Tag Archives: joel daniel harris

campference rants

at the middle school ministry campference last weekend, our saturday morning tribal gathering didn’t have a full-length speaker. instead, we had four 7-minute “soapbox rants,” each in response to the question, “what’s one thing you wish all middle school youth workers would start or stop.” it was quite amazing how the four of them flowed together, even though we didn’t know what each was going to say (and they hadn’t communicated with each other).

brooklyn lindsey shared a wonderfully transparent challenge to be honest about who you really are. money quote:

“Stop being someone else. It’s time to be you!”

our second rant was crowdsourced. we invited all the attendees to submit a summary of what they would rant about, then posted the submissions without names on an online survey for voting. joel daniel harris, founder of the newly launched organization TomTod (an organization attempting to come around middle schoolers with a justice/social cause dream and help them turn it into a reality) spoke to us on our need to dream. he talked about “double scope integration,” the fancy term for imagination, connecting it to our calling to exercise imagination in the overlapping spaces of our culture and the kingdom of god, which he referred to as “sacred imagination.” brilliant stuff.

adam mclane was up next. and, since adam has blogged about his rant, you can read it here. adam pushed us to think about decentralizing youth ministry in order to be more responsive to the 42.7 million teenagers in america. money quote:

We must decentralize our role, invite more adults who minister to teenagers already to the table, and multiply our effectiveness.

bringing us home was scott rubin, who — like brooklyn — pushed us with his honesty while challenging us to think about where we “put our worst foot forward.” scott (who blogged the notes from his rant here), unpacked the reality that in an age of facebook and twitter, we’re constantly thinking about how to put our best foot forward in little snippets, constantly presenting the image of ourselves that we want people to have, constantly sharing an edited 2-dimensional version of ourselves. money quote:

Not getting 100 more twitter followers by Christmas isn’t going to disqualify you from ministry.
Not having someone who knows your secret world could bring your ministry – and life – to a grinding halt one day.

great stuff. i’d encourage you to click though on adam and scott’s stuff and read more.

seismos 2011

last year, i had a blast leading the dialogue at a small event for youth workers called seismos. a youth worker (and blogger) in canton, ohio, named joel daniel harris, puts this event together as a labor of love. in 2011, joel daniel is hosting two seismos events.

the “north” location (march 28-30, in lakeville, oh) will feature theologian and uber-blogger scot mcknight. i’ve had scot as a guest for a similar event years ago, and know that the discussion will be rich and valuable. here’s the description:

Envisioning a Theologically Responsible Youth Ministry
facilitated by Scot McKnight & Joel Daniel Harris
For our North gathering in 2011, we’ll be exploring with Scot what it looks like to have a youth ministry that balances both orthodoxy and orthopraxy well…that is to have grounded beliefs behind the actions that we take and to teach in such a way that leads to action. With many students today graduating out of our youth ministry and quickly leaving their faith, we’ll be taking a closer look at what we teach and why it doesn’t seem to stick. What about our practices may need to change?

and i’ll be hosting the dialogue at the “south” location (may 9-11, in weaverville, nc). joel daniel has asked me to focus on the same subject we addressed at the north event last year:

Adolescent Brain Development
facilitated by Mark Oestreicher & Joel Daniel Harris
In the last 20 years researchers have been able to explore and understand the brain in ways never before considered. This has led to an explosive amount of knowledge that is worthy of consideration as youth pastors as to how these developments should affect the way that we design and practice youth ministry. It also raises questions of our responsibility to act as responders to or shapers of adolescent culture. Sure to be an enthralling and challenging conversation, come prepared with your thinking caps!

here’s what’s cool about seismos:
1. it’s a dialogue. scot and i won’t be presenting hours and hours of seminar content. we’ll be facilitating a discussion.
2. it’s small. each event is limited to 40 people. so everyone’s voice is heard and the conversation is intimate.
3. it’s cheap. less than a hundred bucks for reg, lodging and meals.

the early bird deadline for both events is this saturday (jan 15). but even if you can’t make your decision that fast, it’s still cheap. and i strongly encourage you to check it out. everything you need is on the seismos 2011 website.