My daughter is a mission field

I just finished reading Mark Oestreicher’s book Youth Ministry 3.0, and yes I know it is old news but guess what I don’t care. I buy my books from the used book store and I figure if the information is any good it should still be relevant. Everyone is always like “hey did you read that new book by blah blah” and I’m all like “hey have you heard of this guy Watchman Nee? I’d like him to sign my book.”

Anyway that has nothing to do with anything. I just want to take a minute of your time and tell you why you should read or not read this book (Youth Ministry 3.0). I think the information is good, I think the messages on the sides of the pages are helpful, and I think that by and large you can put into practice a lot of the things in the book even if you are not in youth ministry.

Read If:

You are willing to change

You are willing to grow

You desire to see maturity in your life and the life of your students

You are somewhat tired of coming up with a new and exciting game for youth every week

 

Don’t Read If:

You love being the Messiah

You really enjoy being the Rock Star of the church

You think that numbers equal fruit

You are dyslexic

Everyone has a different major take away from reading a book and my major number one takeaway from reading this book was missions. If a kid is allowing you in their life then understand you are a visitor not a resident. Think back to your own childhood / adolescence. You might have let some adults in but not all the way in. If they got too close you changed the rules so they could not longer be close. It is the same nowadays only worse (I think). So if we are going to minister to youth we need to understand we do not have all the info most of the time. Most of the time they only give us what they want us to have and if we take to much they lose interest.

Music is a great example because it is always changing. My daughter was really into Adele for a while. She would sing it in the shower and on her karaoke machine. She would ask me to play it while we drove somewhere it was all she listened to. However once I started to listening to it on my own she no longer had interest. I had taken something she liked and made it my own so she could no longer have it. I had accidentally stolen part of her identity. It was an honest mistake but a mistake nonetheless. Now she has moved on and is trying to find something new but won’t let me know what it is. Now of course I do know because she does not use headphones so I hear almost everything. But she is guarding that part of herself.

What I learned (or was reminded of) is even though she is my daughter she is a mission field to me and if she lets me in on something I need to be careful not to take her things on as my own. I think to some extend and this is just a hunch that some of the problems we see youth facing today are in a way our fault as leaders for taking what they like as our own. They are into this so we put it in church, or watch it, or pin it, or post it, or whatever. So the only response they have is to go somewhere we are not willing to go. This way they have their own person-ness (just made that word up).

I am in no way suggesting we should not know what they are into, but we do not necessarily have to embrace everything they like after all we are the adults maybe we should learn what we like by now. Maybe instead of conforming to their culture we just need to know about so we can lead them out of the dangerous stuff.

I know the videos she watches because I go through her devices. I have learned what / who Miranda Sings is and we have spoken about some of her videos. We know what she listens to and my wife has spoken with her about some song choices. But I have also decided that I need to let her have some things so that she will not try and go to an extreme just to be unique.

My daughter is a mission field, and if I am to help her grow and learn what it is to follow Christ then I need to learn about her, study her, and find out what makes her tick. But like being a missionary that does not mean I become a native but instead I choose to be an ambassador to her. Are the other youths I lead any different?

Just a thought,

Mike

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Silly Kids

I was thinking about “youth issues” earlier and I realized that the “issues” they face are not entirely different than the “issues” we as adults face.  We can easily separate them and think that they will get over these things when they grow up, but have we?

We can look at the issue and say that kids are worried about silly things or that a test is not all that important, but in truth those silly things and test are the same things we deal with but at least we don’t have raging hormones on top of it. I mean at least when I am stressed out I don’t have to deal with the Hulk trying to come out.

Galatians 3:28 (CEV) says Faith in Christ Jesus is what makes each of you equal with each other, whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman.”

The MVP version (that’s Mike’s Very Paraphrase) says it like this “When you have faith in Jesus ya’ll the same thing; SAVED!  Child, Teen, Adult, Prostitute, Murder, Banker, Politician, Homemaker, or whatever. It is all the same thing Sinners Saved by Grace.”

I think that if in Christ we are all equal and the same then the issues we face are the same as well. After all no temptation has seized you except what is common to man (1Cor 10:13).

A few example might help.

Teen: Goes to school and wants to impress his friends so wears certain cloths and says things to fit in.

Adult: Goes to work and wants to impress his friends so wears certain cloths and says things to fit in.

Same thing different location.

Teen: Has a big test is stressed because they want to do well to get good grades so they can get into the school they want to.

Adult: Has a work review coming up so he is trying to make sure all his projects are up to date and is not behind on anything so he can get a raise to provide better for his family.

Same thing different location.

I could go on but I think you get the point. The issues are very similar so let’s not pass them off too quick and think that we are above the issues.

Also if we look at suicide statistics while white males in the mid 30s-40s still have the highest rate, but how many more teens would have committed suicide had they had not been stopped by parents or rushed to the ER?

Look at the drug rates and self injury stats to see that while many are not dead they are killing themselves in many other ways.

It may be that we just need to show them a little more patience and stop blowing off their very real feelings.

Just a thought,

Mike