Come As You Are...
Listen to the Message...
Lead Me To The Cross, Part 2
Come As You Are, Jay Higham
Recorded on Sunday, April 16th, 2017 (Easter Sunday)
At Hickory United E.P Church
As you think about the wonderful reality of being able to come to Jesus as you are, take a few minutes to listen and watch, Come As You Are, as performed by David Crowder.
It's the Best Kept Secret
I started a teaching series last week called, It's the Best Kept Secret. This week, I want to share this series as a study, so I am going back through the material and reshaping it as a daily study. My hope is that as you think about your relationship with Jesus Christ, you might also consider how you live for him. So I hope this helps you as you chase after Jesus.
What does it look like to live a balanced healthy life, a life that passionately chases after the things of God? What does it look like to live a life of worship? How does one grow as a disciple? And when it comes to ministry, how do you serve those around you?
Like many church leaders, I was drawn to the idea that there was some miraculous method or model to inspire and accomplish growth. I wanted to see growth in both my personal spiritual life and growth in my ministry. So I read books, a lot of books. And I went to seminars, a lot of seminars. And I hoped, boy did I hope that I would find the secret that I though some many already knew.
I read books like...
- The Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, Doug Fields…
- Sustainable Youth Ministry, Mark DeVries…
- Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Church, Rick Chrome...
- The Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren…
- Leading with Love, Alexander Strauch…
- Spiritual Leadership, J. Oswald Sanders…
- Evangelism Explosion, D James Kennedy…
- Radical, David Platt…
- Multiply, Francis Chan…
- The Church Planter, Darrin Patrick…
- The Irresistible Church, Wayne Cordeiro…
- Simple Church, Thom S Rainer and Eric Geiger…
- 7 Practices of Effective Ministry, Andy Stanley, Reggie Joinier, Lane Jones…
- Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, Mark Dever…
- The Power of a Whisper, Bill Hybels…
- The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson…
- Verticle Church, James MacDonald…
[ If you would like to read these books, CLICK HERE for links to both digital and printed copies. ]
Now these aren’t books that I’ve just read. These are books that I have studied, dissected and pondered over. I was amazed by the stories that told of tremendous growth and ministry. Stories of how churches jumped from a handful of worshipers to the gathering of thousands celebrating together in weekly worship.
With each book, I kept looking for some secret ingredient, a model or structure, a particular strategy or look, a common tread that ran through each church or growth story, something that would spark the growth in what I was doing. And after years of looking and studying, I think it’s safe to say, I found it. But to my surprise, I didn’t find it in any of these books. Despite all the experience, know-how, stories, methods, and models, the answer to my deep quest for understand the church and church growth wasn’t found in any of the books I read.
In fact, it all comes down to not a method or a model, not even a strategy or a vision statement. It comes down to what we see happening in the early church as it is shared in Acts 2:42-47. So let's look at Acts 2:42-47.
Acts 2:42-47 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Fellowship of the Believers
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (ESV)
We see something special in the early church. Something that if we look close enough, we too will see. Growth doesn't comes because of a model or a method or a strategy. Growth comes as we pursue three things.
Worship. Discipleship. Ministry
To Think About...
Worship. Discipleship. Ministry.
How would you define these terms based simply on what you understand as you consider the concept of WORSHIP, DISCIPLESHIP and MINISTRY. Print out the .pdf using the link below and answer the simple questions provided and keep them with your bible.
See you tomorrow.
I saw this video in my Facebook feed this morning. Because the title had millennials in it, I had to watch it. Being a GenX'er, and a pastor who has worked with and continues to work with students who now fall into the millennial age bracket, and the next generation, I am always interested in what's being said about the generational breakdowns.
Simon Sinek is an author, speaker, and consultant who writes on leadership and management. (Wikipedia bio) His websites, SimonSinek.com and StartwithWhy.com, are chalked full of tips, how-tos, tools, and resources for leadership and management, including his books, Start With Why, and New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t..
What struck me about the video was his assessment of the Millennials. Simon suggests four characteristics that millennials deal with; "failed" parenting, technology, impatience, and environment. Please take a few minutes to watch the video below.
So, is this true of all Millennials? Or is this a glimpse of a larger problem that has infected society with a deeper cultural issue?
As I watched Simon describe his four characteristics of parenting, technology, impatience, and environment, I found myself agreeing with his assement. The realities are "failed" parenting, increasing use of and addiction to technology, lack of patience, and the lack of conifidence in social and corporate settings are trends that we have seen in our student ministries and community families for a number of years now. But is it just the Millennials?
I think Simon is on point with his assessments, but I believe it's more than just a millennial issue. For instance, as a parent to parents, I would strongly suggest that we consider our roles as parents. I believe that there has been some break down in fulfilling our responsibility to parent our kids. I think it's time that we stop coddling our kids and instead begin preparing them for the realities of life; relationships, careers, success, failure, and soforth. To continue to deprive them of these realities is only going to prolong the problems we see already developing in our society.
Let's rethink our decisions when it comes to the availability of technology. Yes, I am one that deeply believes in the value of technology, but as a tool for life and not as a way of life. Having 3 teens with smart phones and tablets, I am all to aware of the dangers of unlimited access. To enhanse the problem even more, 3 of our 5 have been given laptops from the school for their studies. That would be great if the district had a more comprehensive plan for the technology, but the reality is, they now have a new device to watch videos, check social media, and surf the web with. And let's be honest, not only are they doing it at home, but their doing it at school as well.
But it's not just parenting and technology.
As a youth worker to youth workers, if you served students between 2000 and 2015, we are just as quilty as the parents. Because for many of us, we have created a student ministry bubble within our churches that has supported the same kind of harmful thinking. We have catered to our students in creating attractional, entertaining, and consumer driven ministry models that have separated an entire generation from the the large body of the church.
Over the last 20 years, we have become super influencial with our students. Students listen to what we say. They watch what we do. And they make life changing decisions based on the influence we've had on their beliefs, principals, practices, life styles, and purposes. I'll talk more about this in an upcoming blog series I am researching and preparing for about student ministry and the church. Look of it starting in 2017.
We have created the problem.
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 25 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently the Student Ministry Director at Hickory Church, located in Western PA. Jay has been married to Amy for 20 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, a vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.