Here is the result of my inability to fall asleep yet again. It is a story–not one of knights and dragons, but of the true sort. Here is the story of the lunchroom bell.
During lunch my fourth grade year, the cafeteria often became quite noisy. When this happened, the lunch monitors would take medium-sized bells out of their apron pockets and ring them–over and over and over again. The chatter would dull for about thirty seconds and then rise right back up again. The bells didn’t get to me at first. As time wore on, however, they grated on me more and more. It was illogical and stupid. I felt that if I, a nine-year-old, could think of a better solution than the adults could, something was wrong. I decided to do something about it.
My first method was not effective. I raised my hand and asked one of the lunch monitors if she could help open my milk carton–you know, to get her in reaching distance. I then got up and threw away a packet of ketchup, which would serve as a distraction. While I was doing this, my friend and accomplice–whom I will call Beatrice–balled up napkins and stuffed them in the bell that was sticking out of the lunch monitor’s apron pocket. She soon noticed and responded with, “I am watching you.” Continue reading
I excitedly want to pass on this new article from Sticky Faith/Fuller Youth Institute. This is insight Wild Frontier has been talking about for years, most notably this from 1992 and this from 2003.
We are very excited to have the larger megaphone of Fuller Youth Institute writing about this. Please read. Redefining the Youth Worker.
Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings and the Son of Man. He is Lord and Saviour, Redeemer, Mighty One and even my All in All. But Jesus is not a comma.
How many times have you heard a prayer like this: “Dear Jesus, I come before you, dear Jesus, to ask for your blessing, dear Jesus, on this group as we gather in your name, dear Jesus, to learn more about you. I ask, dear Jesus, that you bless the teacher, dear Jesus, as well as all of us who will be listening. Dear Jesus, please make your word even more open to us as a result of us coming together, dear Jesus. Amen.”
That is the name of our Savior who has redeemed us from sin, who has all power in that name alone to cause demons to tremble. But in prayers like these the name of Jesus is a comma. Too many people use the name “Lord Jesus” or “Father” or whatever variation as a comma or other punctuation mark. Why is this? Continue reading
I really do value education, but I detest school. This is kind of a dilemma for me. And no, I’m not just being an angsty teenager. I feel really strongly about this, and I hate having my opinion debated all the time. It’s okay to have an opinion. It’s okay to not like something. Debating is not always helpful or welcome, okay? Please. I don’t have the tenacity to defend my every point right now. Keep it to yourself.
Okay. Back to my main topic now. I go to school and get great grades, but do I always feel like I actually know–I mean really know–the material? Absolutely not. The information, sadly, is not sticking. I (and when I say I, I think it’s safe to say that I’m not just speaking for myself) memorize the necessary test information by studying, take the test, get a great grade, and forget it. Three months after I learn something, do I still know it to the same level that I did? No. Do you remember all the layers of the atmosphere and weather patterns that you learned in sixth grade? I didn’t think so. (If you said yes, just to be a self-praising smartass, get out.) Nobody remembers it all. I know I certainly don’t. In fact, half the time after I take a test (especially in biology, but that’s just me), I get an A and have no idea about anything. If you asked me to adequately explain mitosis and meiosis, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Yet, I got a high A on that test. How come? Well, I’m being taught to regurgitate information, not absorb it. As long as I meet the state standard, I’m good. Continue reading
When we (myself included) think about what it is to be a worship leader, I think we often give priority in our thought process to things like helping the congregation enter into a spirit of worship, arranging the songs we play, cleaning up vocal harmonies, choosing songs and taking care of sounds issues–the Sunday morning obstacles. And those are all good and necessary things to nurture and it’s a huge part of our responsibly. But for me the term “worship leader” has a dual meaning. We are leading our congregation but we are also leading our own worship team and sometimes I feel like this is the forgotten half of the job description.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (the 1964 original) has always been my absolute favorite Christmas movie of all time. For as long as I can remember, I’ve watched it several times during the Christmas season. It’s one of those things that never gets old. Just like the Polar Express–that’s my second favorite.
Anyway, a few years ago, I realized that Rudolph’s story is more than just a fun holiday tale. It has a message, one that was especially encouraging to me during that time of my life. The very thing Rudolph was rejected for–his glowing nose–saved Christmas in the end.
Excuse me while I go watch it again.
I really apologize for having nothing to write about other than memories and whatnot. I truly hope I’m not boring anyone. My present isn’t anything to write about–well, nothing I’d put in public or the Internet. My future is too shaky to really discuss. What does that leave? The past.
Sixth grade. Honestly, I still sort of admire my sixth grade self. It surprises me that I actually had that much strength in me. Then I start wondering where all that strength went.
Sometimes bad experiences change us for the better. For me, that was sixth grade. After fifth grade’s terrible experiences, I decided to be the sweetest, most accepting little girl anyone had ever met. I tried my hardest to put kindness into practice and make it a priority, even when people hurt me.
So, in sixth grade, some drama happened with three girls. Two of the girls had been my friends formerly, and one of those two stopped being friends with me unexpectedly. This is where my desire to be kind was tested. I could’ve retaliated to all the hate I got from those three, but I refused. This is where I admire the random strength I had in sixth grade: I still chose to love and care about those girls, no matter how they hurt me. Continue reading
Every worship leader has bad habits of some kind. We all tend to fall into a groove in our leading style, playing style, singing style, song choice patterns, microphone dynamics or some other thing we’ve been doing for years. So here are some of my least favorite bad habits that I see pretty frequently, including when I lead.
1. Shouting Out The Words: You know what I mean. You felt compelled to lead a song that wasn’t in the original plan. You’re already playing in the key of A, so why not throw in How Great Is Our God? You get through the first verse and chorus just fine but for some reason you just feel like you have to yell out “Age to age he stands” just before you sing “Age to age he stands.” Trust me when I tell you everyone knows the words to most songs like this and you cramming in five words between the last upbeat and downbeat before you start to sing the next verse is just distracting–way more distracting than if one of your five background singers sang a wrong word or two that no one will hear anyway. Trust your team. Trust your congregation. Sing the song. We’re not narrators, we’re leaders. Continue reading
These stories are plentiful but so few make it into public reading. This great and true story is from the Fuller Youth Institute’s Sticky Faith project. How cool was it for those teens to have their senior pastor be their small group leader for the week of camp?! This summary says it all:
“I’m sure there’s still some texting going on during the sermon most Sundays, but after conversations I’ve had with our youth I know they listen and participate in worship differently now that they share those special memories from camp with our pastor. And our pastor communicates to them differently now that he knows more names, faces, and stories.”
Read the entire story. Discuss it with your team. How can you incorporate your senior pastor into your plans? Then ask him or her. Go ahead and do it!