What if…Bible School was the norm? (from Stef McDonald)

February 26, 2010

{Editor’s Note: Today’s guest blogger is Stef McDonald, Director of Student Ministries at Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in Calgary, Alberta}

Picture this: despite boxes of food falling off the shelves, your 16 year old opens up the cupboard and says “there’s nothing to eat!” After a lecture on global hunger, you offer your child a sandwich and a glass of milk, which he or she happily accepts. Why is an after school snack such a huge decision? It’s because the last portion of the brain which develops well into adolescence is the cerebellum. Dr. Jay Giedd, a neuroscientist from the National Institute of Mental Health, explains the role of the cerebellum: “Anything we can think of as higher thought, mathematics, music, philosophy, decision-making, social skill, draws upon the cerebellum. ….” (link) Your child is not trying to be difficult in an effort to see your face turn red. It’s because your child’s brain isn’t sufficiently developed to make a simple decision.

I have been privileged to help mentor a group of high school girls for the last three years. Once a month we get together and the girls pick a topic they’d like to discuss. Since September, the topic of post-secondary has been chosen twice. Why? I think it’s because our girls are being asked to make huge decisions that will affect the rest of their lives, and their brains aren’t mature enough to handle the responsibility. My standard response to our students has become this: take one year to learn more about God and who you are as His child. The Christian Discipleship program at CLBI is one option of many. From the CLBI website: “The Christian Discipleship Program is a one-year program designed to help students become rooted and rock solid. Students are prepared to face decisions regarding lifestyle choices for the future. Every student is exposed to God-honoring directives for life.” Through programs similar to this one, young people would be given the opportunity to develop their hearts and minds. They could create faith-based bonds with fellow students. They could participate in missional projects at home and beyond.

What if bible school was the norm?

The Helpful Strangeness of Jesus

February 16, 2010

I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the Lutheran Church will thrive only when ordinary people reaquaint themselves with the person of Jesus.  I’m an advocate for a variety of structural and innovative changes to the way we shape our communities of faith and ministry, but it all comes to life only when Jesus is the reference point.  I’d like to recommend a recent blog post from Prof. John G. Stackhouse who reminded me, once again, of the wonder of Christ.  Jesus is the hope of the Church.  You can read the post here.

What if…we welcomed the chaos? (from guest blogger Stef McDonald)

November 13, 2009

{Ed. Note: Stef McDonald is the Director of Student Ministry at Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in Calgary.  Her Student Ministry blog is called The Keystone.}

mosaicWe elect young, fun volunteers with tons of energy to run around with teens. Parents drive and prep the snacks. Youth takes place on a Wednesday or Friday or Saturday night. By Sunday morning the church is restored to its former glory (thanks to a volunteer or two). The pop cans are placed in the recycling box and someone has steam cleaned the carpet for hours to remove the mashed in spaghetti. In fact, it’s like the youth were never there at all.

But what if we did things differently? Picture this: We are a few hot dogs short since jr. high school students helping to prep for Hot Dog Sunday started a food fight. The Pastor motions for the offering plate to be brought forward three times because neither teen usher wants to make the first move towards the front of the sanctuary. The youth room is far too loud while Adult Bible Study is going on next door. There are paint drippings on the parking lot because 15 youth showed up to graffiti an old car the night before. Their plan is to fill the car with donations for the local shelter.

Teen nights are loud, messy, funny and creative. What if same thing happened on Sunday morning?  Would it be welcomed with open arms?

…we started over? (from guest-blogger Earl Creps)

September 2, 2009

{Ed. Note: Today’s guest-blogger, Dr. Earl Creps, grew up in the Lutheran Church and writes from his perspective as a professor at AGTS and as church planter.  You can read more about Dr. Creps at his blog, earlcreps.com; he has written Off-Road Disciplines and Reverse Mentoring}

WHAT IF we started over?

And Sunday mornings were redesigned with the help of spiritual seekers from our region?

And vocational ministry did not require an M.Div.?

And church members were held accountable for their life and lifestyle?

And the largest proportion of church budgets was devoted to evangelism?

And everything was negotiable except the Scriptures and orthodoxy?

And committees were replaced by teams?

And we reached in faith more often for the miraculous?

And we were willing to start over as many times as it takes…?

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