Thursday, May 17, 2007

Submission, Love, & Young Girls

Today I read the 6th Chapter of Sex God entitled Worth Dying For. It was on submission, a topic that is only talked about in the church. Common themes that I have heard many times before began to emerge with a splash of new insight. For example, a husband and wife should have a mutual submission toward each other as Ephesians 5 teachers. The quote that made me stop to think was…

“So the husband is commanded to lay down his life for his wife, and the wife is commanded to submit to her husband, but they’re both commanded to submit to each other because everyone is commanded to submit to everyone else, and all of this is out of “reverence for Christ.”

Submission and marriage are often subjects that people get uptight about. It shouldn’t be. Christians should submit to others (Ephesians 4:21), not just their spouse. I know why people get uptight about the subject. It’s a power issue. Submission is giving up power. We live in an upside down Kingdom where giving up power is a part of citizenship. You could argue but you’ll only damage yourself.

But the section that causes the most spiritual commotion tapped into my paternal nature…young girls and their perceived scenes of lack of worth. This always touches a nerve within me. So few girls know how valuable they are and so few guys have anything clue how to love them with an ounce of Christ’s love. Some quotes that come to mind…

“Do you realize you are worth dying for? You don’t need to give yourself away to someone who won’t give himself to you.”

“Sex becomes a search. A search of something they’re missing. A quest for the unconditional embrace. And so they go from relationship to relationship, looking for what they already have.”

“You don’t need a man by your side to validate you as a woman. You already are loved and valued. You’re good enough exactly as you are….You have limitless worth and value.”

As a youth minister I know few girls will actually embrace my words when I teach. Worth is not taught. Worth has to be shown. In an age where verbal complements and innocent touches can easily be interpreted with sexual overtones…it’s difficult to show girls how much they are loved.

When you think about all the girls that live in my safe little community, how many actually know they are of great value and worth? 5% maybe? I mean, maybe 5% will actually hold out for the right guy and present themselves with dignity and honor?

Call me young and idealistic but I think the church of Jesus Christ shouldn’t be having it’s butt kick in the area of honoring and respecting young woman. On the other hand, the perverted nature of my male driven urges knows exactly why we are losing the battle. Maybe this is why so few men will actually say anything to the woman they love the most. We are hypocrites.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Deep Ministry In A Shallow World

Despite my belief that the Purpose Driven model of minister is a strong and healthy model, I have spent four years at this ministry and have seen limited amounts of fruit. The cause of this is numerous, largely due to my leadership inabilities and partly due to the congregation’s (thus the student’s) ability to relate all five purposes to their individual lives. (I still get the impression that most believe that discipleship is the same as being baptized, that evangelism is the responsibility of the paid guys, and fellowship is a nice but unnecessary part of growth). I guess a Purpose Driven Youth Ministry can only work when “big” church is truly driven by purpose.

After reading Deep Ministry In A Shallow World, I have come to the conclusion that my application of Purpose Driven has casused me be more agenda driven instead of relational focused. When I would challenge the y.m. to a deeper understanding of discipleship or worship, I was basically telling everyone that they weren’t good enough and we should do better. To say it another way, “The purposes are more important than you.” That’s a bad message to send.

Instead of being agenda drive, Deep Ministry In A Shallow World asks the question “What is God up to?” We answer this question knowing that God is in the business of transforming people. God wants his children to change from their sinful nature to his nature. Youth ministry should be an environment of spiritual transformation for students. To say another way, God wants students to go deeper.

With this basic understanding of God, we can take four basic steps to take students deeper. (See Chapter 2)

Step 1 – Now? Goal: To discern (understand) God’s current transformation by asking:
o What type of transformation is God bringing about now?
o What is creating space for God’s transformation now?
o What is hindering God’s transformation now?

Step 2 – New? Goal: To reflect upon new insights and ideas by asking:
o What does Scripture say?
o What does history say?
o What does research say?
o What does experience say?

Step 3 – Who? Goal: To observe others who are already going deeper by asking:
o What are some ways others are applying these new insights to their ministries?
o In what ways are their situations similar to our?
o In what ways are they different?

Step 4 – How? Goal: To apply information from Steps 1-3 by asking:
o Given everything how can we go deeper?

Going through these four steps seems to be a much better way to go deeper instead of asking how to improve the purposes.

Overall, the book is a good read. It has a lot of research on adolescent culture and practical ways to apply to this to the leader’s ministry context. I would love for my volunteers to read this book.