Is There Such a Thing a Progressive Youth Ministry?

That’s the question we’re trying to answer this week in Chicago. In a partnership with Fourth Presbyterian Church, the JoPa Group is running a conference on this topic. If you want to follow along — and why wouldn’t you? — you should follow the Twitter hashtag.

Save $50 This Week on Progressive Youth Ministry

This week only, register for Progressive Youth Ministry (before it sells out) and save $50.

Save $100 on Black Friday!

This is our best deal ever on Christianity21 and Progressive Youth Ministry. Use the coupon code “BlackFriday” to save $50 on each conference.

Christianity21 is a ground-breaking gathering of leaders who want to fashion the future of the Christian faith. 21 Talks, 21 Big Ideas, 21 Minutes Each. Plus, over forty 7-21 Talks by amazing people just like you. Join us in Denver, Colorado, January 9-11.Click here for $50 off.

Progressive Youth Ministry is a first-of-its-kind conference for those who do student ministry and care about progressive Christian theology. With the three themes of theology, faith formation, and sexuality, this gathering will chart a new course for youth ministry. Join us March 19-21 in Chicago. Click here for $50 off.

Don’t miss this chance to save on two of the biggest events of 2014!

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When I Canceled Sunday School

When I started as the Minister to Youth & Young Adults at Colonial Church in 1997, I inherited a lot of programs, as most pastors do. Among them were Sunday school for both middle schoolers and high schoolers. Since I couldn’t be two places at once, I alternated weeks between them, and I had other leaders help me out.

The very first realization I had was that the high school students hated Sunday School. I mean they HATED it. Only about half a dozen students came, and they were all sophomores who hadn’t yet gotten their driver’s licenses. (Freshmen were in confirmation class, and they were required to attend worship.)

So I canceled Sunday School for high school students. They were relieved. Some of their parents were pissed. And I announced in staff meeting, “We’d better figure out ways to make our worship services more relevant to teenagers, because they’re be in worship as of next week.”

I’m happy to report that the church staff did up their game. The senior pastor began using more anecdotes from when he was in high school in his sermons. And when he gave litanies like, “This week, when you’re at work, with friends, at the gym…” he now added “at school” to those lists.

The choir director invited high school students into the choir, and I started putting students down to read scripture and lead prayers in the services.

[Read more...]


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