According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Youth Ministry Reframed

Scot McKnight
May 30, 2011
My travels around the USA give me opportunity to talk to lots of youth pastors, and something is changing. What is changing is that the same-old isn’t working as well, and youth pastors know they are the threshold of news ways for new days. What is perhaps most exciting to me is a desire for a more theological and biblical approach as these youth pastors are turning away from programs that are neither adaptable nor theological enough.
One of the youth pastors creating a new paradigm is Chris Folmsbee, and his new book is an exceptional example of what is happening: Story, Signs, and Sacred Rhythms: A Narrative Approach to Youth Ministry.
What are the major themes shaping youth ministry theology today? What are you seeing? Are you seeing any narrative approaches to youth ministry? Any missional approaches?

Before I go any farther, an observation: an increasing number of youth pastors see that instead of saving kids from secular culture or instead of protecting Christian children from the world, there is a desire to prepare them to think critically and to engage holistically in the culture. In other words, to use the words of Gabe Lyons, many youth pastors are intent on preparing young adults to be restorers.

Chris begins his book by sketching youth pastor/youth ministry discontents, including a need for a fresh approach, no more “plug and play,” no more isolated deconstruction, a desire to help students learn through discovery, a recognition of unique context (instead of one size fits all), a yearning for a solid model that has flexibility, and a desire to have a wiki-approach — to find the gems in each set of proposals to fashion their own.

What you will find in Chris Folmsbee’s book is no program; nor is it a set of what-tos or how-tos. Instead this is a narrative approach to the Bible’s Story, a story that shapes both identity and practices. In other words, this book is a Story-ified approach to reading the Bible for youth pastors so they can adapt and adopt this approach in their local context.

The book moves through five layers: revelation in Story, foundation in theology, implication in identity and calling, integration into a way of life, and application into behaviors and expressions. I told Chris this once over lunch: if youth pastors are thinking like him, we are in great shape. Doing biblical theology through the lens of Story and letting that story shape our Identity so that our behaviors are transformed … just love it. The book is theologically alert and filled with graphics and ideas that will give every youth pastor plenty of suggestions … suggestions that can be adaptable to local contexts.

Yes, Chris and I, along with Syler Thomas, co-wrote The Jesus Creed for Students: Loving God, Loving Others.

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