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Archive for the ‘links’ Category

I was searching the internet for ideas on how to make a Nativity scene for our afterschool program art class and came across a great website called Artists Helping Children. It has about a dozen different options of how to make a Nativity scene using different forms of art media. I wish I had discovered this website first – I would’ve saved a lot of time!

The finished result :

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Although Camden hasn’t always held the top spot, for 2009 we’re back to being #1 in the nation for being the most dangerous city in America. Check out the article here.

My hometown of Birmingham was 6th and surprisingly New York City was 296th!

Camden is a city of potential. But I’m not surprised it’s considered the most dangerous. Why? Because it’s also the nation’s most poverty stricken city. And can we also mention the history of corruption of city officials? The last three Camden mayors are in jail for corruption charges. Interesting!

Corruption + Poverty = Danger

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Last week I attended the Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry hosted by the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Seminary. It was in Hendersonville, North Carolina at a beautiful camp ground called Kanuga. I went for a two day retreat and then for an additional four day conference.  It was nice to get a break from city life and be surrounded by gorgeous scenery.  North Carolina in the Fall is one of my favorite places to be.   It was also great to be challenged theologically with speakers like Kenda Creasy Dean, Rodger Nishioka, Mark DeVries and others.

About 70% of the conference was applied to church ministry, but I still learned a lot. I met amazing youth directors from around the country and was encouraged by their service and dedication to young people. It was a good week.

North Carolina

North Carolina

North Carolina

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Values

Ouch!

Via ASBO Jesus

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The Christian sports ministry called Push the Rock came to visit us this week – running field games and a basketball clinic. The coaches worked really well with the kids and everyone had a great time.  Seeing the kids have to run and be athletic was really good for them.  Maybe it’s not just an urban kid thing, maybe a general childhood problem these days, but our kids spend a lot of time inside playing video games or watching television.  And in Camden, there aren’t a lot of safe, open fields or playground in which to play.  So, I’m really glad the kids had a chance to be active!

At the end of the day when it was all finished, some of the first graders asked me, “So when are we going to push the rock?” 🙂

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Push the Rock

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The Foursquare Church has an eight lesson series on Holy Spirit Discovery for Kids. Check it out!

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Driving this machinery

The Something Beautiful Podcast interviewed blogger, missional leader, and church planter Andrew Jones. I’ve read his blog for years and while listening to the podcast on a recent road trip, found some of the things he shared about his journey in ministry really resonate with me. One part, in particular, articulated so well what I’ve experienced and felt in ministry, that I had to type it out and share it with you!

“I didn’t like myself and who I was becoming. I got really addicted to having the best show in town and having the largest number of youth come to my church. We had hundreds of volunteers involved in the ministry and it made me look really good. I had invitations all the time….and I just found myself driving this machinery faster and harder week after week, having to do a little better. Having the drama team write new dramas every week, making the bands write new music, and the whole thing peaked with me doing my wonderful Gen-Xy grungy message. I found myself tempted to manipulate people so that I could end up looking better or the bottom line would move up or have a bigger church or get to speak at better events. I became uglier and I saw myself moving in the wrong direction and I just wanted to quit that entire system and find a way where Jesus could be glorified and lifted up and not me as the preacher.

And the other thing is that it just took so much energy to run this big Sunday night service and the other ministries….everyone was getting burned out a little bit and I was worried that we spent all our time putting on a show and not have enough time to just spend with people with life changing questions, to spend time in discipleship or get out of the church and meet people down the road at the pub. It just became a huge machine that consumed us and I didn’t like it and I didn’t like me and who I was becoming. yeah, it was successful, but I didn’t think God was really impressed with it.”

Andrew had the “success” in ministry (large numbers and a good show) and he gave it all up to travel with his family and church plant.  I really admire this because I know how hard it can be to stop “driving the machinery” because that is where you get the recognition and kudos.  I really admire his honesty and transparency about how he didn’t like who he was becoming and admitting he was tempted to manipulate people or make himself look better.  I have been there. I have done that.  And it’s ugly, just like he said.

Numbers do not equal success and God is not impressed with it.  Thank you, Andrew, for having the courage to really follow Jesus and stop driving this machinery of “ministry.”

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