Tag Archives: Faith

Family Worship?

What’s that?

I’ll never forget reading Rick Warren’s book, “Purpose Driven Life” and having my eyes opened to a much wider definition of the word worship.  Too many times it is seen as simply a synonym for the music time at a worship service.  It is so much more than that.  Then we can get real crazy and start thinking about how families can worship together away from a local church building.  Interesting enough, a number of people are beginning to travel down that road and want to see what family worship might look like on a practical level in their home.  I’ve recently read through one of the latest books on this topic, below are my thoughts on it…

Family worship experiences

First of all I think it is pretty cool that there is enough interest for this book to even be published.  Plenty of people seem to be convinced of why faith building should take place at home, this work by Tim Smith starts digging into the potentially overwhelming how.  Smith opens up with some insight on some basic tips on interacting with kids, one for example is to not default into lecture mode when there are so many other possible ways to communicate.  This is a really good section to give attention to because jumping and doing some of the experiences that he lays without having a vision for them would not be the best use of this work.  The rest of the book lays out a very detailed strategy on how to create a family worship time, each of which are obviously adaptable so that they can be customized to your needs.

It is organized in a very user friendly way and Smith realizes that these things need to be simple, otherwise families could get easily discouraged if this is a completely new concept in the first place.  Some of the experiences are for any time and others are focused on specific occasions and holidays which is an important piece.  The best way to view this book is by seeing it simply as a tool to kick start future years of family worship experiences.  The author provides a solid number of different experiences which appears to be enough in theory to teach parents “how to fish” in this aspect of their faith and how that might express itself.

(Full disclosure: our friends a Randall House provided a free copy of this book in order to encourage authentic and honest feedback.  All of these thoughts are my honest opinion.)

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Who’s got your back?

There’s strength in numbers.

This past week myself and some other area youth workers began the, “NKY Youth Ministry Network.”  There are many reasons why this is awesome.  The fact this group even exists makes a statement about the church as a whole as well as our ministries.  Instead of feeling like we are competing with one another, we all recognize that we are a part of THE church (body of believers) which has a shared mission.

Another important piece is that it is not just a business-like networking meeting where we are trying to exploit each other’s resources and connections, we are simply sharing life and encouraging each other.  That is the foundation of what we are about, we believe youth ministry happens best in shared-life community.  Joint events and other types of partnerships might flow from this identity but the foundation is rooted in believing that having a group of people that understand your particular position and role within a local church is valuable.

It is a round-table type of setup and is not a one-sided conversation, which seems to be the way everything is heading these days.  This circle is already made up of men and women from the Christian, Baptist, and Methodist denominations.  Unity is a beautiful and biblical concept.  The NKY Youth Ministry Network is a great thing to be a part of from the beginning and I cannot wait to see what the future holds!

Roundtable

I have to believe that this sort of network community is already happening for all sorts of other walks of life as well.  If not, it totally should!  Are you involved in any sort of group with a similar approach to the NKY Youth Ministry Network?  Have you heard of any other groups like this in other types of jobs/vocations?  We’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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Don’t Blink!

Life is short.

This became obvious to me recently as Katelyn and I went back to Morehead State for homecoming weekend.  It is amazing how in such a short time so much can change.  Not only are the facilities around campus updated, but the town itself has been updated with new businesses such as Cracker Barrel, Jimmy Johns, and a frozen yogurt joint…well played Morehead.

In just 2-3 short years so much has changed in our connections and relationships there.  It was awesome to reconnect with friends and catch up on each other’s lives.  In the same way that the physical surroundings changed, the faces of the people at school have now changed too.  In a brief time, I only know a couple of current baseball players and have not met the brand new coaching staff.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes event (2009)

When looking back, there is a common thread that exists between the friends that we can pick right back up with and it makes them different from the people that we have drifted from over time.  The connections that seem to have a stronger foundation were the ones that we truly shared life with.  Being an athlete placed us in a certain subculture and helped us form a bond with others quickly in this community.  Living together definitely can help people connect and grow closer, but even that does not guarantee a genuine life long relationship.

The one thing that seems to be the real connector is faith.  When a group shares questions, encouragement, struggles, victories, and other experiences in regards to their faith it is usually a deeply personal transaction.  Granted, this can be a risky road to travel. We are left more vulnerable in these relationships than many feel comfortable being.  But with high risk comes high reward.  From having a community of people we shared life with, we can see people we haven’t seen in years and be genuinely excited for them and feel an instant re-connection.

The bottom line is this, what we leave behind in life is very important.  The ripples that we make in our time on this earth will last much longer if they are based on relationships, especially those that share their faith together.  This is becoming more relevant to us as we look down the road and the prospect of having children.  Just living with them will not be enough to create a lasting bond.  Our faith needs to be on our hearts and our primary goal needs to be impressing that faith on the next generation.  This is a sustainable legacy and it requires that we keep the main thing the main thing.  We don’t have a huge window of opportunity either, so don’t blink!

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Have some swag!

Just a little over a week ago Katelyn and I were able go, last minute, to a Cincinnati Reds playoff game.  Stub Hub had tickets that were the same price as a movie ticket, so it seemed crazy to pass them up.  Especially when considering we’ve never been to a playoff game and it was Game 5 against the Giants, a final do or die game.  All year the Reds had been a great team, boasting the best home record in baseball, while also never losing 3 games in a row on their home field.  So in this best of 5 series, the Reds won the first two games in San Francisco and were now home to play 3 straight games, only needing to win one of them to seal the deal.

Coming into the whole experience, it was exciting to think we could see a very rare accomplishment happen among over 40,000 other fans.  I also have to admit that at the same time, I was very aware of the high risk high reward situation we were in.  This was going to be the biggest win of the year or the worst loss, no middle ground.

Throughout the whole game, basically every time that something didn’t go our way, the energy just left the stadium.  It was amazing how a single hit could silence an entire stadium that was made up of 98% of Reds fans.  It seemed as if everyone was thinking, “Here we go, I knew this would happen.”  Or, “Of course the Reds would be the first ones to lose 3 home games in a row…”   The players themselves were fighting hard and playing hard, but towards the end their body language definitely looked defeated as well.  It is easy to look down on that whole scene…but can I say I’d respond differently 100% of the time? Not a chance.

After thinking about all of this, I also got to thinking about how as Christians we can be guilty of the same thing.  When things aren’t looking on the up and up we can get down on ourselves or the church in general.  We are imperfect people and since the Church is made up of  forgiven, imperfect people, there will be reason to be discouraged at times.  Having said that, I was very recently reminded that the Church was established by God and he sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to be who we were created to be.  If that’s really the case, then we should have some swag! Knowing that the Spirit is living in us, if you are a follower of Jesus, should give us a healthy confidence to accomplish the mission. This purpose is to spread the hope and love found in Christ to our families and communities.

When the creator of the universe is on our side and he has given us power through his Spirit to be an encouragement to others, we should expect to win!  I think this lack of trust and confidence that we have in God and in ourselves causes us to not reach our full potential too often.  I’d love to hear what you guys think about it!

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Nate and Katelyn, a quick history

To catch you up on how our married life began, I thought I’d share this video.  We figured what better way to begin our wedding reception than by simultaneously launching our non-serious Hip hop artist careers!

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