Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Fieldgrinhousers

A week of moving in and celebrating. On the steps of our new tree house in Bloomington we surrounded ourselves with family and a few friends for a house blessings and a wedding.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Youth Convo Los Angeles

Growing Groups, for Small Group Facilitating... An interesting topic for the situation, but the magic of those groups was evident. Laughs to tears, many great things shared.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Youth Ministry Rant

A great group from CERT school number 51 in Dubuque, IA! After hanging out with this wonderful crew for three days I finished up the following thoughts...

“D@#$%!  Soccer”

“*&^%$  Dance Line”

“^&*(#   Marching Band”

“!@#$%  Football, basketball, hockey, debate, and let’s not forget the chess team or whatever else is getting in the way of my (Oops, I mean) their first priority, which centers around being at my (there I go again) their church programs. What are their parents teaching anyway?!!!”

I hear forms of this lament everywhere I go. “I just had to cancel another event because my kids are too busy,” I am told this often by those who work with kids in the church. Big church, small church, big town, little town, it doesn’t matter; the kids and their parents are overly busy with a smorgasbord of opportunities that leaves little time for one more church event.

But… What if! (I personally love those words.) What if the soccer team, dance line, marching band and chess team are exactly where kids belong as ministers? What if we stopped seeing events as the competition, the enemy, and saw the relationships formed in the midst of teams, casts, and bands as the very places real youth ministry happens? What if youth, wherever they are, and whoever they are with, are living what we call youth ministry? What if the congregation is primarily an equipping and supportive place for youth to be Peer Ministers?

If I am honest about my youth ministry scorecard I have to realize that kids showing up at meetings or events are not a measurement of success, no matter how much fun they have. My real desired outcomes are kids who live with a vibrant faith that cares and welcomes all people, in all places, and at all times as a results of being loved and graced by God.

Here is how it might work! Granted, you have to gather kids to equip them, and you will still need adults who will train and support kids. Kids participate in Peer Ministry training they complete the training, they move into the phase of being supported and resourced by their leaders. What if, when your kids are busily engaged with the demands of all those other programs and places, you and your adult leaders each called kids and asked questions like:

“How is your ministry going?”

 “How have you been using your skills this week?”

“What are the issues that you are most concerned about?”

“What support or resources or people can I guide you to?”

“What can I pray for you this week?”

One group tallied the number of times and topics their 16 Peer Ministers reported over a semester. The group reported over 2,000 times they used Peer Ministry skills! Let me emphasize this again, over 2,000 times they said they used the skills of caring and welcoming their neighbor. After sharing this, one skeptic said, “I suppose after awhile they think every conversation is a Peer Ministry conversation.”

I just smiled. “Wouldn’t that be too bad?” What if kids understood that God was part of every conversation and every relationship. “Hmmmm…,” wouldn’t I want these Peer Ministers hanging out with the sports teams, art departments, and chests teams?

Just by making such calls kids, get the message that we assume they already are ministers. This alone begins to change the view kids have about Christian leadership and ministry. Leadership would no longer be just about microphones and committees, the images constantly presented by those of us who speak, preach, sing, teach, and those of us who gather for meeting after meeting, necessary tasks but, not the whole ministry. Microphones and committees work best when they empower people to leave the room and go and do ministry in the midst of the everyday activities.

If your congregation is ranting and lamenting that kids are too busy to come, then maybe it is time to rethink the youth ministry scorecard. Help kids discover that the very things they are most concerned about, their relationships, are ministry. We just forgot to tell them. Now, maybe it is time.


Peer Ministry 

We train adult facilitators,

Who train your youth,

Who use Peer Ministry skills every day, in every relationship.


From The Youth & Family Institute

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm on YouTube!

Hey look--- I'm on TV! --- Note the perpetual coffee cup in hand!

New Orleans Full Moon

On the streets the moon adventures continue! 
And... here is the task that took me there...
(can I really find 800!)

ELCA Youth Gathering - New Orleans!


We need 800 young adults ages 20 to 25, to be Servant Companions at the ELCA Youth Gathering July 20-26, 2009 in New Orleans. You will help lead 36,000 high school youth and adult leaders through a variety of experiences around the theme of Jesus, Justice, and Jazz. 
Each Servant Companion will help welcome, lead, facilitate and care for groups of 45 youth and adult leaders through the Youth Gathering experiences while in New Orleans. This will include service projects, theological reflections and interactions with an area of justice. 
If you are a person who...
  •  Senses a calling for youth ministry
  • Is growing in your theology and practices of faith
  •  Is excited by being with high school youth
  • Engaging and confident voice that commands and energizes a group of 45
  •  Has a confident, welcoming, life affirming personality
  • Listens carefully to concerns and can help problem solve
  •  Can “think on your feet”
  • Learn names quickly
  •  Has experience with small group facilitating skills
  •  Has an interest in justice issues
  •  Be okay with not having all the answers.
  •  Is able to listen and wonder with youth about ambiguous ideas of theology and sociological issues
  •   Is humble, dependable and above all flexible. –The Gumby Pledge!

Then we need you!
Apply today to join us as a Servant Companion by going to click on the link that reads “Volunteering at the Gathering” to apply on line.

Training and orientation begins at 3 PM on Monday, July 20, 2009. Your housing and meals will be provided. You will apply through the ELCA web site, need to have background checks completed and secure your own transportation to New Orleans. Servant Companions will be led by a team of 27 Coaches and coordinated by Lyle GrinerNational Peer Ministry Director with The Youth & Family Institute in Bloomington, MN.

Preservation Hall

"I think it is very visual," in contrast to a comment made that jazz didn't need to be seen! Preservation Hall was way to crowded for the numbers they let in. Somehow, I managed to crouch down by the entrance the musicians walked in through. My ankles hurt as I knelt observing the old weathered and warn floor boards. The building was built originally as a home in the French Quarter in 1750. Since the mid 60's the room has been filled with the nostalgia of the famous old New Orleans Jazz sounds.

Okay... a bit behind in the blogging department. This is a week of travels, thus backwards for an adventure or two!