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resource for female youth pastors

a great new resource has been launched for female youth pastors – ‘the sophia network’

The Sophia Network exists to connect women in youth work and ministry, to access training, develop skills and share wisdom.

We focus our energy in four areas:

  • partnership – through everything we do we encourage women and men to work together in ways that reflect the heart of God.
  • relationships – facilitating enhanced working relationships between youth workers; creating environments in which female youth workers can build relationships with each other; emphasising the importance of mentoring for youth workers and young people.
  • voice – advocacy on behalf of women in youth work; raising awareness of how gender affects youth work and ministry.
  • training – providing excellent training to develop confidence, skills and professional expertise.

Our ultimate aim is to encourage women and men to work together more closely in a way that reflects the heart of God, but we recognize that sometimes issues need to be addressed before women can contribute on a level playing field.

check it out.

tune up

the gang at ‘simply youth ministry‘ recently emailed out some tips for youth ministry across the globe. ‘check in for your check up‘ gives some tips to refresh and refocus before heading into the fall and the full swing of ministry. i was skimming it and thought the basics of their tips can easily be applied to anyone, regardless of ministry commitment.

this is my summary/paraphrase and what my check list is going to be:
time for reflecting and healing: i’ve never met anyone who hasn’t been hurt or attacked by someone (be it a colleague or other) and whether or not we care to admit it, it affect us. and sometimes, our head gets bigger than it really should – yes, even mine. we need time to allow Father to purify our hearts so that we can effectively be witnesses for Him. [psalm 39:2-4]
dig into the word: we all know one of the first things to fall to the side, is daily getting into the word. for over a year now, i’ve had to take some pills everyday…and my heart reminds me when i’ve forgotten. we need some spiritual vitamins and nurtients to stay healthy in our walk. there is no shame in starting over…we all slip and fall, admit it, deal it and pick yourself back up. [matthew 4:4]
rest: this is probably my biggest area of weakness, which i have realized over these two weeks on holidays – take rest! the world will not fall to pieces because we take a day to rest, be still and regroup. i’m not the center of the universe and i get cranky…so do you – deal with it and rest! and not once a year. [mark 6:31]
reconnect: we’re not all married…but we’ve all got people in our lives who we like to spend time with – be it family, friends, etc… relationships need to be nurtured and we cannot have a relationship with our job!
jot your thot: anyone who follows my blog, knows that i have random thoughts. sometimes it is the random thoughts or reminders after ministry events that serve as the encouragement we need and the reminder why we ‘do what we do’. [acts 9:19]
catch up with the experienced: when i get an idea, i’m like a dog with a bone and sometimes i don’t realize that it might be the wrong bone for the moment. even though i/we might not like it, the experienced have experience for a reason and sometimes they are right. [mark 6:30]
accountability: its interesting the amount of people who are in ministry, who get upset when someone suggests they need to have accountability. i’ve seen and heard many people who start shooting verbal bullets when the thought is mentioned. get over it! you’re not perfect and we need help! we need people we can be completely open and honest with…we screw up but there is no point in sitting in the puddle we’ve made. [james 5:16]
talk to Father: corporate prayer does not cut it alone. jesus spent time with Father, alone. we need to as well – we cannot be spiritually healthy without it. [matthew 14:23]
loving the Father: worship was never intended to be work. sadly, about a year ago, i was in a place where going to corporate worship was work for me – i wasn’t connecting. that was my crap that i needed to deal with and sort out. we need to connect with the Father’s heart – whether we need modern worship music or traditional chants or prayers, just do it and make sure that you heart is beating with His. [psalm 146:6]

its time for a tune up and a check up!

Media Survey

CPYU has designed a media survey which can be used by youth workers and educators to get a handle on how their teens utilize media. These surveys feature a rather comprehensive series of questions on music, television, film, computer/Internet, radio, magazines, video games, and cell phones. The survey will provide you with important information as you seek to understand the culture your teens live in. The survey results will also help you as you prepare lessons and Bible studies for your group, as well as deal with your kids in daily one-on-one relationships.

click here to download the surveys

End of Religion

After I handed over my registration fee for the Church Army National Conference, they gave me a book.  My first thought was: "What?!?!  Homework?!?"  Turns out that it was a book that Bruce was given, he really liked it and thought we should have it too.

End_of_religion_cover "The End of Religion" by Bruxy Cavey was an easy read (I read it on the plane between Toronto and Saskatoon on my way back).  I really enjoyed reading it because Cavey outlines that the purpose of Christianity is not be a dull/boring religious institution.  He reminds and calls us back to a personal relationship with Jesus.

Jesus called us into a rule-free spirituality, which is very difficult for religious people to fathom.  Certainly, rule-less spirituality is only a constructive way to live if love is the guiding dynamic of our lives, and that is key to Jesus’ message.  Simply remove rules and you are left with anarchy (see 1 John 3:4).  Transcend rules with love, and you are beginning to live like Jesus. (Cavey, pg 48)

I love that last line.  I know that I’ve mentioned this before, that I often struggle with the church’s appearance to the outside world.  I am convinced that we often get so caught up in rules, regulations and legalities that we forget our true purpose and calling; and this has caused many people to reject and turn away from the church and most importantly, Jesus.  To those who don’t think the Christian faith has become an irrelevant system, and want to join a Christian community, many don’t because they believe that they must meet a certain criteria before they can.  They need to have their lives in order; a successful career to give money to the church; and be of a prominent stature in the community.  This simply isn’t not true.  And none of those things make us Christian either.

We’re screwed up!  We have faults!  We have issues and problems in our lives that we are struggling through all the time.  "The Church is the only organization that exists for those who are not yet its members." (Archbishop William Temple)

A Christ-follower acknowledges that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than walking in the woods makes you a tree.  And once that is understood and embraced, a church community can become more of a "come-as-you-are party" than a religious obligation; a celebration of the life we’re given, not a religious attempt to attain that life.  (Cavey, pg 111)

Pick up the book…its a great refresher!  "The End of Religion" is published by AGORAimprints, click here to order a copy.  Bruxy Cavey is the Teaching Pastor at The Meeting House in Toronto.

Culturizing

No one said life in youth ministry is normal.

Smells like teen…body spray!  A smelly report on the growing phenomenon of teen deodorizers.
Have iPod will travel  The growth of the iPod Generation
Tech creates a bubble for kids  They dress down, talk loose and reveal their innermost thoughts online
Porn Generation  ‘Live and let live’ model of society is a recipe for disaster

Youth Culture Facts:
– over 70% of teen magazine content deals with beauty
– number of obese children has doubled in the last 20 years
– 15% of grade 6 students each eat french fries, daily
– children as young as 2 are able to recognize brand names
                                                 (PaulRobertson.ca)