Our own rumspringa

Our own rumspringa

Rumspringa (derived form the German term “Rond Springen” or “running around”) generally refers to a period of adolescence for some members of the Amish, that begins around the age of sixteen and ends when a youth chooses baptism within the Amish church or instead leaves the community.  (wikipedia) In one of our upperclassman small groups a student made a passing comment that I have been wrestling with for the past couple of days.  She simply observed that their once full table of students during small group time has withered over the the last couple of years.  Where a once a robust small group of 15 was, now a consistent remnant of 6 remain.

As my wife and I talked, we could account for almost every student that has faded away from our student ministry.  And for almost every student there was an explanation.  Most of them were a small changes in priorities that resulted with them being less connected and ended up with them being M.I.A.

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Being right is not always the most important thing

Being right is not always the most important thing

A Misunderstanding: A few years ago I had a misunderstanding with a student.  But the difficult truth is that there wasn’t a misunderstanding at all.  We had a silly gimmick to attempt to get more kids to come to youth group.  For a month, every time a student came to youth group they got their name added to a raffle.  For every friend they brought, they got to add their name twice to the raffle.  At the end of the month we would draw a name and the winner would win a prize.  A dramatic and costly prize.  One of my seventh grade boys took this challenge to heart, igniting every competitive fiber of his being.

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Another Top 10 List of Books Every Youth Worker Should Read!

A while ago Josh Evans listed out the 10 must have books for student ministry.  They are great books and sparked some great discussion.  As youth workers we should be learners and a consumer of many books.  The books that Josh recommends should be consumed, reflected on, and implemented. I am blessed to be in a context with youth workers who are some really great thinkers and avid readers.  We used Josh Evans' blog as a jumping off point and came up with round two of books that we think should be read by every youth worker!

As we considered our context, which is about as post-Christian as it gets, we chose books that sharpened us, inspired us, equipped us, challenged us, and helped us understand the world in which we are doing ministry better.  These are not in any particular order and we hope you buy them all today!

not much just chillinNot Much, Just Chillin: The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers 





hurt-2-0-inside-world-todays-teenagers-chap-clark-paperback-cover-artHurt 2.0: Inside The World of Today's Teenagers





Evangelical TheologyEvangelical Theology: An Introduction by Karl Barth






understanding-your-young-teen-cover-and-spineUnderstanding Your Young Teenager







Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids





Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers is Telling the American Church





sticky-faithSticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids






Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry: From a Strategy of Influence to a Theology of Incarnation






Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gay vs. Straight Debate





The-Selfless-Way-of-Christ-Nouwen-Henri-J-M-9781570757020 The Selfless Way of Christ





As youth workers we are not simply programers, or Bible study leaders.  We are cross cultural missionaries.  We must become experts in adolescent development, psychology, anthropology, sociology, theology, and spiritual development.  May we not settle in our stereo typical role of pizza slinging party boys, but rather as women and men who respect the craft and calling of student ministry and continually strive to deepen our understanding of Scripture, our context, and the movement of the Holy Spirit!

Happy Reading!

PS:  I am blessed to be in an incredible local network with some deep thinkers and gifted youth workers.  If you want to have some great reading from youth workers who are doing solid ministry in a post-Christian context sent directly to your RSS reader, check out Phil Steiner's Blog and Ryan Reed's Blog.  (And don't forget to subscribe to my RSS feed as well. If I get 4,897 more subscribers I can have my book published.  Hahahaha)

PPS:  What books would you add to the list?