Friends of Time: youth ministry and the clock

Youth workers come in all shapes and sizes, but they tend to have at least this one thing in common: they are busy! Youth workers are some of the busiest people on the planet, trying all the time to navigate the busy schedules of young people while also maintaining their regular scheduled programming and, in many cases, their full-time “side” jobs.  When it comes to time, there’s just never enough of it. In fact, one of the most effective marketing… Read more

The Advent of God’s Absence

I have two, often-overlapping, “target pastoral audiences.” The first are the “nones,” as they have come to be called in recent religious surveys.  Youth ministers often know all about these “nones”: young people self-identifying as religiously unaffiliated.  Most, if not all, of them received inherited traditions of one sort or another, but in the intervening years between childhood and adulthood, they’ve “divorced” themselves from these traditions.  According to the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, the “nones” are… Read more

I Can’t Go Back to Yesterday

One of my favorite books is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. There are so many ways to interpret the story and, through the years, many motion pictures have done so. The familiar story is of a young Alice who stumbles into a magical place where things look familiar and, yet, not the same. Through this adventure, Alice will meet different characters and make friends along the way in a place where, despite the beauty and the suspense, there are many choices… Read more

The Election Is Changing My Mind about Social Media

I began a new youth ministry job in the summer of 2006. Facebook was only two years old and was restricted to college students and a few tech companies. That fall it was finally opened to anyone over the age of 13. Not long after, one of the high school seniors at church suggested I should join. I was hesitant at first, surprised that students would want to interact with their 29-year-old youth pastor in this way. But I dove… Read more

Progressives, We Lost.

On Tuesday night, Nov. 8, millions of Americans sat down at their televisions, expecting to watch the election of the first female president of the United States. To so many, it seemed like the only reasonable expectation. Not only was Hillary Clinton winning in the polls, but the very thought of the United States electing the KKK’s candidate in 2016, to succeed the nation’s first black President, seemed absurd. I mean, surely we’re not still that backwards, are we? Surely… Read more

Progressive Youth Ministry Must Become Evangelistic

In the wake of last week’s election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, I am more convinced than ever that progressive youth ministry—and progressive Christianity in general—must become evangelistic. Not evangelical, but evangelistic. Too much is at stake for us to continue to be chaplains to those who already follow a progressive Christian path or quietly hope that others will take note of us and join our ranks. As we continue to process exit poll data and analyze what happened… Read more

Practicing Change

I heard an interview last month on NPR with the musician Will.i.am about the remake he had done of the Black Eyed Peas’ song “Where is the Love?”, a song that was written shortly after 9-11 and the subsequent invasion of Iraq as a prayer of sorts—a way to talk about what was happening in the world and ask the question, “Where is the love?” The new version was written this year in response to much of the turmoil and… Read more

A Youth Pastor’s Journey to Glennon Doyle Melton’s “Love Warrior”

Heather Haginduff is the Associate Minister for Youth and Families at Trinity United Church of Christ in Canton, OH. Since seminary, the majority of the books that I own are about religion, the Bible, and the Christian Church. And most of those books, I can barely get all the way through. Because who really wants to work while doing something that is supposed to be recreational or leisurely? So, this fall, I decided that I will never make it to the 20th… Read more

Learn to Listen, Provoke Change

Recently, I took my youth group on a hike at a beautiful state park about an hour away from our church. We got out of the city, into the gorgeous fall colors of Minnesota’s woodlands, and out into nature. And, while we were on the trail, I noticed something. These kids literally never stopped talking. And, it wasn’t a happy chatter of banter between long-lost friends. Their sentences always began with “I” statements: something they believed in, something they were… Read more

Somewhere Between Behavior Modification and Trump’s Guilt-Free Faith

Donald Trump’s first and only campaign trail apology—made in the wake of his infamous “hot mic” video with Billy Bush—is the starting point for a new essay on Trump’s faith by CNN’s religion editor Daniel Burke. Burke notes that the apology was lacking many of the elements we often see in such apologies from politicians, and I would add that Trump undermined his contrition by continuing to justify his behavior as “only locker room talk.” But what I really found fascinating is the… Read more


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