Monday, November 20, 2006

A Beautiful Collision

Over the last several days I have been thinking a lot about the busy lives that we live. These lives are not bad lives. Many good things are being done -some even in the name of Jesus-but are good lives, that are busy, always the best lives to live? I want to put some questions out there to think about. On most days I have more questions about church and youth ministry than I do answers. I seek only answers as to how we might pursue Jesus more fully.

After all-He is the only Life there is to live!

Below are some things I have been thinking about along these lines.

For any students that may visit this blog I am wondering if I am on the right track or way off base?
I am wondering what role you dream "church" playing in your life?
I am wondering if you want to be discipled? I am curious if you are wanting more out of "church"? If so, what is it?
Do you feel that you being a "Christian" and going to "church" are just two more things that you do every day?

I would appreciate any honest insight you could give. No good church answers. It's time to be real. Email any of your friends that you think would be real and honest (even if they don't go to church with us at HCOC) this link.

Somehow we have begun to think of church as just "one more thing" that we have to do on Wednesday night or Sunday. Our lives are busy and it seems that we are involved in so much. School, friends, sports, band, family, God, updating our MySpace or Facebook, cleaning our new car, hanging out on the weekend, and on and on. The problem that I see with this list is that God is just another thing on it. It seems that maybe he should BE the list and everything else flow out of our need and longing to be with him.

I am in the process, as I regularly am, of evalauting what we are doing in youth ministry. In short, (I would love to elaborate later) it seems that Churches of Christ for many years have followed the model of youth ministry that "busy ministry means better ministry" I have come to believe that busy youth ministry only means you are busier.
Many churches from across the country have followed the model of "doing less with greater excellence"

I feel myself (and many CofC youth ministers I know) being drawn to this model of youth ministry rather than the one that we have always followed. When I really look at youth ministry in Huntsville I am not always sure we are not developing more disciples of Jesus because we go 90 to nothing all the time. Students still have there problems, parents are still getting divorced, church is still "boring" (as several studentshave put it to me recently), satan is still active and doing anything he can to pull students and adults away.

I am a product in jr. high and high school of a youth ministry that followed the busy is better model. So, we know it CAN work out okay but my question is why would we want to do this to people. We have to create a youth ministry that teaches students that youth ministry is a place where they are discipled, mentored, nurtured and loved and not where there calendar gets filled up with all kinds of events.

The hardest part of discipleship is that you have to take up your cross. Jesus even says in one place that to follow him some may have to sell ALL they have. That is not comfortable. That is not easy. The reality is that some students will not be attracted to Jesus in this way. Can we make them come? Maybe. Should we? Maybe for a time. But ultimately they are at the age of deciding, "Is this the life I want to pursue?" If the answer to that is YES then I don't think that you will be able to stop them from wanting to be wherever other Christ followers are going to be. They will be hungry for adults to care for and love them. Isn't this what Jesus' disciples were like? They wanted to be with him. They would have died for his cause and The Way. The truth is that there may be more value than we realize in small numbers. That is another trap that the "busy ministry means better ministry" model teaches. I have fallen victim too many times to count. But I would be willing to bet 9 out of 10 times better discipleship/mentoring/teaching is going to happen on when there are less people there. Coincidence? Maybe. I tend to think, however, that is not.


your's truly said...

this comment is in reply the question you asked, " you feel like going to church and being a christian are two more things to do during your day?" (thats not exactly what it said, but the same jist) i went ahead and came to answer this question before reading the remainder of the post so i'll likely be back later with something to say about the rest, but i felt that reading the rest of the post would sway my answer to this question. i think that church, and even christianity in general has become exactly what you're saying: another box to check on our daily schedule. sadly, i am no exeption, but i dont really think theres many christians out there that dont apply to this. christianity has become a part of life rather than a way of life. i know now that because of the point you made in posing that question, a new goal i can set for myself daily is living as a christian rather than looking like a christian. to anyone else that reads this post and reads my comments, doug and i both encourage you to take "being a christian" off the list, and putting it as the title of the list so taht rather than you schedule being "my day" change it to "my day with christ"

Doug Page said...

Bo-You make a great point. I especially am digging what you said about how following Christ has "become a part of life rather than a way of life." Figure out a way to get some more students to think about this question. I would love more feedback.

More important than feedback is that I would love to not settle for it being the way it is. I want to live above the standard. Christ is THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE. That doesn't change even if we put him in a box and only pull him out on Sunday and Wednesday.

Kyle Smith said...

I think part of the problem here is the form church has taken in America. We hire ministers to be with their specific targets, in your case the youth. Well what do they expect you to do with them?

Answer: Take them off, over there, and do youth activities.

My solution (off the top of my head at midnight) would be to completely restructure the form of church. Remember we should be striving for Function, not Form. Maybe instead of dividing everyone into their niche we should incorporate the teens into diverse groups where they can be challenged, given value, guided.

Maybe my idea is doesn't matter. What I think we, as a fellowship, lack is community. True community. Sorry for being random in my thoughts, I haven't found the right way to express them yet.