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the myth of change

one thing about change is that it happens. it does. whether we choose it or not it's going to happen. it's just an intrinsic part of life.

seasons change. time changes. people change. relationships change.

so i think it's a myth that we choose to change or not. because things change. maybe it's more about whether we choose to resist or embrace change. sort of.

it's like this: people physically grow and so we've got to change our clothes. and i think i can comfortably admit i pretty consistently wear a 36 waist. now, i could insist on wearing whatever size i wore in middle school, but that would be ridiculous. or even more absurd is thinking of a grown person still wearing huggies. we understand that as people physically grow -change- that dress necessarily changes.

seasons change. and we could resist that by wearing our swim suit in mid-january, but we understand that carries with it being pretty cold.

i guess what i'm saying is there are some areas of life we are comfortable with embracing change. we understand it. the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing. in some cases, we see it as just common sense.

the question then becomes, in what areas or what ways or situations or at what times do we need to embrace change or resist it. and that's where people most often disagree. because that can be opinion or a judgement call.

two thoughts on this and i'm going to go. and thad touched on both of these.

one. thad referenced having to chemically treat a swimming pool to maintain a proper balance. once we can admit to ourselves that things change, then we have to look at embracing change in a certain direction. when we don't affect a certain type of change, then things can spiral out of control in unhealthy, destructive sorts of ways. if nobody balances the chemicals in a pool, you either end up with a "stinky stagnant, mosquito infested, frog farm pool" or (if over treated) something that's equally unswimable because of chemical burns. so, if we choose to see change as inevitable, then we suddenly are faced with a different question. not 'do we change?' but rather 'in what direction are we going to choose to embrace changes?' and i think that's a more positive outlook.

and two. if we choose to resist change (notice i didn't say, 'not to change' because change happens, we are going to change, we simply choose to embrace or resist it...) anyhow, if we choose to resist change, then what we are saying is we've got this all figured out. we've got it nailed. we've finished. we're complete and done. that has a certain arrogance to it. i had somebody tell me once that within an organization, if you ever decide 'we're done' then you are. (pause... read that again and think about it) specifically within a ministry, we should constantly be open to God's leading and direction, the ways in which God is changing people and the growth of a ministry. we should be open to embracing change in directions that God is leading. (again, that's where disagreement creeps in because people can interpret change in different ways.) and that's where the attitude of being a life-long learner is important.

and so, 'do we change?' i think that's the myth about change. that's the wrong question based on a faulty assumption. the reality is that change happens. our question, then, is not 'do we change?' but 'are we going to embrace or resist change?' and 'in what direction am i going to affect change?'

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NYWC 07: Seminar #3

Developing Student Leaders
Tiger McLuen

-Need to be able to give the elevator pitch

Developing Student Leaders is:
-theological: God ordained to engage people in ministry
-philosophical: how you understand this to work
-practical: functionality of programming
-personal: something you really believe in
(all of these really about adjusting leadership mindset)

Must be intentional, (“leadership development never happens accidentally.” Bill Hybels)

Student Leadership
-is an intentional plan by the youth leader
-creates specific opportunities for young people
-is a partnership between adults and teens

Five Kinds of Student Leadership
1. Servant Teams / Work Teams
2. Peer Ministry / Peer Helping
3. Peer Evangelism
4. Up Front Leadership
5. Decision Making Teams

Start by asking a simple question: Can a student do that?

Be aware of the risks and roadblocks
(busyness, jealousy, elitism, students become performance based, we dump leadership on them rather than mentor or develop them, adults/parents don’t get it)

-Know the difference between authority and responsibility
responsibility = trusted to follow through on task
authority = power to make decisions about task

-coach calls the play, the team runs it

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NYWC 07: General Session #3

-Shane and Shane rock (in a patently acoustic sort of way.
-their line that stayed w/ me: "may the vision of you be the death of me"

SPEAKER: Phyllis Tickle

I’ll just start here: Phyllis Tickle is amazing!

-About every 500 yrs the church feels compelled to have a big rummage sale, and we are living in one of those rummage sales. About 500yrs there’s a big upheaval , everything changes.

-Culture is the body within which religion lives.

-Expulsion of Jews, Christianity born (the Great Transformation)
-Fall of Rome and dis-integration of the world they knew
-1054, the Great Schism
-1517, the Great Reformation
-Present, the Great Emergence

-the ‘old’ form of Christianity didn’t cease to exist, but lost its place of privilege/power/favor and was replaced by something ‘new’

spirituality: interior experience of what one believes
religion: external actions of what one believes

We don’t have definition of humanity, and without that we don’t know definition of soul
Remember the Terry Schiavo issue, was she alive?

Discussing Emerging Church
picture: Four quadrants: I. liturgical, II. social justice, III. renewalist (pentecostal, charismatic), and IV. evangelicals (conservative)

these four groups have been meeting, more are finding the quadrant they didn’t come from attractive and acceptable (ex: pentecostals find the need for social actions)
therefore, there’s a growing dot in middle, a ‘fifth quadrant’
predictions: 60% will be in this ‘fifth quadrant’, 10% will draw back from overlap, that leaves 30% - will be hyphenated religious groups?

When we (the church) come through one of these things, there’s always be bloody consequence, bitter division. Wherever we are, know the others are Christians too. You have next 500 yrs of church is in your hand, so don’t screw this!

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NYWC 07: Seminar #2

Parent Pains? How to Turn the Parents of Your Students into Your Biggest Fans
Marv Penner

Why all the panic?
-Parents long to understand: themselves as people, their kids in all the transition.
-Parents long for support and encouragement from someone who loves their kid!
-Parents often look at their kid, Youth workers often look at the group of kids.
-Parents often view youth ministry success in different terms than youth workers do.
(behavioral management, nice vs spiritual transformation)
-Parents feel threatened because their kids share at a deep level with us (not them).

-Don’t assume kids talk to their parents and don’t assume they get along!
-Remember communication involves listening
-Communicate using an attitude of respect and humility.

Acknowledge parents (importance and complexity)
Affirm parents (speak positively, family as context for application, avoid ‘us vs them’)
Inform parents (cal, nwsltr, info bull brd, website, posted pix, give lead time on events)
Encourage parents (simple spoken words in opportunity, notes/emails/cards –physical better)
Consult parents (yth council, indiv conversations, help understand diff b/t input and control)
Connecting parents
Equipping parents (clip it and put into their hands, resource cart -cds, dvd, brochures, books, etc-, bring in an expert)
Involve parents (make it more than bringing lasagna or driving the van, it’s more than task, it’s relational, the tasks are excuses for the relational time)
Educate parents

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NYWC 07: General Session #2

-If you’re going to have a worship service, starting with Third Day is a good way to get things kicked off.
-Daren Streblow is a weird and funny guy.
-Curt Cloninger has a gift.
-Chris Tomlin and crew do a great job engaging a crowd of people in worship.

SPEAKER : Shane Claiborne
(Personal note: I was really excited about hearing him, and very much looking forward to it. So I came into this one with some expectations. More thoughts to follow…)

Here’s his whole transcript:

Reads: The Sermon on the Mount
Prays: God, may we have the courage to live that out.
Shane exits the stage

(It was one of those where a few thousand people sit in their chairs silent and all wondering, “is that it?” Initially I was disappointed and surprised – “no way ys just brought him in for that, they’re seriously going to want their money back and will not be inviting ‘mr claiborne’ back for another round”. But, as I sat with it, as I thought about his words, it may end up being one of the most powerful General Session messages from the weekend. And I have this odd feeling that anytime I hear Jesus’ words from those three chapters of Matthew, I will always ask God for the courage to live that out. ys- you may not have paid him enough…)

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NYWC 07: Seminar #1

The Expectations That Killed the Youth Worker
Mark Oestreicher and Mark Riddle

Results of uncommunicated, competing expectations and assumptions are:

Addressing these things requires 1. Awareness, and 2. Being proactive.

Six Ways to Be Proactive
1. Be committed to unearthing assumptions through communication

The Concept of “Curiosity of Positive Intent”
-In the midst of tension, taking a humble position of wondering what is motivating their thoughts, feelings, actions, words
-asking what is their positive intention, they’ve got some reason they see as good about why they’re acting in the ways they are

2. Assess your situation.

3. Develop a strategy to manage expectations.

4. Address your own behavior patterns.

5. Be yourself.

6. Stop giving lip-service to nourishing your soul. Do it or get out.
-make it a priority bc you can not minister without that core relationship being healthy

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NYWC 07: General Session #1

- Theme storyline:
This year’s theme is “storyline’. It was introduced today at the opening General Session. We find ourselves in the midst of a story. This story has a beginning and one heck of an ending. They’ve already been written. But we find ourselves in the midst of this story, living it out in real time, living out the plot and interacting with the characters. This weekend, we’ll be exploring how this story rolls and where and how we step into the storyline.

- Anybody a fan of Celtic punk rock?

SPEAKER: Andy Stanley
-The words we speak have power.

-“Lots of people don’t like big churches, except for the pastor.”

-The Question: What do you do when you realize you’re the most powerful person in the room?
(Note: by power, Andy was referring to those times we’ve been entrusted with leadership and authority, when others are looking to us for answers or guidance or direction.)

-I wonder if anybody who follows me has ever been wowed by my humility?

-Desired Answer to the Question: Look around and try to leverage your power for the sake of the other people in the room

-to do anything less than that is to declare you are more powerful than your master

-have you ever heard the church criticized for serving too much, for being too giving. Of course not! And that’s not a great idea. That’s the idea.

-maybe God’s calling you to influence hundred or thousands of people, and maybe you’re saying I don’t want that, and maybe that’s why God would choose you.

-How do I leverage your power for the sake of the other people in the room? And how you answer that question will determine the character and legacy of your leadership.

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NYWC 07: Critical Concerns Course

Speaking to Teenagers: How to Think About, Create, and Deliver Effective Messages
Duffy Robbins

I attended an 8hr course over Thurs afternoon and Fri morning lead by Duffy Robins. It was more or less a basic public speaking course, but even the ‘same old stuff’ is good to be reminded of once in a while. (Obviously this is a small bit of such a long course.)

-Intention is not the same as attention. Just because we say what we intend to say doesn’t mean we have the attention of those we’re speaking to. It’s beyond just heart; we need to find audience attention.

Four basic needs/longings kids have:
1. Community – relationship
2. Character – who am I, what are my hopes, dreams
3. Calling – why am I here, why do I get out of bed, what’s purpose
4. Communion – there are no ‘non’-believers, everyone believes something, there’s an inborn desire to connect with something/someone bigger

Always ask yourself, “Am I tapping into one of these four needs?” If not, you’re probably giving your audience reason enough not to listen.

-Inductive = audience allowed to explore a truth before I explain a truth
Work through a funnel of inductive (to bring audience in) leading to deductive to application.

-“We don’t laugh with our enemies.”; utilize humor well

-Make sure it’s a good cell phone connection: call gets answered, is there static, was the call dropped

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NYWC: Thurs

- We’ll be going list style for the next couple days.
- Made it up to Atl in plenty of time to check-in at the hotel and get all registered for the conference.
- I forgot how long the World Congress Center is! Feels like you have to walk for days to get anywhere. 20min daily cardio = check
- Each year they give attendees a free YS bag. They did something a little different this year. I'm not crazy about the bags this year, but the idea behind them is good.
- Cafe Caramba is a great place to meet a friend, eat, and ramble about the frustrations of Hebrew, the glories of Mac, and lament fantasy football miseries. They use a little too much brown sauce.
- It’s cold in Atl.

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I'm headed to ATL on Thurs for the YS NYWC (that would be National Youth Workers Convention).

I've been a few times before, and it's been great. This year's going to be a bit different for me. I hope it's still great, but what I mean is that in the past I've been with some buddies who were in YthMin. This year, I'm mostly flying solo. I know a few folks who've said they'll be there, so I'll connect with them some. And I'm suppose to have dinner one night with a few friends who now live up there. But it's still a different feeling than actually going with a group, that 'community' feel.

Anyhow, I'm only just a little excited. I think I'm really hoping for it to be a few days to pull away from here and recharge spiritually. I hope it will help to spark some of my creativity (and I mean that - spark my creativity, not just grab some cookie-cutter ideas to razzle-dazzle people here) and renew my sense of individual leadership. Those three things have taken a beating lately. And I think I'm really going to miss Shannon and Noah for the few days I'm away.

Oh yeah, and Noah is going to spend a couple of days with 'grandmother' for the first time next week. We'll see how mommy and daddy handle that?!?

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They say, "You never know..."

...but, the thing is, sometimes you do know.

I was heading out of the post office, having just checked my box, and sorted the good/trash mail. A guy had just checked his box and had one of those yellow "you-have-a-package-to-pickup" cards the PO puts in your box when something's too big to fit. We kind of made eye contact and nodded at one another. So he says, "looks like I've got a package to pickup." "I guess someone is getting a Christmas present early this year," I said with a smile in one of those quick, just to be polite sort of ways. He says, "you never know."

I guess with the mail, sometime you don't know. But sometimes you do. You ordered something from Amazon or managed to "shop victoriously" on Ebay or your aunt called you a few days earlier to get your mailing address... whatever. But sometimes you do know.

And it occurred to me that in other areas, where people say "you never know", sometimes you do know.

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GSU Falls Short

Actually, It wasn't short, just wide right.

He kicked it wide right!?! NO!!!

Exciting game with a heart break ending. I don't blame Hatcher, because he put the team in position to win, and I don't blame just Hartley (well, only sort of - he did miss three fg's in the game). I think the game should have already been over, because the 4th down pass interference call was generous, but I'll take it. So GSU didn't take a share od the SoCon title. It'll take a strong win vs ColSt to make the playoffs, and even then I think it's a maybe.

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Update on a busy week.

Quiet on the ol' blog for a little while. It's been a real busy couple of weeks. This is just another one of those "where have you been and why are you ignoring us" posts.

Last Sunday night we held one of our biggest youth events for the year. Each fall, our youth put on an event for children called "the Bible Festival". (Yes, dynamic and original title, I know.) It's basically a fall festival for elementary age children and it's really a good event for our youth. The teens all pick a Bible story they want to share with the kids. Then they develop some activity/game related to that story. (For example, one group chose the David vs Goliath story and then let the kids shoot free throws on a basketball goal - like putting the rock between the giant's eyes. Another used cardboard boxes from a furniture store to build a cave and called it the Lions' Den - see Daniel 6.) They read the story, let the kids play the game, and then give them candy. Along side that, we were also had a hamburger supper fundraiser. We sold close to three hundred hamburger dinners, so, for us, that was pretty good.

Tuesday I was sick. Noah was sick. Shannon stayed home and took care of her two sick boys. We're all doing much better now. Still a little under the weather, but better.

Wednesday night our Sunday school class had a little get-together for Halloween. Most in the class have young kids, so someone had a trailer loaded with hay bales and the kids got a hay-ride door-to-door for trick-or-treating (...lot of hyphenated words...). Noah was Superman; separate post & pictures soon.

Last night our youth had the last 5th Quarter this year after SEB's final home game; a win over Metter. We -having no designated youth space large enough yet- redecorated our social hall. Dragged in the couches from the youth room, dimmed lights, added end-tables and lamps, set-up a stage area with karaoke machine, rolled the basketball goal around front, had xbox and ps2 hooked up to two of our lcd projectors, some round tables with food and playing cards, and lots of food. It was a laid back sort of night and the teens all seemed to really have fun. Plus, NCAA football with life size players on the wall is usually a fun time.

Today we made a trip to see my family. Two of my cousins each have kids who just turned one, so they decided to have a birthday party together. It was a nice time to get together with family. *Interesting story of the day: We caught word that the two birthday kids were going to be representing their family's college team of choice, one in red and black Georgia outfit, the other in a Georgia Tech t-shirt and jacket. (It's all a part of our family's internal feud over UGA/GT.) So, we thought we'd play along and so Noah rolls up in his Georgia Southern game day gear. Turns out that babies aren't little people. They're little billboards. (btw, GSU beat Wofford today - yeah!).

Oh, yeah. And I started working on a new design for this blog. I decided I wanted to write the css and html for myself. It won't be something I knock out right away, but just one of those fleeting thoughts that got a hold of me and won't let go. So, I'm giving it some thought and playing a little in all that free time I seem to have lately.

Anyway, it's been a pretty full, busy week. Just keeping in touch.

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