Thursday, November 5, 2009

11.05.09 - serve the thing that shines

teapot 2007

I have the privilege of joining up with some of the other warren PA youth pastors for breakfast every first wednesday of the month at the plaza restaurant. The waitresses know the group well since they've been meeting for something like ten years, and the waitresses love spilling coffee all over the table when they pour it. But they keep your cup filled, I think I'm still awake now at almost 2am because of it.

Anyway I shared about what I wrote in my last post about my students being bored and Pastor J pointed out that the students we work with are so used to effortlessly being spoon fed new things every two seconds, if things aren't new, or it takes effort it automatically become boring. Hmm...

Jon Barnes, a former Maryland youth pastor and personal mentor, talked about this negative effect of modern technology which inspired a blog that I posted somewhere else probably a couple years ago. I might repost it here if someone asks nicely.

I'm not really saying anything here, I guess I'm just asking how do we engage and teach in this culture?

I don't think its an age thing, I think its an effect of microwaves and high speed internet which feeds our instant gratification and need for new. I find myself right now really bored with something trivial like my profile picture. I think I had more of a variety of pictures when I used to 365.

Anyway, not sure if this makes sense its 2am I need to go to sleep. Got thoughts on this? Leave em in the comment section.
JIM baker


  1. Hmmm... I agree with Pastor J about the whole "new" thing. Our kids seem addicted to constant stimulation. Ask any teacher who works with children on a regular basis about the truth of this. I've always hated the words "I'm bored," because I think it's a reflection more of an internal attitude/state of mind/inability to use creative imagination, than it is an actual external reality. I remember when D & T & Z first came to live with us, they had been so used to sitting in front of the TV that they literally had no idea how to PLAY. Creative thinking and using their imagination were absolutely foreign to them. It was a real eye-opener. How much are we encouraging our children to take personal responsibility for how they THINK... and therefore for their own responses... have I worn out that soap box yet??!
    On the other hand, here's another thought. I wish I had my kids' energy! Teens, in particular, need LOTS of physical activity. Most of our kids are required to sit for long periods of time in school and the last thing that they want/need is to sit for long periods of time at church. I know my boys actually think/respond better when they have some outlet physically. Thinking/talking/responding/praying needs to happen in an atmosphere where there's plenty of opportunity for movement.
    Lord, help us by Your Spirit to effectively "jump-start" the creative thought-juices in our kids so that they can begin to grasp Your awesomeness. Show us how to engage them mentally, emotionally, and physically. Holy Spirit... hound em till their defenses are completely defenseless!! Empower Jim & Jess, others who work with the youth, us as parents.. with supernatural insight and wisdom that reaches out to grab our kids where they live. Teach us how to fight on their behalf!!
    OK, OK, I'll shut up now. Love you guys!!

  2. I doubt that you'll find a legitimate way around it. Young people use the word "bored" because they don't know what it is to rest. I know that I didn't learn the principles of rest until we were in SBS.

    During DTS I came to Kona and couldn't figure out why people enjoyed JUST laying on the beach. It was beyond my reach to understand. Though after I left DTS and went back to "normal life" I found that I became entrenched in normal life. I had a full time job, school, part-time job, I volunteered at church, and all of a sudden I found that I had no time to be bored, no time to rest, and it began to wear on me... then we took SBS in Hawaii again.

    I learned, then, that I loved rest. Very rarely in my busy life do I find that I am bored. Being boed means that I don't know how to take down time. Now this principle of rest might be too far out there for a teen who wants to keep going, going, going to the next thing... but I understand it now.

    People are very rarely bored; they just don't know how to rest.

    Now that I went off on that tangent, Jim, I'll go back to answer the question: how do we engage and teach in this culture?

    Pander to your audience. Go to where they are. Draw them out. Be relevant to where they are. If you have to jump through hoops to get them to hear you ... do that. Use tools to effectively engage them whilst they are in your charge. What's the end goal? :)

  3. rest is something that we have no clue about. we equate busyness with productivity, and how often do we find ourselves doing a lot, but really doing very little.

    I met with a pastor in town yesterday that is the director of a large ministry and we are going to every month go and serve that ministry every month by sorting clothes and cleaning...

  4. Honestly, I think this is what you're kids are after... to do these kinds of things that Jesus did...

  5. that link is AMAZING! Bill Johnson (the pastor of that church) shared that testimony at the conference we were just at.


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