it feels good, to not only beat a talented uga team but to finally feel as the university of alabama is back onto the football landscape. i arrived on campus the season after a national championship and since then it has been mostly tough times to be a bama fan. i still won't jump ahead of the game, like cbs sportsline calling us into the national championship game after five games, but i'm glad to be a part of the conversation again. gosh this feels good
today an acting icon passed away, paul newman. usually i'm not so phased by a celebrity death that i have never met, but this one is sentimental. i love paul newman movies, from the hustler, to butch cassidy & the sundance kid, with an all time fav being cool hand luke. and i'm a pretty good fan of his ranch dressing. we will miss you paul, you are a quintessential celluloid hero for me.
below is a bit of the closing monologue to cool hand luke. though the video is too short, i think this monologue captures a great glimpse of paul.
this is a little something from the biography channel.
john reminded me of a instance where i was watching some hip mtv show and started singing a background song. wife asked what the song was, i told her it was matthew sweet. she didn't know who i spoke of.. we're in counseling now (haha) & i share this video as a short distance dedication to my lovely wife. &:~D
so was i flipping through some old photos. this one caught my attention. it's jonathon & jay, but rocking their excellent facial hair (which they don't rock anymore). this was a stop at jacobs well church in kansas city when we were up there for the umerging conversation back in 2006. made some excellent friends that week. had some blogging fun with other friends, and the jay stache became such a powerful entity in the emerging church we had to give it forums to speak.
anyways, a little stroll down memory lane.
this morning started with a bit of a chaotic drive through nashville rush hour. not something i have had to deal with for a few years now. but, in the end, i spent my morning hours with jay, chatting a new book project and all points updates on each others lives.
now i'm sitting in alektor cafe, chilling out, reading a bit, eating some good foods, and just breathing in prayer. this, is the kind of morning i miss having not living as close to downtown as i used to. it may sound shallow or an excuse, but having physical, pilgrimage sites, to feel rejuvenated really does make a difference.
it was two years ago today that erin & i walked the aisle together, said our vows and she has generally put up with me ever since. Love Ya Dear! look forward to many more great years.
i am not the biggest critic of christian culture spinning off of secular culture stuff, but it does annoy me. Jesus doesn't say conform the worlds things to be more like me as far as i know, but that's what we do. not to mention, this kind of thing only feeds into consumerism which is very culture oriented. anyways, i got this from the journal of student ministries as one of their newer sponsors. i'm glad they are sponsoring the magazine, because that is quality. but the idea of
dance dance dance praise revolution has me gagging.
thoughts.. how does one interpret if the holy spirit is moving while playing? or is there holy spirit expert level?
yes its tuesday, who really cares though?
in my teen years it was a summer tradition to pack the buddies into a car and head out to the mann music center to catch the steve miller band. i cannot even recount all the stories.. some i probably shouldn't. we all knew, and still know, every word to every song. call that cool or sad it is what it is.
i had always heard this rumor that steve would ride his bike around the grounds of a concert venue before a show. he wasn't a daily mtv face & his image wasn't on albums or t-shirts so it was feasible to think that he could do that without being noticed.. i never noticed him, but it was neat to think he rode by at some point. anyways this is one of his most popular or mainstream songs.
do you need a new youth ministry scene? does the idea of being in a fabulous city like nashville appeal to you? pay no attention to the prior post on the gas crisis, that'll be over before you get here. would the idea of working with me and all my fellow middle tennessee youth & youth leaders seem kinda cool? well, i'd love for you to consider applying for our tennessee conference director of youth and young adult ministries. you can ask me questions if you like, i will answer what i can. mostly i'd love to have someone really relational & innovative come and join our tennessee clan of youth & young adult ministries.
The Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church is taking applications for the full-time position of Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. The applicant should have experience in developing leaders of youth and young adult ministries in the local church and beyond. The applicant should be a deeply committed Christian who exhibits a Christ-like attitude, willingness to give witness to their faith, and willingness to model servant leadership. The applicant should have a working knowledge of the structure, ministry, and theology of the United Methodist Church.
The Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries will encourage, engage, equip and empower the youth and young adult ministries to build disciples of Jesus Christ. The Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries will work with the Connectional Ministries staff, youth, and young adult councils to enhance ministry in local churches, districts, and conference.
Being bilingual and/or willingness to learn Spanish is preferred.
Salary is negotiable and will be based on the applicant’s experience.
A Vision for Youth and Young Adult Ministries as well as an expanded concept of the position is available upon request.
i don't know if you, the sane world, have heard about our gas crisis here in nashville. it's insane. i've seen huge lines at stations, heard reports of fights, saw someone pushing their truck to a pump while in a line, and i've found myself noticing fuel trucks way more than i should.
sidenote: my dad works with trucking companies and some fuel companies, so it isn't unheard of that he would see a 'client' truck and we'd follow it covertly to its destination. he'd make these recorded observations of the truck driver and their practices... i don't know why i shared that.
anyways, my buddy mike sent this to me & it is hilarious.. it has some foul language.. in caption format. so consider this your pg warning.
for the record for me, i filled on up on wednesday, no problems there and since i drive a smaller more gas efficient car i'm probably good to go for another few days, maybe the weekend. i hope people come to their senses.
i ordered my own copy of 'the ordinary radicals' today. for some reason i noticed today, and not others, that the nashville showing is just for belmont univ students. lllaamme! so i bought my own copy. it's only 20 bucks and i suppose it could be a quick back up for youth if needed.
i am not sure why people insist on gimmick in worship services. i get illustrations, but just because you think its a good idea, does not mean that it is. obviously this is someone elses bike, and if i were the owner, i'd be really pissed at my pastor right now. pastor needed to heed the advice of a woman, like this guy should have as well. honestly, motorcycles are not cute toys pastors..
today marks the anniversary of the attacks on september 11th. i wrote last year what i remembered of the day. to mark today i lift up two accounts. penelope trunk has her written account being at the base of the world trade centers. newly posted by steve knight of emergent village is this interview of rev. dr. fred burnham on his experiences at trinity church on wall street.
its mindbending.. church and technology.
my wife used to work in graphic design, she started up her own business and grew it out to the point of needing to hire employees. knowing she was going to eventually become a manager, she went to the families established business. dad wanted to her onboard too, so it worked out well. my mom-in-law is a travel agent, she's been doing that for quite a few years. both get frustrated with an aspect of their work where people feel like they know the ins and outs of their work so much that they will use them for work, but not give them fair treatment because the individual has some idea how they can do it themselves. the truth is, they are experts for reasons, they know their trade, the basic stuff & the fine nuance.
its with that family history in mind that i know the church struggles with technology, especially internet technology. so many folks have now created content on the net, worked on computers, navigated a network, etc that everyone is, in some way, an expert in bringing technology to the church. problem is, that is a recipe for disaster. once i sat in on a church website team that argued over which animated cross and flame gif file was to be on the homepage (my answer was, neither!). so how does one get the people needed to help implement needed tech tools into the church?
The problem with IT/media ministries is that most people that like technology are quiet people. They see things so clearly that they believe that if someone wanted their help, they’d ask. This isn’t about ego, it is about how they see the world and the church - it just makes logical sense to them. What they don’t realize is that you have to let people know about your passions and interests.
last week i sent out my very first graphically enhanced postcard. our church has had this 'no color' policy for some time. not sure why, but i was faithful to that till i just couldn't take it anymore. i now just do it when it is needed. since we were doing a big kickoff for our remodeled youth program and reimagined focus. so we sent out postcards to all the youth. i had some of the leaders pick out our graphic, i told them it needed to be simple, clean and conveying an image they felt would speak to what we were getting into. i liked their choice, which worked out well for me. so with my first snazzy postcard attempt i was intrigued to read thoughts from the ministry marketing coach.
People Don’t Pay Much Attention to Your Postcards, Sorry!
..even the slickest advertisement, from even the best advertising agency comes up against all the other clutter of competing messages in the mailbox also clamoring for the attention of the people they want to reach. What you need is a strategy for overcoming the clutter.
Frequency in advertising is the number of times an advertisement is repeated to the same audience. Most advertisers, especially religious advertisers, give up long before the person they want to reach has been “reached” with the message.
This same thing happens when you are making evangelistic contacts or following up on the people who visit your church. Just because guests come a few times in a row doesn’t mean your follow-up work is done. How long did it take you to understand what it means to follow Jesus? Sadly, too many churches give up on people long before they should.
i don't really have a frequency plan for sending out more of a postcard campaign. i just thought i'd use some stationary the wifey bought for me to write individual letters to people. maybe that will help
i am really looking forward to this years barcamp. last years was excellent, and i was bummed to miss podcamp. barcamp folks interviewed one of the presenters as their presentation title is getting a bit of traffic. it is titled 'how to make google your bitch' which i find hilarious. especially for those seo folks. the dialog is even better.
How long have you been making Google your Bitch? (Also, how does this make Google feel?)
Jon Henshaw: “The truth of the matter is that Google has been making me their bitch much longer than I’ve been making them mine. So any chance I can love them back the way they’ve loved me, I do it! As for how Google feels about it…I think of our relationship as passive aggressive. We would get counseling, but I can’t find a good counselor who will work with a super gigantic mega corporation and a delusional search engine optimizer.”
i remember when these guys came onto the scene and change rock and roll as i knew it.
recently i filled out my self-evaluation for my job performance as director of youth ministries at hfumc. in this evaluation as in every other prior evaluation i have a statement that seems to find its way in there that "i struggle with a constant tension between the relationship and administration of my ministry." what that means, and my staff parish understands this about me, is that i am a relationship minister at the core. i get rejuvinated from being around folks in conversation, helping them through tough times, praying for them, teaching something as a mentor to them. however, i find that most of my work is held up in the administration of my job. this isn't to say that i do not appreciate that aspect of my job. in fact, if i ignored it, i would not be in my job now (is there a parallel that youth ministers avg shelf life is 12-18 months?). what this "tension" for me is that administration is not my gift and it takes extra energy, time, and planning to do it well. it just is not my natural person.
now, i don't know, but this may just be methodist church culture phenom, but it might not. the methodist church seems to always roll with a solo youth pastor. they are a one person show. all communication, information, paper pieces, new ideas, training, finances, implementation, planning, etc comes out of that one body. if one is lucky, as i am, you have staff that serves the whole church, which is able to help you out. my church staff happens to be wonderful and they cover my butt constantly, but their help is, in ways, limited to their specific tasks (ie. finance person holds my books and covers all our cash flow needs, but they do not send my mail). it is strange this one person show and i started to wonder, why do we do this one person show. then i ran some numbers.
for my context
227 : youth on our roll currently (we added a few last night though)
454 : potential number for parents (not all youth have 2 parents, that is a max number)
25 : youth leaders that are not already parents
706 : total number of people in the HFUMC Youth Parrish
now, if i were a methodist pastor, appointed to a church with a roll attendance of 706 people what might my staff make up look like? it would not be a solo pastor. you would certainly have an associate, and probably would have one to two administrative people.
what are your numbers like?
my buddy mark devries has a bit of research they use at youth ministry architects that says that you need one staff person for every 50 youth and that adults can only keep around 5 deep relationships with youth at one time. so with a number like that in mind, is it any wonder that our real numbers of participation reflect about 28% of that population highlighted above?
no wonder i am tired all the time. i have to put on a mask of skills that is not my primary. in the last week we sent out a mass email, group text messages, a paper letter mailing to parents, a graphically enhanced postcard to all youth, and a number of phone calls. we had checks cut for future events, buying groceries and kitchen items to serve food with, driving youth to meetings, planning calendar, making copies, making more copies, cleaning our space, trashing my own office, cleaning a kitchen.. and the list goes on.
why does the church, as a general, see the youth ministry as some side piece of the church? they are a part of the church, and it is harmful to go off and create a separate church of youth, but administratively it seems logical to look at how you are staffing your church and give some equal value to youth, children, and other focus of the church community.
i find this photo essay rather interesting of the diversity of 'the american teenager'
three years ago our group asked if we could paint the walls. i said "sure" (something i didn't have proper authority to say in methodist church committee-land) so that got into, "can we...?" add on and do more and more stuff to the space. so i wrote a letter to our trustees asking for permission to discern and explore better use of our designated space. we spent the better part of the year, sitting & praying in our various rooms asking questions like "what do we hope to learn here?" "what is the mission of this room?" we then went on visits to other churches. then we came together and talked about what we felt was the mission of our space, how it could better function, and how it could sustain for future years of youth communities.
what we came out with was this idea for a "industrial cathedral" look. we are putting together a feature piece which is a media center and small group gathering bar. it will also serve for our food service. we created eating booths out of old church pews we got from a camp, that i just happened to know they are stored away in a basement. we've painted colors on the walls, we have photographs and original art pieces to add the space. our stage we lowered down and will finish off with some wood flooring to give a more intimate feel. our obnoxious pre-school chairs are going.. somewhere.. and we will get new chairs, new flooring a recycled carpet that is pretty cool. it's been a major project.
the two years to get to this point have been plugged up in that wonderful methodist system. i like the system as it has its checks and balances. but when you have folks that can't capture the vision of stimulating a creative mind and only see trash wrappers or a broken chair, then one is set for a long ride. our team though, because of our invested time in hearing God in our midst and asking the hard questions, knew this was more than just a whim and have kept at it. soon we will be close to done. we are actually finishing phase three. like any good methodist building project, there are 'phases' assigned to it. anyways, i've posted some pictures of the space as it is today. it will look different tomorrow as a crew of us will clean up the construction bits and pieces for sunday gatherings.
it is chaos right now, but we are hopeful that this will stimulate the creativity and passion in our youth community to move deeper into that relationship with God. it is a lot to ask of a room, but just as a sanctuary can move someone we feel this is our expression..
today at our nashville cohort, matthew paul turner (whom i have two of his books showing themselves on my book shelves at the office) read two chapters from him upcoming release "Churched, One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite A Holy Mess."
as with his other writings, churched is incredibly funny in a memoire fashion. he had us in stitches telling stories of his childhood, growing up in a fundamentalist christian environment. it will come out in hardcover in october, and though i do not buy many hardcovers (primarily because of the cost) i will be grabbing a copy of churched. i would encourage others to consider it as well. join in his facebook group for updates and touring info
i like many of you watched last nights rnc to get a vibe from republican vice-prez hopeful sarah palin. from my simple opinion, she had a lot of sass and stood up to her early critics. i can respect that. since we are a polarized state this doesn't necessarily help in curbing that, and i know others didn't see her speech as anything positive, while others probably thought it was the word of God. its nice to see she is making the rounds of youtube videos. i like the nerdfighters info recap. but the cross dressing guy is pretty funny too.
a friend of mine sent me this. an experience to be a part of
Download Outdoor_Christian_Festival Letter
tomorrow we begin our regular meetings of "eikon" our artistic small group communities. the vision behind these groups is that they challenge members to enhance their art craft & practice and produce it in the light of their spiritual practice. we feel that what they put out through their artistic passion reflects their inner spiritual self. this may be a small part, but we see this recapture of arts in spiritual practice will help to save the church. someone might give great light to how God is seen in this growing world or maybe we will have a bunch of average folks who are creative in thought in engaging a new world with a traditional church.
some of our vision for this has been affirmed by the message of sir ken robinson. you've seen him here before, his ted talk is required visiting. he's featured all over, and i've been digesting some of his works to see where his message for the educational system and church systems can overlap. i would encourage all my church cohorts out there, if you do not have an arts element to your program, get with it. you might just save the church as well.
in somewhat related ideas. hear from the youth yourself. these teachers did.
this is my dad. i love him. he's the best. i talk very much like him, act somewhat like him, get frustrated by him (which makes me wonder how my wife puts up with me at times) and would be pretty happy to like him. however, there is one thing he and my mom have started doing, and are quite passionate about that i just don't get. they are dog show people. yup, and they know it. mom started her kennel in the early 90's before we graduated high school, but then took off in dog show-ness after my bro & i left the house. they love it and recognize the craziness of it, but in their richardson family geekness, they keep going on & doing quite well at it.
i might have to draw the line though if i catch them doing this.
we are starting some new program stuff with our youth ministry at hfumc this week. with that we have a few markers of success. one of them is that our youth are self-feeders. for us that means that they know how to help themselves grow spiritually. this might be using a network of mentors, individual reading/devotion/journaling, or other spiritual practices. we crafted this language after a little story our team heard some time back. my mom actually forwarded an email version of the story, so i share with you.
WHY GO TO CHURCH
If you're spiritually alive, you're going to love this! If you're spiritually dead, you won't want to read it. If you're spiritually curious, there is still hope!
Why Go To Church? A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.(or Saturday)'I've gone for 30 years now,' he wrote, 'and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all'
This started a real controversy in the 'Letters to the Editor' column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: 'I've been alive for 30 years now. In that time eaten some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the every menu for those meals. But I do know this.. They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If I did not eat those meals, I would be physically dead today.
Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!'
no need to forward this to all your friends. Jesus still loves you and you have not disclaimed him or God. &:~)