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Archive for January, 2008

LOST!

Other than The Office, my favorite television show is LOST. I have been a faithful fan for the last three years, I listen to LOST podcasts and own all the DVDs. For the last eight months I’ve been anxiously awaiting the premiere of Season 4, which debuts tonight! Will they get off the island?!! (Yes, because I search the internet for spoilers.)

My friend Elizabeth sent me this hilarious link – LOST Season 3 Recap.

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Most of us are aware of Bryant Myers presentation that 85% of people who accept Christ do so between the age of four to fourteen years old. He calls it the “4-14 window.” Unfortunately, most mission strategists have ignored the potential effectiveness of this prime “people group.”

In 2004 The Barna Research Group confirmed the receptivity of children with the gospel in the study – Evangelism is Most Effective Among Kids. However, they took it a step further by pointing out the following:

“For instance, among Christians who embraced Christ before their teen years, half were led to Christ by their parents, with another one in five led by some other friend or relative. Comparatively few accepted Jesus in response to a minister’s personal prompting (7%) and only one out of eight cited a special event as the turning point in their journey. Among those who mentioned events, about half identified a church service. Just 1% mentioned media evangelism or other special situations as being responsible for their conversion.”

I find this really interesting because for the last three years I’ve been involved in mass/street preaching and event/program-centered child evangelism. Many times I’ve done the altar call of “Who wants to invite Jesus into their heart?” to a crowd of 200+ kids.

So….is our child evangelism of “reaching the multitudes” not really effective? It seems this research confirms that the key kids accepting Jesus is RELATIONSHIP.

George Barna underscored some significant insights from this research. “Just as our nation’s culture has changed dramatically in the last 30 years, so has the way in which people come to Christ,” he explained. “The weekend church service is no longer the primary mechanism for salvation decisions; only one out of every ten believers who makes a decision to follow Christ does so in a church setting or service. On the other hand, personal relationships have become even more important in evangelism, with a majority of salvation decisions coming in direct response to an invitation given by a family member or friend.”

I agree that the most effective time for reaching people with the Gospel is between the ages of 4-14. However, after reading this research, I realize there is more to than just telling kids about Jesus. It seems that to be most effective there must be a personal relationship established first with children. Maybe the preaching to the masses doesn’t work with kids? What does that say about the future of ministries like Sidewalk Sunday School?

What do you think?

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The purpose of this blog.

I’ve served in urban ministry for the last five years with a particular emphasis in ministry to children at risk. As an academic, I wanted to read and research and find out what others were doing in this field. I found a few books on ministry to urban teenagers, but finding books or articles or even websites about ministry to urban children was very difficult. Was urban children’s ministry not valued?

I did a Google search for “urban children’s ministry” and didn’t find much.There was, of course, Rudy Carassco and his fabulous Urban Onramps blog and The Harambee Center, a few links to the valuable Urban Youth Workers Institute, some college referrals, and a couple of old conferences. I was really disappointed at the lack of resources for urban children’s ministry. There are tons of resources for children’s ministry in general, but anyone in urban ministry will tell you that urban life is a different world with different problems! What works in the middle class suburban mega-church will not necessary work in Brownsville – Brooklyn, NY. And I wanted to know more than Sunday School curriculum. What about strategy? What works and doesn’t work in ministry to children in an urban context? I have so many questions and issues to discuss, but felt there wasn’t anywhere to go. I do value ministry to urban teenagers, I felt like urban children’s ministry wasn’t valued that you could automatically transfer general children’s ministry principles to urban kids.

I knew there had to be others out there just like me, so I created this blog as a place to network and share resources. While I do want to discuss ministry to urban teenagers, I want an emphasis to be placed on ministry to children. This is a blog where we value children and want to intelligently and academically consider ministry to them.

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Leaving NYC…

I’m leaving my adopted hometown of New York City in about thirty-six hours. It breaks my heart to leave, but I know that I’ve made the right decision.

And my future is (sort of) decided! I’m unplugging from the internet for a couple of weeks (de-tox), but when I return I shall let you know where I’m moving next!

Don’t worry, I’m still an urban youth worker. 🙂

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Videoversary.

A year and five days ago I made my first video!

It’s been so much fun and a great creative release. I’ve even started to make videos for other people and organizations! Exciting! I need to get better equipment now!

My personal top 5 favorite videos are:

Laundry

Camping

The Snow Shoveler

Confessions

An Evening With Craig and Abby

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Oh. My. Goodness. Y’all.

This afternoon while doing mindless data entry, I listened to perhaps the most revolutionary sermons/lectures I’ve encountered in the last five years.

Preaching the Gospel by Tim Keller

Dr. Keller notes that there are not many movements today that combine these two ways to preach the gospel as both the building of God’s Kingdom through people being redeemed by the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. What needs to be realized is that every theme and/or thread points to Jesus. This also includes the building of the Kingdom of God and personal salvation. More importantly Dr. Keller gives great advice at preaching the gospel in getting to the roots of idolatry and selfishness rather than just the slap on the hand for doing wrong. Preaching the gospel in a manner that glorifies Jesus rather than us is key aspect for the church today and this mp3 from Tim Keller should push the church in that direction. 

It goes against everything I’ve been taught for the last three years, but upon listening to it I felt like all the yearnings and questions and restlessness in my heart was answered!

There were several points that made me shout, “Yes!” in the middle of the office, but one in particular I was like “AMEN AMEN AMEN!!!!’

Tim Keller basically says this: Is the Bible about you and what YOU need to do, or is about Jesus? For example, we look at Biblical lessons like David and Goliath and preach that it’s about how you can face giants in your life. However, EVERY THEME in the Bible should come back to Jesus. The Israelities couldn’t handle Goliath and they needed divine intervention. They had a substitute in weak David, and are saved through the victory of that substitute. Israelites get great victory, but don’t do anything. If we look at the Bible being about Jesus, we see that in this theme, Jesus is our great substitute. He went against sin and death and we got a great victory, but didn’t do anything. Keller says that only THEN when we see Jesus first, can we go back to how we can face the giants in our life.

There are other nuggets of wisdom in this lecture, like the definition of sin and how to communicate that AND the purpose of a sermon.

If you are in ministry, you MUST listen to this sermon/lecture!

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Happy New Year!

2008

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