At this point the lights have been taken down, the giant bean bags are no longer lounged upon and everyone, speakers to participants, are somewhere else.  What was is now no longer.  The theme this year was Beyond, and I think YS did an incredible job of collectively moving each of us beyond our comfort and into God’s ever forward movement.  I experienced a recognition that what we can grasp can never grasp our God, what we can reason can never fully understand God’s expanse. I heard the humbling yet hopeful message that our God is a God that we can know but only through glimpses, our own and the glimpses of others.

At NYWC15 we were shown the glimpses of others, others we may have not heard before.

Glimpses form scientists and ministers, from LGBT and straight, from minority and majority, from the close and from the other.

If nothing else comes from this incredible time of worship, learning and community I hope that we will each take away that our greatest understanding and our greatest knowledge is but a glimpse.  A holy, courageously flawed and beautifully incomplete glimpse.

One of the beauties of this conference is that we have, for a few short days, the opportunity see the glimpses that others see and subsequently know our God and our neighbor in greater and more holistic ways.

My hope is that we will continue to go Beyond our understandings of our God, listen to the stories and see the glimpses of others.  My prayer is that what happened in Louisville… will not stay in Louisville.

Go Beyond.

Dr. Andrew Zirschky

New Book- Beyond the Screen: Youth Ministry for the Connected But Alone Generation

Relational youth ministry is thinking about teenagers having relationships with one another and how to have relationships with one another and the whole body of Christ

We are called to live out of an alternative Operating System

We will cover

  1. Meaning of Social Media
  2. Networked Individualism
  3. Koinonia
  4. Relational Practices
The Meaning of Social Media

Continue Reading…

Deb Hirsch and Brandon Winstead

Deb Hirsch

Our hearts are profoundly alienated from those who are not like us

We are called to connect with the other

I am a person with a message to bring to the world but first I am called to listen and try to understand the other

Our personal narrative is profoundly important because it has informed our perception of the other.  There is an even deeper scripting that shapes our understanding of the other and that is the fall.  In the fall there was a disconnect between us and God and a disconnect between humanity.

Your heart is alienated, every human heart is alienated. Continue Reading…

Trey Grant, Kathy Khang, Mark Matlock, Karen McKinney, Latasha Morrison, Ginny Olson, James White

Culture vs Kingdom

White Fragility- When white people realize that their race actually matters and that race is now causing a self realization and causing a defensiveness because for the first time our race is being recognized in a non dominant way.

Dr. Soong Chan Rah

Less than 8% of churches in the US are integrated (80%-20%)

By 2008 1/3 of Americans are of non European descent

We are experiencing a massive change over into a new multi-cultural reality

The other half of the decline of christianity in America is that there is a massive amount of growth in the immigrant, spanish speaking and other minority churches

Schools are 6x’s more integrated than the local church

Youth see integration at school and segregation at church

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.-Revelation 7:9

Continue Reading…

So,yesterday, I posted the live blog of the Faith, Science and Adolescence in Youth Ministry session at #NYWC15.  After sitting with this session there is something I think we need to recognize above and beyond the content of the actual session.  The session had 6-7 speakers talking about and responding to the conversation of faith and science. It was informative, passionate and well done. But more importantly, it modeled what we have to have from the church at large: dialogue, cooperation and respect.

There was no mudslinging, angry rhetoric or soundbite laced diatribes.  It was honest, vulnerable and full of grace.

It was a conversation full of conviction, passion, belief and well reasoned content.  It was not benign, it was a conversation from the middle, not from the poles.

In a culture where conversations are framed from the angry speaking heads, this sort of peaceful and respectful dialogue is revolutionary.

I hope that we as youth workers will not only walk away from the conversation with new challenges and ways to engage our students in the realms of science and faith but maybe even more so I hope that we will leave this conversation having seen a new (old) way to dialogue in the public sphere.  I hope we will leave seeing how it can be done and done well.  I hope we will leave committed to modeling for our churches and the rest of the world how beautiful Holy Conversations can really be and how to do them right.

Chris Elisara, Deb Haarsma, Dan Kimball, Leah Knight, Mark Matlock, Andrew Root

Deb Haarsma

When you see those very awkward teenagers asking the tough questions they might just end up being a scientist like me.

Over 100 Billion stars in the Milky Way, Psalm 19;1-2 David declaring the glory of God through the beauty of the galaxy.

Does knowing what the stars are and what they do negate this scripture or increase that sense of wonder and awe?

Just witinin a postage stamp section of the sky there are thousands of galaxies.  (if this does not mess you up you might want to check your pulse)

In one way this can make us feel very small, in other ways it can make us wonder at the created universe.

What is our place in this incredibly vast universe? Psalm 103:10-12 Instead of thinking about how small we are think about how Big God is Continue Reading…