Category Archives: Youth

Ministry Isn’t An Afterthought

I seldom ever just draw for the sake of drawing. It’s likely with a blog or a request in mind that I doodle the “Jesus Chick” cartoon that I use so often. Today, I finished some work for the Bible College, began to process my thoughts about a blog topic and determine what might follow that as far as getting something accomplished for the Kingdom and then my mind drifted. To a place of just wonderment. A siesta of sorts. I know… I just came back from a siesta. Four nights of revival and two at the beach and the sad part is, I needed that siesta to remind myself that I need to take more siestas.

Most people who look at my life look at me as an “unemployed woman” who occasionally serves the Lord (which isn’t a real job according to most), sings a little on the side (which is technically goofing off) and is readily available to forget about the laundry and dishes (true story) and go off on jaunts across the world with her bestie and play with her grandbabies with the remainder of her spare time. I just wore myself out talking about my time off!

I thought, perhaps today, I’d share a little about the glamorous days of “The Jesus Chick.” If you’re in the ministry, you can no doubt identify in many ways. If you’re not, please use this as a catalyst to pray for those of us who “don’t have a real job.”

On Monday’s I pack my guitar and song books into the car and travel to our local nursing home. I sing and minister in word to about 10-15 long term care residents. I try to sing songs of their childhood faith so that they can chime in. What a blessing that is to see patients who can’t remember their name half the time, recall every word of “How Great Thou Art!” Sitting across from me is usually a very cranky faced woman. She breaks my heart. She knows religion but she doesn’t know Jesus. She’s bitter at the world and my music soothes her soul temporarily, but just like Saul, who hired David to soothe his, when the music stops… so does the peace. She doesn’t know peace. I carry that home in my guitar case. It gets heavy sometimes.

On Monday nights a couple of friends and I meet at the church for a Bible journaling class where we share our art, but more importantly we share our heart. We’re burdened for our people. We want our churches to grow, we want our friends and family to experience the fire of Jesus! During the day I prepare handouts for the girls and conversation starters. Everyone needs conversations of the heart. It helps us grow in our own faith when we sow seeds into the lives of others. Good seed. That’s important to know. Stay away from those who sow weeds in your garden.

Wednesday’s I have a teen ministry where I try to sow good seed and pull the weeds of the world from the lives of children. Good grief there’s a lot of weeds to pull. If it’s been a while since you’ve sat down with teens to have an in depth conversation about their life you’d be shocked at what they face and be awed that they can come out of it unscathed. Only in Jesus.

If you follow this blog you know I have weeks of abundant writing and weeks of less. It depends on how much life takes its toll on my time. I sing at every opportunity. Often times for secular events hoping that my words in song and my testimony in between will spark a conversation with someone in the audience.

Spare time is often helping other ministries with promotion and publication art. And then when the weekend rolls around it’s game on for Jesus! I teach Sunday School, sing solo and sing in the choir, organize events and take care of our own church publications and such.

Does it sound like I’m complaining or bringing attention to my works for Christ? I surely hope not. That’s not my intent. My intent is to allow you to see that ministry may appear that it’s an afterthought; especially for those who work “real” jobs. But carrying the burden for souls in a guitar case, a hymnal, a cyber church and the occasional back pocket or purse is a heavy load. There’s no time off from your mind. I speak not only of myself but of ministers all over the world. Serving God is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, I’m sure they’d say the same.

But sometimes you just want to fly away… or splat a mud puddle in cute boots.

“And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away, and be at rest.” PSALM 55:6

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

 

Forever Young!

You don’t have to get honest and point out any of the flaws in my being. Believe me, the mirror attests to the fact that I’m no longer 18, and should the makeup I apply conceal my age, my skeletal and muscular being cry out in agony most days as I attempt to keep up with the younger me within. This was a conversation that my friend Gloria had on one of our recent adventures in the big city. I remember the street we were on, the plaza we were passing and everything about that day just like it was yesterday. But in actuality it was day before yesterday, just like the time I was 18, or so it feels. How is it that our body ages so aggressively and yet our mind continues in the state of youth? At least until you lose it. And perhaps even then we are forever in a state of youth.

I love the scripture promise in Ephesians 5:27 when it says “That He (Christ) might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

I’m going way, WAY, out of context of this scripture, but it’s truth none the less. I sooooooooo look forward to the day that I am presented before Christ, without age spots, or wrinkles or any blemish on this ever so blemished body that I now reside in. Now, of course, if you’re a theologian your right eye is probably twitching because you know that that scripture refers to the blemished, sin filled bodies, we now reside in and the presentation of them in that day when Jesus calls us home and we will receive a glorified body.

But I’m here to tell you, my inward Shari is unblemished and forever young and eternal now. And so is yours if you’re saved. If you’re unsaved, you too have an eternal nature, but it’s not going to receive a new and glorified body. It will be cast into the eternal fire of damnation in Hell and away from everything good that you love. If that’s you, go to my plan of salvation page and fix that matter before God right now. Then you too will know the feeling of being forever young.

It was a stark reality for me the other day when I realized my first born child was the same age now as I was when I got saved. Wait a minute, I was a grown up woman! “How did we get here so doggone fast” I asked myself? I don’t feel 55. Except when I get out of bed and then I feel 85.

So Gloria and I both glorified God that He has given us the understanding of eternity and that this world is a step in the process of aging out to forever young. When we get that glorified body, we  will no longer experience the degradation of the one we now reside in. Even Christians forget that we are eternal beings. We want to hold on to this world and everything in it when we should be working to take everything that matters with us. And that’s the people we love. They too are eternal and need to know Christ as their Savior.

Gloria and I are going to a “bigger city,” than the usual big city this week. We’re heading south for a little R&R for the psyche and the soul as we follow the Marietta Bible College Choir on their Spring tour down south. I hope to get renewed and refreshed and feel the youth in my bones as well as my soul for a day or two. Follow our adventure on the Jesus Chick page on Facebook. I hope to share some live video feeds of our time. We’d love you to come along!

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

Liquid Lies

Four Reasons People Fall into Substance Abuse

According the Center for Disease Control statistics of 2015, West Virginia had the highest per capita drug-related death rate in the U.S. In 2015, the state saw 41.5 deaths per 100,000 people attributed to drug use. Researchers from the CDC found that the increase in drug-related deaths in West Virginia from 2014 to 2015 was considered statistically significant, with an increase of 16.9 percent. While the rest of the country wrestles with an alarming rate of illicit drug use, West Virginia is truly on the front lines of this battle.

On Friday evening our church attended an event called “The Judgement House” at the 14th Avenue Gospel Mission in Parkersburg, West Virginia. We drove an hour, broke bread at a local pizza establishment and then made our way to the very well performed Judgement House drama on the subject of overdose.  The drama storyline was that of a girl addicted to drugs following the murder of her mother, her own addiction, the attempted intervention of family, and her life failures. All of which eventually leads to the death of her brother, her overdose and the eternal ramifications of their life decisions. It was a soul stirring event because for me. It was also one that caused me to examine myself, God’s grace and consider the fate of people in our community.

There are countless reasons for people falling into addiction and sin, but I believe each of them can fall under four subcategories.

Four Reasons I’ve seen people turn to drugs and alcohol and not to Jesus

  1. Reason One: Familiarity
    1. Constant advertisements, store displays and discussion of the good times of sin. Even the bible says in Hebrews 11:25 that there is “joy in sin for a season.” If your of any age at all you know this. However, there’s also the morning after and the results of any decisions made. It may be life altering for you or for someone else. You may not see the destruction of it for years down the line when your decision, and acceptance of it as natural behavior, leads to the destruction in your own child’s life.
    2. 1 Peter 2:11– Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
    3. 1 John 2:16– For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
    4. 1 Corinthians 15:33– Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Questions:

Do you see the commercial effects of familiarity in your life? Store, television, internet?

Do your friends make poor decisions and how much are you drawn into their decision making?

How do you think they affect you?

Do they cause you to accept the behavior as “normal” and not see it for the sin that it is?

  1. Reason Two: Escape Reality
    1. In the storyline the girl could forget her mother’s death and her father’s grief when she took the drugs. Although in reality it just mask the pain, it was still there.
    2. Escaping reality can also be placing the blame on everyone else. The girl in our story blamed her father not being there for her at her mother’s death. Yet she had her brother. It’s easy to look at the people who let us down and discourage us as the reason we make poor decisions, but none of that is a valid excuse with God.
    3. This doesn’t have to be speaking of the extreme life of addiction. It can also be speaking of our behavior when someone lets us down. Perhaps we’re rude, disrespectful, or we won’t do what we know is right to do because the world deserves it or we’re “having a bad day.” That too will be an accountable moment before God if in our decision making we affected the lives of others.
    4. Satan’s goal is to convince that we are alone. And then he attacks in our weakest hour, with our own weakness.
    5. 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
    6. Proverbs 20:1Wine [is] a mocker, strong drink [is] raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Questions:

If you examine your life, are you placing blame on someone else and excusing bad behavior?

  1. Reason Three: Attention Seeking
    1. There are people who will look for any reason to get all eyes on them. Even to the point of self-destruction. They love when people feel sorry for them or perhaps they’ve bought Satan’s lie that the drugs and alcohol make them a more enjoyable, braver character.
    2. It’s easy to fall into an attention seeking trap. We all want to be loved and sometimes that’s at our expense and sometimes that’s at the expense of others. Our words can be just as harmful.
    3. James 3:10 ~ Outof the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
    4. By placing attention on ourselves, we make others feel less and for certain God is not being glorified.
    5. John 5:44 ~ How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only

Questions:

Does our decisions honor God?

Do we excuse sin for the sake of comedy? (cussing, off color jokes, conversations about topics Christians shouldn’t have?)

  1. Reason Four: Rebellion
    1. A reason as old as time. It began in the garden when Eve seen the fruit and Satan convinced her it was good and would make her as wise as God, and then Adam ate it so his wife wouldn’t be alone.
    2. Not doing what we know to be right is rebellion.
    3. It’s turning away from God and toward the sin. God looks upon rebellion pretty harshly.
    4. 1 Samuel 15:23 ~ For rebellionis as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
    5. We tend to make rebellion glamorous.
    6. 1 Corinthians 10:13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].
    7. Galatians 5:16– [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Questions:

Is there an area of rebellion in your life?

The acronym
FEAR

It often boils down to F.E.A.R.

  1. We fear not fitting in to the public norm. Rather than living the godly standard.
  2. We fear that reality is worse than our imagination. It’s actually reverse.
  3. We fear we’ll be overlooked. Rather than desiring God be seen.
  4. We fear the world more than we fear God.

This blog was my Sunday morning teen lesson following the Judgement House, which is why it’s in outline format. Feel free to use this in your own ministry!

I couldn’t un-see it

chick see

I watched a video on social media this morning of a three young teen age girls who had been intentionally duped by their parents and a make believe online predator. Each girl accepted a friend request from who they thought was a teen boy and agreed to a meeting. One left her home to meet him at a nearby park, another opened the door without so much as looking to see who was there and the most heart stopping was the third who got into a van with the twenty something man and ask where his brother was! The parents were there watching and shocked in horror that their children had fallen so easy to prey of what could have been a sex offender.

I unfortunately am not shocked. We’ve inundated our youth with garbage and filth and then we’re shocked that they skip childhood and go directly to “hitching up” online. Young girls were used in the making of the PSA for youth safety but young boys are just as much at risk. And for us “country” folk who still live in neighborhoods where everybody knows your name…the predators know it too. We’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy.

Through the exposure of social media, television etc., young children, practically babies, are seeing women and men in lewd acts and because it’s right there on their living room, family or bedroom television, it’s now the norm. It’s as if they’re missing out on life if they’re not dating by age 12. My stomach rolled over when I wrote that.

Each one of those parents had had the “talk” with their children about the dangers of predators and online chats. It didn’t matter. The kids were reacting to what their minds had probably seen a thousand times on everything from cartoons to theater movies. They were well versed in “what should happen next.”

Social media is relatively new… this tool of Satan has been here a long time!

The oldest book in the Bible is the book of Job. And even Job knew he was at risk by being unable to un-see certain things.

Job 31:1-12 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high? Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity? Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity. If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands; Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out. If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door; Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her. For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.

Let me put that in layman’s terms as best I can to relate to today’s blog.

Job made a promise to God that he wouldn’t so much as look at another woman. He knew that it would be the very thing that would draw him away from God and end in destruction. He knew God was watching everything that was going on in his life, every step that he took was guided by his eyes. Just think about that statement, and how true it is…what we see we want. It’s human nature. What has your child seen, and do you want them to have it at the age of 12 or 3 or 8? Job knew that if he walked in the pathway of iniquity it would also take its toll on his family. He would lose his children and his wife. Can you not see that play out in America today with everything our homes are exposed to? I sure can. Job knew that judgment would come to him for the sins of his home.

And so will it ours. I’m not throwing stones at you without several landing in my own garden.

Another trending social media post yesterday, and yes I watched it, was this oversize lady, and I use that term loosely, apparently drunk on the beach who couldn’t stand up from the edge of water. Each time she attempted the wave crashed in and knocked her back down and as the tide went out her body came out. She rolled around on the sand as her fella attempted to pull up her parts and pieces and the crowd looked on in hysterics, not one offering to help… although I’m sure their fear was being drug down with her. One gal commented, “I can’t un-see this!” Well, like the idiot that I am, I can’t un-see it either! I was drawn in by the sheer antics of it.

Be careful little eyes what you see… for the Father up above is looking down on you in love, oh be careful little eyes what you see.

Please be careful out there today. Don’t roll every video that trends on your site and turn off the garbage in your house whether those who dwell there are babies or big people. None of us need to see it.

 

 

 

 

 

What You Can Do Today for Our Youth

chick school

It’s the first day of school in our area, perhaps your youth began earlier or not yet, but it’s no doubt on the horizon. And with it comes concerns which differ depending on the region… or the day. Things changes so quickly and what our young people are exposed to is beyond comprehension in comparison to what it was like not so many years ago. As I lifted my youth group to the Lord this morning my heart was heavy for them, they’re good kids in a bad world… My heart aches for them. These thoughts brought me to the Word of God this morning in search of a Word of encouragement for youth workers, parents and anyone concerned for our youth. And here’s where I landed…

Luke 21:38

And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.

This wasn’t only Sunday but week days as well… These where the days between Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the day of crucifixion. How quickly things can change. As we set here in the days between His crucifixion and return we too should find ourselves in the presence of the Lord each morning. Jesus preached in the town each morning but at night He would lodge about a mile away in the Mount of Olives; away from the noise of the city and the hustle and bustle of life. Probably away from the religious folk. Jesus’ examples for us are needful reminders in this hectic world that we need time to wind down in the evening; but in the morning as the day begins we should find ourselves in the presence of the Lord seeking a sermon for our souls.

Those who met with Jesus in the temple weren’t there to sit easy in the pew. They had faced some opposition to get there and so will you. I presented my Pocket Testament League program to my youth last night and asked them to start a league of their own.  To commit to reading a portion of scripture every day and share the gospel. They’ll be facing huge opposition to accomplish that task. I encourage you as well to get your bible, or look at it online and pick you out a sermon for the soul. It’s in there… words that will encourage your heart and spear you on for service. And then share what you read with someone else. God’s Word never returns void.

If you’d like to be a member of the Pocket Testament League you can join at www.ptl.org/code/signup.php. They have so many free resources to help you on your walk with Christ and becoming more like Christ. Resources that will teach you how to share the gospel and then give you the tools to do just that! It’s an awesome place to hang your hat for a while. If you decide to join the league (there’s no cost) please enter my membership number when prompted (574096) I want you in my league!

But before you go… take just a minute to lift up our kids to the Lord. Please pray as the Lord leads you but a few suggestions from me would be this…

  • Pray they are hedged in with safety
  • They are shielded from wickedness
  • They are a light in that dark world
  • They are brave in their witness
  • They are bold in their testimony
  • They are support for one another
  • They study (Jesus, English, Math, etc.)

Where are the Accusers?

chick rock

“Woman where are those thine accusers?” – John 8:10b

Last night I was the woman standing in the midst… of five little girls. I say little, and yet not so little, they were young teens. Actually I was sitting, playing and teaching guitar. One of the girls had recently attended a revival where I had sung a song I had written called “When Misery Met Mercy,” and she asked me if I’d sing it for them. What an honor! And an opportunity. I began to tell them the story of the woman caught in adultery and they were amazed. They’d not heard that story, nor had they heard that adultery was wrong. I’m shocked at my own naivety sometimes. I grew up with the teaching of bible morals and I just assume that the rest of the world at least knows, even if they choose to ignore it. But the shock in the young girl’s voice was evidence clear in my mind that she really had no idea that adultery was a sin… and for a second I judged…

Not her but the world around her. And then this morning I ponder this thought, and I am convicted of my own rock throwing. It’s so easy to become that religious crowd. An honest to goodness rock throwing Pharisee is what I felt like.

In irony, the night I sang that song at the revival a man preached who was fighting his way back from addiction, which was almost as hard as fighting his way back from the judgement of rock throwing Pharisees. And that night I was angry at the church people who had thought they had the right to sit in the seat of God and tell a man who has fallen, but gotten up, that he has no right to stand for Jesus. Who were they to condemn a man Who God had said “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8:11b

Who am I?

Jesus said to the crowd that lingered behind, the ones who hadn’t picked up the stones, they were only spectators, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” And there I was a child of the living God, privileged to walk in the light of life and yet blinded to the world around me. I was a spectator. I didn’t throw the rock, but I sure didn’t feel as if I’d been defending that little girl either. I did not know her world, and yet every day I live in it.

I have no right to judge her world, especially if I’m not willing to go out into it. The religious crowd goes out into the world and drags the sins of the world before the church and says “We are better!” A child of God goes out into the world and says “I am you… the only difference is I’m forgiven.”

And then they share forgiveness.

No rock throwing for me today… just tears of compassion. Please continue to pray for our camp.

Something Happened at the Church House!

chick church house

It is just a little past Palm Sunday, Monday as a matter of fact, but my mind is still on Sunday. Yesterday evening our choir performed the Cantata, “Jesus Saves.” I wept through much of it, tried to sing because I thought surely my big mouth would be missed, maybe not… but I was so caught up in the moment. My littlest gradbaby played Jesus with Mary and Joseph. Mary, who had forever wanted to play that role, but was never chosen as a child, yet as a young woman, God fulfilled her desire. I inwardly snickered at Joseph who was worried about OSHA regulations in the carpenter shop and refused to wear sandals but insisted on wearing his work boots. And then Jesus… played by a man our church had come to love as interim Pastor and continues to play an encouraging role even now. He came down the aisle to shouts of praises and Hosanna and in a twist of irony, his real lie daughter who played Mary had just left the stage. He was portraying Jesus, but more importantly he knew Jesus. There was a sense of worship on the platform, he broke the bread and shared the cup, pondered that day in Jesus’ life. He knelt and wept… and my heart was broken. How did that crowd go from shouts of praise to shouts of crucify Him?

Matthew 21:15-16

And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

The children were crying in the temple. They were praising God and having a shoutin’ good time. Kids can do that because they have no concern for appearances, they live in the absolute moment. I have a feeling it was young and old alike who were living in that moment as Jesus made His way down the streets of Jerusalem to the shouts of “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” John 12:13

But something happened at the church house.

Jesus had made it to the church house; and what did He find? Greedy religious people making money and unconcerned about anyone but self.  He threw them out of the temple and justifiably so. But inside the temple there were still a few of them left. The children were in the temple praising God and celebrating the King and it upset the stiff necked religious leaders. So Jesus reminded them of the Old Testament words in Psalm 8:2 –  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

One sure fire way to tick off religious people is to catch them up in their own game. They were so wrapped up in the law and spouting off scripture that they stopped feeling it. They were now the enemy of the cross and were about to be stilled. Christ’s presence had Spiritually moved the crowd. They knew He was different but when it came to the church, they knew He changed things and religious people hate change. So they decided they’d get rid of the problem and changed the cry from Hosanna! To Crucify! By silencing the child, the one who has no concern for appearance, only truth; but not for long. The church was silenced for a few days…

But then something happened at the church house!

It changed no locations. It was no longer in a building but it dwelled within the people and it could not be silenced.

The tears that flowed down my face during last night’s Cantata was that inward child; the one in the temple crying “Hosanna, Blessed is the King Who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Don’t lose sight of that inner child this week…

When Change has gone too far

chick change

Change has gone too far when the gospel no longer looks or sounds like the good news and Jesus no longer looks or sounds like the Jesus found in Scripture. – Outreach Magazine

That was a quote in an article in Outreach Magazine that  I read this morning that caused me to go, yep, that’s what I’ve been thinking, I just hadn’t put it that eloquently. I would say something more along the lines of “That doesn’t work,” or “Show me where Jesus was in that.” Both of which immediately put those on the other side of my argument on the defensive. And this comment might, but I think not. Because this comment puts Jesus right in the front of the conversation; and you have to go around Him to argue it. Once you’ve done that the argument is essentially over because Christ is no longer in the picture.

I’m all about change, I love the latest and the greatest. If there’s a new tech toy trending, I need it. Not, I want it… I need it. No, it’s not a healthy need. But I have a curiosity level that resembles that of a toddler. If you don’t believe me look at the “stack” of techy things in my living room; I’ll go one further and say look at the stack of instruments in my living room. I go from old to new it matters not, because I can make the old new again. But here I am at 52 years of age learning to play the fiddle, mandolin, guitar and upright bass. I figure I don’t have enough years left to try one at a time and that plays well into my Attention Deficit Disordered personality.

The problem lies when we treat church the same. I must reiterate the thought that I’m all about change, until the change has Jesus standing on the outside of the church asking to be allowed back in.

When change works:

Jesus was a culturally adept Savior. The culture was the people He met on the street, the hard working blue collar workers as well as the prostitutes and politicians. It was not the people at the church who were trying to fit the world into their building. Jesus said they were stinky, empty tombs.

Matthew 23:27

27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

And while that is certainly an excellent description of the religious crowd it could just as well be said to those who are shouting loud how “culturally correct” they are and yet I don’t see Jesus. Jesus met in the middle with the commoner on a level ground where everyone could love on Him. Yes, He was extreme, but He spoke clearly. Yes, He offended…those whose hearts were not right with the Lord, He did not offend His own people.

As a youth leader I want to keep it hip and fresh. Yes, I am aware “hip” is an old word, I am an old woman, but I still like youthful things. That is why I attended Winter Jam with a few of our youth back in the winter. It wasn’t my genre of music, I’m a bluegrasser, but I enjoyed parts of it. It was the parts that I didn’t enjoy that I still have an issue with and are always in the forefront of my mind when I’m pondering the direction of our youth ministry.

  1. When the music level of a few of the bands got to the point where babies cried and my ears physically hurt I didn’t see nor hear Jesus. And I don’t really think He would approve of them causing hearing loss in His creation. Just sayin’.
  2. When a few of the groups screamed into a mike and called it music, and said they were proclaiming the gospel, yet I didn’t understand a word they said, I disagree that they are proclaiming the gospel. Jesus may have hung out with rockers, but He spoke clearly.
  3. When one group of guys “pranced” across the stage and sang a song about a chainsaw I thought… I don’t see Jesus.

Now for the flip side of that coin. If we expect youth to sit in a church that makes no attempt to keep it relevant to their world they’re not going to see Jesus either. I’m not talking about the preaching time. That time is between God and the man of God. And if He is preaching the Word… leave Him be. Kids need to be in a preaching service, whether that is one of their own or the regular worship hour. They need to see the gospel preached. But when it comes to the Sunday School hour and the youth ministries, that time should be their time, exclusively.

  1. Keeping it culturally correct doesn’t mean doing everything they like.
  2. Whatever it is that you do, when you’re done they better have seen Jesus, or you were just entertaining.
  3. Only infants like to be read to. If they are above the age of two, stop it.
  4. Invest in them both financially and on the clock.
  5. Find out what’s trending in their world, good or bad and then talk about it.
  6. Make sure it’s a two way conversation.
  7. All of these rules apply to adults as well!