Newest Article

 —  June 11, 2009 — 2 Comments

A new article I wrote just came out. It’s called, “Out from Under: preparing kids to leave the shelter of youth group.” My desire for the article was to show the simplicity of this transition. I think we make it far more difficult than it needs to be…

Teaching Philosophy

 —  June 9, 2009 — 6 Comments

I’ve been getting a lot more emails lately asking about what a philosophy of teaching ought to be with college-age people. Most pointedly people are asking what shifts I think need to be made. So, briefly, here’s what I think the shift should be in our college ministries:

From Physical to Spiritual. Instead of focusing on physical elements of our faith (behavior), a focus on the spiritual is what’s needed. I’m not saying we don’t need to be ‘doers of the word,’ but we need to shy away from a behavioral focus and concentrate on spiritual issues. If we call ourselves spiritual leaders, we ought to lead in spiritual things. We know from Scripture that it is spiritual issues that produce physical behavior. So, instead of focusing on the outward behavior, let’s focus on the inward – which in the long run produces the correct outcomes.

From Conclusions to Presuppositions. We are very good at teaching the conclusions we’ve come to, but not good at helping others think through the presuppositions that have led us to our conclusions. This is especially true in America with our definition of “educated” being one who regurgitates information. However is indoctrination not necessarily faith development. Our college ministries need to be about helping people think through their presuppositions rather than applying our conclusions.

From Indoctrination to Imparting Wisdom. I believe we need to be encouraging a deeper commitment to the simple truths more than we need to discuss deeper theological issues or debates – and simply defending our view. This can be stimulating to a late adolescent mind, for sure, but imparting wisdom is better. To do this we need to help college-age people embrace what they already know and we need to be showing them how we are living that out as well. Wisdom would lead us to actually live out what we say we believe. Encouraging our people to do this more than to learn more is where we ought to be focusing in college ministry.

Training Days

 —  June 8, 2009 — Leave a comment

Well, I arrived at the Headquarters of New Tribes Missions just outside of Orlando, Florida about 12:30 am this morning. I’m here for a conference they do every 3 years for their missionaries. Got a few hours of sleep before my phone ringing. I was sleeping very well. It was Britt, the guy with all the “details” for me. Needed to connect with him, but could’ve used some more sleep. Oh the beauty of having very short trips to the east coast.

waterviewBut then, I walked outside my room to this view. Someone’s gotta do it! I taught three seminars this morning to missionaries from all around the world – had lunch with a group too. What a blessing. Very sharp people. Three more seminars tomorrow, but for the time being I’m gonna enjoy some solitude in my room – then a long walk along the water. If it wasn’t for the humidity it would be perfect…

Look out…

 —  June 6, 2009 — Leave a comment

cm101Over the last few months I’ve been getting some feedback on my book coming out, College Ministry 101. I’ve been humbled by those that have endorsed it – and yet a little confused by some others. Not to say I’ve gotten a lot of “negative” feedback. Let me explain.

As I was brushing my teeth this morning (I know, kind of weird) this popped in my mind: people are referring to my book as a “discipleship model” for churches to minister to college-age people. Honestly, I think that’s kind of weird. I guess my question is: what other type of model would we want?

I don’t mean to be rash here – maybe a little sarcastic though – but I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t say, “Go therefore and make programs that attract as many people from your city as possible…”

Ok, I know some might react to that negatively – wrongly assuming that I’m speaking negatively about large gatherings, or efforts put into programming. I’m not saying that in any way. I’m just talking about the reference to my book. On one hand I’m glad people are referring to it as a “discipleship model” because that’s what we need in the church right now (people who understand the heart and mind issues college-age people are facing so that we can walk them toward biblically mature conclusions).

College ministry needs this focus. For the record, I hope every book dealing with college ministry has this label on it.

Juices are flowing on this one and I think it’s kind of fun. If you haven’t read the posts yet I’d encourage you to do so. My desire for this series is simply to get thought going, for us to be able to have answers for the way we do things, and to take a look (hopefully a fresh one) at how we’ve been going about these environments. I also want to challenge the idea that we simply continue doing what we’re doing just because that’s always the way we’ve done it.

My desire is not to bash these environments in any way – although I smile a bit when people think that’s what I’m doing. Believe it or not I do think these environments are needed today and this post will in fact show that (hopefully).

That said, let me throw out this thought on these environments…

Mission or Education?

The question I have is in regard to the role these college’s see themselves having. Or, even more pointedly, what do parents and/or others view them having? What is the perception people have?

I’m a bit concerned that they have simply become an accredited “safe Christian environment” where people can be instructed in a particular field/major. We provide an environment and in some ways a sub-culture. Every college campus is a sort of sub-culture in itself, so some of this is inevitable!

But, personally I’d like to see more of a focus on mission. I’d love our Christian colleges to focus more on equipping missionaries in a particular sociological field! This is some of the mindset out there, but I don’t think the majority. The professors ought to be the top of the line in their field, ought to have lived out their faith in the particular field they are teaching, and be equipping their students to view that field as a mission. They should not only know the industry, but also the people in that industry. They ought to be educating our students with the knowledge necessary to excel in that field, but also modeling a missionary lifestyle in that particular area.

I’d love to see our college’s deconstructing the Christian college sub-culture (or bubble) as much as possible, helping our students to know what it’s like to live in the culture of our day and what it means to view themselves as missionaries in a particular field. Instead I’m fearful that we are graduating too many people that are comfortable in the environment we’ve provided, but don’t know how to function as a missionary in the area/field they’ve focused on.

By the way, I also think the church has the same problem in many ways. We all need to focus on mission more.

Oh, WOW!

 —  June 1, 2009 — 1 Comment

picture-3This pig was shot because the farmer found it eating a dead cow. And it seems as though this isn’t a hoax or the work of a photo shop wizard.