to other denominations and those around us-by what they wear, what they think, or how they vote. I agree with Adam, I don't think Jesus could be a democrat or republican-why? Because 'you have a moral and spiritual responsibility not to slander or send out inflammatory e-mails about the opposing party or its candidates.' Everyone gets it wrong when we too closely associate our faith with a political party and lay aside Christian ethics and Christ's call to love-even our enemies. No longer do generations within congregations need to be at odds-we aren't called to judge, we're called to love, we aren't called to point fingers, we're called to love...
So knowing we're called to love and use that as our basis for common and mutual connectedness why isn't every church in the country busting at the seems? Because they're missing something...I mean what keeps people in church these days? Connectedness! Yet, too often there's a focus of 'who did me wrong' or 'you changed the worship time' and continue down the path of divisiveness.
My prayer is that we might remember that it isn't about us, it's about relationships-not just with others, but with our God. So take a step back and take a deep breath. Is there something that's been eating away at you? Don't give up and give in...relationships are hard, but if you truly love, you realize that we all fall in and out of love-it doesn't mean we don't love, it means that we aren't always as close as we should or want to be. How do we create an environment for ourselves and others to begin the healing process? Perhaps you need a personal retreat-time away from everyone and time with God. Or perhaps you need to seek forgiveness and that's hard too.
Whatever you decide may you find the peace that you seek.