From the very beginning, Marko and I talked about doing some stuff in publishing. But we didn’t necessarily see that as starting our own line of digital and physical products. We were more thinking we’d work with other publishers, helping shape a Cartel voice into a wide variety of publishing efforts. (Actually, something we do quite a bit of.) It wasn’t until last Winter that we decided to include publishing our own products as part of our publishing plan. I’ll be the first to admit that when we decided to go forward with publishing some of our own stuff I had no idea what I’d agreed to.
Like many, I’m struggling to understand what’s going on with the current fighting between Israel & Palestine. More to the point, I hear rumors that American Christians and American tourism might actually be making matters more complicated for those involved.
With that in mind I asked my good friend, Jon Huckins, to help me understand it a bit better. Jon is the author of two books, Teaching Through the Art of Storytelling and Thin Places. Jon is also my co-author for Good News in the Neighborhood. He’s a part of NieuCommunities, an organization that trains missional leaders, as well as the co-founder of a new ministry start-up called the Global Immersion Project which helps inform and Christians in the peace-making efforts in Israel and Palestine. They offer a four month learning experience that integrates historical, theological and social realities which culminates in two weeks on the ground in Israel and Palestine. Their hope is to cultivate a generation of peacemakers who better live, love and lead like Jesus both in the Middle East and in their neighborhood.
Enough with the bio… here’s my interview with Jon.
Often, conversations about introducing our communities to Christ are centered on program development or planning the perfect event. Yet what Adam McLane and Jon Huckins point out in this new curriculum from The Youth Cartel is the best way to reach our communities is to mobilize and equip our students to forget the church event and get in the middle of their neighborhoods.
Out of all the curricula I have used in the past 11 years of ministry,Good News in the Neighborhood quickly rises to the top. This 6-week program is designed to engage students with Scripture, evaluate how Jesus did ministry in His community and provides very practical steps to help students do the same thing.
Each week is packed with materials and options that can be used throughout the lesson. McLane and Huckins start off by providing some great ways to get the discussion started: two options of video clips, an activity option or some icebreaker questions. From there, they dive into Scripture, providing multiple texts to use, a script for a brief talk, as well as a video story that can be played. Each session then has some discussion questions to take the teaching deeper.
The best part of each session is a proposed experiment, which helps put the lesson into practice and gets students out of the church or their homes and into their neighborhoods. Each week increases in challenge and comfort, eventually culminating in putting together a plan to do something to bring Christ to your neighbors. These also provide great content and discussion for the following week.
If you buy one curriculum this year, make it Good News in the Neighborhood. It will go a long way in your ministry to help your students reach the people around them.
I’m very proud of how it turned out. As I think back to the original brainstorms and ideas for this product I don’t think I could have imagined it’d turn out this cool. Jon and I worked our brains off pushing through this content, finalizing edits and writing content as late as yesterday! The leaders PDF turned out to be 52 pages and about 18,000 words. This thing is beefy!
Here’s the description:
This 6-week series will deep dive your students into the practical realities of a radical life with Jesus. Built around six themes of community life, students will gain an understanding of their role in their community and be challenged by a series of simple experiments they can try. More than a series that teaches your students about being Good News in their community, Good News in the Neighborhood offers practical application based on the life of Jesus and the 1st century Church. Our hope is that your students begin to see how God has called them to become good news in their homes, schools, and neighborhoods.
Who is it for? It’s for groups. It’ll most naturally fit with high school and young adult groups (college). But I would totally do this with my adult small group. In all honesty, I’d preach this as a sermon series!
Now the really exciting part… people actually using it!
So that’s my excitement this Monday morning. As Marko just pointed out, my first book!
Seeing some of the big picture pieces come together in this project has been amazing. Doing the video segments actually brought new life into the project. With the deadline looming and the reality that there’s almost no chance we’ll be done by our self-assigned deadline of Monday, this project needed some fresh air breathed into it.
It’s funny how an idea takes a life of its own. In this case, a series of jotted in my notebook over time became several popular blog posts. And in those posts there were several comments saying, “Yeah, but how do I teach that to high school students?” It was the association of the blog posts and the comments of readers which spurred the idea to turn it into a curriculum.
Truth be told, I’d never have attempted this project without Jon. He brings a depth and breadth of experience to it which takes it from my blog posts to something anyone can try with their group. I’m thankful for his friendship and collaboration.
And now back to work. Acting as co-author, editor, art director, marketing director, video editor, and every other task on this project is insanity!
This 6-week series will deep dive your students into the practical realities of a radical life with Jesus. Built around six core postures of community life, students will examine Scripture, gain an understanding of their role in their community, and be challenged by a series of simple experiments they can try. More than a series which teaches your students about being Good News in their community– Good News in the Neighborhood offers practical application based on the life of Jesus and the 1st century Church. Our hope is that your students begin to see how God has called them to become good news in their homes, schools, and neighborhoods.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Wednesday said 745,000 more job seekers between 16 and 24 years old were unemployed from April to July. That compares with an increase of 571,000 among the same age group last summer.
Photo by London Permaculture via Flickr (Creative Commons)
If I do the math correctly this means 51.2% of Americans between the ages of 16-24 don’t have a job. Half of people 16-24, when they are physically strongest and most able to work… can’t find a job.
You can’t care about the youth of America and not wonder what you can do. You individually. You as a leader in the church. And you as an advocate for the young adults in your community. You can do something. You have to do something.
We live in a post-Christian society. Young adults have heard of the church. They likely know who Jesus is. But, in many cases, they won’t have anything to do with Jesus or the church because both seem irrelevant. In short, before they are willing to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ they need to know that the Gospel really is good news for them. If you can help them find employment– that’s good news.
Here’s 5 ways you can be Good News to unemployed youth in your community
Start a childcare fund for single parents in your church struggling financially. One of the biggest challenges a single parent faces is consistent and affordable childcare. (Affordable doesn’t mean free.) If you set up a fund to employ 3-4 people through your church to either watch children in their homes or to set-up a 10 small daycare facility in your church, you’d be surprised how easy funding could come together. This would help single parents and it would help the young adults you’d hire to run the program. (There’s Federal/State grant money available for this kind of thing as well. Ask a librarian for help.)
Sponsor a local grant for small businesses in your community to offset the cost of hiring part-time help between the ages of 16-24. One of the best motivators you could offer to small business owners in your community is a grant to offset some of the costs of employing a person. Work with your local Chamber of Commerce to help get the word out, pitch the concept to business people in your church, and ask your congregation to rally behind the fund. Keep it simple. If a small business hires a qualifying young adult, you verify that they worked 500 hours, you award the employer $2,000.
Host job readiness seminars in your church. While the unemployment rate is shocking, equally shocking is the amount of young adults who are unemployable. Partner with Junior Achievement, the Chamber, and other like-minded local community organizations to put together a series of helpful seminars for job readiness. Teach the basics like, interview skills, resume` building, work expectations, etc. (Again, there’s grant money out there for this kind of thing.)
Hire someone in your home. We’ve just completed our second summer of having a regular, summer babysitter. Last summer we hired someone full-time who also lived in our home. We found that was a bit too much for us, so this summer we “shared” a full-time babysitter with another family in our church. No, we couldn’t afford it. But this sacrifice was worth it– and helped us out a ton. Maybe you don’t need childcare? Hire someone to do yard work or complete the projects around the house you’ve wanted to do but can’t find the time.
Start a job pool. A church is a great connecting point. If you acted as a connecting point between people looking for work and people who need work done, you could help a lot of people. More than simply having a job board… Set-up a simple screening process, set work expectations like timeliness and appearance, and coordinated both supervision and payment between people in the community who need work done and young adults looking to do work. If that’s too much work for your staff to handle ask a business person in the congregation or members of the local Chamber of Commerce to sponsor a 10 hour per week position from May – September to coordinate.
Will you commit to helping find employment for people ages 16-24 in the next 12 months?