Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oprah's Spirituality

Fortunately, not too many teens watch Oprah. Here is her audience's demographic.
I shouldn't be surprised at how Oprah is pushing her spiritual views as gospel truth. Here's one of the compilations of her "religion" on You Tube.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Spiritual Obfuscation: No Clear Way to Heaven

Scot McKnight, whom I deeply respect, posted a letter from a youth pastor who actually believes the Pomo drivel . He had no clear answer to an elder's simple question, "How do I get to Heaven?"
One question: What the HECK?
  • What's wrong with just guiding a kid to any choice of dozens of passages regarding salvation and clearly telling him Repent and Believe?
  • We've got enough confused teens. Why unnecessarily confuse them spiritually?
  • What happened to the simplicity of childlike faith?
Scan the comments on McKnight's post and you'll see Tony Jones writing, "Tell him that 15 year olds don’t ask questions like that. And tell him that you won’t answer hypothetical questions. Then ask him if he’s projecting, and it’s actually *he* who wants to know how to get to heaven."
A sophomore guy prayed with me to receive Christ last Friday. I'm not naive enough to think that he understood everything. I don't know how much his will was bent toward Jesus. I don't know if he was 50% or 100% sincere. But I do know that if he genuinely repented and believed in Jesus he is heaven bound.
I care too much for kids to confuse them with what Jesus came to clarify.
By the way, if 15 year old kids aren't asking this question, they need to be. Their eternal destiny isn't something to screw around with.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Thomas Egg Roll Competition 2008

Some family traditions have staying power. We've been doing our Easter Egg Roll competition for about 30 years; most of those years with the Brannans. All ages enjoy it!
How do you do an Easter Egg Roll competition? Four Easy steps:
  1. Pick your own hard boiled egg.
  2. Roll it at your opponents egg on the count of three.
  3. Repeat #2 until a piece of shell falls off of one of the eggs.
  4. The winner gets to move up to the next round.
Of course trash talk starts heating up weeks in advance (so much for Lent). We create competition brackets on a poster, lay down dark bath towels on our dining room table, unfurl the Easter table cloth that everyone signs each year, and we provide prizes for the winner.
The Finale? We take our cracked eggs outside, lay the winners egg on the ground and we pelt the SNOT out of the winning egg until it is demolished! Sweet Revenge!
Phil Young, engaged to a Thomas opponent Jackie Brannan, won the competition for the 2nd year in a row! For you novices, this has Never happened before in the history of the Egg Roll competition. I think Phil is a RINGER, so I'm appealing this "win" to Doug Lewis, Chairman of the International Rules Committee in Cameroon, West Africa. Doug is a missionary and past participant in our Egg Roll.
Rules that apply:
NO Juiced eggs allowed.
No altered eggs allowed.
Handle opponents' eggs gently.
I'll post a video in another post when You Tube isn't down for maintenance.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Karl Rove on Barack and Hillary

Okay, I'll try to stop the politically oriented posts after this one. My daughter Shannon sent me this insightful interview of political strategist Karl Rove. It's good enough to share with an Obama supporter.
By the way, whether or not I agree with him, I learn so much from the way Karl Rove thinks. How can insightful analysis like this be applied to ministry?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What Do You See As Important Qualities of a Youth Pastor?

The second question asked of students who used to be in our youth ministry was, "What do you see as important qualities of a Youth Pastor?" Here are some of the responses...
  • Hair. (very funny)
  • Relational Skills, by far! Hands down having relational skills as a youth pastor is insanely important. That's how kids can tell if you care about them and that's how they rate a person. Beyond that, being able to teach/being a good communicator would be a really great quality along side relational skills. Genuine, If they're not genuine kids will see right through em. And of course, an all encompassing heart for the Lord. Someone who has the conviction that God has given him the skills and talents to work with youth and someone who has the conviction that he can make and will make an impact of the generations to come. He's gotta believe that this is what he's supposed to be doing. -- Kyle (very WISE answers. I wonder who your dad is?)
  • ...he really takes the time to get to know people and sincerely cares about each and every one of them. Also, someone who is easily approachable, not judging, but readily open to hear about our personal problems. -- Joanna
  • I think it's important to be able to relate with the kids- to deeply care about them and to be able to ask questions and show their love for them. It's important to have good leadership skills and be encouraging; to build leadership up within the youth. -- Anna
  • I think he needs to have high goals and the ability to express the goals to others in a way that will excite them to the same end. A good sense of humor but knows when to be serious and when he must lay down the law. -- Evan
  • They need to be a people person. [Our youth leader] would ALWAYS come say hi to me. Back in [Jr. High], [he] would always make sure that my friends and I got involved with the activities and the other kids. They must be more concerned with connecting with individuals than having tons and tons of kids showing up. -- Allie
  • ...very good relational skills, but also for the students to really have a lot of respect for the youth pastor. If I didn't respect who was talking, I didn't listen much. -- Lydia
  • RELATIONAL SKILLS!!! No one is going to listen to or care what a youth leader has to say if they don't have any relational skills. -- Rachel
  • Teaching skills- very important, communication skills, energy-charisma, relational skills, maturity in leadership, creativity. -- Bri
  • ...someone who has a vision to help the youth group grow and mature in their walks with the Lord, but I feel it's really important to be able to impact the group serving. -- Kasey
  • Obviously leadership is a very important quality as well as teaching, but I think a youth pastor absolutely MUST has good relational skills. As far as high schoolers go, a pastor could have the greatest sermon in the world but if he doesn't ever talk with them, only at them, and doesn't get involved in their lives to show them his interested and that they truly matter to him, they're not going to care or listen. The leaders that are most effective go out of their ways to level with students, try and talk to them individually, and make time for them. And also he can't have favorites, that will be the number one thing that will turn people away from him- he HAS to treat everyone equally. -- Anne
  • ...leadership, teaching, passion for the kids, passion to make disciples. -- Emily
  • The most important quality has to be his love for God. It has to show, the students have to be able to see that fairly quickly. Second, the pastor has to have a heart for students and be willing to serve them. Another important quality is integrity in what he says and does. He's got to know where God is leading the ministry and if there are a ny obstacles in the way. -- Augusto