Friday, January 20, 2012

My calling to youth ministry and "Divided"

In 2006 I was starting my senior year of college. I started helping with the kids at a friends' church in Nashville. It was that summer that I felt the Lord call me to youth ministry. I spent two and a half years at Erskine Theological Seminary and got a Master of Arts in Educational Ministries. Six months later, I got hired at Trinity and have since started school for something completely different: paralegal studies. It's good to get some theological training, and hopefully some practical training. In seminary I learned theology and educational philosophies, but then I didn't really learn how to teach kids and teens theology. I've learned more by just doing it.

I'm passionate about educating children about the Bible. Nobody knows it anymore and it's not really teached. Loving your neighbor is great, but it isn't the Gospel. Also, I see more and more kids raised in church who grow up, cohabitate with their boyfriends and girlfriends, look up horoscopes, and do all kinds of things that show they have not learned to fear the Lord. I want to be in youth ministry so I can do it correctly. I'm skeptical of anything Lifeway puts out anymore. I have to test the spirits before I can completely trust anything. Youth Specialties is the group that publishes Rob Bell's heresies and we have to beware of the biggest thing on sale, and we also must not put all our faith in one famous guru, though I do that quite often.

I have not seen "Divided" but I know enough about it to know it's a push for family integrated church. I don't disagree with it but I don't agree with it either. I think it's a wonderful idea; my job, besides teaching kids in Children's Church, should include training the parents to coach their kids in the Bible at home in the spirit of Deuteronomy 6:4-9. An excellent book to read is Already Gone by Ken Ham, of Answers in Genesis fame. It has similar ideas to "Divided" but doesn't automatically through Sunday School teachers and youth workers under the bus. Kids do need theology presented to them on their level, and they need to get their wiggles out, thus I try to have church on their level. We stay in the service until sermon time, then I take them back and teach them a Bible lesson. The Bible is the center of our lessons, and we save time at the end for some reinforcing craft or just play with toys. Also, I write in a monthly newsletter what I'm teaching them each month so that parents can discuss it with their kids during the week.

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