over the next week or so, i’ll post slightly edited versions of the notes from our junior high pastors summit. they’re pretty fragmented for someone who wasn’t there, i’ll admit (they weren’t ‘taken’ for this purpose). but for those who would like to read, i’m excited to share them with you.
parts 1, 2 and 3 are the summaries of the morning scot mcknight spent with us. then, parts 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are the pieces of our discussion. one bonus post will have the book recommendations from the group to one another (this is one of our traditions each year, to share two or three books we’d recommend to each other).
here’s part 6…
Framing Young Teen Decisions with the Long-View in Mind:
Parts or Whole? Thin Slicing?
Kurt – there is some truth in the fact that not every JH kid is going to make a commitment, therefore we need to start with a process mindset
Marko – we need to reinvent how we look at our ministry – it’s ok if a kid only walks away feeling loved – not converted
John – instead of being concerned about the decision we focus on the journey, our piece of the pie is relationship
Marko – what is a JH disciple?
Jeff – it is exposing them to an environment that allows dialogue about faith and God
Marko – what are we calling kids to? Once they crossed the bridge
Heather – kids in college are ok with questioning theology where they don’t feel safe doing that in JH
Alan R – we have to be OK with kids graduating on and not seeing results
John – what if we took the whole concept of altar calls out of our conversation
Scott – what decision are you calling them to – it’s important for them to understand it’s not about just getting into Heaven; it’s about a relationship, community, etc.
Heather – it forces us to present the gospel every day in our ministries, not just when we are preparing for altar calls
Marko – the tendency for a lot of us is to turn this into a talk series and that’s ok but that’s not the point – it needs to somehow become a part of who we are for ourselves as well – we understand it cognitively but do we understand it wholly in our own lives – it needs to be filtered through so small group leaders are also making it a part of their lives and groups
Jim –if we know the kids well enough we can walk with them through this mindset
John – pg 11, the church always performs the gospel it proclaims –
Cristin – how do students decipher which community/which person to model their lives after when they are involved in many communities and not all set good examples
Steve – it’s tricky when you get to layers and performance
Alan – we have a tendency to want to be perfect…
Johnny – we need to set up a culture that kids can feel spirituality
Eric – how are we going to call people to ministry when things are messy,
Cristin – it’s a journey together – leaders and students
Sean – what good does it do if the senior pastor doesn’t agree with this idea
Do you go about it covertly or do you just present it?
John – if we can make changes in student ministries it will have a trickle affect and spread to the bigger church
Andy – things can start in student ministry – JH experience their faith best through service – we need to bring freedom to kids in using “weird” church language
Marko – if this is true how can we only use parts of it
Kurt – thin slicing is taking the gospel and putting it into thinner slices – more simplifying than thin slicing – this is important because we need to help kids “get it” because when they leave MS ministry they are not being taught this…
Marko – we want it to permeate our ministry – then trusting the Holy Spirit to take control
Kurt – this idea forces us to just be part of the process and trust the Holy Spirit
April – this lowers the bar of our youth ministry
Judy- we need to tell them why they should love God and others,
Jason – do kids get it?
Marko – preaching is not a good method of communication for kids
Ken – can’t be hypocritical, matching their life/talks
Eric – if youth groups are just celebrations it’s inadequate, the ethos we create in a group is the real message
Jason – youth pastors need to let kids come to this decision on their own and not just cram the message down their throats
Johnny – kids often relate the person up front with being cool, etc – kids want to be a part of a community that person is a part of
Judy – the hard part of being part of a big YM is living “words can inspire but experience transform”, sometimes our job is to just hold onto them
Steve – what Gospel is seen by our community? We need to help create that even though the students can’t verbalize it – they were able to be in a place where they didn’t have to be perfect and they were accepted
Ken – this is something we need to live in our own lives – what are we afraid of in stopping doing numbers, altar calls, etc.
Marko- the fear is that the Church (you’re a part of) is not going to accept this
Johnny – it’s better to have kids tell their story – it’s more holistic
Marko – like Andy said – it’s good for kids to have 4 stories (my restoration with god, self, others and world) – if we get kids to be able to tell 4 stories, than it’s “theirs” and they can take it into HS ministry and beyond…4 chapters in one book – if kids can articulate that then they are telling the story
April – it’s important that MS kids are taught the bible stories because they don’t necessarily hear it after HS
Eric – it’s important to draw kids in with biblical stories and personal stories
Marko – the contemporary church realized it’s important to take care of people’s felt needs just recently and therefore kids don’t know bible stories – the pendulum needs to swing back somewhat
Ken – it’s been misplaced because the parent’s don’t know the scripture anymore
Marko – how do we tell the stories of the gospel without sounding like a 2nd grade Sunday school class?
Kurt – there will be various series – Bible driven series and felt need/topical series – the bible stories are just as intriguing to kids
Jim – it’s important to take all stories that are shared and reveal how they incorporate God, self, others, world
Judy – the Bible stories should be shared just as often with the definition intertwined as personal stories
Kurt – the Story is Created – Cracked – Christ-like, a way of telling that story is using God, Self, others, world