Category Archives: Theology

A Liturgical Experiment…Sodalitas

It’s a new year and I’ve been spending much time thinking about community, or more specifically spiritual community. What does is mean? What does it look like? How is it formed? These questions keep me up at night and the answer that I found is really not an answer but in fact an idea; a concept. It’s liturgy.

Since I was a boy, I’ve always been fascinated by old things, especially medieval things. There’s something whimsical and wondrous about the simplicity of the middle ages. This is where I’ve found the concept of liturgy. Although liturgy is not specifically a product of the middle ages, it it was practiced and experimented with during that time. Your probably asking “what does liturgy mean?” Good question.

Liturgy comes from the Greek word leitourgia meaning “public worship.” As I study more and more about community this concept of liturgy seems to surface. Not to mention as I remember the things that made me smile as I studied medieval history as a boy, it was the liturgical elements of the medieval church that fascinated me. Nonetheless, it was community that brought this concept to whole new level.

People gather to worship God in public places. The structure of how this is done varies from denomination to denomination. Some see the concept of liturgy to be a terrible thing, but I ask the question; why? Why is worshiping Jesus with kneeling and meditative prayers a horrible thing? Is it because Catholics do it? Why is doing the sign of the Cross a terrible thing? Does it not remind you of what Christ did on the cross? Why is responsive readings rendered obsolete, yet we still sings songs written from the 1990’s, even 1800’s?

Where am I going with this?

I’m proposing an experiment. I want to create a small community of Christ followers that would want to meet once a week and worship using the old ways. The more I study the early church the more excited I get about the local church, even more so this experiment.  I got this book Common Prayer: A liturgy for ordinary radicals and it’s intriguing and inspiring. This is not to replace the local church, it’s sort of a creative bible study if you will, some would even go as far as to call it a “bible study for hipsters.” We will meet to sing songs, recite responsive readings, take part in morning/midday/evening prayers and meditate over God’s word. The goal of this experiment is grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus Christ and create community, nothing else. Again, this is a bible study, not a new church! We are not trying to be Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, or even Protestant. We just trying to be authentic followers of Jesus Christ while using the imagination and creativity that He (Jesus) gave us. If you are wanting to participate in this experiment please fill out the form and I’ll contact you.

{Please note: this experiment is intended for those living in or around Yucaipa, Ca.}

Soli Deo Gloria!

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Simple Ministry…Simply Stated

This a great article for those who want to be radical in their faith, whereas living missionally is part of one’s DNA.

Does God Exist?

This is an incredible video!

Revisting Relational Youth Ministry: A Review

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As a youth pastor I always try and get my hands on the current youth ministry book that’s out.  Within the last six months I have read a plethora of youth ministry books, and what I’ve come to realize is that they all sound the same.  Maybe a different perspective, sure, but in the end the concepts and principles are the same; just repackaged. I’ve slowly developed an appetite for this type youth ministry quick fix books. Though what I was really looking for was a foundational outlook on ministry, more specifically relational ministry…something more academic and less program driven

Then I found Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry by Andrew Root.

This book was (is) absolutely amazing.  Academic yet functional. Simplistic yet comprehensive.  The book is divided into two parts.  Part one focuses on the birthplace of youth ministry and where its been, where its is, and where its going, while giving thought into the social implications.  The part two focuses on Christ and his role in a relational ministry.  Let’s face it, without him there’s no reason for youth ministry.  However, how we do ministry is a different story.

As RRYM progresses through a vast field of what it means to be relational, Root looks at the adolescent mind to find the cause of why they do the things they do (you know…the stupid things teens do).  He brings to light the importance of being relational as a why of communicating God from a life on life application. But why is this important. Root explains that Christ is “present within human relationships” i.e. transcendence and revelation.

RRYM is a book that will take time to think about.  This is not some “fun-filled youth ministry” model.  It is an academic look into the heart of what today’s teenagers need and how we can help them better understand what it means to know Jesus Christ.  Because if Christ is not infused into everything we do as a ministry…we got problems.

Girls Kissing Girls…what?!?!?!

There is this song on the radio that really makes me weep for the future. Youth culture guru Walt Muller has a really interesting perspective on this.

What really scares me is the notion that heterosexuality is becoming something that is wrong or old school.  As evident in recent additions to the media (Will & Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight guy, the song in mention) I feel that homosexuality is more tolerated than the conventional orientation.  Now, I say this to express my opinion.  However, I must also confess that I still care and love all of God’s children regardless of one’s sin.  But, I must express my concern for young people of today.  As my worldview is dictated by God’s word, I must be become aware of what happening around me and as God would have me.
What happens when (by some weird chance) it is illegal to be straight?  What happens when a person who is living an active homosexual lifestyle wants to be the senior pastor, youth pastor, etc. of a church.  What does scripture say?

The 7 Characteristics if Exceptional Volunteers

I just read this and felt that I needed to share it with those read this blog.  This was taken from the July/August Youthworker Journal magazine, and was written by Jim Candy (not be confused with John Candy the actor):

  1. Great Volunteers Practice Remarkable Relational Intentionally
  2. Great Volunteer See Parent’s as Partners
  3. Great Volunteers Have Not Been Intentionally Trained
  4. Great Volunteers Exhibit Three Common Personality Traits (high on sympathy, high on agreeableness, low on anger)
  5. Great Volunteers Discover Roles that Fit Them Perfectly
  6. Great Volunteers Seek to Build a Caring Network of Adults
  7. Great Volunteers Have Received Great Encouragement from Youth Staff

Your thoughts…?

Top 10 Questions to Ask a Church Student Ministry

If you were to ask any student ministry team any question (or a few questions) what they be?  What types of questions are important, what are irrelevant?  What would tell more information, what ones would not?  Please respond and be honest!!!

Is God requied to do anything?

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Today I meet with a friend. This guy pretty much knows me better than anyone outside my family.  He has seen me at my worst, at my best, and somewhere between.  Every time we meet he always leaves me with some sort of theological morsel to chew on.  This time is dealing with God and what “He’s” expected to do.  Think about that…is God required to do anything?  I mean if I pray and ask God to give me a good life…is he required to do so?  A thought my friend proved is that often what we think is God’s will for our lives is not always where we end up.  This is seems both unfair and mysterious at the same time.  True God is bound to nothing and yet is character is unwavering.  Yet, in the complete picture He sees everything we can’t.  So, why would God allow us to experience joy only to remove it?  Is He required to provide joy?  I think the better question is why does it matter if he is or isn’t.  I mean life (at times) sucks.  Does that mean God is required to deliver us?  Look at Paul and his “thorn?”  He asked many times to remove.  Evidently God found it fitting to have it remain.  Why is that?  Is God required to do anything?

What is a worldview?

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As I begin to piece together the idea of middle school students and their world views, I am bound to the understanding what is a world view. I feel that before I begin I must fully understand what this word means, it’s implications, and importance to Christ followers. I know that middle school students are capable of a world view, but what influences it, what helps mold it. What does scripture tells us about this concept? What lens do they see with?
I say all of this to ask YOU, what are your thoughts?

Lucas on Leadership

For the last few months, I have been examining and re-examining what our midweek and weekend programs look like. I have come the conclusion that I need to do a better job at leading people. I believe that any decent leader would say that about himself/herself, but I am quite serious when I say this about myself. I have found that the leaders that I shepherd need to catch on the vision of why we do middle school ministry. The answer to the that question would certainly be the catalyst that has been missing. Here’s a couple quick thoughts from the inside of my head:

  1. Leaders need to understand sacrifice. It is one thing to teach a bible study, but to purposely invest time and energy into the lives of students requires some sort of sacrifice. That is not to say that volunteers need to give there entire lives to middle school ministry- that’s not what I’m saying. What I do mean is that, we need to have a purpose of why we want to “do life” with middle schooler students. It boils down to this: students see that sacrifices we make and the one’s we don’t.
  2. Leaders need to understand complacency. Because it worked before does not mean it will be a hit the second time around. In today’s ADD world, students can take and leave purposeful elements just as the wind blows. I have come to understand that complacency is a disastrous safety blanket that plagues many youth workers. We become “too” comfortable in midweek/weekend programs, and that’s when things become stagnate. Students hate stagnated elements. This partially is not their fault (they do live in world where everything and everyone wants things done in a nanosecond), yet programming should not be built upon an ADD mentality. I am reminded that when things get to comfortable, that’s a sure sign to shake some things up.
  3. Leaders need to understand care. Care comes in many forms (remembering a name, making that phone call, remember the student period!) It’s amazing how we can think and care for students based upon a schedule “Sunday…it’s my day to talk with students…” Care is a sacrifice and should be based upon complacency. Students need adults that pray for them throughout the week, show up at their ballgames, take for some Starbucks, pray for their parents, remember what makes them laugh, remember what makes them cry. A leader knows (cares) for their students. Note that care and knowing a student are two different things. I can know a student, but care signifies shepherding and love. It screams “you are worth my time.”
  4. Leaders need to understand rest. One reason leaders/youth workers get burnt out is because of the lack of rest. They spend too much time giving and fail to re-charge themselves with the presence of God. We do all of this “youth ministry” stuff, and almost fail to have that special time with Him. we can not lead students down a path we have never been before. How can we tell students to read there bibles when we are ourselves don’t? How can we tell our students to have a healthy prayer life, when the only time we talk to God is when we remember to? Finding rest in the Lord is crucial to leading students. Note that students can see a fake and when they do, the chances of them opening up and really allowing you to care for them becomes somewhat impossible.