Teaching to Our Conclusions

Originally published April 15, 2009.

The tasks of Faith Shaping is probably the sole reason why I’m still in youth ministry 28 years later.  I love seeing the light turn on in the hearts of teens.  Teens are in that wonderful (it does have days of wonder) season of life where they are moldable while in the process of making true life decisions.  And honestly, I love being an influencer in that.  I particularly love moving around the members of my church family to help the teens go through the Faith Shaping Tasks.  In doing that I’m doing my job better and I still get to see those lights turned on.  And yes, this is really all about me and the joy I have.  While I don’t want to lead a Brenda-centered youth ministry with everything centered on me, I do want personal joy from the work that I do.  And being a part of shaping the faith of teens does bring me joy.

So from my love of faith shaping, I appreciate this quote.  Chuck Bomar, founder of collegeleader.org, in referring to the faith development of teens wrote, “I think the biggest way we push students into foreclosure is that we automatically teach conclusions. 

Bottom Line Goal Of Creating Memories

Originally published in 2001. 

I have had the privilege of raising special group of youth called “Gods’ Family” over the past eight years.   This group is responsible for giving me a completely new outlook on ministry as I have grown as they have grown up. They are now scattered in their young adult lives and I am continuing to grow with them.  They are the heartbeat of my life.

I was blessed over a recent weekend to visit and catch up with three of them.  Those were precious hours to me learning firsthand how their lives and faith are continuing to grow.  It was also fun to go over some of our memories.  I was particularly blessed to learn how those memories have made up their faith as young adults.  Those memories formed their faith.

My husband and I visited two of our girls who are attending a top-ranked college and one of our boys who is serving some time in prison.  Very different outcomes in their lives (at this time) but these two things remained constant.  All three had a growing faith and all three had the same memories.

Is It On The Test?

Originally published in 2001.

Youth ministry question: So what are you planning on doing to help your students through Exam Season?  Youth ministry involvement will come in second anyway (unless you have found a way to promote them to their next grade) so why not do something to support this Exam Season.  What are you going to do?

However, “is it on the test” has more to do with youth ministry than Exam Season.  It is one of those cries of youth.  The approach youth choose to face many things is simply, is it on the test?