Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Campolo's latest

"I think that Christianity has two emphases. One is a social emphasis to impart the values of the kingdom of God in society—to relieve the sufferings of the poor, to stand up for the oppressed, to be a voice for those who have no voice. The other emphasis is to bring people into a personal, transforming relationship with Christ, where they feel the joy and the love of God in their lives."
Read more here.

New Leadership

McManus on leadership -
"One last significant shaper of ethos is the identification and selection of new leadership. I believe that resume-style selection of leadership has detrimentally affected the development of an apostolic ethos in the church. The church overwhelming hires from the outside. Even mega-churches tend to hire from the outside. Every church seems to have a leadership crisis, whether they are two hundred people or twenty thousand. It seems abysmal that in a church of ten thousand, you wouldn’t be overwhelmed with emerging leadership, and yet, these churches tend to hire proven leaders from other congregations. We seem to be better at growing congregations than at developing leaders.
In an organization, leaders must be brought from the outside. In a movement, leaders emerge from within. A genuine movement is a leadership culture. It values the identification, development and empowering of new leaders. A central component of a movement’s success is not the selection of accredited leaders but of proven leadership. Leadership is not about how much education a person has attained but how much they have actually accomplished in a ministry context. In many congregations the only role that members can aspire to is to be a good follower. In the first-century church, there were no other churches to take leaders from. Everybody had to be homegrown.

A few things to reflect on from this writing:

1. You have got this problem. Everyone has a problem with finding leaders. It's the age old issue, especially in youth ministry. And most of the time, we get glorified babysitters.

2. Getting people may not be the big problem. In fact, the more difficult problem is having your new leaders 'get it'. Imparting your sense of culture, values and thinking to your leaders is a much bigger deal than just getting them to show up. It's easy to get people in the door. It's a much more difficult task to get them to sign up for a vision, for them to think a little differently about what you are doing, to get them to stop living based on rules or boundaries, to get them to own the right kinds of ideas and change the way they behave based on those new ideas.

3. It may be easier to grow your leaders. It may seem far easier to grow a leader with your sense of values, vision and thinking. The next part of the process is you bringing them into leader context. Your culture must be willing to risk a little for the development of those emerging leaders.

4. With youth ministry, we've got a great advantage and potential for growing leaders. On our leader retreat this past weekend, fully 50% of them were students that had come through the student ministry and came back to serve and lead. They get it because they have been through it, know what it looks and smells like, and it made a difference in their lives. They never knew the ministry could be done any differently.
The other advantage that we have is that we can grow leaders from people that already have a hunger to grow. If you have a student that is hungry to grow spiritually, they are fertile to grow in dynamic ways - emotionally, spiritually, leadership-wise, etc. When we bring in adult leaders, we will seldom get a person who has the same passion for growth. Having leaders get it can be largely determined by how passionate the leader is to grow. Isn't it interesting that people will follow other people who are passionate, and it might not matter where they are going?
Anyway, love to hear your comments about your experiences with building leaders.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Youth Pastor Networking

I've always believed that its a really good thing for youth pastors to get together with other youth pastors, just to share, encourage and challenge each other. A kind of youth pastor forum is what I've always thought. We were talking a bit during our team time during the Leader Retreat and I mentioned that I should start a youth mission coordinator forum. You know, with all those youth mission coordinators that I know of. There is .... and .... and ...


Read the strategy here that PM has for his 2005 summer mission. Pretty cool huh? (it's under the Aug 30 post)

Indigenous Church

I was looking over some notes from Perspectives the other night. I try to do that every few months, the class made such an impact on me. On the leaders retreat this past weekend, leaders had the chance to fill in some worksheets about their plan for their small groups for the school year. Those were turned in to the small group coordinators just for planning purposes. I told the leaders that if they were interested in a summer missions trip, to help, to execute one, or just to think about it, to notate it on the sheet and I would be in contact.
One of the leaders talked to me and said she would totally be willing to help. She has gone to some missions trip every Feb to the same place doing some kind of construction project. Every year, in addition to raising the support needed for the trip itself, they also raise a few hundred dollars to support purchasing the construction materials they will need during the mission trip. That is not indigenous leadership.
I thought these notes were really helpful in terms of thinking about indigenous, national, cultural leadership.
Indigenous church
- movement is at home in the culture in native form
- no giving up their culture to follow Christ
- viable Â? going to last, growing, health, well developed to reproduce

1. people movements
large number coming to Christ in a collective manner
decisions are made in a different way in the non-Western world-collective decision making
God wants churches to multiply Â? most effective energized church

2. spontaneous expansion
healthy, right opportunity, it will multiply
creates opportunity to multiply
evangelizing of whole families
Barna - the average person who becomes a Christian has no non-Christian friends within 2 years

3. Measure Growth
Not in numbers, buildings, budgets
Most church growth is not organic
Four kinds of church growth:
a. Internal - maturity, people from within
b. Expansion - children, transfer from other churches
c. Extension - planting other churches
d. Bridging - planting church across barriers
Everything should move towards planting a church

VMAs follow up

I watched almost all of them last night but got a little bored. I had an away message up saying that I was watching them and I got an interesting three responses:
:y tony y?
:y r u watching that
:y have u fallen sooo0 far

: haha
: the vma's

: enjoy your worldly filth

Funny. It's interesting that the kids I deal with mostly aren't even interested in that kind of thing. Of course, they may not be overtly interested in it per se, but it certainly is a big part of their culture, and they may not even realize it. And for an old guy like me, it's a good window.
For more on the VMAs, go to the expert Walt, and his write up here.

First Day of School 2004-2005

Hoping that the first day of school is awesome for all of you out there in Howard County. Number 1 goes to full day 1st grade today... Wow. Make sure to get milk and cookies from your parents when you come home.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Leader Retreat recap

Leaders Retreat was this past weekend. There were about 50 leaders there, between Program, Small Groups and various other leaders, for both middle school and high school. A good group of people.
Friday night was some administration - getting information out to the leaders about this and that. Then we did breakouts where 6 veteran leaders did round robin 10 minute sessions to give specific ideas for small group leaders. I ended up doing one, which was good. It was good, but I don't think it quite got the message out. I spent the time talking about our facet of the ministry focusing on service and missions. It went too quick but it was good. It was fun to talk about the ideas that are haunting me lately.
Saturday was a lot of team time... in the morning I had a good meeting with one of my core students and our youth min catalyst. It's always a lot of fun to talk to them both, individually and together. I didn't really have my team there, so it was good to bounce ideas off of them. It made from an interesting dynamic having a student there in the conversation, but she's a senior, so she's really graduated anyway. (I'm kidding.) The afternoon was more team time - in other words, SPACE had a meeting at the pool. This year, I decided that the fam should come with me, which was really good for us. Some of you know, this summer has been tough for us, because we have spent a lot of time separated between 3 mission experiences, the girlies visiting other fam in GA, etc. I think the girlies had a great time, the pool was very nice. The other highlight was our family having a little Bible time this morning, telling a few Bible stories right after the whole retreat did some worship. That was cool.
My purpose for going, even without a team, was fulfilled. I spent a good bit of time just hanging out and building relationships, and hearing about mission experiences that people had this summer. One leader went to Tampa to work with the Dream Center, and she was able to share her vision and short term plans with me. Another one of our SPACE leaders told me all about the DC trip, which I hadn't really heard until now. We then talked about the progression his team will make in the summer of 2005 and how that will work out. It was really good. And of course, I felt like part of the staff team that ran the retreat. So that was good too.
All in all, it was a good retreat. I hope the leaders that went felt like we really tried and wanted to invest in them, as leaders, as youthworkers and as people in the Body.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Guide to the VMAs

This is so good, I had to post most of it... From Walt Mueller and the Center for Parent and Youth Understanding... I've posted some of this thoughts and links before, and like always he is right on.
So much more in his email, which is a VCR Alert...
Anyway, I hope if you watch it, that you use his thoughts as some great guidelines for learning about the current youth culture.


I want to invite you to "take a walk" on Sunday night at 8pm. The walk you need to take is similar to the walk the Apostle Paul took through Athens as he prepared to engage the pagan mind and worldview with the truths of the Gospel (Acts 17). Paul knew the value of listening to his audience before opening his mouth to proclaim the unchanging Word. Paul knew that listening first would lead to an understanding of the values, attitudes, behaviors, allegiances, and mindset of an Athenian population on a desperate self-conscious search for God that was going down the dead-end street of idolatry. And so. . . . Paul walks through their culture with his mouth shut and his ears and eyes wide open to their reality ? a reality covered by a forest of idolatry and immorality. Sounds familiar, huh?

I'm putting the final touches on a book about Paul's encounter with the Athenians, and after years of studying this passage, I am more convinced than ever that the parallels between first century Athens and our current postmodern culture are so clear that I think we need to be doing some more "walking." Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards offers people ministering to students an amazing opportunity to walk through the "Athens" of today's youth culture. That said, let me offer some random suggestions ? listed in no special order ? for what you can be doing before, during, and after the VMA's that will make your walk extremely valuable.

Let the VMA's shape your ministry.
Look for the major themes that are now mainstream.
Don't miss the opening.
Pay attention to the commercials.
How will the envelope be stretched?
Don't be surprised.
Pay special attention the Viewers Choice Award.
Watch the "Christians."
Keep an eye on the teenagers.
Pay special attention to spirituality and sexuality.
Keep an eye on the "big stories.
Ask the 3D questions.

Clean Water

* More than one billion people drink unsafe water and over 2.6 billion, around 40 percent of the world's population, have no access to basic sanitation, U.N. agencies said on Thursday...
See the whole report here in pdf. We have no idea how good we really have it.

Marc in Geneva

Check out some of this narrative about a prayer meeting for Europe meeting in Geneva over the past few days. Some wild wild stuff. God speaks to His sheep, and they hear and know His voice...

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Been downloading some of the messages/sessions from Xenos Summer Institute... Xenos is a house church network that has some great thinking about getting their people engaged in mission, both foreign and local. Link here. So far I've found one that I really like. The others are ok so far.
Also downloaded some messages from the Urban Youthworker Institute. Link here, courtesy of Rudy.

Monday, August 23, 2004

2003-2004 closeout

Well I finally can close out the school year that has just past. Most of you youthworkers out there are already thinking about 2004-2005. With our party last night, I feel like I can finally move on to next year, and I know I'm already way late. Oh well. It's just a different cycle.
We have a youth min leaders retreat this coming weekend. It should be a lot of fun, I'm excited about it. Part of my responsibility will be to make sure youthworkers know about SPACE, get them excited about it, because if they are excited, their kids will be too. It's also soliciting ideas, building relationships, throwing up some potential.
The other responsibility I have is to run one of the breakout sessions on Friday evening. We have tapped some veteran youthworkers from the ministry to talk about specific things they get excited about and we are doing round robin style for 10 minutes at a time. Some of the ideas - building grade level unity, apologetics, student leader stuff. And mine is something about service and mission. In other words, I have a bit of work to do on it. But I'm excited, it's always fun to talk about your passion.

Missions Party followup

Well, last night was our missions party. I had a few specific goals in mind:
1 - Show kids that they were not alone in venturing out on one of the mission trips. I think they knew that, but it was good to get them all together.
2 - Celebrate people who do something risky for God.
3 - Give them a chance to tell their stories from the summer.
We had some food, gave out some T shirts with the SPACE 2004 logo, and had them write their names and a footprint on a big sheet that we will eventually hang in the Warehouse. We also had some worship and I did a quick (less than 2 minute) talk on Acts 8, which I have been kind of enthralled with lately.
I was pretty happy with how it turned out, mostly. Except for one thing - goal #3. We didn't, and when I say we, I actually mean me, teach them how to tell their story well. They told stories alright. We actually flashed a bunch of pictures on the screens for 30 seconds at a time, and if you were in the picture, you had to jump out and talk about it. It was a great idea conceptually. However, I didn't tell the kids about how to tell their story. I didn't tell them to talk about the passion, the risk, the unknowns, the way God moved in their lives, the people that they met, the difference between where they lived and where they travelled to, how scary it was, how much need they saw, how the Gospel was told, how people reacted to their hearts of service.
All told, we had a big party. There was some really good food, some great worship. People told some stories. But next year, we teach them how to tell a really compelling story about passion, people and Jesus.

Friday, August 20, 2004

SPACE missions party

Wow, it's hard to believe that the summer is almost over and that almost 40 kids from the youth min went out on summer missions this summer. If you are coming to the SPACE party this Sunday, here is a little hint at a surprise...

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

spiritual gifts test

One of the things that is great about my role within our youth ministry is that I get to help students develop. I did it as a dteam leader, especially as our guys got older. I think I will get to do this even more in the role as mission coordinator, which is really fun, because I love to dialogue with students about their future, their talents, etc.
One thing I have done is the spiritual gifts inventory. I think it's fun to see how God wired you, as well as talking about different places in the Body you have loved or hated to serve.
This is a pretty good test that I have found. It's long, but I think it gives a good bearing. Like with all these kinds of tests, you have to take the results with a grain of salt. This one is nice too because it's an rtf file that you can print out and give someone to take.

2008-06-17 update:
Since I've had a few readers find this post, here is an update. Looks like the test was taken down due to copyright issues. In the meantime, may I suggest having your students take the Myers Briggs temperament indicator as well as the StrengthsFinder test. Neither are spiritual gifts assessments, but will certainly be just as insightful towards how your students are wired. In my experience of late, these combination of these two tests [and processing it in teams] as more valuable than a spiritual gifts inventory.

retreat speaking

Got an offer from a small Christian private middle school to speak on their fall retreat. Three talks. I'm thinking/praying about doing it, it would be a lot of fun... One problem - day job... It always gets in the way... Plus they give an honorarium so it would be the first time i ever get cash to speak. That is always fun...
I remember after the first time I spoke at CpR, just about a month ago... You get these great ideas, you practice over and over again, and by the time you feel like you are ready, you wonder to yourself whether your ideas are any good or whether they just stink. It's an interesting dynamic, in many ways, its kind of a love hate thing. Part of me loves to do it, part of me hates it because I think that my thoughts are not significant.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Had fun tonight with my buddy T, speaking to a college Bible study. Talked about the connection between service and evangelism... the idea of evangelism is no longer just the proposition of information only... and how breaking that mold of evangelism helps us tie service together with lives that are engaged. it was a lot of fun, i love working with T.
Been reading through Acts some last week while on vacation... what a wild collection of stories, I had never read it before like I read it last week.
Acts 8
Phillip and the Ethopian
- this guy will not stop until someone explains the Gospel
- Phillip has this wild honor, God speaks, he listens, God uses him
- Phillip baptizes the guy and then when the Ethopian comes up out of the water, God has taken Phillip away to a whole different location.
Huh? I love it!!

Friday, August 13, 2004

Youth Mission Trips Metric study

interesting study found here, via Holly.
the thing that i found the most interesting:
of those surveyed, "Compared across major U.S. protestant traditions, 70 percent of teenagers whose parents are Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) report going on at least one religious mission trip or service project."
interesting... take a read for yourself.


As a youthworker, we've got some access into some pretty unique and special times. One of those that I experience routinely is seeing families both release their kids into mission experiences and welcoming them back from these experiences.
This summer, I got to see a full range of those experiences. First, I was on the cutting edge of this idea of release, when K and I went to Boot Camp. It wasn't release per se, but it certainly was a precursor to it. Seeing all of these other kids released into missions with Teen Missions, seeing how they prepare kids to go around the world, and experiencing Boot Camp with K, all of those things brought out some emotion, excitement, anticipation, at how God is going to use her in the future. It also made me really think about parents letting their kids suffer for the Kingdom, the progression of releasing your kids, and how much God blesses us through our children so they can bless the nations.
The second experience was seeing a few mothers come with their middle schoolers to CMTS. That was interesting as well. I was expecting a lot more 'mothering', versus a lot more releasing. However, it was a pretty good balance that they had after all. And as the primary leader in charge, it could be a little sketchy when you have parents that smother to much at the detriment to their kids' growth.
The third experience was talking to a mother before the NYC trip. As she talked about her son going to NYC with me, she started crying. Seeing mothers weep for their children is always difficult for me. Of course, women crying in general is difficult for me. But in this context, taking their kids on a mission trip, its a little easier. I tell them about the opportunity, how God has called them, etc. Because in this case, I know that her child was definitely called to this trip, and that God had some definite, specific plans to bless him, and to use him to bless others. And that definitely happened.
And on the other side of the trip, it is always fun to see kids get welcomed back from a trip. The hugs, the happiness, the cheers. It's neat to see who brings out the whole family to pick up the student, and at what time they all come out. We arrived at 12.30am, and each kid that got picked up had at least two members of the fam come and get them. One of our kids had a car dropped off for them and the drivers seat was all decorated to welcome them home. That's pretty neat.
Anyway, those are glimpses into families that not everyone always gets. We as youthworkers are lucky to see those interactions.

missions party

Well, the final SPACE activity for this school year, 2003-2004, is the SPACE summer missions party on the 22nd. I am so looking forward to it, it should be a great time of having kids share about their experiences. A few key goals:
- kids telling their story
Our missionaries don't do that enough, or well enough. We have to teach kids how to tell a compelling story for their experiences.
- kids seeing other kids having similar experiences.
It's a great thing for a kid to see that they are not alone in the type of things that have done and the emotions they are left with.
- a bit more debriefing after they have been home for a bit
- just to celebrate the kids

I'm really excited. If you've got some ideas on what you have done to celebrate something like this with your students, I would love to hear about your ideas.

NYC end of trip prayer letter

Here is the email I sent out to our prayer supporters...
Dear Friends,

Thank you for once again praying for one of the seemingly many mission
experiences that I have been privileged enough to be a part of this
Last week, I and another leader took 7 high school students to NYC to
work with a ministry called Urban Impact NY, whose focus is on
unreached people groups who live in the city. Most of these immigrant
ethnic groups are typically from unreached parts of the world -
meaning that the area of the world that they move from has no
evangelical church, no missionary and they have a zero percent chance
of hearing about Jesus even if they desired to.
Urban Impact has a strategy of reaching these ethnic neighborhoods for
Christ with the eventual goal of planting culturally relevant
evangelical churches in each one of these ethnic groups.
Some of the highlights of the trip included:
- helping teach an ESL class to West Africans and Bangladeshi people in Queens
- running kids clubs in parks in various neighborhoods
- store to store and coffee shop ministry through Little Egypt in Queens
owners about culture
- prayer walking through Brighton Beach and Coney Island

Ethnic groups that we were exposed to included:
- various West African people groups
- Sikhs and Punjabi Indians
- Bangladeshis
- various Arab and Muslim
- Afghan and Pakistanis
- Jewish Russian
- Greek

Overall, we had about 40 significant conversations with people and
roughly 8 decisions for Christ throughout the week. Also significant
was the fact that the team felt like we were a small part of God's
movement through NYC with the strategy that Urban Impact was

So, thank you for your prayers and support. Your partnership was
integral to the work that we did, and be encouraged that God is moving
through His Body to reach the nations at the crossroads of the world -
New York City.
For the Mission
- tony

PS - If you are local and want to hear more about all the GCC youth
summer missions, there is a big missions party on 8/22. Contact me
and I can get you all the details.


Still having a great week on vacation, so not much posting. Just got back yesterday from a few days on Cape Cod. Very fun, great weather up there, sunshine every day. Still processing through the NYC trip... will probably be posting more about that.

Saturday, August 07, 2004


still working through reentry. ive been journaling all morning. my feet hurt from so much walking through the city and i've got some pretty permanent grime on my heels from walking in tevas every day. ive also been looking at all the pictures from this past week this morning, just reliving and remembering the week.
there is always a point of sadness at the experience being over. and there will be times when you can't talk to anyone about it, because they just won't understand. And there will be times when you want to talk for hours about it, and no one will be quite that interested.
this was a cool picture that i took, its from the inside of the mall near the bottom of Central Park - the Shops at Columbus Center, the Time Warner building, shooting out the windows. it was an awesome day in NYC, white puffy clouds, lots of sun, perfect temperature.
it's not one of my favorite pictures, those are in the previous posts, those pictures mean lives changed. but i like this one too.

back from NYC

wow, back from NYC very late last night. team of 9 incredible people. so much to communicate, but only a few things for now:
- blew the top off of traditional mission/evangelism tactics
- instead, we helped with a bigger movement targetted at reaching strategic neighborhoods that had the nations coming to our doorsteps in NYC.
- enabled a team of students to see what kind of difference they could make.
in lieu of more, here are some images that tell some pretty significant stories