So, I am riding to Nashville with Mark Hayse and students from MidAmerica Nazarene University for the National Youth Workers Convention.
Mark introduces me as NTS professor but also presenter and board member with Youthfront.. One of the students leans forward and asks: “so what does Youthfront ‘do’?” I had to pause.
Every once in a while you realize you are in the middle of something really, really special. I have over thirty-five years experience listening to presentations in varying contexts, first in broadcast television news and later in academic settings. November 12th was special, as I sat in a pew and was drawn into a panel discussion over the issues of youth ministry and race. The theme ran through two sessions in the morning, the first included an opening presentation by Brandon Winstead, followed by responses from the panelists. The second session was a general discussion of how race factors into contemporary youth ministry. Many of the concepts and ideas were reported through the NTS website so I will not repeat all of those comments. However, the very journey to this moment, the cast of presenters, and the ensuing discussion does deserve special mention. In some sense it was not only “what” was said that morning, but “who” was saying it that made a difference for me. For this reason I begin with the “who,” the people that gave voice to the need, before adding addition content on the theme of the day.
Posted in Clergy, Culture, Discipleship, Practical Theology, Race, Religious Education, Theology, Young Adult, Youth
Tagged academics, diversity, hip hop, ministry, NTS, race, short term mission, Youth Ministry
Part of our 365m trip included our participation in the North British Isles District minister’s retreat in Newcastle. Driving through the hedgerows of this lovely country, we decided to stop by the town of Downpatrick where the Holy Trinity Cathedral on a ridge above the town. Our entourage included David and Glynda Wesley, Norm Henry, and missionaries Stephen Morley and Ted Voight. Continue reading
Day two of the 365M training in Belfast was dedicated primarily to Norm Henry and myself covering some of the basics behind our classes with students in the program. These sessions were designed to orient both current and future mentors in the program.
Reverend Henry, a licensed clinical counselor, provided a masterful overview of the need for self care even by the mentors. Self care includes multiple dimensions but Norm focused primarily on the spiritual. With busy lifestyles, finding time for spiritual refreshment, as well as physical renewal, remains a crucial challenge for mentors as well as students. Henry discussed the need to moderate stress in the lives of ministers, the place of Sabbath, and the need for personal spiritual practices. All of the ideas were well received by the them.
My focus included adapting mentoring roles based on the need of interns, who often possess diverse experiences in ministry and bring different needs to the mentor relationship.
Arrived this morning in Dublin (after a sleepless flight) and, after a quick shower, joined David and Glynda Wesley, alongside Norm Henry, for a trip to Belfast for 365M training with pastors and supervisors from Northern Ireland and Ireland. The trip was a bit harrowing traveling on the “wrong” side of the road but thanks to Norm Henry for getting us to the hotel safely.
We walked downtown to have lunch. Walking reveals an interesting city of old and new architecture, even in the restaurant. We are close to the Titanic “quarters,” home of the original docks where the fateful ship was built.
David opened our training providing an overview of 365 M, the program at NTS that provides students approximately a year in a global setting where they learn, minister, and gain 24 hours of graduate theological education toward a certificate. I was present as one of the teachers of the three “signature classes” that prepare students to enlist partners for their year of ministry, explore their personal development in the midst of the journey, and engage in contextual learning that insures that content and context merge for an authentic learning experience. David explained to more than a dozen ministers how the program works, answering specific questions concerning program design, and policy.