Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 5.36.11 PMThere’s no question that cultivating inter-generational relationships is an obstacle many churches are seeking to overcome. We can get people from different generations to sit in the same room at the same time, but this doesn’t mean they are “connecting.”  If we desire to cultivate inter-generational relationships, we must ingrain at least the following 5 values into the culture of our churches. Here they are and some thoughts about each one:

  1. Value of Family.  We cannot alienate people by language. When we speak of “family” we ought to focus on our theological family more than nuclear structures so that we do not alienate singles, college age people, or children who unwillingly find themselves in a broken home. The bottom line is healthy nuclear families are not an end, they are a means to an end.
  2. Value of Responsibility.  We must help older believers understand their responsibility to invest in younger people.  We cannot consider ourselves successful in ministry if we don’t focus on this. The bottom line is measuring faithfulness in ministry must include how we hold people accountable to the standards of scripture.
  3. Value of Others.  We must help people embrace the call of the gospel to focus on others, first.  If people think their faith is about them they will then think the church exists for them and thus will not interact inter-generationally unless they feel like it benefits them. However, a gospel-centered person seeks to give community to others before seeking it for themselves.
  4. Value of Quality.  We must begin finding ways to measure quality of relationships. We typically only measure quantitative elements in ministry. Churches that are helping cultivate inter-generational relationships are finding ways to measure quality. The bottom line is measuring quantity is not necessarily a sign of success for spiritual leaders.
  5. Value of Difference.  We must embrace our unique differences, but also value the differences of others (personality, giftedness, etc) to the point where we intentionally pursue those different from us. Churches have traditionally structured around affinity because we are inherently attracted to those just like us anyway.  However, embracing the value of difference would lead to us to also structuring toward diversity.  I’ve found that if we structure to promote and protect diversity, affinity naturally happens.  But if we only structure around affinity we tend to lose the beauty of diversity, which ultimately leads to generational disconnection.

Chuck / @chuckbomar

I saw this video the other day and was amazed. The perspective is unreal. There are so many observations that can be drawn from this!

I would encourage you to watch it, but it could be a cool thing to just play on the screens at your next college ministry gathering.

Chuck
@chuckbomar



Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 12.03.53 PMWe can easily fall into the trap of only thinking about our position.

It’s much tougher to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and process through what they are thinking or feeling.

In hopes of helping us do that in one of the more sensitive areas of our culture, here are 6 questions I believe gay students are asking about us and our ministries:

  1. How is it possible for me to relate to Christians in a church context?
  2. Will everyone define me as “gay?”
  3. Will people think I chose to be like this?
  4. Do they think I’m going to hit on them?
  5. Will they kick me out if I’m honest?
  6. Will I be able to fit in with everyone or will I be treated differently?

Food for thought!

Chuck

@chuckbomar

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 1.05.17 PMI know that title may sound a bit odd, but I mean it.  I literally want our youth pastor to fail in our church.

As the pastor of a church, I say this because I believe failure does at least the following 4 things:

  1. Gain needed wisdom.  Good decision making today is usually the result of poor decisions made in the past. The truth is we don’t learn as much from our successes as we do our failures and the more we fail, the more we will succeed.
  2. Shows consistent innovation.  I push our staff to try new things. Some will work, some won’t.  That’s okay. I love Facebook’s slogan on this issue: “Move Fast And Break Things.” This phrase is painted onto the walls in their facility.  I don’t want to negate our past experiences (see #1 above), but I also don’t want our staff’s thought processes to start with what they’ve seen. We want to think about our context, our people and then work toward something unique to those that will help us move forward.
  3. Keeps us humble. Success doesn’t necessarily mean we will become arrogant, but I’ve never seen success develop humility the way I’ve seen failure do it. When a leader has failed in the past it produces humility and wisdom. Someone who has not failed a lot is going to lack both.
  4. Develops team.  Failure makes us realize that we need others around us. We realize the beauty of inviting people to speak into situations and ideas. Most of all, over time we realize that people have better ideas than we did. This is when leadership is developed and team atmosphere becomes exciting.

Do you think you are failing enough?

Chuck

@chuckbomar



Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 11.39.21 AMIn just a few months, there will be a bunch of college students graduating and entering what they’ve learned to be “the real world.” As leaders in the Church, we have a responsibility here. We have a role to play in helping our students live out the things they understand spiritually in the marketplace.

Here are 3 conversation topics I think we should be addressing with these individuals:

  1. Work ethic speaks.  The things we do or say will speak of something or somebody. The bottom line is our words and actions are telling of many things. That to say, over time, we give a testimony of something. Colossians 3:17 says that everything we do or say is to speak of Jesus. They will want to make sure they are heard in their workplace, but they really should be more focused on their actions of hard work and loyalty speaking for them…and speaking of the character of Jesus.
  2. Humility is critical.  The bottom line is employers are often frustrated with the arrogance of college grads. Yes, they have a lot to offer a company, but they will need to earn the right to be heard through their hard work.  They should only expect to have a voice after they have listened and followed directions for an extended amount of time. Humility will speak louder than arrogant entitlement.
  3. Christian community still matters.  Our role is to help them remain engaged in Christian community. This community will look different for them in this next phase of life, but it’s just as important – if not more. They will need your help engaging with other who are also seeking to live out their Christian identity in the marketplace. How you will help them do this is a VITAL conversation to have.

Thanks for loving college students,

Chuck

@chuckbomar

There always seems to be a cycle to “coolness.”  Something becomes a big hit, everyone gets into it…and then it is “over-played” or eventually loses it’s novelty and then becomes cheesy if you continue doing it.

Screen shot 2014-01-08 at 8.40.17 AMThink about how some of these things used to be the center of coolness:

  1. Planking
  2. Chubby Bunny
  3. Photo Bombs
  4. Furby Hungwy
  5. POGS
  6. Nerdery
  7. Or, how about the lazer background in school pictures..?

Well, guess which one of these is coming back into the center of Pop Culture….

YOUGeneration is a hit television show in the UK, and they have been doing Chubby Bunny contests (seeing who could eat the most marshmallows while still being able to say, “Chubby Bunny”) with some of the biggest young stars of today. They’ve done it with One Direction, Cher Lloyd, Kimberly Wyatt….on and on.

Maybe things that would be considered “cheesy youth group games” to us are, well, cool again?



Screen shot 2013-12-30 at 11.57.57 AMI would consider myself a HUGE advocate for college age people. I think my track record would show that.

That said, I thought I might throw out a few things (with a bit of sarcastic tone behind them) that college aged people might consider including in their 2014 New Year Resolutions.

Hopefully you can laugh with me on this one:

  1. I will stop considering my jeans clean simply because I put them in the dryer with a dryer sheet.
  2. I will start washing my sheets before I can see the dirt ring where I lay down.
  3. I will think twice and consider what I am saying about myself before I post/tweet “selfies.”
  4. I will stop stalking my old high school friends Facebook pages so I can judge their life decisions.
  5. I will stop making romantic decisions with the 13-year-old part of my brain.
  6. I will stop using Emoji’s to cover up my lack of ability to articulate emotions in words.
  7. I will stop spending money as if it grows on my bed – that my parents bought me.
  8. I will stop calling in sick to work simply because I hung out with friends until 4:00 a.m.
  9. I will hit “snooze” less – maybe 2-3 times maximum.
  10. I will stop spending all my free-time managing my social networks and then complaining that I’m too busy.

Happy New Year!

Chuck

@chuckbomar

Screen shot 2013-12-16 at 6.57.56 AMIn the last post, I shared how coming back home for the holidays can be a relationally awkward time for college students.  I also shared one idea for reconnecting with them: asking direct and specific questions.  And, as promised, here are 3 other quick ideas to reconnect with students while their home:

Share about your personal life. You pursuing your students for a time of coffee or lunch will likely be great, but it can come across as formal – or maybe even an “accountability time” from their perspective. This can be okay, but I’ve found it’s MUCH better if you take the “pastor” hat off and share about yourself. Now is the time to intentionally begin to treat them like a friend, especially if they were in your high school ministry. This can really bridge any separation and kill any awkwardness they may be feeling about their “home church.” Sharing about your own struggles, doubts, family life, etcetera can be a great next step for your relationship – as long as you don’t dominate the conversation!

Ask for prayer request. At the end of your conversation specifically ask them for ONE thing you can pray for them about. This let’s them know they don’t leave your mind as soon as they leave, and let’s them know your relationship means more to you than just being a part of your job! Periodically over the next few months make sure you send them a text message or six letting them know you’re still praying.

Ask them if they’re being encouraged. You could get a whole spectrum of answers on this one, but it’s a great question to ask. Some might break into tears, while others will simply be encouraged you asked. Either way, I’ve found it to be a great question to ask. It can also give you insight into areas where you can personally encourage them. Some will be more open about this than others, but you may want to ask them specifically how their relationship is with their parents, an ex, their best friend they had in high school, etc.

Try all of these methods with your students and let us know how it goes!

Chuck