Thursday, September 30, 2004

Theatre Church

Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church, which started in the movie theaters in Union Station, and now has a satellite location in Ballston. Here is his blog. No RSS feed though.


I had breakfast with my friend T this am. We usually meet every other week just to chat about life, family, ministry, etc. It could be called one of those accountability things that are so big in mens ministry right now. But not quite.
Somebody I was talking to recently said that so many of those 'accountability' partnerships never last because you are always talking about the bad things. You are always confessing your wrongs, your whole relationship is based on moving the bad from the good. His point was that relationships like that can never last, because people can't base a relationship solely on bad news.
Anyway, T and I have a great time. It's so refreshing, he's got a great heart for people, a unique mind about how ministry should be done, and he is truly a joyous person to be around.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


If you read this, would you say a quick prayer for my niece Skyler? She is about 10 months old and lives in Savannah, GA, and was just diagnosed with what they think is bacterial meningitis this afternoon. Thanks, your prayers are greatly appreciated.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Follow up to Beslan

"244 Jesus followers that are members of the Beslan Baptist Church
Among the hostages taken were 33 children who attend Sunday School at
the Beslan Baptist Church located just down the street from the besieged
school. Along with them was one of the Sunday School teachers, 36 year old, Dzera Sidakova, who perished in the fire-storm that ensued. Eight of these precious Sunday School children perished with their teacher, seven of the children are still missing and presumed among the unidentifiable bodies, six of the children are injured and three of them severely. This leaves twelve children who somehow in the Lord's providence managed to survive the explosions, fires, bullets, dehydration, and unimaginable trauma."
Read more Here

2005 summer planning

One of my jobs is to coordinate summer mission trips for our students. I've only been doing it for less than a year, and last year was not too easy. It doesn't look as if 2005 will be any easier. We've got one trip in the motions already but we need to get more clarification and do some homework on our part. I got in touch with a resource from Iteams that I had been in contact with for potential trips for last year too, and he has been helpful. It's kind of a cool exchange, although I'm a bit envious of his job. His sig reads in part "Having a Blast Mobilizing People into Missions!" Now thats cool.
On the flip side, I am more convinced than ever, that the light of the world is the local church. Jesus mandates the local church to be the primary catalyst for change, to engage the culture around it, to build leaders within that culture, to expound the Gospel around community and relevance and fellowship. That is the method whereby the Gospel will go to the ends of the Earth.
It requires that we have maintain a good balance between getting students involved in mission work wherever, for them to have a good experience with it, to go with good leadership and work that is indigenous, faith building, culture engaging. And to realize that we need to continue to build momentum in the local church when we can, understanding that sometimes, the best way to do that is to support our church's missionaries when it works.

JPEG viruses

Not good. Someone has found out how to exploit a virus with a JPEG file. (For those of you that might not know, JPEG is one of the most used image files.) From slashdot here.

LCWE 2004 - Thailand

"The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE) is an international movement for the purpose of encouraging Christians and churches everywhere to pray, study, plan and work together for the evangelization of the world." The 2004 Forum is going on right now. Here is a link to the daily blog and here is a link to the Issue Groups they are talking about this year.
The one that looks most interesting to me is IG23, Reaching the Youth Generation. Like thats any surprise. But here are some interesting things they are discussing right now in Bangkok:
*Is there a specific youth culture in your country/area of service? If yes, what are the cultural marks of the youth culture? (fashion, music, language, lifestyle etc.?)
*In what way does it differ from the culture of the adult generation?
*In what way do these youth cultures represent a different way of thinking, feeling or experiencing life?
*What do you see as the inner dimension of the youth culture?
*What are the main questions concerning life and meaning that young people have?
*How do you see the church responding to the youth generation?
*How must we/the church change to move forward in an evangelistically relevant way to reach young people with the gospel?

Ten Writing Mistakes

Read it here, link from Jordon. I intend to be better at these.

"Take a Cookie"

This is a blog that I have just started reading recently. Most of it talks about entrepreneurship which is really good for me. I'm not known for being the most risk inclined person. So it's fun to read, if for nothing else, that I could never do something like that... Haha.
Anyway, in this post, he writes about taking opportunities when they are presented and not knowing where they might lead. I think it's a really good principle.
D and I were just talking about that the other night. About a month ago, I had been offered to speak on a middle school retreat. Due to some day job complexities, I didn't think I could do it. After the time came and went, of course, the day job details had worked themselves out and I would have been able to make the engagement after all. And then my friend M offered the 10 minute speaking thing from last Saturday. And my first response was a no to that one too.
But now, I'm glad I did it. Even if it didn't lead to anything else.
Read the post here.

This is fun! An old friend that I had served with just a bit just found me the other night... Very cool. He's a great writer and thinker, check him out here.

Eddie Gibbs

- the Donald A. McGavran Professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary (those of you good mission students know that Donald McGavaran is known as the father of the church growth movement and termed 'people groups') writes here about The Emerging Church and youth ministry movements. He also compares the idea of pioneer mission movements, long term commitments, indigenous and Gen X and Y churches. Good stuff. Linked from TallSkinnyKiwi.

Sunday, September 26, 2004


A message from the president of the International Justice Mission, Gary Haugen. He is some serious money. Even more than that, the message talking about the "unfamiliar passions of God". It's good but find a quiet, contemplative place where you can listen to it. Here. Also, here is the book he wrote a few years ago.

Pastor Mark

GCC has a new media page where you can download series of messages. I think Pastor Mark is one of the best speakers around these days. He is a great communicator and story teller, and an even better thinker. I would rather listen to him than a lot of the big guys out there today. Check out the messages here.

Sat night speaking

Well, I did my 10 minutes of speaking. I talked about it in previous posts here and here. Anyway, it was what I expected. A lot of older middle aged men. Not many young people. The president of the organization talking about strategy, program material and the challenge of the times, and on and on. I thought my little 10 minutes was really really good. At least I thought so. It was a little difficult though, because I didn't want to come across like I was deriding the whole material based program. A strange kind of thing in general. But the 10 minutes was fun.
Here are my notes, note that you might not understand some of the stories in here.

1 - intro
Matt 11
"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been
forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it."
decided to follow Jesus thru Brigade - age 14
hemlock staff thru high school
HOC - senior in high school
volunteer leader for 10 years
CSB was vital to my spiritual formation

2 - forceful men
* Mark - observer week
12 year old kids, on the threshold of being men
took them rappelling for the first time
all kids except the last one went down ok
the last one, made it over the big first step, but pulled
himself up back over and over
Mark - who sometimes has this infinite patience - God must
have been planning him for twins
unclips from his belay, extends his arm from the belay point, points one foot
on the edge
put his other foot on his chest to get him down the first step
forceful, yes?
* other extreme - showed up for a Battalion meeting
with no preparation - read from the Brigade story book

* somewhere in the middle - took achievement to be the
end goal - instead of a relationship with a boy centered
around intentional discipleship
many times it was about getting thru the book work
and nothing else
disengaged, limp, took the easy way out

Forceful men who are advancing the kingdom are not
focused on a program
They are commited, passionate, sold out followers of Jesus Christ
and they understand the role a program plays - that it is a tool
to bring the kingdom forth
They are haunted by Jesus
They are challenged by a catalytic dynamic of learning, risk,
and innovation by being led by the Creator of the universe.
The program is merely a tool

The generation that you and I minister to -
the one that is technically savvy, media saturated,
they demand, and deserve men and women that minister to them
out of a Jesus centered heart.
It does not work any longer to just give out the information
about discipleship, this generation requires, and rightly so,
men and women that are authentic about their lives and how
Jesus compels them.

3 - close - story from SPACE
At Grace, I've got this great opportunity to experiment.
Started and run a core component of the youth ministry focused
on community service and strategic summer missions.
Time of teaching and debriefing and of course plenty of teaching
I have gone from the extreme of having a program fully planned to
having nothing on paper at all. Sure, we have mission statements
and values and stuff like that.
Nursing home story -
55 kids, 4 leaders, 4 cars. Feb vday, almost snowing with kids in beach clothes for a beach party.
got kicked out because we had too many kids.
turned into spontaenous worship at a village center
flowed into another nursing home
But no set schedule, no set material that we use, etc.
It's dynamic and fluid and exhilirating.

As you seek to engage this new reinvention of the organization, my challenge
is that you be forceful men, focused on the Kingdom. Not focused on program,
a set of achievements, or the easy way out.

A passion for Jesus based on is how the kingdom advances
May God bless you as you forcefully advance the kingdom

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Evaluate discipleship

So in a previous post, I talked about me having to speak to some, at least in my opinion, very programmtic ministry leaders. As I was talking over some notes with my friend M, one of the questions we tossed around was, "How do you evaluate the job kind of discipleship job you are doing when there is no set program people are going through?"
I know its kind of a strange question to just throw out there. You are probably saying, "Dude, how about some context."
Eldredge writes that our modern church has taken this idea of discipleship to be a set of classes that we go through - Bible basics, Sharing your Faith, Finances, Spiritual Gifts, etc. He says that we have ruined this idea of discipleship. Instead, it is the combination of listening for God's audible voice and knowing His word.
My original point was that too much program makes lazy leaders, leaders that are not passionate about Jesus but about program. The next question is that when we don't have a set program, how do we evaluate the job we are doing? How did Jesus do that with His disciples? And how do you do that with the people you shepherd?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Church Planting Movements booklet - link

In two previous posts here and here, I wrote up some info from this Church Planting Movement booklet from IMB. I actually found all the content here on the web. So enjoy!
Also found this Alliance for Saturation Church Planting webpage here.

Program versus Ministry

So a friend of mine persuaded me into doing a little 5-10 minute talk on Saturday night. It's kind of a strange circumstance. I was heavily involved with Christian Service Brigade in high school and through college, having become a Christian through the program and then being a leader for around 10 years. The program was huge in terms of my spiritual formation and growth, learning how to be a leader and having a group of lifelong friends commited to the same kinds of things. When as a young married couple, we decided to leave the church where I had become a Christian and worked in CSB, it opened up a whole new level of thinking for me, about church, youth ministry, leadership, etc.
Lately, the CSB organization has been going through some tough times. I think most of it has been operationally, dealing with finances, vision and implementation. And so they have a new president and he is coming to town to do a little dessert reception where he can talk about this new vision and future for the organization.
My friend was giving a 10 minute talk about his experience in the program and he got this bright idea that I should too. And that I should talk about what I'm doing now, etc.
So I signed up to do it. I've been a little hesitant in general. The audience is mostly middle aged men, who I suspect are mostly used to coming in every week to a group of boys from ages 10-18, playing a bunch of games and then opening up the program material and going step by step, narrative by narrative, for an hour or so. Very programmatic. Almost rote. Yuck.
So my job, I believe, is to call them to ministry and have them start to get incensed about program.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


I have noticed that a lot of people have been using bloglines and I wasn't really sure if I wanted to or not. I use Firefox and was loading tabs and tabs and tabs. It was actually okay. But wow bloglines really is a lot better. And you can publish who you subscribe to. So that's very cool. So I published there on the right. It's neat.

Managing Confidentiality

The best scenario occurs when a student wants to meet with you to talk about personal issues. In that case, you can establish some ground rules from the outset. For instance, we can tell the student what he or she can expect from us, namely that we won't break confidentiality unless we feel they're going to harm themselves or someone else. One counselor I spoke to promises that there'll be no surprises. Specifically, he won't report anything to the parents without first letting the student know and will only do so if he feels it's absolutely necessary. This way, the student knows what to expect.

In light of situations like this, we all need to teach our students about the importance of taking action when their friends are heading down unhealthy paths. We should teach them that true friends are willing to confront loved ones who they know are hurting themselves. Students are often too immature to recognize when confrontation is necessary. Or else they're so concerned with their reputation that the fear of being a rat or a narc (yes, high schoolers still use that word) will keep them quiet. So we must teach our students that their fear of God must outweigh their fear of man, and we must create a culture that values loving student-to-student confrontation

If a student's talking seriously about taking her own life, it's also time for action. Remember that parents will always forgive you for erring on the side of caution.

Wow - this article is a must read, very good. Read the full article here.

my 35th

Well all in all it was a great birthday. Thanks to all of you well wishers out there!
Work was pretty relaxing until the end of the day, when I was paged to an outage bridge. Those are never fun. I stuck around since my boss and his boss were also on there.
I was a little late getting home after picking up Chinese for dinner and when I got home, the girlies jumped out from behind a couch and shouted Happy Birthday. It was adorable, although I suspect they had been waiting there for about 20 minutes, since I was late...
After dinner, LB came to babysit and D and I went out to a movie. We saw Cellular, which was more entertaining than I thought it would be, it was good. And then we went to Best Buy and bought one of these -

I didn't really want to spend the money... don't get me wrong, I love gadgets, I'm just cheap. haha. But D and the girlies really wanted me to buy something I would use and enjoy, so I bought it. I'm excited, I have to get it installed this week.

Monday, September 20, 2004

happy 35th

Well today is my 35th birthday. Does that make me officially middle aged? If so, I need that sports car...
This is the song and theme that has been going through my head today and yesterday.

This Is Your Life

yesterday is a wrinkle on your forehead
yesterday is a promise that you've broken
don't close your eyes, don't close your eyes
this is your life and today is all you've got now
yeah, and today is all you'll ever have
don't close your eyes
don't close your eyes

this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
when the world was younger and you had everything to lose

yesterday is a kid in the corner
yesterday is dead and over

this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, is it everything you dreamed that it would be
when the world was younger and you had everything to lose

don't close your eyes
don't close your eyes
don't close your eyes
don't close your eyes

this is your life are you who you want to be
this is your life are you who you want to be

this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, are you who you want to be
this is your life, is it everything you dreamed it would be
when the world was younger and you had everything to lose

and you had everything to lose

Today at least, I am who I want to be. And my life, every year, turns out to be better and better than what I dreamt it would be.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

CPM - 7 obstacles

7 obstacles for Church Planting Movements
From the CPM booklet available here

1. Imposing extra-biblical requirements for being a church
When a mission, union or convention attempts to require a congregation to have extra-biblical things such as land, a building, seminary-trained leadership or paid clergy before granting them full status as a church, a CPM is obstructed.
2. Loss of a valued cultural identity.
When a people have to abandon their valued ethnic identity and adopt an alien culture in order to become believers, the cause of church planting won’t go far. Around the world, churches that look culturally out of place in their setting serve as testimonies to this obstacle.
In too many instances, church planting has become cultural warfare, as missionaries and local Christians attempt to conquer and change the culture rather than the hearts of the people.
3. Overcoming bad examples of Christianity
Unfortunately, the spread of the gospel around the world has sometimes produced churches that are poor examples of the faith. Some patterns of church behavior may not be immoral, but still compromise and undermine the spirit of a CPM. Whenever older churches in the area feel no compulsion to spread their faith, new believers may question why they should be passionate or urgent in evangelism.
4. Non-reproducible church models
Whenever missionaries begin planting churches with components that cannot be reproduced by the people themselves, they have undermine a CPM. The temptation is always there: it seems quicker and easier to import a solution for a local challenge rather than search for an indigenous solution.
Authentic CPMs always take on the appearance of their context. CPM practitioners evaluate every aspect of each church start with the question: “Can this be reproduced by these believers?” If the answer is no, then the foreign element is discarded.
5. Subsidies creating dependency
When well-intended outsiders prop up growth by purchasing buildings or subsidizing pastor’s salaries, they limit the capacity of the movement to reproduce itself spontaneously and indigenously.
6. Extra biblical leadership requirements
New Testament models are found in Christ’s selection of the twelve (Matt 4:18-22) and Paul’s criteria for bishops and deacons (I Tim 3). It is striking that moral character and willingness to follow Christ are given much greater weight than theological training or academic degrees.
7. Sequentialism
Missionaries who have successfully navigated CPMs describe a different, nonlinear unfolding of the movement.
8. Planting frog rather than lizard churches
Frog churches perceive themselves as ends in themselves, sitting fat and complacent on a hill or lilly pad, expecting the lost to come to them in search of salvation. They hold meetings in places where they feel comfortable and require the lost to adapt to their world. Lizard churches are always pursuing the lost. Adaptable and ready for action, they move quickly into the world through cracks and crevices seeking the lost. They are willing to change their colors, expend enormous energy, even lose their tails if necessary in order to bring the lost into the family of God.
9. Prescriptive strategies
CPM practitioners are intensely inquisitive and committed to learning where and how God is at work. Whenever missionaries enter a field with a pocket full of answers rather than a heart that is hungry to watch and learn where God is at work and what He is doing, they are limiting His ability to use them.

My todo - updated

Well, here is my list from a few weeks ago:

- put together passport packets for students
still working on this one

- talk to a friend who is a nurse to see if we can get
a CPR/First Aid class for all youth mission leaders
(great idea huh?)
sent an email, need to follow up

- call a student from my NYC team who I haven't seen in a few weeks
i saw her, and it was so good to see her. she hasn't dropped off the face of the Earth... When we were in NYC, she was scared that God was maybe calling her to missions full time. It was neat to see this weird, cool combination of feeling of awkwardness, discomfort, excitement, awe and mystery. Isn't that what life with Jesus is about? Anyway, she is going to go to the ACMC conference. Cool.

- scan scan scan loads of pictures

- burn CDs so a student can upload the the warehouse web site

- update SPACE pages with summer 2004 summaries
still have to do

- find a cool ministry to plug in with for summer 2005 middle school trip
still have to do

- make commitment with SPACE crew team to do once a month english class
they couldn't use us for a once a month, they needed someone every week. it's too bad, I as well as the rest of the students really wanted to do this. oh well.

Ok, I'm off to have a neighborhood pot luck. Yummy.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Lip Sync Night

Last night was the 2nd CpR outreach/coffeehouse of the school year - Lip Sync night. It was really fun. Dteams are encouraged to come with a lip sync act planned out and in between its kind of a coffee house thing. The second half of the night is worship and a message about Jesus.
The lip syncs were so funny, just hilarious. It's always great fun just to see the kids acting, dancing, going crazy in front of their friends. All the things I never did when I was in high school. What I also love about the night is that there is a great venue where kids can show off their artistic talent in, hopefully, a safe and fun environment. The Church needs to be on the forefront of culture, we need to be challenging the people that follow Christ to engage the culture, to be part of the art and music and dnace of our culture, to be relevant in what is going on around us. It was neat all around. Below is a one sample.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Largest churches in the world

From the Friday Fax

Leader Church Average attendance
J. Osteen Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas 25,060
Creflo Dollar World Changers, College Park, GA. 23,093
Rick Warren Saddleback Community Church, Lake Forrest, CA 20,100
T.D. Jakes The Potters House, Dallas 18,500
Ed Young Fellowship Church, Grapevine, Texas 18,129

The world's largest churches

Rank Leader Church Average attendance
21. Yonggi Cho Yoido Full Gospel Church, Seoul, Korea 253,000
22. Dijon Roberts Works and Mission Baptists Church, Abidjan, 150,000
Ivory Coast
22. Javier Vasquez Yotabeche Methodist P. Church, Santiago, 150,000
22. C. Castellanos Mision Carismatica Internacional, Bogotá, 150,000

It's like the Jenkins quote I posted a while ago here.

Goat Ministry

From an email from Christian Aid.
Arab Countries: Goats Open Doors for Gospel
In Arab lands, the Gypsy people are an isolated, rejected group, focused on survival and often apathetic or closed to the gospel. Indigenous ministries are finding new ways to reach them with the truth.

Many Gypsy families are nomadic, often camping in the middle of the desert in tents made of canvas and wooden poles. In most countries they are societal outcasts, denied jobs and opportunities others enjoy. Children resort to begging on city streets or rummaging through dumpsters in search of food scraps. Survival is a priority, so education is often a remote idea. In their isolated communities, many Gypsies have no access to medical care.

Native missionaries realize that in order to reach these ostracized people, they must make inroads by meeting practical needs. Also, in a few Islamic countries, openly preaching Christ can result in death, so practical outreaches are a more effective and safe way to spread the gospel.

One such outreach is conducted using goats. Gospel workers give poor Gypsy families goats for free, as long as they agree to use the animals as a consistent form of livelihood and not sell them for quick money. Not only do goats provide families milk and meat; they also give missionaries a reason to visit Gypsies regularly, building relationships that often lead to open discussions of the Christian faith. For those Gypsies who already know Christ, the visits can be times of discipleship as well.

Since this "goat outreach" began three years ago, a number of Gypsies have given their lives to the Lord. Several Bible study groups have been formed.

The goats have also opened doors to meet more of the Gypsies' needs in the name of Christ. In one area, native missionaries are in the process of establishing a school for Gypsy children who would otherwise receive no education. Missionaries in another region were able to help one sick girl receive medical care when, on a visit to check on the goats, they found her in terrible pain from a hernia, with no way to get to a hospital.

This goat ministry is just one way in which native missionaries in Arab lands are reaching the Gypsy people.

the YS forums

Every once in a while, I post or reply to the YS Forums. Most of the time, I do it with a large amount of reluctance. Of course, most of the dialogue I am creating or responding to is about student missions. And, similar to other aspects of my ministry experience, very few people there seem to get it.

For instance, I replied to a question about "Do any of you have any curriculum or an agenda that you go by during your pretrip meetings?" I described our 5 pre summer mission meetings that we had this year. Most of the replies were from people who were 'surprised' that we did some of those things. They seemed to think that we had done too much to prepare our students. Another reply, probably my favorite, was this one: "In a way, I tend to not put too much into prep, because I'd rather just sit back and let God work His power and magic during the week, and process afterward. Maybe it's just me........... "

Hmm. That's interesting. Actually I like that idea. When I take a test, I'll just decide not to study and let God do His work. When I get up to speak to students on a Sunday morning, why bother with the time to prepare? When I go to my engineering job, God will take care of all the details.

Actually though, it must be me. Aren't the students that we take on a mission trip deserving of some kind of preparation for the extraordinary experience we hope to give them? Is it fair to just wing it? What would the people who have fully supported our trip and our ministry think? Don't the cultures that we go to minister to have a right to see teams that are prepared to the best of our abilities? OK, enough, I could go on all day. Believe me, I'm all for God working. But I think when we deliberately decide not to prepare so that God will work... I don't see that anywhere in the Bible.

Jenkins on the Death of Christianity

As I have worked on this book over the past few years, I have described its general theme to friends and colleagues, most of whom are well-educated and widely traveled. When I say, though, that my theme is ‘the future of Christianity,’ a common follow-up question is, in effect, “So, how long do you think it will last?” or specifically, “How long can the Catholic Church survive?”
For over a century, the coming decline or disappearance of religion has been a commonplace assumption of Western thought, and church leaders have sometimes shared this pessimistic view. Every so often, some American or European writer urges the church to adjust itself to present-day realities, to become ‘relevant’ by abandoning outmoded supernatural doctrines and moral assumptions. “Visit a church at random next Sunday,” Brent Staples, “and you will probably encounter a few dozen people sprinkled thinly over a sanctuary that was built to accommodate hundreds or even thousands. The empty pews and white-haired congregants lend credence to those who argue that traditional religious worship is dying out.” Staples was arguing that Christianity had failed and was collapsing and would continue to do so unless and until the religion came to terms with liberal orthodoxies on matters of sex and gender.
Viewed from Cambridge or Amsterdam, such pleas may make excellent sense, but in the context of global Christianity, this kind of liberalism looks distinctly dated. It would not be easy to convince a congregation in Seoul or Nairobi that Christianity is dying, when their main concern is building a worship facility big enough for the 10,000 or 20,000 members they have gained over the past few years.

Philip Jenkins
The Next Christendom

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

those were the days

so I've been listening to a lot of 80s music in preparation for CpR 80s night on Oct 1. those were the days huh?

thought you would like to read these lyrics.... aaah the 10th grade!!

D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper

You know, parents are the same, no matter time nor place
They don't understand that us kids are gonna make some mistakes
So tell you other kids all across the land
There's no need to argue, parents just don't understand

I remember one year, my mom took me school shoppin'
It was me, my brother, my mom, oh my pop,
And my little sister all hopped in the car
We headed downtown to the Gallery Mall

My mom started buggin' with the clothes she chose
I didn't say nothin' at first, I just turned up my nose
She said, "What's wrong, the shirt costs twenty dollars."
I said, "Mom, This shirt is plaid, with a butterfly collar.

The next half hour was the same old thing
My mother buyin' me clothes from 1963
And then she lost her mind and did the ultimate
I asked her for Adidas, and she bought me Zips!

I said, "Mom, what are you doin'? You'll ruin my rep."
She said, "You're only 16, you don't have a rep yet."
I said, "Mom, let's put these clothes back, please."
She said, "No. You go to school to learn, not for a fashion show."

I said, "This isn't shinin' armor, c'mon mom, I'm not bousers.
Mom, please put back the bell bottom, Brady Bunch trousers.
But if you don't want to I can live with that, but,
You've gotta put back the double-knit, reversable slacks"

She wasn't with it, everything stayed the same
Inevitably, the first day of school came
I thought I could get over, I tried to play sick
But my mom said, "No, no way, Uh-uh. Forget it."

There was nothin' I could do. I tried to relax
I got dressed up in those ancient artifax
And when I walked in to school, it was just as I thought
The kids were crackin' up, laughin' at the clothes mom bought

And those who weren't laughin' still had a ball
'Cuz they were pointing and whistling as I walked down the hall
I got home and told my mom how my day went
She said, "If they were laughin' you don't need 'em, cuz they're not good

For the next six hours I tried to explain to my mom
That I was gonna have to go to just about 200 more times
So tell you other kids all across the land
There's no need to argue, parents just don't understand

Ok. Here's the situation. My parents went away on a week's vacation
And, they left the keys to the brand new Porsche
Do they mind? Mmm, well, of course not!
I'll just take it for a little spin, and maybe show it off to a couple of
I'll just cruise it 'round the neighborhood
Well, maybe I shouldn't. Yeah! Of course I should!

Pay attention, here's the thick of the plot
I pulled up to the corner at the end of my block
And that's when I saw this beautiful girly-girl walkin'
I picked up my car phone to perpatrate like I was talkin'

You shoulda seen this girls bodily demensions
I honked my horn, just to get her attention
She said, "Was that for me?" I said, "Yeah." She said, "Why?"
I said, "Come on and take a ride with a hell of a guy."

She said, "How do I know you're not sick.
You could be some deranged lunatic."
I said, "Come on, toots. My name is the Prince.
Besides, would a lunatic have a Porsche like this?"

She agreed, and we were on our way
She was lookin' very good, so I was I, I must say, WORD!
We hit McDonalds, pulled up to the driveway
We ordered two Big Macs, and two large fries and Cokes

She kicked her shoes off onto the floor
She said, "Drive fast, speed turns me on."
She put her hand on my knee, I put my foot on the gas
We almost got whiplash, we took off so fast

The sun roof was open, the music was high
And this girl's hand was thouroughly moving up my thigh
She had opened up three buttons on her shirt so far
I guess that's why I didn't notice that police car

We're doin' ninety in my mom's new Porsche
And to make this long story short, short
When the cop pulled me over, I was scared as hell
I said, "I don't have a license, but I drive very well, officer!"

I almost had a heart-attack that day
Come to find out the girl was a 12 year old runaway!
I was arrested, the car was impounded
There was no way for me to avoid being grounded

My parents had to come off from vacation and get me
I'd rather be in jail, than to have my father hit me
My parents walked in and I got my grip
I said, ", dad...How was your trip?!"

They didn't speak, I said, "I wanna play my case."
But my father just shoved me in the car by my face
That was a hard ride home, I don't know how I survived it
They took would beat me while the other was drivin'!

I can't believe it! I just made a mistake
Well, parents are the same, no matter time nor place
So tell you other kids all across the land
Take it from me, parents just don't understand

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

BELLS and BLESS simple church models

Andrew Jones writes about the Dawn Ministries simple church model symbolized by BELLS... an adds his own ideas about a BLESS model here.

McManus in Florida

mid January 2005
details here
you know how I love Orlando...

Monday, September 13, 2004

My todo

Here is my to do list for the next few weeks:

- put together passport packets for students
- talk to a friend who is a nurse to see if we can get
a CPR/First Aid class for all youth mission leaders
(great idea huh?)
- call a student from my NYC team who I haven't seen in a few weeks
- scan scan scan loads of pictures
- burn CDs so a student can upload the the warehouse web site
- update SPACE pages with summer 2004 summaries
- find a cool ministry to plug in with for summer 2005 middle school trip
- make commitment with SPACE crew team to do once a month english class


See You at The Pole
I'm thinking about going... except it's a way early morning for me, and those of you that read this regulary know that I'm not a morning person. One other interesting tidbit, this is sponsored by the National Network of Youth Ministers. I didn't know that. Very cool.
I also did not know that the shootings at Wedgewood Baptist Church in 1999 was a SYATP event. Or maybe I did. Tallskinnykiwi writes a bit about it too here. He says its a movement to watch.

ACMC Mid atlantic conference

Advancing Churches in Missions Commitment
Mid Atlantic Conference
November 6th at Chapelgate Pres.
Here is the pdf brochure.

If you are interested in missions and have never been to one of these, you should go. I went last year in New England and brought K with me... It was fun to go with him and hear his impressions.
This year I have invited our youth mission team leaders as well as one or two students that might benefit and I've offered to pay for the costs out of our SPACE budget.

tickets while on mission trips

Somehow, on every mission trip (for Grace) that I have driven the church van, I have gotten some sort of ticket. No speeding tickets yet though. I thought I was off the hook this summer.
And then our church accountant wondered if I was driving the church van on August 1. EZpass ticket. $5.00
So here is the rundown:

- SEMP 2000 - $45.00 parking ticket, downtown Baltimore
- OC, MD 2001 - $35.00 parking ticket, Ocean City, MD
- NYC 2002 - $5.00 EZpass toll
- NYC 2004 - $5.00 EZpass toll

Hmm. Thats funny.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Firing up for 2004-2005

We officially kicked off our year for SPACE on Friday night for this school year. It was so so so good to get to spend some time with some of my NYC team. Based on students' involvement with their summer mission teams, I invited some of them back to help with the SPACEcrew, our team of students that help with planning the Launches (community service days during the school year). It was great to have them together, although the time was too short.
We met at a Krispe Kreme and to start the meeting, I had three questions for them that they had to answer on an index card. (I'm notorious for using index cards...)
1 - Tell me how the donut factory relates to SPACE this year.
2 - How did you change this summer on your missions trip?
3 - What is your biggest dream for SPACE this year?
Some good answers. The point I wanted to make was that our launches have to be preparing students in some way. It's not just about service projects just to serve. There is more to it than that. There is an aspect of engaging the average student in a way that they are more in tune with the world, to bless it, to minister to it.
That was the good part. The unfortunate part was that we didn't really come up with a killer first launch to start the school year off with. Lots of ideas were talked about, nothing seemed to just grab our attention though. The other unfortunate part was that I felt like the whole point of the donut factory, the overall reason of why we do this, one major point of our whole existence as a branch of the youth ministry, the thing that haunts me about this movement... that whole message was lost. And not just that it was lost, but those that didn't get it... Thats a little disappointing too.
But I just tell myself over and over again... It's not something easy that we are doing here. There is someone who does not want this to work right. And there are people that will not understand it.
Do you live missionally? Do you hear from God routinely? Has Jesus branded your heart with a dream and vision? I'm not saying all these are true for me... But I know if any of these are true, not all people will understand, accept or gravitate to you...

Thursday, September 09, 2004

CMTS Bernville PA

Someone came here looking for "CMTS Bernville PA". I figured it was someone who was on a pretty specfic search. And the google results were a little inaccurate. So I thought I would help it, and them. See my post about the trip we took there here.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Since Stephen Baldwin became a soldier of the light, there have been sacrifices aplenty. It is obvious that even in his B-listed state, a man who gets casts as Barney Rubble in Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas is still capable of getting his dance-card punched by major studios. But Baldwin says he has now passed up a slew of roles that he figures would diminish his testimony. The latest of which was Jennifer Garner's boyfriend on Alias.

At this, I visibly shudder. No matter how much I respect Baldwin for his stand, there is no excuse for passing up an opportunity to make out with Jennifer Garner. "See how you shook your head just then," says Baldwin. "That's what I did. Baldwin says he went to his wife, a wife he describes as a "Brazilian Dallas Cowboys cheerleader" who put up "with a loooooot of crap" in his heathen days, and pitched her thusly: "'Alias. Huge show. They'll pay me a lot of money. All I gotta do is play Jennifer Garner's boyfriend. Whaddya think?' Know what she said? 'Have you prayed about that?' She said, 'Let me ask you a question, you got to play her boyfriend right? She goes you gotta kiss her?' I go, 'Probably.' She said, 'Will you have to do love scenes?' Probably. She said, 'Would your character be married to her?' I said, 'Probably not.' And she said, 'Would you sign a contract in which they control the destiny of the character which you could not argue with?' I said, 'Yes.' She said, 'Does that coincide with what you believe?' I go, 'No.' She goes, 'What do you want to do, buddy? Do you want to live it? Do you want to walk your walk and be an example of what you say you believe? Or do you want to be just like everybody else?'"

"My wife's not stupid," he says. "She said 'Stay home, I'll be your alias, okay?' I love you baby," he says, as if she were sitting with us. "Rock'n'roll!"

Read the whole article here.
Hilarious article, very insightful into the Baldwin family. I'm looking forward to 2005 when we will take a team to the DC Festival, where Stephen will be with his skatepark, etc.

Community Voice Mail

"A lot of shelters have a pay phone that's in the community area," said Shannon Stewart, executive director of The Employment Project, which offers voice mail to the homeless in Chicago. "When you ask if John Doe is available, you hear the phone being thrown down and the screaming down the hallway."
Community Voice Mail gives each homeless person a phone number and each records a message.
The numbers can't be used for outgoing calls, but people can check their messages from any regular or pay phone. The service costs the providing agency as little as $7 per number per month.
Read the whole article here.
Very cool. Now that is a relief and community development project that is really really tangible.

Get Across

I spent the first ten years of my volunteer youthworker life working with a program called Christian Service Brigade (and I do mean program... but that's another topic altogether). CSB is a discipleship/mentorship program for boys and young men that is very similar to the Boy Scouts, except it is formulated around the local church. There is a progressive, formal achievement program whereby boys earn patches, much like badges in Boy Scouts. Each local church's specific program has a different look and feel to it. In some areas, there is also a very strong summer camp program through CSB's regional camps.
CSB has a place that is close to my heart because it was thru it that I first heard about Jesus, noticed the difference in people's lives that called themselves Christians, and accepted Jesus. Not only that, my first summer of being a Christian, right after my freshman year in high school, I went off to one of these summer camps to be on junior staff. It was that summer that God got a hold of my heart, that He took a kind of strange suburban Chinese kid, and showed him the wonder of His creation, what it looked like to serve, and the power and energy in the emerging generation.
As a college freshmen, four years later, the leaders of our CSB unit in our local church decided to fold up shop. They were tired, out of ideas, had other priorities. So my roommate M decided, rather to let it die, that he would take it, run with it, assume to grand, guarded title of Captian. I, and a few of us other lads who had come through high school with CSB, were partners in crime with him. Little did we know how formative that experience would be.
Since we were now the leaders, we had been given both the privlege and responsibility of doing pretty much whatever we wanted to, within the limits of the program material. (There is that P word again...) Since our unit was always historically centered around backcountry experiences; camping, hiking, climbing, etc., this opportunity allowed us to basically do whatever exploring like boys liked to do, under the umbrella of a local church ministry. Want to climb at Seneca Rocks in October? Sure enough. Canoe down the Shenandoah in May? Done deal. Hike the AT through Maryland in February? Go for it. (Well, the last one was a bit sketchy.)
One of my favorite experiences was leading a week long backpacking trip right out of the local camp, Camp Hemlock, during one of the summer camp sessions. Three of us leaders, the aforementioned M, E, and myself took 12 high school guys with us, hiking right out of camp, looping through the GW National Forest on either side and eventually, via a short van ride, hiking right back into camp at the end of the week. Included in there was two afternoons of climbing, lots of camp fires, tons of freeze dried food and the gas that goes with it.
We had scouted out the trail the weekend before so we knew what to expect, mostly. Towards the end of the trip, we knew there was a river crossing. The river was maybe 75 feet across, probably about mid thigh depth, nothing crazy. But we wanted to be sure, because, well, we were the leaders. So we planted an inflatable raft on the closer side of the river.
As we brought the kids down the trail head, we told them to stop, do some bookwork for ten minutes, and then continue down the trail. You will see us down there, we said. Then M, E and I continued to hike. After we rounded the corner and were out of sight, we started booking down the trail, as fast as we could, with our big backpacks on our backs. We got to the river, pulled the raft out of the high grass, jumped in, rowed across, jumped out, and stashed the raft.
When our boys came down and saw the river, we were standing on the other side, arms crossed, completely try. M yelled two words from his mouth, slowly, confidently, with a certain amount of pride - "Get across."
Then we watched our boys, like lemmings, wade, jump, some of them saunter, across the river.
That image is what we do wrong many times. We yell, "Get across" to people, to students, to other leaders, to other cultures. Whether its about the crossing to get to Jesus, the difference between helping a leader learn how to do it or them falling on their face, or the student who needs more than just theory about who God is... So many times, we've taken the boat and deliberately chosen not to cross the river with them.

The Gospel as

if the gospel is a product (i dont believe it is) then we need a sales force to sell it. but if the gospel is a story, we will need journalists to tell it.
- Andrew Jones

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Ten Common Factors in

Church Planting Movements (CPMs)

Found this booklet from IMB, and then actually got it for free, since it was something they were giving out for free. I read it tonight and then went back to the website and ordered 3 more for free. I'm going to give some of them out to students that are starting to catch this whole mission thing.
Anyway, below are the ten common factors in Church Planting Movements. I've listed them here with the comments from the booklet. And then I've made some comments about what I think in relation to youth culture. Would love to hear any feedback.
1. Worship in the heart language
Missionaries who identify and embrace the heart language of the people they are trying to reach are well positioned to stimulate a CPM. Nothing revelas a people group’s worldview as much as an intimate knowledge of their heart language. Missionaries who choose to work through a trade language begin their ministry with a curtain between themselves and the hearts of the people they are seeking to reach.

The language that students worship in today is so different from adults. Adults usually think its too loud. (Haha) Really though, it does have its own kind of language, texture, feel.
2. Evangelism has communal implications
Unlike the predominant pattern in the West with its emphasis on individualism and personal commitment, CPMs typically rely on a much stronger family and social connection. Missionaries in CPMs have recognized this and urged new believers to follow the web of their own relationships to draw new believers into the new community of faith.

Interesting to think of this in light of the relationships that youth have with each other.

3. Rapid incorporation of new converts into the life of ministry of the church.
In most CPMs, baptism is not delayed by length discipleship requirements. On the contrary, discipleship typically precedes conversion and continues indefinitely. Even when baptisms are delayed, new believers are expected to become witnesses immediately; these new discipleships immiedately become disciplers of others and even church planters. One elderly man who came to Christ in a CPM in India planted 42 churches in his first year as a believer.

We are not good at this, whether it is with adults or students.
4. Passion and fearlessness
CPMs are characterized by passion and a sense of urgency that attests to the importance of salvation and the necessity of conversion. A spirit of timidity or fear quences a CPM.

So often, the students I meet are way more fearless than I am.

5. A price to pay to become a Christian
CPMs often emerge in difficult settings where conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ is not a popular or socially advantageous thing to do. In many cases, conversion leads to severe persecution or even death.

Just like #5.
6. Perceived leadership crisis or spiritual vacuum in society.
The removal of long-held symbols of stability and security prompts individuals to reconsider matters of eternal significance.

I thought we had something with 9-11. But now it seems not. In either case, you see ripples of this with tragedy, like Beslan, 9-11, or Columbine.
7. On-the-job training for church leadership.
Typically include a series of short-term training modules that do not impede the primary tasks of evangelism, church planting and pastoral leadership. Missionaries also attest to the importance of ongoing leadership training.

8. Leadership authority is decentralized.
It is important that every cell or house leader has all the authority required to do whatever needs to be done in terms of evangelism, ministry and new church planting without seeking approval from a church hierarchy.

Interesting idea. I know the students I rub shoulders with typically have a very high rate of initiative, it's hard to hold them back. That kind of energy needs to be channeled the right way, and then, get out of the way.
9. Outsiders keep a low profile.
Missionaries who have been involved in CPMs point to the importance of keeping a low personal profile as they seek to initiate and nurture the movement. Rather than waiting for new believers to prove themselves worthy of leadership, missionaries begin by drawing new believers into leadership roles through participative Bible studies and mentoring pastors from behind the scenes.

I like this idea too. It really points back to the concept of indigenous. The more and more that I think about it, it's a really good measure of health of our ministries. It negates that whole rock star youth pastor thing.
10. Missionaries suffer.
Students of CPMs suggest that the affliction may be related to a higher spiritual price required for rolling back the darkness.

Just like the excluded middle. What would happen if we change the worldview of a whole generation of students? What if the generation of students we are building have an advantage when it comes to spiritual warfare because they have been energized by a worldview that takes into consideration these kinds of ideas?


Read more here.


You all the read this regularly know that the sense of affluence and entitlement that we have here in the US, and specifically in the area where I live, is a big deal to me. It's a disease that is killing the Church.
Recent studies of adults who were overindulged as children paint a discouraging picture of their future. Kids who've been given too much too soon grow up to be adults who have difficulty coping with life's disappointments. They have a distorted sense of entitlement that gets in the way of success both in the workplace and in relationships. Psychologists say parents who overindulge their kids may actually be setting them up to be more vulnerable to future anxiety and depression. "The risk of overindulgence is self-centeredness and self-absorption, and that's a mental-health risk," says William Damon, director of the Stanford University Center on Adolescence. "You sit around feeling anxious all the time instead of figuring out what you can do to make a difference in the world."
families with 3- to 12-year-olds spend $53.8 billion annually on entertainment, personal-care items and reading materials for their children. This is $17.6 billion more than parents spent in 1997. Teens are spending huge amounts of money themselves, some of it cadged from their families and the rest from after-school jobs. Last year 12- to 19-year-olds spent roughly $175 billion, $53 billion more than in 1997, according to Teen Research Unlimited.
What parents need to find, psychologists say, is a balance between the advantages of an affluent society and the critical life lessons that come from waiting, saving and working hard to achieve goals. That search for balance has to start early.
But kids who have no responsibilities never learn one of life's most basic lessons: that every individual can be of service to others and that life has meaning beyond one's own immediate happiness.
Read the full article here.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Pastor to the Carnies

SEDALIA, Mo. - The Rev. John Vakulskas walks tall here in the midway, among the wirling rides and twinkling lights, where the scent of cotton candy wafts and the playful cries of children resound.
This is his church. These are his parishioners.
For 35 years, Vakulskas has ministered to ride operators and game booth attendants — folks who spend their lives on the road, who raise children expected to follow in their footsteps, called "carnies" by outsiders.
See the full link here.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Sesame Place #2

Ok. I just couldn't wait any longer.
In youth ministry, and especially when we take students for a missional experience, whatever that might look like, our desire is to give students a transformational experience, an opportunity where we have created an environment where they are transformed, brought to a new place with their understanding of God, themselves, and how they fit with the world. An experience which overtakes their life and calls them to something more.
Isn't that the overall goal of a theme park, more or less?
Anyway, on to Sesame Place. But before that, a disclaimer. We have gone to Disney World in Florida 5 times now. Yes, agreed, its a little excessive. A few caveats though. The first two times, I was fortunate enough to be traveling on company expense, since I was presenting something at a work related conference, a very nice luxury. And the last time was also free, for just one day, because some good friends who live in Orlando had some free tickets that were just begging to be used. Ok.
When you go to Disney, every person that works there just goes nuts to make sure you are having a great time. They go out of their way for the craziest request. Their attitude is so joyous, their perspective is all about the guest, their mindset is out of the world. It's a little sickening.
It was quite the opposite at Sesame Place. From the parking attendant that didn't talk, to the cashier working the register that sighed when I came to pay, to the people working the float rides, busy trying to get their coworkers wet versus moving the rides along... It was one thing after another. Granted, we still had a great time, but there was something missing. As my wife also put it, "It's the Magic Kingdom without the magic." And it made me think.
What is it about a perspective, a mindset, as Erwin puts it, an ethos? How is that taught, developed, communicated? What about the gap from the leader saying it, to the people in the movement getting it, to the employees, visitors, congregants, mission trip participants holding it, ascribing to it, living it?
I don't have any good answers. A few things came to my mind:
1. Are we even communicating it? It seemed to me that whoever was in charge didn't even talk to their staff about making a transforming visitor experience. We might be talking to our student leaders, volunteer youth team, etc. about creating spiritual environments for students. Or we might be just thinking it and wondering why the team that we serve and work with is just not seeing it. Or we might not even be pondering it ourselves.
2. Are we providing the tools to get it done? I think the park was probably understaffed. That must have been frustrating. Therefore, the staff didn't really have the resources to get it done, even if they had wanted to. Do we give our team the resources neccessary?
3. Do we give each other the right kind of feedback? I know for me, evaluation is a huge part of the service project, mission trip, etc. I got the feeling like the leadership of the park didn't know, and maybe didn't want to know, what the customers were thinking.
Anyway, a rather strange way to tie Sesame Place with missional student movements.

Sesame Place

We just got back from two days at Sesame Place, outside of Philly. No, not with students... With the fam. I am going to write more about it, because I think there were some intruiging lessons to take from it... In the meantime, I will summarize part of the trip with one of my wife's comments - "We are Disney elitists." More later, and yes, it will somehow tie with student missions... (I think)

Friday, September 03, 2004

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Warrior Night

Our high school ministry does an outreach Friday every other Friday night during the school year. It's a program full of music, drama, snacks, etc. that is student led with the intention that friends from CpR invite their friends from school. The Gospel is always clearly presented. This year, every outreach has a theme night. Tomorrow night is Warrior Night...Here is a peek from last year.

Youth Missions Network

Well, I just found this arm of the National Network of Youth Ministers, this piece specific to youth missions. Pretty cool huh? Anyone out there ever heard of this before?
It's funny that I just found it when last week I was talking about something like it anyway.

Here are some of their goals and values, with some of my commentary.
1. Focusing on God’s Glory as the Chief Goal
Definitely. As Piper says, God's worship and glory is the foundation for missions.

2. Embracing the primary role of the local church
This is probably my favorite one on the list. It's way to easy for youthworkers to encourage students to go with one of the multitudes of mission organizations. Not that its always a bad thing. In most cases, it's probably a great experience for the student. But those organization seldom involve the local church. Instead, I'm encouraging students to go with one of those mission orgs one summer, and then come back to what we are doing after they get back, and help us with our idea of missions. Our ideas being that students progress as they get older (locality, cultural, etc) and that our long term goal is to send teams to help missionaries our church has already supported. Synergy between the adult church and our students is one of our goals, the local church is the light of the world.

3. Integrating Missions into a Young person’s Life
I would say that we need to integrate 'mission' into a young person's life. Their lives need to reflect the kind of passion about people that Jesus had. Enough that He died for them.

4. Empowering Youth to Minister in Missions
The word indigenous comes to mind. Students are the best ones to minister to students. I'm also reminded that worldview is a huge aspect of this value.

5. Involving Parents
It's fundamental. I can't imagine trying to do anything with students, missions or not, without involving parents. Duh.

6. Being Cross-culturally sensitive
A big one. It's part of why we require students that go out on teams go to prep meetings. One of the things we talk about is culture. That and the statistic that 75% of short term trips don't do any good and sometimes are a detriment to the host missionaries primary because of cultural issues.

7. Being Good Stewards of Resources
I don't care about this because I live in a really affluent area of the world. (You know I'm kidding.)

8. Working in Unity with Diverse Branches of the Church

Wow, good list huh? Anyone out there sign up?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

And I Thought Boot Camp was tough...

"Students are taught how to preserve food, make bread, cut hair, weld, log, situate and frame a house, collect and treat water, as well as the mysteries of plumbing, septic systems, small-engine maintenance, solar batteries and portable generators."
Read the full article here that describes training for New Tribes Mission.