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Responding to Friday's Events...

Occasionally things happen in our world that are hard to ignore when we gather for our weekly programme. We know we can't pretend nothing has happened but we're hesitant about focussing on it more than is necessary or are afraid of saying something that might be misinterpreted or misunderstood. What happened in Christchurch on Friday is one of those occurrences where we are challenged about what to say to our young people. Some of you will have already made decisions around this as you met this...

March 18, 2019

Faults & Failings, Mercy & Honour: 1 Timothy 1:15-17

This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen. It sounds...

March 18, 2019

3 Misleading Symptoms of Healthy and Sustainable Youth Ministries

I recall some years back a friend being diagnosed with cancer. Some seemingly minor symptoms had emerged that led them to have a check up through which the cancer was discovered. To me they looked outwardly healthy and yet their “health” was deceptive. They needed treatment before what was unseen became evident. Without such treatment any health they were experiencing was not sustainable. This example comes to mind when considering healthy and sustainable youth ministries. We can easily look...

March 13, 2019

The Call to Serve (1 Timothy 1:12-14)

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus. One of the more essential attributes you bring with you into youth ministry is the assurance th...

March 11, 2019

Avoiding "Should's" and 'Should Not's" (1 Timothy 1:8-11)

We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes ...

March 4, 2019

The Purpose of Bible Study (1 Timothy 1:5-7)

The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions. They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently. You've possibly heard the saying, "Young people don't care how much you k...

February 25, 2019

Wasting Time (1 Timothy 1:3,4)

When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth. Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God. I wonder if you’ve ever been tempted to keep a written record of how you use your time in any given week. If you were to take out “necessities” such as school, work, sleeping an...

February 18, 2019

Family (1 Timothy 1:2)

I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. (1 Timothy 1:2) I recall a conversation with a youth pastor in a provincial city whose young people would at times attend other larger, more exciting youth groups in the city. They loved the larger meetings with the loud worship music and charismatic speakers. While some stopped coming to his youth group others would be gone for a couple of weeks but would always come...

February 11, 2019

Be who you are (1 Timothy 1:1)

This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope. (1 Timothy 1:1) Andi (not her real name) was 17 when I approached her one Sunday and asked her to be part of our leadership development team. Shyly she looked at the ground and quietly said, "Oh...I'm not a leader..." I tried to encourage her, saying the leaders had many different gifts and personalities. "I see you as a potential leader", I said.  Why not ju...

February 4, 2019

Youth Ministry in Spirit and in Truth

Conversations of Confusion: It’s not uncommon to find Jesus talking at complete cross purposes (no pun intended) with someone struggling to understand what He is saying. No gospel better illustrates “conversations of confusion” than John’s gospel. It is a referring theme – Jesus says something and people assume he is talking in material, literal terms when He is in fact revealing deep spiritual truth. One of these is found in John 4. Jesus talks about water with a Samaritan woman at a...

January 31, 2019

Time in Timothy

One of the more enjoyable youth programmes I've ever run is with a small group of young people who were eager to dive into Scripture verse by verse and grow closer to God. We called it the Timothy Club and we simply sat in a circle, read a portion of 1 and then 2 Timothy and allowed conversation to flow. Why 1 & 2 Timothy? Because these are letters from an older more experienced leader (Paul) to a young leader (Timothy), just starting out. As such these books provide ideal fuel for mentoring you...

January 29, 2019

Book Review: "Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry" by Doug Fields

"Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry" is not my favourite youth ministry book but it is my go-to recommendation for youth pastors or key leaders just starting out. If you're looking for programme ideas or pointers on developing your leadership skills, then keep looking - this is not the book for you. In the last chapter he writes, "do yourself a favour... meet with a veteran youth worker and ask her to help you in your leadership position." Throughout the book he adopts this role himself, i...

January 24, 2019

Grave engravings

I heard of a pastor who was appointed to lead a church. As he stood to preach for the first time he noticed the following engraved into the pulpit: "Sir, we would see Jesus." The quote comes from John 12:21 and refers to an occasion when some Greeks, in Jerusalem for the Passover, approached Philip and ask to meet with Jesus. For the pastor, the engraving served as a grave reminder every time he stood to open God's Word and preach. His task was not to impress people with his knowledge and abili...

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