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Tales of Adventure Blog

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

 

Filtering by Tag: Missional Youth

Graduation Day...Awesome!

Matthew Overton

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Every year as I do ministry there are certain days that I look forward to and certain days that are stressful, but well worth every ounce of effort. Last Sunday was a bit of both. The student job skills/life skills ministry that I created had it's annual meal and certification. It's a day when our mentors and students (Blacksmiths and Apprentices as we call them) come together to feast, share, and celebrate all the fruit that we have seen in our program. We started with 23 students and finished with 20.  It was an amazing process as usual. Let me share a few of the highlights.

-One student shared that their mentor, who has been one of our best youth leaders at our church, is an amazing human being. They shared openly that they have never had healthy adults in their lives and that they were really grateful for their mentor. This student will be coming on our youth service trip at our church this year for the first time.

-Another shared that their mentor seemed like a mirror 20 years into the future and that they were grateful that they could learn from their mistakes in career and money.

-A student with difficulty in social interaction shared that they have done a lot of technology programs before, but that in our drone program they realized that they have never treated their instructors as people. They have treated them as things that were there to give them something.  I was floored.

-An adult shared how they blew it this year. They admitted that when they started as a Blacksmith in our program they treated like a program rather than an opportunity for human relationship. They think they drove their student off. I don't agree, but it was amazing to see a grown adult in our world own a mistake for a change in front of teenagers.

-A student, who came into our program making sure we knew they were an atheist, was deeply thankful that their mentor challenged them to look at their HIGHLY materialistic goals and ask the question, "Why?" over and over again. They are starting to see that self-actualization and achievement that does not take one's neighbor into account can be pretty empty.

-One student shared that they have never realized that they could accomplish goals before. She described her mentor/blacksmith as someone who is an excellent listener. She talked about engaging her first drama performance at school because of their relationship and how she has taken the first step to cosmetology school. She has discovered that she has agency. A year ago she was massively depressed.

-Another student spoke out loud. This would have been impossible two years ago. They are reading the gospels for the first time.

-One student, who used to be very shy, spoke with great confidence and relayed how they have learned to navigate conflict for the first time and that they are a respected member of their staff at a local fast food chain. They are about to join the Army. It was a hard decision, but we made sure not to get in the way of that choice and cheered for them as we sat around the table.

-Many adults shared as well. They discovered things about teens and their experience that they hadn't known. They talked about the progress they made on their own personal goals because they were accountable to the students as well. Some of them talked about the deep respect they have for what some of their students carry day in and day out. Some talked about realizing that the context that they grew up in was vastly different than that of their students. I have felt all along that this ministry was just as much about the adults as the teens involved.

All I can say is that I felt that we were sitting around a Passover table despite the Hawaiian pizza and video game sounds coming from the mini arcade in the next room. What I saw and heard was the sound of glory. Not our glory, but God's glory. Irenaeus once said, "The glory of God is a human being fully alive." I saw the glory of people coming alive. I think Jesus was delighted with what was happening in that room on Sunday.  It has been worth every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears. It has been worth every bit of risk.

Let's create some new ways of doing youth ministry...and ministry in general.

Holy Cow! Talk about Innovation and Initiative!

Matthew Overton

Yesterday, I learned about one of the coolest initiatives I have ever heard of through Princeton Theological Seminary's youth division.  Basically, Princeton’s Institute for Youth Ministry has started a new initiative called the Youth Philanthropy Academy and they have partnered with an organization called “Giving Point”. The link is below. Giving Point tries to mobilize the gifts, talents, and passion of teens to change their world (Kingdom Work!).  Theoretically, we could develop a philanthropic idea of one of the students and then our other students could help develop it.  The program requires that adult mentoring be involved.  Here is how it works:

1.        Teens from your church submit applications to Princeton.

2.       A student is chosen based on their passion for the idea and their individual drive to achieve it.

3.       That student then goes to Princeton in July and receives intensive coaching for 1 week about how to communicate the vision of their idea and develop a 1 year plan to execute on it.

4.       They go back to their church and are required to assemble some adults to help them execute that plan.  (I love the inter generational aspect of this! Boom!)

5.       They are given $500 of seed money to execute the idea if the church matches with $500.

6.       If they make sufficient progress they are invited back to Princeton in 1 year for a dinner gathering with business folks from around the country who listen to their pitches and offer funding for the organizations.

*The Student must be a Freshman or a Sophomore

My church is considering whether we might participate in this process. We scrapped our usual Sunday morning program a little over a year ago and started working on what we call, "The Project". Essentially it is an attempt to missionally engage our community.  My suspicion is that some of you have teenagers with unbelievable ideas out there. Places where they have sensed a gospel gap that needs to be filled long before our adults have.  Mine those teens and get them to apply!!!

A.       Giving Point- https://www.mygivingpoint.org/

B.      Joshua’s Closet, which is an example of a Giving Point Project- http://joshuasclosetinternational.org/

C.      Princeton’s Institute for Youth Ministry’s new project called the Youth Philanthropy Academy: http://iym.ptsem.edu/youth-philanthropy-academy/