light force

Commitment: A trend to or a trend away?

I posted a question here… your thoughts are always appreciated.

hmm... thoughts

Mercy: Some practical theology here

Last night at Light Force small groups we talked about the difference between mercy and grace.

Grace = Getting something you don’t deserve.

Mercy = Not getting something you deserve.

I could see the students wrestling with this. Here are students completely covered in both. They have parents who bathe them in both on a daily basis. Yet they don’t see it. I think it goes back, for them, to a fundamental misunderstanding of what “deserve” means. They think that they deserve mercy and grace.

I left thinking that most of the students expect to deserve grace and mercy. (By their birth they feel they have merited favor with others and even God) And I wondered how I could communicate that they don’t deserve to deserve grace and mercy better?

What are some practical areas of grace and mercy the students in your life experience but fail to acknowledge?

Weblogs YMX

The YMX blog

For a few weeks now (eternity in my library of ideas) Patti and I have talked about having a YMX blog so that our blogs weren’t quite so clogged up with stuff about the company and/or youth ministry stuff for others.

It’s not that we don’t love youth ministry or youth workers coming to our site, it’s that beyond our friends people aren’t getting a central location for all of our youth ministry stuff. Also, we need to feature bloggers from YMX more regularly and we really didn’t have a place to do this on YMX outside of the forums. (Right now, only half our traffic goes to the forums so that was out.)

So, the YMX blog was born last week. It’s got a fancy look that I love and we’ve got a growing list of writers to go along with all the collaboration we do all around the sites.

Three quick things about the YMX blog:
1. It’s all original content. We’re not recycling stuff we’ve already posted on our personal blogs or stuff that is making the rounds of blogs.
2. It’s all about youth ministry. No personal musings allowed.
3. It’s informal. We’ve got standard on the main site for polished content… we’re relaxing that on the blog.

light force

thump thump

I am 31 years old. I have done youth ministry, pretty much, since I graduated from High School.

And I still get jazzed about an all-nighter. I am pumped to hear that many of our students are not only coming but bringing friends.

In 30 minutes doors open. I’m ready. I hope they are.

Church Leadership YMX

The Blog Snap: Sometimes You Can’t Hold It In

Chris FolmsbeeI know exactly how Chris Folmsbee feels. Chris is Chief Ministry officer at YouthFront and President of Sonlife. He’s a class act guy and is an excellent leader.

Part of being a leader is sticking your neck out. And Chris has done that. He put the nail the coffin of a great, but dying youth ministry model at Sonlife. (Sure, it gave birth to some of the great movements of evangelicalism but, as much as I loved it, was becoming a dinosaur.) Next, he closed Sonlife’s offices and joined forces with YouthFront. On top of all that he published a bold book called “A New Kind of Youth Ministry.” In all of these things he said and did things that were strategic, smart, and bold. And for a guy who sticks his neck out you have to expect that criticism would come.

Imagine the polarization of Christian leader Chris encounters! People either love what he is doing and think he is brilliant or think he is a complete failure who is ruining the good things they knew and loved.

I can imagine, as I’ve been in similar situations, how Chris gets tired of the criticism. And, more to the point, there is always a temptation to get on your high horse and blast a critic.

For a few months now someone has been emailing me a link to this review of my book: (not linking it intentionally) — Almost every week I get an email — sometimes a couple of times a week. It is wicked annoying. Read the rest of his post

Leaders need to be careful how often they use their talents. Chris is gifted as a leader and is a great communicator. While it’s OK to be annoyed/hurt/pissed about this, he’s got to be careful not to lose his composure.

Here’s a temptation:
Ranting is addictive. When you break composure and let out that something has gotten to you, loads of people cheer you on. They see their own situations in your rant and encourage you. Furthermore, the economy of hate kicks in and your vent gets so much traffic, so many comments, and so much attention that you actually like the ego boost. So, you carefully and strategically do it again.

Was Chris wrong? No… I don’t think it was wrong to say what he said. Certainly, it is his space and he has the freedom to do as he wants. All I’m saying is that it’s a temptation to do it again. (I don’t think I’ve ever read a post like that on his blog, which is what made it so memorable)

When you are blogging, chatting in the foyer at your church, chatting with friends, or any other place in your life where people are listen to you, you need to be careful how you use the talents God has given you.

Because abused they can be powerful in destroying yourself and others.

Books Music YMX

Nominations for Best of Youth Ministry 2007

Best of 2007Over at YMX, we’re accepting nominations for “Best of 2007” from the world of youth ministry.

Here’s the link.

If you post your list on your blog and post the link in the comments section by 12/30/07, we’ll put your name in a drawing for a $25 gift card from Amazon. (Drawing on 12/31/2007) Don’t post your link here… post it here!

Do I have to be “in youth ministry” to nominate? Nope. It’s open to anyone with an opinion. The only requirement to be in the drawing is that you have to post a link to your nominations in your blog/website.