Tag Archives: unity

two overlaid planes of ministry

Dream about this with me. What would it look like for you to live into a ministry that takes place on two overlaid planes: organic, contextualized youth work within the existing social networks your teenagers are living in; AND, a Kingdom-of-God gathering of the tribes–a place where our “preferences” (our sub-cultural norms) aren’t ignored, and aren’t diminished, but melt away in the context of a greater unity of the Spirit?

it’s a parallel mindset to the thinking behind the mash-up word GLOCAL (global AND local).

unity through diversity

yesterday at my church, the worship pastor preached on the idea of unity through diversity (based on 1 corinthians 12:12-20). it was probably about the best sermon i’ve heard in the last six months (partially, to be sure, because the preacher is really an artist, not an orator or expositor; so it had a wonderfully different feel from most sermons i hear). (you can hear the sermon here.)

in the middle of the sermon, he used this video (viewed over 10 million times on youtube, so you have likely already seen it!) as a way of talking about the difference between unity in diversity and unity through diversity. anyhow, i just found myself totally suppressing tears while watching it. what a great metaphor for what the church is invited, called, created to be.

unholster the U

eons ago — seriously, probably 20 years ago — i was teaching on unity in the body of christ to my junior high group (specifically applying it to unity within our group). and i came up with this very silly, seemingly throw-away, idea of a hand motion and catch phrase for the group to remember. i’d form my hand in the shape of a U, put it at my side (like a gunslinger with his hand on the gun handle), then — while pulling the U up to eye level — say, “unholster the U”, and “remember, Unity begins with U”.

yeah, kinda dorky.

but the thing was, the group loved it. we started using it all the time to remind each other to be loving and kind to each other, not gossiping, name-calling, or any other behaviors that were destructive to unity.

i think i introduced the idea in my next church or two also, but i don’t remember it ever catching on like it did with that first group (any former students reading this remember this?).

well, apparently (i hadn’t remember this), i wrote the idea into a lesson on unity in wild truth bible lessons: dares from jesus 2, which was published in 2003 (and probably written in 2001 or 2002). and i don’t know if i’ve thought about ‘unholstering the U’ since then.

but the other day i got this wonderful facebook message from a youth worker named robby:

Hey Mark O.
For years (since ’03? ’04 maybe?) I have been pulling out the ‘Unholstering the U’ application from Dares from Jesus 2, and every time I am shocked that it ‘works’ and kids go for it. The last time I uses the illustration was about 6 weeks ago; tonight I received the following email from a parent. Thank you for your ministry of equipping youth workers–and creating curriculum that works so we can spend time building relationships.

Parent email:
Jackie was talking on the way home from the Harvest Festival tonight about the hand movement you guys did at Zoo a couple weeks ago…where you start with your hand on your hip and then form a U with your hand…you know what I am talking about…

Anyway, she said that she has done that a few times with Kamryn and Rob at school and then she saw Grayson at a soccer game sitting on the sidelines while she was playing and she did it to/with him as well…I just thought that was such a neat way to create bonds between these kids of different ages and with different interests – such a cool way to bring them together and make them a group.

I just thought I would share…your good work is doing neat things way outside of our walls at FPC. We appreciate you very much.

Have a good week,

what a kick. i was grinning from ear to ear as i read that; not only did a youth worker use that old silly idea and find it helpful — but to see an email from mom somewhere in america, who i don’t know, commenting how her daughter was ‘unholstering the U’, was a marko-happy-maker.

so there you have it: unity begins with (yo)U!