This video shows why N.T. Wright is such an influential theologian at the moment. In just seven minutes he explains how you should read the Bible: as a whole, not as a collection of soundbites. His analogy of listening to only a part of a symphony instead of the whole thing is as brilliant as it is understandable. I also love that he especially wants to challenge students to read the whole Bible, whole books and not just verses and soundbites.
Paul Martin is a youth pastor who has just moved from Birmingham, Alabama to a small town in Nebraska (wow, talk about a change of scenery!) and he has recently published the brilliant book Masterpiece: The Art of Discipling Youth (be sure check out the review of Masterpiece we did). Since I only know Paul from his equally brilliant blog, I thought I’d ask him some questions about his book, discipling, youth ministry and whatnot.
A lot of books are written from what Bill Hybels calls a ‘holy discontent’, was it the same for you?
It’s true in the sense that this was a book I needed to write. I felt crazy for 15 years for how I did discipleship and youth ministry. I worked in several churches but what they said and wanted me to do, was different from what I did.
I was working in this church and at a certain point I was told that I needed to learn to perform. Only six months before I had exceeded all expectations in my review, but now they were unhappy with how I was doing things. There had been budget cuts and I had lost my staff. We didn’t have money anymore, so I started to do discipleship the way Jesus did it. And I ended up getting fired for it. Continue reading The discipleship approach that got Paul Martin fired
In the church I grew up in, we spent quite some time memorizing Bible verses. We always had vacation Bible weeks for kids where we were taught one or more verses, we did the same every Sunday in Sunday school and even the teen ministry gave it a shot.
But after that, I didn’t devote much attention or time to memorizing Scripture. In the last few years however, I’ve become more and more convinced of the importance of knowing verses, passages and maybe even whole chapters or books from the Bible by head. Continue reading Creative ideas for memorizing Scripture
When we want to think about discipleship in youth ministry, it’s good to start with defining some terms. What do we mean by discipleship?
Literally a disciple (mathetes) was a learner, a follower, usually of a significant master. Discipleship then is simply learning from, or following a master, in our case Jesus Christ. When we say we want our students to become disciples, we mean that we want to see them following Jesus and learning from Him.
Discipleship then means spending time with Jesus, for instance in prayer and worship. It means learning from Him by studying His words, discussing it with others and trying to understand it. It means spending time with other Christians, learning from them. It means serving God and His Kingdom, like Jesus did. But above all it means obedience, being willing to do what He says, or to do what He did.
When it comes to spirituality, to growing closer to God, one size does not fit all. Yet often we not only try the ‘standard’ pathways ourselves, but we also only teach them to our students. If our students ask us (or to put it more correctly: of we want our students to know) how to grow in their faith, what do we tell them? I’m guessing it’ll be something along these lines: do quiet time, read your Bible and pray. Oh, and go to church every Sunday obviously.
We seem to prescribe one general one-size-fits-all spiritual pathway for everyone, even though we know very well people are very different from each other. Just look at the sixteen basic personality temperaments according to the Myers-Briggs test: introvert/extravert, sensing/intuitive, thinking/feeling and judging/perceptive. I’m an extravert, sensing, feeling, judging type, whereas my husband is an extravert, intuitive, thinking, perceptive type (yes, we are the classic example of ‘opposites attract’!).
How is it possible that we would both be able to find ourselves in one single pathway to God? We’re different on all accounts!