New Site

•March 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’ll be posting here now:


Religion, Sex and Teenagers

•November 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

An interesting read.  Check it out.

I am a hypocrite.

•November 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Yup.  I know the problems.  I talk the talk.  But I don’t do jack.

The Bailout and Bono

•October 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Wow.  This sure makes me think.

Bono on the Bailout

What does it say about us as Americans?

The Youth Ministry Industry

•October 17, 2008 • 1 Comment

Last week was the Youth Specialties annual conference in Sacramento.  Youth pastors from all across the country convened to talk about what it means to walk with students as they figure out their spirituality.  I didn’t attend, but thousands of others did.

You see, youth ministry is big business.  I get stuff in the mail (in e-mail) almost every day–an add for the latest book on youth ministry methods, a new retreat, or mission trip, or method.  Sometimes they’re selling a video series, or a new way to use secular media to connect with youth, or all kinds of stuff.

It all almost immediately finds its way to my recycle bin.

But it’s got me thinking–youth ministry is a big business!  A lot of people and a lot of organizations have a lot of time and money devoted to the business.  So I’ve been asking myself what it is that keeps this big business alive.

I think we’re looking for easy answers, for quick fixes.  We’re looking for the newest method or program or game that will convince teenagers that it’s “cool” to go to church.  We’re looking for the secret outreach technique (available for only $119.99!) that will result in youth pounding down the doors of our churches.  We’re looking for the easy way to boost attendance, to get the youth committee off of our backs, for any number of things.

I don’t think that youth are fooled, however.  They’re not idiots, and frankly, most of them are not interested in what the church is selling these days.  I don’t think they care so much about crazy games or hip music or applicable dvd lessons or exotic trips.

I think youth ministry, at its best (and I am by no means there…) is much simpler than all of that.  I don’t need a book to tell me that teenagers want what the rest of us want–community.  I don’t need a conference or membership to some organization to know that we live in an increasingly connected world but that all this connectivity has really only led to shallow relationships, and that teenagers want what we all want–meaningful connections.  A place to know and be known.  It doesn’t matter if there are 100 kids or 5 present.  Hip programs can never replace a hamburger at in-n-out.  Huge outreaches can never replace someone interested in their life and their friends.  Great dvd teaching can never replace Bible study and prayer with people they know and trust.  

I am under no illusions that I can single-handedly directly influence the lives of hundreds of teenagers every week.  Maybe other youth pastors can.  But hey–if I build a meaningful relationship with 10 kids, and walk with them as they follow Jesus, then they might do the same with a few of their friends.  Who might do the same with a few of their friends.  That’s discipleship.  It’s simple–it doesn’t require the newest books or methods or programs–just an investment into a person.

The Election is Driving Me Crazy

•October 3, 2008 • 1 Comment

Yup, I’m going there.

The election (all of it–the candidates, the coverage, the constant talk) is driving me crazy.  I think I have managed to figure out 3 main reasons why the political season drives me insane.

1) I am totally all over the board when it comes to politics.

2) I HATE being stereotypical in this kind of thing.

3) My extreme cynicism.


First, I am so all over the board that I fit into no categories, and I certainly don’t fit into any political party.  I am pro-life but against the death penalty.  I think the government should help out those in need, but I think it should happen at the local level.  I think all war is bad and should be avoided, but I am not opposed to intervention in certain situations.  Agh, I dunno.

Second: I refuse to be just another evangelical voting for the Republican ticket.  I also refuse to drink the kool-aid it seems like everyone under the age of 30 is drinking in regards to Obama.  AND, I hate the idea of being a single-issue voter.

Thirdly, I hate politics.  4 years ago actually wrote in myself, because Kerry struck me as a skeezy politician and Bush struck me as an idiot.  Not that I am in any way qualified (I am not even old enough, according to the Constitution), but I don’t fell any better about the candidates this time around.

Agh, who am I kidding.  I just don’t like politics.  Well, that ad the fact that I flip-flop worse than Kerry and Romney put together.  Maybe it wouldn’t be such a problem if only I could make up my mind…

Word on the street…

•September 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Is that the emerging church is dead.

I have spent a significant amount of time in the last few years reading about the emerging church, talking with people…and I must say that a lot of it has resonated with me.  What has bothered me is that many of the emerging churches aren’t growing, and aren’t seeing conversions.

And so I have great hope about this new network, because I really like Kimball and MacManus and McKnight, and I love the idea of re-emphasizing evangelism.

Of course, if we are referring to the way Scott McKnight defines emerging, I think I am very much a fan:

“Emerging is bigger than “emergent,” the latter referring in the USA almost exclusively to Emergent Village. The word “emerging” refers to the worldwide, grass-roots level yearning for deeper connections to the church, to expansive ways of becoming missional and evangelistic, and to broader embracings of those in the universal Church. The emerging movement is alive and well, whether you want to call it “emerging” or not.”

I hope this movement, which some call missional (which also means all kinds of things to different people) is alive and kicking, because it is a call that I find very compelling–a call to live missionally, to figure out new ways to evangelize, and to a broader ecumenism.

Great article on it all at Jesus Creed.  Check it here.