Archive for the 'Young Adults' Category

Books / Readings, Change!?!, Spiritual Formation, Understanding Context, Young Adults

Another book to suggest and maybe dialoge about…

I am almost done reading Ron Martoia’s book Static: tune out the ‘Christian noise’ and experience the real message of Jesus.  I would highly recommend this book to you and encourage you to read it with an open mind.  It will be challenging to say the least because Ron challenges some of the long held assumptions we make about salvation.

 Some highlights… Ron suggests that when we read the Bible, we often read it through the lense of the people Jesus ministered to… those who received healing, the poor, the lame, the marginalized…. since many of us are not poor, or marginalized, then maybe the better lense to look through is that of the religious leaders.  That really changes how I hear Jesus’ teachings!

He suggests that we often twist, add to, change the biblical texts to fit our preconceived theologies instead of letting the biblical texts form our theologies.  He deals most with the salvation as a way to heaven issue and pushes a deeper understanding of salvation as a restoration of shalom which impacts our life now and in the future.  This is a view I have held for a long time and have wrestled with as well…. If so many of us are “saved” then why aren’t things here on earth different.  Or to put it another way, if so many of us have said yes to Jesus, then why are we still cheating on taxes, ignoring the poor, fighting with our neighbors, and divorcing our spouses?

 The book is done in a mostly narrative style (similar to McLaren’s New Kind of Christian trilogy) but not as masterfully.  It is a fast read until you get to the last few chapters where he really moves beyond the story line with the major part of his thesis. 

 Again, I would highly recommend it and would love to be part of a group that has a converstation around it.  Jeff, wanna set that up too!?

Missional, Understanding Context, Young Adults

Finding, Keeping, and Developing Young Adults

As I look around the Church of the Brethren, I don’t see many active young adults. Something seems to happen to our youth as they go off to college. What’s your experience? How do you reach out to and attract young adults?

Today, I ran across this article on reasearch that’s been done:

LifeWay Research Uncovers Reasons 18 to 22 Year Olds Drop Out of Church
Written by Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—A new study from LifeWay Research reveals that more than two-thirds of young adults who attend a Protestant church for at least a year in high school will stop attending church regularly for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22.

To read more of the article, please go to:

I’d love to hear of your experiences of working with young adults!


Change!?!, Decline/Growth, Young Adults

I am not Brethren

I am not Presbyterian, I am not Calvary Chapel, I am not Vineyard, I am not Pentecostal, I am not Catholic, and I am not Brethren. I am myself, a sinner saved by grace, a convert to the way of Jesus, a child of the Living God.

Having come to the church by conversion, not birth, I have like many, meandered through denominational identities. One of the results of that experience is that the only name that I’m willing to keep is Christian. And to be honest (or better said accurate), the last ten years has heaped so much social baggage onto the title Christian, that even it, usually makes me wince. I most prefer just to say that I am a follower of Jesus. If you don’t know this then you should; Christian youth culture burgeons with similar sentiment.

Postmodern theologians regularly postulate, that the world is becoming post-Christian… they are probably right about that. But also true and equally important is the fact that the church is becoming post-denominational. Those of us who’ve come to Christ because of a change of heart or mind, rarely feel connected to the history and evolution of the denominational hierarchy that hosts or owns our property. Postmodern converts identify with God, and one another, based on a set of shared beliefs, not the name of a schism or its founder. This is an uncomfortable truth for folks that have life-long lived with the name of a denomination etched into their family and its history. But to reach the emerging generations, we must allow them to keep their identities, and not expect them to adopt ours.

And in a way, what I said at the beginning of this discourse is wholly and hugely inaccurate.

I am Presbyterian, and Calvary, and Vineyard, Pentecostal and Catholic. And yes, I am Brethren as well. Not the Brethren of the past, but the Brethren of tomorrow; and so are the emerging generations of which I am a part. We are a mosaic of traditions, tapestries of faith and practice, and although we understand the importance of the past, we are far more interested in the needs of the future. And we will only take with us, that which we think rings true.

The world is very different than it was forty years ago, and the global amalgamation of Christian ideas has left us needing a church whose theology is refined beyond denominational differences. We long to embrace our cousins from every corner of the family of Christ, and differentiate ourselves by our praxis, not our assumptions.

And praxis is meat of the matter for the emerging generations. It’s what we do, not what we think that defines us. In this way the Emerging Church and Brethren culture have much in common. Lay led, service oriented, egalitarian, ecologically sensitive, intentionally peaceful and dedicated to simple living; all these things are true of both Brethren and Emerging. Indeed, the Emerging Church and the Brethren persona is a match so natural, that their corollaries seem a machination of Divinity.

The question is what do we do with this opportunity? Can we find the courage to embrace the emerging generations and allow them to inherit our mission and revitalize the church? Or will we insist that they adopt our identities, and force them out on their own, to form their faith families without us.

Young Adults

Thinking of Young Adults

This past week, I attended the National Pastor’s Convention (its only 7 miles away). I miss the emergent convention, but there are still some great opportunities at the pastor’s convention, too. I have some notes that I’d like to share with you in coming weeks from the sessions I attended.

At the convention, I’m always impressed by the young adults who are there and their passion for ministry. While I rejoice and enjoy the fellowship with these 20 somethings, I mourn the loss of this age group in the Church of the Brethren. How many do you have participating in your congregation? How many do you have contacts with? Have you done anything which has drawn-in new young adults?

Today, at the Christianity Today website, I read the following article,

Leader’s Insight: What Disillusioned 20-Somethings Want.

I really enjoyed the article! If you’d like to take a peek, here’s the link:

Also, if you are ever interested in attending the convention (there’s about 2000 clergy there each year from all denominations), please let me know. I can help you find free housing through the San Diego congregation or lower priced motels within walking distance.

Blessings to you!


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