For the last two years I served as co-editor for GLOBAL YOUTH MINISTRY, a book that champions the dynamic development of Christian youth ministry around the globe. Written by a representative group of veteran youth ministry leaders, the resulting text is a fascinating read, a bird’s eye view of various cultural contexts and the concerns of youth ministry leaders in those regions.
One of the first champions for global youth ministry in North America was Randy Smith, founder of Youth Ministry International. Randy challenged North American youth pastors to consider international youth ministry, arguing that 97% of the world’s formally-trained youth workers ministered to 3% of the global youth population. That statistic changed dramatically over the last 15 years (and it’s difficult to measure, as we discovered) as numerous international colleges, universities, seminaries, mission agencies, and training institutes have set out to address the needs of youth in their regions through the development of youth ministry and practical theology degree programs.
I got my start in writing/publishing when I covered minor league baseball for 10 years as a freelance writer and then under contract with Ron Shandler at BaseballHQ. I love baseball and enjoyed the opportunity to travel and write my passion. I got to see Roy Halladay pitch at Double-A baseball, hear Albert Pujols smack line drives off the outfield wallas an unknown coming into the Arizona Fall League, sit and talk baseball with Bobby Valentine and other managers, and visit some of the great (and historic) minor league baseball parks around the country.
When I scouted a game, I would spend much of my time talking with coaches, managers, scouts, and media personnel to learn from those who had seen many players over a long period of time. Many of these coaches weren’t that good of baseball players themselves. Some of the greatest managers in history had dismal success at the major league level.
Snow is falling here and it’s starting to look and feel like Christmas. I like snow for about 6 weeks, but unfortunately we get it for about 3 months. Still manageable, just don’t tell that to me come March when it should be warm and sunny.
Bethel College’s PR department walked around campus this week and captured some of us sharing a Christmas memory on video. Thought I’d post it here to inspire you. For some reason. Not sure what. But…. be inspired.
The last few weeks have been a bit harried as we close the books on another semester at the college, the Christmas season approaches, and we dive into the final edits on GLOBAL YOUTH MINISTRY. Oh, add in an academic paper presentation and I feel like I’ve just been keeping plates spinning ’round. A bit like this guy:
A few years ago I attended an international youth ministry conference in the southern hemisphere and spent time with Moi Navarro and his band. I was very impressed with Moi’s ability to sing, lead, connect, and minister – he has the X factor for sure. Why he’s not more mainstream I have no clue. So, on this Friday, I introduce you to Moi:
I work with leaders from a wide range of experience levels. Some have reached the top in their field, worthy of a “lifetime achievement award” or its equivalent. But, I have witnessed a repeated phenomenon I first heard characterized on the Scott Van Pelt show on ESPN radio. Scott commented on the ongoing struggles of an NFL star quarterback to end his career well and added, “The dismount from the top is never graceful.”
Too often, those who are used to success, to being in charge, and being in the limelight have difficult finishing well. These leaders, and their board of directors, haven’t thought about next steps, maybe an exit plan, a succession strategy, or even had the more difficult discussion that their own preferences impede an organization’s ability to move forward.
Hey, for your Friday fun, I’m going to pull back the curtain on a subculture of Christian music within the US. Arguably, the 1980s were the heyday of wide-ranging Christian music… before it became more commercialized and worship music took over from more “unique” expressions. On of my favorite bands was Daniel Amos and their 1985 concert at the Cornerstone Music Festival was one of the most, well, uh “energetic.” I found a rough video from that night on YouTube and I’ll let you be the judge. It’s too bad you can’t hear the words better, but the ENTIRE place was dancing, singing, and sweating. It was amazing. What I love about DA (as they’re now called) is their philosophical moorings and good prose (not evident in this more “fun” song).