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Youth Ministries that Rock

Fuller Theological Seminary is on the cutting edge of research on churches that are effectively engaging young people.   I have looked into having one of the authors / researchers speak at THE GATHERING next year, but until  I am able to work that out, let me share some of their findings that are reported in their book, Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church (Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin).  Here are a few interesting take-a-ways: The highest response of what kept young people in church was not programing but personal relationships – relationships with seasoned leaders, as well with other youth. Learn to understand your young people: Emphasize with them. “In other words, it’s siting on the curb of a young person’s life, celebrating their dreams and grieving over their despair.” US teens are not hostile towards religion, but they do not care much about it either. Effective youth-focused churches help young people … [Read More...]

Easter Churches and Pastors

The title of S. M. Lockridge’s  famous sermon, "It's Friday, but Sunday's Coming", has been used by thousands of preachers to bring hope to the hopeless. Few sermons are a more powerful reminder that God can change everything and anything. However, the fact of the matter is that when we are experiencing the pain and frustration of Friday’s cross, we don’t “feel” the good news of Easter.  Unfortunately, knowing that Good Friday’s pain is a necessary prelude to Easter, does not lessen the … [Read More...]

Beyond Your Average Easter Experience

Unfortunately, too many Easter services are low in spiritual impact and very predictable.  Too often they are nothing more than repeat versions of what is done every Sunday, except that the music and message focus on the resurrection.  That focus is on target.  However, the worship on this special day deserves more.  Because Easter is one of the two highest attended worship services in the whole year, more thought and effort should go into ensuring it will have a high spiritual impact.  So, let … [Read More...]