One of the more common “creative” methods I see used is that of the panel discussion. Panel discussions have the potential to be very good, but they also possess the greatest danger (well, next to mime perhaps) of being a big flop if done poorly. They make me nervous because I know the preparation necessary to make them work.
I’ve recommitted myself to a rule of practice: Speaking my talks out loud before I speak in public. It’s a discipline that I saw my dad, a pastor, do every Saturday as he “practice-preached” to the garden plants while he weeded or he went over to the church to preach to the pews. So, early in my ministry days I took on that practice as well and found it very helpful.
I was happy to have my good friend, author, and colleague Jim Hampton (from Asbury Theological Seminary) on the YS Roundtable show. Jim had many years of experience in the local church before stepping into denominational leadership and then the seminary classroom. He can tell stories from the trenches of youth ministry! And his experience of working with senior pastors prompted him to conduct a nationwide study on that and related topics about being a youth pastor. In this episode, he shares a few of those findings and insights.
I was watching The Voice on NBC last week and found myself really enjoying it and laughing a lot, not as common when watching TV these days. I thought, “Why am I laughing so much?” Then it hit me that I was captivated by how much fun the four judges were having together and how much they seemed to be enjoying each other. Most reality shows feature arguing since producers think conflict and snippy judges make for interesting TV. This year Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and new judges Usher and Shakira (who is other-worldly popular among the four judges, illustrated by her 20+ million Twitter followers) really like each other – and you could tell it. It was like a bright light on TV and Twitter lit up about how much fun it was to watch the show because of the fun the judges were having together.
Think about why the YOUTH MINISTRY GARAGE video show is so popular among youth workers. It’s not the content that we’re drawn to (just don’t tell the hosts that) as we watch Doug, Josh, Katie and Matt interact with each other. Maybe we like that they answer questions and interact with the audience. But, I think we’re drawn to them as a group because they like each other (as far as we know, at least). We watch it to be encouraged by that, we laugh with (and at) them, and we are drawn into their world. And because of that, many of us feel encouraged and like we can continue on for another month in youth work. read more…
Ran across this video (thanks Jalysa Smith) this past week as we’ve been discussing the church, modernity, and how consumerism has shaped ecclesiology in our senior seminar class that I teach. One of the comments on the video says, “I miss the church. I hope it’s rediscovered in my life time.” My take is that things are better than this video portrays. We’re experimenting with ways to connect well, to build community, to reach out, and to speak to the times. And I love those initiatives. So, I’m positive about the church and its efforts, and deeply committed to it.
However, there are some potential fundamental problems if we’re not careful moving forward – and this video illustrates them. First, consumerism often (sometimes unknowingly) drives decision-making, even leadership decisions. We choose leaders or programs or content based on attraction potential, finances, and marketing. Of course, church attenders do the same and look for a church service that “appeals” to us. And, if we don’t like it someday, we’ll go to a church that does.
I took David home from youth group; he needed a ride to his home and he lived about as far west from the church as anyone in my student ministry. I gladly obliged, happy to get 20 minutes of time with David who had just recently started attending, but was having difficulty connecting with other students in the youth group. As I pulled up to his rural home, I discovered one of the contributing factors: David came from a very unique family situation. I won’t get into why it was “unique,” but as he invited me into this home and I met his parents and saw where he lived, I learned so much about David, many things that couldn’t be discerned from just watching him. And that invitation into his home built a bond and a level of trust between us too. From that forward, David and I remained connected and my ministry with him was more fruitful because of that trust level.