The Greenhouse Project Pt 2: Context of Our Faith[26/52]

“Youth group” has to be more than field trips, game nights, sports tournaments to parade the token young people around the congregation.  When we solely focus on making church a fun and “relevant” (cool)  place for people to be, we miss the point. The church is relevant BECAUSE of its purpose. The Good News of Jesus Christ and how it can change lives is WHAT MAKES THE CHURCH IMPORTANT. The Gospel doesn’t need our help. The whole point of the church is to go and tell about Jesus. The church was never meant to be a building for Christians to exclude themselves from the world. Its original intention was always to be a launching point- sending people out as light into the darkness. So often, we see church( and youth group) as just another activity on our schedule.

It reminds me of the classic time management story of the rocks and the jar. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Educate yourself here. I used to love this analogy. I would remind myself “God needs to be the big rock, not sand.” Many of us strive for this to be true, and it’s a noble quest, but it is still missing the point. You see, God is NOT the big rocks, or the pebbles or the sand. God is meant to be the JAR. He is the context in which we filter the rest of our lives. Should this be sand or a pebble? Seek God. Is this a rock when it should be a pebble? Consult the jar. Everything in our life should be seen in the context of being a follower of Jesus. He isn’t just another activity. He is the Lord and Savior, and through Him we have life. Therefore, being a Christian isn’t just a thing we do, it should be our very identity that infiltrates the rest of our lives.

In the book, there are some really great tips and resources for someone who is just getting started in youth ministry. They give great perspectives on discipleship, organization, and leadership. If you know someone who feels led to youth ministry, this book is a great read for them. —

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The Greenhouse Project Part 1: Preparation not Permanent 25/52

Here’s another book that found me. It came as a free copy in a leader’s gift bag from some conference. The Greenhouse Project is about the cultural shift that needs to happen in modern day youth ministry.

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A greenhouse isn’t meant to protect a plant forever. It’s a temporary place of preparation for surviving in the elements. The church is not meant to be a building where we as believers hide and wait for Jesus’ return.  It’s meant to be a place where we gather to prepare ourselves to reach others for the sake of the Kingdom.
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Letting Go Of Plans.[24/52]

If you know me, you know I’m a planner. I may not always be organized, but I like lists, plans and goal settings. For people like me, it’s sometimes so incredibly difficult to let go of our plans. Earlier this summer, I made my list of how this was going to be the best summer I’ve had in a long time. 16 things I was going to do. This summer ended up completely different than I planned.  I was going to just ignore it. Pretend that post never even happened. Maybe even delete it and sneak a boring post in that no one would notice and that I’d hopefully forget was a replacement. However, reality is a thing, and hiding from it doesn’t change the truth.

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Villain Plays The Victim [23/52]

They see you a little too human,
A wolf dressed in Granny’s nightcap is still a wolf
Beyond the surface, the claws and teeth remain.

Cornered in the wolf’s den.
Screaming ‘til my throat is numb,
Countering every step to keep the space between us.
Doesn’t anyone hear me?
Isn’t anyone listening?
We can’t do anything unless the wolf attacks,
It’s not fair to the animal, they deserve second chances, too.
That’s all well and fine, and I’ll remind you when this happens to you.

When the wolf scratches her skin, and tears her limb from limb.
Wounds can heal, but there’s always scars.
Painful reminders of the time no one came through,
She cried for help, but what did you do?

We’ll scold the wolf, and reform his evil way.
A slap on the wrist, “be nice Mr. Wolf!
Now, go, and be on your way.”

Beneath the Surface [22/52]

This is another piece I wrote a few years back.

“Beneath the Surface”
The tinted glass, conceals the true contents.
Makeup for a building, to cover up the imperfections.
Never let them see you sweat.
Never let them know you’re human.

When did relating to the rest of humanity become a flaw?
Whose idea was it for the top of the self righteous pedestal to be our goal?

We build our stained glass towers,
To keep the world away.
Safe in our superficial steeple
While we watch the ivory fade to grey.

When did preserving our reputation become the priority?
How long do we think we can keep our facade in tact?

Our compulsive obsession to keep the dirt away.
Has given us a skewed version of clean.
We see the expensive fine made rug
But are afraid to see what’s swept beneath the surface.

Something a little different [21/52]

This summer has been all about getting back to things I used to love. One of those things is writing. Another one of those things is not being afraid of what others think/will say. The pieces I would call my better work have stemmed from some  heavier times. I never put them out there because I was afraid of the reaction they would get. Not any more. I’m getting back to being me, and that means honesty. This is something I wrote about 3-4 years ago.

“Suffocation”
Slowly, but surely,
I’m drowning.
The work. The demands. The expectations.
Why did I sign up for this?
Isn’t life more than this?

Never being done,
Barely getting by.
A little sleep, but never rest.

One thing after another.
How far can I stretch?
How long can this last?

The house of Truth.
Feeding into the lies.
Smothering that little flame inside.
Do they know what they do?
Do they even care?

They take credit for my good,
And blame me for their worst.
A momentary lapse of consideration,
leaves me stabbed once more.
Will I ever make it out?
Will I make it out alive?

You Must be THIS TALL to ride this ride. 20/52

This is my recap and response to a message that sunk DEEP into hurting places in my life. Inadequacy is something that haunts all of us. For some it may be more subtle, but it is definitely still there. There are few messages I’ve heard that create an “everyone I know needs to hear this” response. This is one of them. I was only there because I overslept and missed the service where I was going to go. Just so happened this was the day the youth and children’s pastors were giving the message.  Accidents just don’t exist. You can listen to the original message here.

At 28 years old, I am still only 5′ 1″. As you can imagine, I get plenty of short jokes. I’m the arm rest for tall friends. The Pastors also brought up the turmoil this sign created in their childhood, and as parents for their children.

this tall

This sign had the power to make or break any trip to an amusement park. As young children, we waited year after year until we would finally make the cutoff for all of the big kid rides. You knew your future of theme parks was set when you measured up to the height requirement sign. David in the Old Testament is no stranger to the agony of not measuring up.

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