Category Archive: Latest from the MethoBlogoSphere

Aug 01 2014

This Day With God: Trusting in the Promise

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At this point in the journey as I travel through Revelation 17:7-18 and post some thoughts, we are getting a glimpse into end of times. The faithful will have the advantage because of trust in the promise; keeping a positive outlook because of remembering that God has helped in the past and believing that good things will happen in the future. Take a look at this video for inspiration throughout this day with God: He Is With Us – Love & the Outcome.

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Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1

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Aug 01 2014

Seedbed: Invitation to our Youth Ministry Collective

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Visit to join the conversation.

John was sitting across from me anchored to his warm cup of coffee in the freezing cold Waffle House. “I don’t know if I can do it much longer.”

When he arrived as the new youth pastor at his very first church the two burnt out volunteers barely stayed long enough to show him where the key was to the air-conditioner control. From that point forward he was the Sunday school teacher, worship leader and casually-dressed adult in the student section at the football game.

Through no fault of his own, John had slipped into the dangerous leading man role commonly known as the Lone Ranger Youth Pastor.  He wasn’t part of a great “staff team.”  He didn’t have a helpful “sister church” down the street.  It was John, and that was it, and it was about to kill him.

There are two competing realities here. It is clear that the Lone Ranger approach will not only cripple you but will be one of the least healthy ways for any ministry to function.  At the same time, not many people are at a place where they can hire a great colleague to partner in ministry.  Though you may not be completely alone in ministry without any volunteers, there is a limit to the number of times you can adapt an egg toss before you really need to communicate with some other youth ministers to get ideas.

Though a collaborator may not be easy to come by and an extra staff member less likely than finding a live unicorn, a collective might help.  You know, a group of veteran youth ministers that are pouring their souls into the same work as you who don’t mind sharing ideas, offering proven tips, and answering a tough question every once in a while.

That is what we want to do here, we want to be a gathering of people who love Jesus and youth and have been successful enough to know all the best mistakes.  We want to be your partner in ministry wherever you are by letting you steal the best and worst ideas from our years of experience.

But that’s not all!  For the low low price of . . .

YMC Logo BWithout trying to be a pitch man for our dreams, we want to be more than a place for random ideas.  Ideas are great, but as Wesleyans we have much more to offer the world than one more variation on chubby bunny.

We believe that the love-driven, grace-filled theology of John Wesley is not just compelling, but is the most transformative way to understand the working of God in the world.  Not only that, its focus on the ever-present grace of God calling us to be more through his transforming love is the perfect lens for this generation of teens.

That is why we not only want to help you have a lot of fun with your next icebreaker, we want to help you live into the richness and depth of Wesleyan theology as a youth minister.  We want to give you the tools to think theologically about youth ministry and help you dig a deeper well for the long haul.

It’s a big dream, and an open invitation.  We are the Seedbed Youth Ministry Collective, and we invite you to come along as we sow together for a great awakening in youth ministry.

Visit to join the conversation.

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Aug 01 2014

Sacredise: In A Bigger Story…

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photo_13534_20090821.jpgIn the last two weeks, I’ve been exploring how our worship can move away from being an activity that is unrelated to our lives, and in which we worship alongside each other, rather than with each other. In the first post of this series, I suggested that worship operates on three “tiers” and that we need to connect the three in order to have a meaningful and transforming worship life. In the second post I explored what I would call the third tier – our personal worship. Now I want to explore the second tier – our life in small groups.

It seems to me that for most people who seek to follow Christ, the first tier, of the congregation, and the third tier, of the personal, are fairly regularly practiced, or at least recognised as important. However, it is the second tier which often causes problems. I have never encountered a church where more than about 40 – 50% of the congregation attend a small group.

Although some may argue that the contemporary cell movement has been an effective small group movement, I have some questions. In my experience cell groups are primarily a strategy to promote church growth, rather than an environment to nurture church (and individual spiritual) health. When groups are pressurised to constantly add new members, and then to “multiply” regularly, they may provide a less threatening point of entry into church life, but they don’t create a space of trust, assured confidentially, and mutual care that can lead to effective accountability and discipleship.

In many churches the small groups are on completely different journeys from what is experienced in congregational worship. Essentially, small groups like to be able to do “their own thing” without “interference” from pastors, Lectionaries, or other “authorities.” But, disconnected from a larger story, small groups run the risk of undermining the work that is done in Sunday worship, and of losing their power for accountability and discipleship.

But, there is another way, and it is to rethink small groups as part of a larger whole. If we begin to place small groups, Bible studies, cell groups, and even specialised ministry groups, within the context of our whole personal and communal worship life, a very exciting new picture emerges. When we see our small groups as just one of the three elements of a complete and healthy worship life, we gain a number of very powerful benefits:

  • The in-depth study that a small group provides is able to align with the larger journey of the church’s worship gatherings, leading to a deeper engagement with the “work of the people” that is done on Sundays. We are able to ask questions that may not have been possible in church, and we can wrestle with what specifically connects with us and our group.
  • Alone we easily fail to see places in our lives where we need to change in order to be more like Christ. But, when our small group becomes a place of caring, trusted friends, who share a journey toward Christlikeness, we are held accountable, we are called on our garbage, and we are offered the support, the accountability, the guidance, and the love that enables us to change in meaningful ways. This was the genius of the old Wesleyan class meeting in the Methodist revival.
  • When our study is placed in the context of worship (instead of having worship as just one of the “four Ws”) we engage with one another and the Scriptures not just with our minds, but with our hearts, our bodies, and our imaginations as well.

For small groups to be really effective, they need to be more than just a discussion or a question and response time. Here are some quick suggestions:

  1. We can begin by gathering intentionally, with some ritual (however informal) guiding our coming together (for example: passing the peace).
  2. We can ensure that prayer filters through the entire gathering, instead of just at the start and the closing.
  3. We can include hymnody more intentionally. If singing is not possible (for whatever reason) we can recite the words of songs together, or listen to recordings while meditating on the words.
  4. We can include the reading and reflection on the Scriptures as part of the “flow” of the gathering, rather than in a separate “compartment”. Refreshments can become part of the meeting – like an informal love feast – rather than just a way to end the time.
  5. We can allow our content to be guided by the congregational gathering, rather than choosing to go on our own journey. There is something to be said for submitting to a discipline of study that is not determined by our own preferences or fascinations.

These are just a few ideas. In the future I hope to create a few small group liturgies that could guide such meetings in a way that makes them more like a part of a larger worship whole – so stay tuned for those!

What is your experience of small group worship? How does it connect with your personal and congregational worship? What has been helpful and what has been unhelpful for you? How can you more effectively integrate small group worship into your personal and congregational worship practice? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Aug 01 2014

Begin Again: TGIF: Gratitude for Silence’s Gifts

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It’s my summer vacation.  I get 7 whole weeks without school work to do.  I decided to begin my time off this year with an Ignatian Silent Retreat.  (If you aren’t familiar with what an Ignatian Retreat is, check it out.  You might like it)  The best thing about this retreat is that I get to spend about 48 hours without speaking to almost everyone!  It’s a wonderful feeling of freedom for me and I usually come away with something my soul needed.  This time the gifts of silence were freedom, joy, and beauty.  I won’t bore you with how these relate to my life in detail, but I will share one avenue of exploration from this weekend.  The cabin below made me think on this question all weekend.  What is it in my life that is no longer being used but provides a foundation for growth like the moss and ferns on the roof? I am grateful the pondering led me to freedom, joy, and beauty.  Have you been intentionally silent?  What gifts does silence bring you?

“Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were but little happy, if I could say how much.” –Shakespeare

Fertile Substance

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Aug 01 2014

The Heart Of The Matter: Lost And Found, Week 4 — Lost Trust

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Ah, the dreaded Trust Fall.

If you've ever been on any kind of youth retreat -- especially during the 80s and 90s -- you've probably taken part in one.

Trust is difficult to earn yet easy to lose.  Hard to give and simple to take back.

Yet when our lives are characterized by mis-trust, we miss out on so much: relationships, connections, faith.

That's why Lost And Found concludes on Sunday with a look at the Lord's memorable rebuke of Elijah when he loses trust in I Kings 19.

We'll find it together with him.


8:30.  10.  11:30.

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Jul 31 2014

Chad Brooks | Worshiping A God Who Comes To Our World: Productive Pastor 19: Michael Lukaszewski on Systems

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Welcome to the 19th episode of The Productive Pastor. I have a great interview in place for you today with Michael Lukaszewski focusing on systems. This is a topic I have been excited about for a long time. Michael is THE GUY to talk about why your ministry needs to use systems and I am so excited to share this interview with the productive pastor community.

The List:
HT to Dean Libby and Jonathan Andersen for sharing these links with the community via twitter.

4 Things You Thought Were True About Time Management: Amy Gallo
As hot as the subject is right now, people can easily convince themselves of the benefits of practices that aren’t that beneficial. Amy dispels some myths and does a great job questioning things people think are true.

23 Daily Habits That Will Make You Smarter: Maggie Zhang
These are great time hacks…but also great practices. I think all of them can be part of always becoming sharper, more tuned to your life and just productive.

The 7 Deadly Email Sins: Zachary Sexton
Email isn’t a big issue for me, but it is for others. This list outlines some best practices as well as great tips to make sure your inbox doesn’t run you.

Systems with Michael Lukaszewski

1. What Are Systems?
If you need to do something more than once…you need to create a system for it.
They aren’t a set it and forget item, but a way to effectively organize ministry. This is about becoming more effective.

2. How can you lead in systems from the middle?
How can a youth/associate/worship pastor lead using systems? Michael gives some great tips to leading from the middle.

3. What is the biggest conversation for ministry leaders to be having around productivity?
This isn’t about tools, the conversation we need to have is this…

“Is what we are doing truly worthwhile?”

If you are interested in Michael or want more information on systems, check out these links.

The Rocket Company
The Systems Bundle
Five Financial Systems Every Church Should Have (FREE DOWNLOAD)

Remember to sign up for the Productive Pastor Insider List. Get a great FREE productivity resource and the inside scoop every other Friday.

Direct Download




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