Blog | Topic: Pastors
Jun 28, 2013
Here is the recording from the webinar yesterday. It was an honor to have the opportunity to interview my good friend Byron Borger of Hearts & Minds Bookstore and to hear his recommendations for summer reading and study. For what it’s worth, I purchased 6 of the 54 books he mentioned!
The mission of CPYU is to work with churches, schools, and community organizations to build stronger relationships between young people and those charged with helping them grow into healthy adulthood. I was reminded yesterday that in order to fulfill that mission, for CPYU, for parents, and for church leaders, we need thoughtful and biblical resources. Byron’s calling is helping us in our calling, by pointing us to the best of what’s available. Thank you Byron!
Click here to download (.pdf) the power point presentation to see the list of books recommended.
Click here to order books from Hearts & Minds (Byron is offering 20% off all the books mentioned during the webinar!).
Click here to read Byron’s very popular Booknotes blog.
Click here to visit CPYU’s Resource Center.
Click here to purchase previous CPYU webinars.
CPYU strives to provide meaningful resources to equip you as you work with young people. Please let me know if this webinar was helpful to you and if you have any questions about other CPYU resources.
Jun 18, 2013
Top Ten (or so) Picks for Your Summer Reading
June 27 – 1:00pm (EDT)
Click here to register.
Join me as I ask CPYU’s favorite bookseller, Byron Borger, to suggest the best books to read this summer. Byron owns Hearts & Minds, a bookstore in Dallastown, PA and has been in the book business for over 30 years. He enjoys crafting custom-made lists for specific audiences. He is a long-time friend of us here at CPYU and has agreed to offer a list for us. Listen in as he shares key titles to inspire us in our tasks as parents, youth workers and Christian leaders.
Watch a video of Byron discussing why reading matters here:
Jun 4, 2013
The term worldview is now widely used in discussions about faith, philosophy, culture and education. The word jumped into English from the German, Weltanschauung, and has become increasingly familiar in the last fifty years, especially in some Christian circles. Many Christians latched onto the term because it helped to describe the all-encompassing, cosmic scope of the Gospel. The Christian faith is not just a religion, but a way of life that has far-reaching implications for the way we “see” reality and live in the world. A worldview is a vision of life and for life. Familiarity often breeds contempt, however. While many agree that the popularity and wide-spread acceptance of the concept has been a good thing for the church, some critics suggest proceeding with caution when teaching that Christianity is a worldview.
J. Mark Bertrand has spent much of his adult life teaching young people the value of understanding worldviews and thinking “Christianly” about all areas of life. But he too has concerns about the misuse and misapplication of the term. In his book Rethinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World (Crossway) Bertrand seeks to capture a more complex, nuanced appreciation of what worldviews really are. Bertrand has a degree in English from Union University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston. He is also the author of a successful 3-part series of “Roland March” detective novels (Back on Murder, Pattern of Wounds and Nothing to Hide). What follows is an interview with Bertrand about worldview and how the concept, when properly understood can help young people grow in faith…
Download the interview (.pdf) here.
Read more expert interviews here.
Apr 10, 2013
It’s that time of year. Senioritis at school and church is kicking in. Students are ready to coast to the finish-line and make their way to the next chapter of their life story. For many graduating seniors (but not all), the “next step” will be college in the fall. According to recent research by the Fuller Youth Institute only 1 in 7 high school seniors report feeling prepared to face the challenges of college life. How can we engage seniors during the last few months of high school so that they are better prepared for the challenges ahead? What follows are three suggested activities to invite students to think more deeply about this crucial transition (each activity takes about an hour and could work well as three consecutive youth group meetings):
First, create space for better conversations about life after high school. Host a panel discussion with college students and have soon-to-be graduates ask them questions about how they can be better prepared. Consider including older members of the community as well. Have them reflect on their own decisions and transitions when they were about to graduate from high school. Ask people 20+ years removed from college this question: If you could do it all over again, what would you have done differently? Conclude the meeting by giving students the article “Conversations for the College Bound: 10 Talks to Have Before Arriving on Campus.” Have the students discuss the article with the group.
What conversation(s) stuck out to you as you read?
Were there any conversation partners listed that you hadn’t considered?
What conversations would you like to pursue over the next few weeks?
Second, have an open and honest conversation about faith after high school. To generate good discussion, watch a Veritas Forum video with college bound students. Veritas Forums are university events that engage students and faculty in discussions about life’s hardest questions and the relevance of Jesus Christ to all of life. I highly recommend The Veritas Forum featuring Tim Keller at the University of California, Berkeley.
What stuck out to you as you listened to Dr. Keller presentation?
What do you think were his strongest points?
Did you have any disagreements with Dr. Keller arguments for belief in God and the Christian faith?
How do you think Dr. Keller handled the questions from the audience? What can you learn from him about how to have discussions with people who disagree with your worldview?
If you were given the task of explaining or defending the Christian faith at an event like The Veritas Forum, how would you do it? What would the outline of your talk be? Would you be nervous? Why or why not?
Third, help students connect with Christian community before they arrive on campus. Remind students of the value and necessity of community to Christian faith. As you learn where students will be going to college, take a proactive approach by contacting campus ministries and churches in those areas. Start by asking others in your congregation who might be familiar with the community in which the college is located. Next, browse the college’s Web site to see what is offered on campus. Send e-mails and make phone calls. Get in touch with campus ministers and pastors in the area. Consider using a night at youth group to help college bound students make these important connections months before they arrive on campus. Check out this article for more ideas: “Finding Community in College: 5 Ways to Help Students Connect.”
Do you think it will be easy or difficult to make new friends in college?
Why do you think community is important to Christian faith?
Do you think college relationships will be the same as high school relationships? Why or why not?
Do you think you will attend church while in college? Why or why not?
Expert Interview: “Understanding Teens After High School“
Expert Interview: “The Fabric of Lasting Faith“
Expert Interview: “Sex on Campus“
Book: Make College Count: A Faithful Guide to Life and Learning
Jan 31, 2013
Nappanee Missionary Church (NMC) in Nappanee, Indiana is committed to helping youth and families develop a faith that “sticks” after high school. Over the past few years the people of NMC have been greatly challenged by statistics that suggests many students who grow up in the church leave the faith after high school. NMC has also been significantly influenced, encouraged and equipped by the Sticky Faith research and resources provided by Fuller Theological Seminary. So much so, in fact, that one of NMC’s staff members includes the phrase “sticky faith” in his job title. His main responsibilities are helping the church think through a “sticky faith perspective” for all ages and levels of discipleship.
This past weekend I had the honor of spending time with students and parents at NMC. I presented the College Transition Seminar, was interviewed by youth pastor Derry Prenkert during three worship services and spoke to the youth group about Identity Matters on Sunday evening (cut a little short by an ice storm!). It was encouraging to see a church that is thinking deeply and strategically about how to best serve and disciple students and families. Thank you, NMC, for your example to all of us!
Click here to watch a video of Derry’s sermon (The Exchange Lane) and my interview (15:08).
Click here to download (.pdf) the sermon notes as well as to see a collection of helpful “Sticky Faith” resources.
Dec 10, 2012
According to a recent study conducted by Stanford University, only 1 in 5 (20%) of teenagers “express a clear vision of where they want to go, what they want to accomplish and why.” Many youth workers and parents are concerned with teen apathy and directionlessness. Even Christian teens seem to have a difficult time connecting their faith with their future plans and career aspirations. What is needed in many churches and youth groups today is a robust theology of vocation. Enter Stephen J. Nichols and is very helpful booklet (only 30 pages!) What is Vocation? (P&R Publishing).
While this booklet is useful for everyone in the church, much of the content and concern derives from his work with teens during the formative years as a college professor. He writes, “It’s the goal of this booklet for you to see all of your work, whether you get a paycheck for it or not, whether it’s considered a noble profession or a menial task, as germane to your calling as a child of God and a disciple of Christ… The doctrine of vocation enables us to see our work, all our work, as a means by which we can serve, worship, glorify, and enjoy God.”
Not only does the booklet provide a biblical, theological and historical overview of the doctrine of vocation, but it also makes connections with personal stories and popular culture. This is recommended reading for anyone who desires a deeper understanding of calling. It would be especially helpful to youth workers and parents who want to instill the value of calling and purpose in their teens.
Dec 7, 2012
Timothy Clydesdale published his groundbreaking book The First Year Out: Understanding American Teens After High School in 2007. After reading it, I immediately knew that the findings from his research would significantly shape the work of CPYU’s College Transition Initiative. I also knew that I needed to interview Dr. Clydesdale to ask him to help us connect the dots from his research to youth ministry. He agreed and our short interview not only led to a friendship but it also was widely circulated in many online and print media outlets.
Most recently and notably, the interview was cited in two important books, Consuming Youth: Leading Teens Through Consumer Culture and Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids. Because of its popularity and powerful message, the interview has been reformatted for easier reading and distribution.
Click here to download (.pdf) my interview with Dr. Clydesdale, first published in 2007. Feel free to pass it along, especially to parents and youth workers who are thinking strategically about how to help young people develop a faith that lasts.
Nov 20, 2012
Research from the Fuller Youth Institute reveals surprising insights into instilling lasting faith in young people. It is estimated that around 50% of students that grow up in the Christian faith walk away from the church after high school. Many church leaders have known about this growing trend but have not been sure what to do about it. The Fuller Youth Institute, under the direction of Dr. Kara Powell, conducted a ground-breaking, four-year study of this phenomenon. This “Sticky Faith” research followed teenagers from their senior year of high school until their senior year of college, hoping to discover what helped them to make their faith stick. Dr. Powell explains, “As many churches and denominations experience decline, and as anxious parents wonder about their children’s futures, the Sticky Faith research has the power to spark a movement that not only changes youth, but also families and churches.”
Here are three key findings to consider: First, while most U.S. churches focus on building strong youth groups, teenagers also need to build relationships with adults of all ages. Teens need intergenerational community. Second, churches and families overestimate youth group graduates’ readiness for the struggles ahead with dire consequences for the faith. Most teens are not ready for the challenges and temptations of life after high school. Third, while teaching young people the “dos” and “don’ts” of Christian living is important, an overemphasis on behaviors can sabotage faith long-term. Teens desperately need a Gospel of heart transformation, not just behavior modification.
Visit the Sticky Faith website to learn more about the research and to discover helpful resources that equip parents and churches to nurture in young people a faith that lasts.
Nov 5, 2012
David Kinnaman’s most recent book You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church… And Rethinking Faith (Baker Books) begins with bad news: “Millions of young adults leave active involvement in church as they exit their teen years.” But the good news is that many of the teens who give up on the church, aren’t necessarily walking away from Jesus. Many of them are simply looking for more meaningful ways to follow Jesus in contemporary culture.
The Barna Group has been criticized of late for supposedly being “alarmist” and for using a flawed research methodology. Most of the criticism has come from a few, Christian, social scientists. I think much of the criticism is overstated. What is so refreshing about You Lost Me is that it doesn’t rely solely on Barna statistics. It pulls from a variety of sources and notes the shortcomings of all research. Kinnaman writes: “I want to provide here a nuanced, data-driven assessment of young adults’ faith journeys. In our evidence gathering, interviews, and data analysis, the Barna team’s goal is to construct the most accurate picture we can of cultural reality, because the church is called to be the church in the real world. In this research, we have done our best to uncover the facts and the truth of the dropout problem, and this book is the compilation of our best thinking on the subject thus far—but it is hardly the final answer.”
I have read much of and have benefitted greatly from the recent sociological research on the religious attitudes of late adolescents and emerging adults from leading sociologists such as Jeffrey Arnett, Chap Clark, Tim Clydesdale, Donna Freitas, Christian Smith, and Robert Wuthnow. Kinnaman’s findings affirm and support much of what is found among leading social scientists. My hope is that You Lost Me is received as a welcomed addition to that conversation. It is as good and as thorough as anything else I have read concerning young adult spirituality.
You Lost Me is clear and compelling. It is thoughtful and balanced. It should be read by everyone concerned for the church; pastors, parents, educators, even students will benefit from Kinnaman’s wisdom. He rightly identifies the church “dropout problem” as a “disciple-making” problem, explaining, “The church is not adequately preparing the next generation to follow Christ in a rapidly changing culture.” You Lost Me not only identifies the reasons why many young adults stop attending church but it also provides disciples-making suggestions for how to get them back. The book also features a collection of fifty “ideas for passing on a flourishing, deep-rooted faith.” CPYU president Walt Mueller and I are among the contributors.
Visit www.YouLostMeBook.com to learn more.
Watch a video about You Lost Me here.