picture-6There is a lot of thought out there about how today’s “youth” are against institutions. The context of the conversation is often about rebellion against the “instiutionalized church.”

Some would even use this as a support for the house church movement.

I don’t totally disagree with the idea that there is some hesitancy with the “institution” side of the church. But, I don’t think the structure or institutional element is the problem. Why? Well, because look at how many young people support Obama and all that he’s trying to do THROUGH the structure/institution of government. You’d think if the institution were the problem, the government would be “rebelled” against as well. It’s clearly not.

There has to be more to it than just the institution side of things…

picture-4Last night was a new episode of Mtv’s “College Life.” I’ll issue a re-cap as well as offer some insights into college-age stage issues.

Jordan – remember he’s from a conservative background. He recently got a tattoo and his parents freaked out on him, threatening to no longer pay for school. The tattoo isn’t finished, but he’s not willing to finish it out of fear of his parents. He had a short phone conversation with his mom and she’s clearly still upset.

College-age Stage Insight: I think this shows us that although college-age people have more freedoms from parents that they still feel a lot of pressure from them. There is still an element where they want to please their parents. Some might point out this is probably due to him still being a freshman and may suggest that this would change as he gets older. Of course that may be the case for some, but in general I would say it remains a pressure they give into throughout these years.

Andrea – she is the one that keeps going back and forth with her high school sweetheart, Josh. Her friend Erica is now confronting Andrea for dragging him on in their relationship. Up to this point she’s clearly been playing the game, keeping his attention while keeping her freedom to meet other people. However, last night she finally owned the game she’s been playing and said that she’s approached this relationship out of her own selfishness. So, she breaks it off over a phone conversation. To get his mind off of her, Josh goes out, meets some girls and even kisses a few. The kicker will come next week when Andrea finds out Josh is dating another girl.

College-age Stage Insight: Two things here. First, this shows us the complexity of male-female relationships. This is representative of the lack of boundaries in relationships. Walking the line between friendship and dating is often blurred. The longer you’re in college ministry you’ll notice how much confusion happens in this arena. Secondly, I think this also gives us insights into a unique dichotomy in the college-age years. On one hand they’re excited about the newness of college life, but on the other there’s a desire for the stability of what’s known. Andrea knows what she gets with Josh and so hangs on to that. But there is still this part of her that doesn’t want to settle down, she still wants to explore. This is very typical. On one hand marriage is desired, but this marker in their mind also represents the end to spontaneity, exploration, and freedom.

Kevin – he is the classic person who is in college for the social aspects. He’s not a dummy though! He’s actually very sharp, but just has no discipline. He’s simply enjoying his new freedoms. But the freedom ended last night when he got kicked out of the dorms for getting caught drinking for the 3rd time. Up to this point his mom still doesn’t know and he clearly doesn’t want to tell her.

College-age Stage Insight: I’ve found that with people like Kevin (who just go one minute to the next, from one social thing to the next), drawing clear lines is best. Not enabling them to continue in these patterns is most often best. I think this showed when he got the discipline letter and he said, “this is a reality check.” Balancing the new found freedoms with discipline is an issue many college-age people face. And sometimes we just need to help the balance a bit.

Lindsay – she’s a new addition to the show. She clearly likes Max, and has hung out with him quite a bit. The lack of lines drawn in this relationship keeps it from being a “Facebook status” one. This just simply means they’re not willing to go completely public yet. Max recently broke up with his girlfriend of 3 years and this is causing some issues for her – she’s very insecure. This showed when she was decorating his room for his birthday, asking his roommate all sorts of questions. She wants answers from him and at one point goes into the shower room while he’s showering to ask her where they are in their relationship. She keeps calling him and eventually he breaks it off. But, we’ll begin to see more of the complexities to college-age life when he starts calling her again next week!

College-age Stage Insights: This yet again shows us the complexities in dating. The lack of boundaries in relationships during college life is a real issue. In fact at one point Lindsay talks about hating “gray” areas in relationships. This is why in our college ministries the topic of relationships is so vital to teach through! It’s interesting to remember that these are the things those in our ministries go through everyday, because these are the areas they rarely let us into.

Tenth Avenue North won the New Artist of the Year award this year at the Dove Awards. I’ve mentioned them to you a few times before. But, watch their acceptance of this award and it will show their heart. Wonderful.

Regional Update

 —  May 4, 2009 — 2 Comments

Last week I was horrible about blogging – just got too busy. But I’ve gotten a few emails asking about how the CollegeLeader Regional went. So, here’s a few things about it and highlights for me:

  1. There were about 90 leaders, from all over the country, and even a couple people from Canada.
  2. There was one senior pastor that attended the whole thing. That was great!! I actually had dinner with him. Great to see a senior pastor that has a heart for college – age people to be connected.
  3. We did 3 seminars: Understanding the Ministry and People / College-age Pursuits: identity, intimacy, meaning, pleasure, truth / Teaching and Discipleship Philosophy
  4. I also added a couple other things in there – assimilating people into the life of our churches and talked about how/why our traditional approach to connecting college-age people connected to our churches isn’t working.
  5. A real highlight was that I was able to hand out free downloadable copies of my new book, “College Ministry 101: a guide to working with 18-25 year olds
  6. The real highlight was talking with people who love college students. There were so many people that love them and want to do all they can to reach and disciple them! That’s fun stuff.

picture-3I contributed to a book called, “Think Orange” by Reggie Joiner that just released last week. I have a lot of respect for Reggie and am writing a book with him right now that will be out next spring. If you don’t know, Reggie helped start NorthPoint Church outside Atlanta with Andy Stanley and now runs reThink. I, along with others like Donald Miller, Andy Stanley, and many others contributed thoughts to this. It proposes a strategy to connecting the church and family. It’s unique and insightful. In college ministry we have to understand how the family fits in with our ministry. This book can give you an overall picture that can be a great help to you!

Here’s a bit about the book…

“What if the primary mission of the church is not to help the family, and the number one priority of the family is not to go to church?

What if they are both designed to work together to show a generation who God is?


Two combined influences can make a greater impact than just two influences. The church leaders who think Orange make radical changes so they can…

• Engage parents in an integrated strategy
• Synchronize the home and church around a clear message
• Provoke parents and kids to fight for their relationship with each other
• Recruit mentors to become partners with families
• Mobilize the next generation to be the church

When you think Orange, you rethink the way you do ministry for children and teenagers.”

Anyway, if you’re interested in seeing more or to purchase click here.

Day in Atlanta

 —  April 28, 2009 — Leave a comment

This morning I woke up – after a horrible night of sleep – had breakfast and then worked on my seminar for tomorrow. But, then I’ve had the chance to meet with some people in college ministry – which is what I love.

joshuaI had lunch with Joshua Harrelson. If he looks familiar it’s likely because you’ve seen him in your city working with Passion tours. He’s a great guy, devoted to college ministry, and we’ve been discussing a potential role with him at CollegeLeader. Fun conversation, but more than that, I’ve appreciated a new friendship with him.

I had a turkey club sandwich…with bacon. Was good, but the chips were horrible. But, the best part about the lunch was they had free ice cream. My type of place.

bradAfter lunch I walked over to NorthPoint’s Buckhead campus to meet with my friend Brad Horton. He’s the college pastor for NorthPoint. Great guy. Sorry for the blurry picture – he moved and then wouldn’t let me take another picture. Lame. We sat and talked with him and another college ministry leader named Rob McDowell. We had a great conversation about ministry and life. It was the first time I met Rob (sorry, forgot to take pic). Brad and I connect pretty much every time I’m in Atlanta, and every time we’re done I immediately look forward to the next time.

coffeeThere was an interesting thing I ran into, and just had to try. The most high tech coffee maker I’ve ever seen. Ok, maybe it’s because I haven’t seen a lot or something, but this thing was amazing. The bag of coffee has a filter in it. You place the whole bag in the coffee maker, push how you’d like it on the digital screen (mild, medium, strong) and then it makes it to your taste. The coffee comes out into your cup (obviously), and then the coffee maker disposes of the bag for you. Holy cow. That alone was worth trying it, but the coffee was actually really good too.

Now, off to dinner with another friend before heading north to the Gwinnett Arena for tomorrow’s seminar.

Arrived in Atlanta

 —  April 27, 2009 — 1 Comment

Sorry for the lack of a post today – it was a travel day. I’m finally here in Atlanta though, and excited for the days to come. I landed today at 4:20pm EST, and met with a volunteer college ministry leader for dinner at 5:15! Why waste time? I’m looking forward to many more connections like this throughout the week, for sure.

Tomorrow I’m connecting with 3 more people in college ministry near the downtown area before heading north to Gwinnett Arena for Wednesdays training day. By the way, you can still register for this if you’d like. Click here for the info.

I will update with photos throughout the week of my time here, some people I connect with, and some lessons learned.