This is a guest post from my friend and author of the new book Reimagining Young Adult Ministry, Scott Pontier. Reimagining Young Adult Ministry By Scott Pontier I knew this student who planted a church, almost on accident. He had gotten so connected at our church that, when he left to go back to school after a semester at home, he was sad to leave us behind. "There just aren’t any churches near campus that fit well for us college students," he said. His mom graciously offered to sit in the front row with a laptop and Skype him in every Sunday morning. But then we had an even better idea. Reimagining "What if..." we thought. What if, instead of mom with a laptop, we set up a camera and tried to live stream the service? What if, instead of doing this just for you, we invited students from your campus? What if, instead of our church just doing something for you, we helped you build a ministry that would reach your friends. And that’s what we started doing. What happened next A semester later, he had a leadership team and 60+ college students who would reserve a lecture hall on Sunday mornings. They would eat bagels, drink coffee, lead worship together and tune in to our sermon. Parents and grandparents visiting for the weekend would join the group for worship. Still-hung-over students would get invited out of bed by friends and join the group for worship. That was the beginning of a new, unexpected, expression of our church. It was also the beginning of a book, "Reimagining Young Adult Ministry: A Guidebook for the Ordinary Church." New ways of thinking I happened to find myself working with an unexpectedly high ratio of college students and 20-somethings in that particular church. As I stumbled from happy accident to unexpected success, and finally to complete failure, I began to notice new ways of thinking about young adult ministry. And I noticed the methods that the churches who were succeeding with Millennials were utilizing. I say "new ways of thinking" because, by and large, churches across the country are still trying the same things in their work with college students and young adults. At the same time, churches everywhere are finding little to no success utilizing these methods. Reimagining Young Adult Ministry So Mark Devries and I set out to capture some of these mistakes. And one of the things we realized was that most of them actually look like success when in the beginning. But, those "successes" can lead you down the road of missing the mark, like "starting a program for young adults" and "asking the youth director to run it." We began to identify and clarify the new ways of thinking with young adults that can get churches moving in the right direction. Not just cool churches that have the corner on the market of hipster worship or Ted talk preaching, but every single church who wants to make an impact with young adults. Even the old churches. Even the out-of-touch churches. Even your church. Most of the conversation in blogs, books, podcasts and in the pews around young adults and the church would tell you that it’s a lost cause. But we don’t think so. We think the church is on the verge of reimagining its mission to work with the next generation to change the world. And maybe this book might just be the tip of the iceberg for the impact your church can make. SPECIAL BONUS: Right now you can download the Study Guide for free!
I do not pledge allegiance to the flag. I do not sing the national anthem. I do not stand. Many who are reading this (if you made it past the opening three sentences) have already judged my motives, political positions and character. That is ok but I ask you to continue to read on. I remember the first time I decided to not stand for the national anthem. It was 2003 and the MLB season had just started. I was at an Atlanta Braves game with some friends and a booming voice came across the intercom, “Everyone please rise and remove your caps for the playing of the national anthem.” I did not budge. I sat there. There were stares, a couple of sideways glances and obvious disappointment on the face of a man a few seats down from me. It was the beginning of the Iraq war. We were in the middle of a campaign of shock and awe that was decimating a city and destroying thousands of innocent lives. It was a campaign on the grandest scale, and it was built on lies. At the time, I was a seminary student and did not believe the war was just. I was working my way through ideas of peacemaking and pacifism that would eventually lead me to believe that all violence was evil and could not be supported by a follower of Jesus. There I sat. Today I sit for many other reasons. I support my friends and those in the public eye as they make a much more difficult choice than I had to make almost 15 years ago. I support those who kneel and protest an unjust system of racism, violence, brutality and hatred. I refuse, however, to stand and pledge for another reason. I do not stand and pledge my allegiance because I am a Christian. …
The world is a hard and sometimes unforgiving place. When things feel especially tense, like now, it is easy to only focus on the problems, the hardships and the most immediate fire. While this is good and we must focus on the work at hand, we cannot forget the beauty that surrounds us. There is magic all around and we must be just as disciplined in finding and discovering it as we are pushing against and solving the ills of the world. We cannot merely survive, we have to be people who thrive, people of beauty, poetry and song. This episode is about just those things. Click Here to Listen on Sound Cloud Click Here to Listen on iTunes
The world is crazy. Literally it is crazy right now. Many people of faith have felt like the past 8 years have been a time of hope, progress, inspiration and change. Yet, now, we seem to be in a time of regress, fear, uncertainty and confusion. The sky looks as if it is on fire. But that is when we as people of faith were made to shine. When we go through our history and even back to our founding as a faith we find that the one of our core identities as a movement is a movement of resistance. So, when the sky is on fire, the world is ours.... Click Here to Listen on Sound Cloud Click Here to Listen on iTunes
Are you afraid of change? Does anxiety and fear well up inside of you when you hear the word innovation? What if you could see change, a changing world, a changing life in a whole different way? What if you saw the world through the lens of possibility and what if instead of it creating anxiety and fear it gave your live a whole new meaning? Check out today's podcast for some thoughts on how you can do just that! Click Here to Listen on Sound Cloud Click Here to Listen on iTunes
We all live in an emotionally turbulent world. There is so much anxiety, fear and ambiguity in the air that it is palpable. Most of us let that emotion drive us, toss us around and effect us in such ways that it becomes the primary influencer for what we do and how we ourselves act and react. There is a better way. Today on the podcast I discuss this, tell a couple of fun stories and give you the tools to live a life that is vibrant, exciting and that ultimately lives into a broader more beautiful narrative. Click Here to Listen on Sound Cloud Click Here to Listen on iTunes