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Teens and Their Favorite Slang Word

As a non-American, slang sometimes puzzles me. I’ve had to google more than one expression to check its meaning.

Recently, I came across this wonderful video on the website of The Atlantic, where teens explain their favorite slang word. You gotta love teens…

Watch it and maybe even learn a slang word or two. Like bruh. Or barely.

And? Did you learn any new slang words?

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Using Youth Ministry to Teach Independence to Students

We’ve been talking about independence and what we can do to raise independent kids and promote it in students. One obvious tool we can use as youth leaders, is our youth ministry.

We may complain about parents doing too much for their teens instead of letting students do it themselves, but as youth workers, we tend to make the same mistake. That’s because it’s much faster to clean up the youth room myself, than to supervise four students who take twice as long with not nearly as a good a result. Well, deal with it. The only way students can learn is by letting them do it, even if they don’t do it well at first. Continue reading Using Youth Ministry to Teach Independence to Students

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Raising Independent Students

In a previous post, we started our discussion on raising independent kids. Much has been said about extended adolescence and the irresponsibility and dependence of this generation of young people. I think our goal is to counter that trend and stimulate independence.

Many of us may be parents as well as youth workers, but since this is a youth ministry blog and not a parenting blog, the question is how to ‘raise’ independent students. What can we as youth leaders do to promote independence in our students? Continue reading Raising Independent Students

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Helping youth thrive

It’s not often that you encounter people with the passion for youth of Peter Benson. His whole TED Talk titled ‘How youth thrive’ shows his love for young people and it encouraged me.

Peter Benson is not a youth pastor however; he’s a psychologist who does research amongst young people on their ‘spark’. By ‘spark’ he means a skill, a cause or a quality that makes people thrive, that makes them happy and whole.

In his talk, he shares some interesting statistics. Right now, there are 80 million young people aged 8-18 in the US. But only 25% of these 80 million are on a pathway to human thriving (meaning being happy, connected, kind, contributing, etc.) and the rest has fallen behind. They are lost, confused, medicated and alone. Those statistics should give anyone involved in youth work food for thought. Continue reading Helping youth thrive

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Lady Gaga’s prayer

This YouTube video of Lady Gaga praying is a fascinating study in contrasts. Here is this superstar, dressed in outrageous and sexy costumes and in the voice over she’s praying. Earnestly praying.

At first, I thought of making a Bible study using this video, but I’m not sure I’d actually want students to watch this. Aside from the fact that she’s in various stages of being barely dressed, the prayer itself is confusing to say the least. Lady Gaga is praying to God (‘Dear Lord’) and there’s gratefulness and a focus on others, but there are also puzzling requests.

Continue reading Lady Gaga’s prayer

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Bullying brings status: an anti-bullying policy for youth ministry

Bullying is gaining more and more attention from researchers, school, parents, lawmakers and others and rightly so. In the last few years, there have been several heartbreaking stories of the effects of bullying and it’s a serious problem we need to address as youth leaders as well.

We can’t pretend bullying doesn’t happen in youth ministry. I should know, I left the teen ministry of my own church as a teen because I was bullied and the leaders did little or nothing to stop it. I still attended my ‘home church’, but I was involved in another church’s youth ministry (one that was way less radical in its message I might add!) because I was accepted there and felt safe.

We need to stop any and all bullying in our youth ministries. But what does an affective anti-bullying policy look like?

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What you can do about the challenge of postmodernism

This post is part of a series on the challenges of postmodern youth ministry. When we as Christians talk about postmodernism, most of the time it’s not positive. We rail against youth who won’t grow up, against changed standards of truth or individualistic morals. We complain about the sexual undertone of commercials, about the dangers of social media and about this generation of young people who seem lazy, self-centered and immature.

But what do we do about it? Do we just complain or do we stand up and do something about it? What specific actions do we take to counter the negative effects of postmodernism and to bolster the positive ones?

Let’s be real here. First of all, postmodernism is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon so it’s a reality we have to face. Second, it’s not all bad. Postmodernism offers some real openings for mission-oriented living (or incarnational living as some call it) for instance. Both are really good reasons to change our mindset and see postmodernism as a challenge, not something negative we need to stay away from. Continue reading What you can do about the challenge of postmodernism

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Challenges of postmodern youth ministry: reaching the unchurched

We’re doing a series on Postmodern Youth Ministry this week and the challenges it brings. After a brief discussion of what postmodernism is exactly we’ve examined the meaning of truth in postmodernism and how we can communicate the Truth to a generation that doesn’t believe in absolute truths. Today we want to study another challenge postmodernism brings us: the issue of reaching the unchurched.

Friendship evangelism under attack

Friendship evangelism by peers has been the  ‘golden standard’ in evangelism for the last decade or so, but it’s being challenged by the effects of postmodern culture:

Continue reading Challenges of postmodern youth ministry: reaching the unchurched

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Challenges of postmodern youth ministry: what is the truth?

We’re looking at effects of postmodern thinking in youth ministry this week and after an overview of what postmodernism is exactly, we’re discussing three challenges that we face in postmodern youth ministry. Today we’ll discuss the concept of truth.

Absolute truth vs subjective truth

One of the biggest challenges postmodernism brings us is the conviction that there are no objective, absolute truths. Postmodernism teaches that truth is personal and subjective, that what works for you is the truth. There is no direct relation anymore between truth and reality and as a consequence, truth has become very pragmatic and flexible.

This of course has big implications for how young people view God, Jesus, Christianity or religion in general. Religion is considered a personal preference, not an objective truth. Declaring religious statements as absolute truth (like stating that Jesus is the only way to God), is often seen as fundamentalist, intolerant and in many ways simply rude, because it doesn’t respect people who feel differently.

Continue reading Challenges of postmodern youth ministry: what is the truth?

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Challenges of postmodern youth ministry: what is postmodernism?

This week we’re starting a new series in which we’re taking a closer look at postmodern thinking and its effects on youth ministry. A lot has changed in youth ministry in the last years, especially noticeable for those of us who have been in youth ministry longer. Youth ministry (like any other ministry in church or the church in general) will always have its ebbs and flows of course, and things will always evolve and change. But I think postmodern thinking may be a bigger shift than many of us realize yet. In Europe, postmodernism has left deeper marks yet than in North America, but the times they are a-changing for sure. So let’s start with a brief overview of what postmodernism is exactly.

Continue reading Challenges of postmodern youth ministry: what is postmodernism?