Archive for the ‘youth’ Category

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9 (KJV)

You can get more done when you partner with others.  Partnerships allow you to leverage your resources.  You come together and bring what you have to the table for a mutual benefit.  You make the most of what you both have to offer and make it work for the benefit of both of you.

Your best may be made better by adding with what someone else brings to the table.  You can gain market share.  You can limit expenses and overhead.  You can trim or cut costs, lowering your expenditures.  You can also gain exposure beyond your primary audience.  Additionally, you can build your brand’s reputation if you partner with a reputable partner.

For instance, if you have a youth arts project, you could partner with local youth-serving agencies.  Add to that partnership by coalescing the participation of a local arts council that supports such programs as a fiscal agent or media/ publicity sponsor.  The youth-serving agency provides the audience and the venue, while the arts council provides infrastructure and support for spreading the message about the program to the media and expanding press coverage for the program.  The arts projects gets to the youth and the media sheds light on the project because of who you have partnered with and what you are doing.

Think about the concept of partnership.  See how it can benefit you beyond simply sharing lessons learned and best practices.  Get connected with people who can propel you and your work beyond where you have already been.  Build better and bigger partnerships.

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Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.-
Martin Luther King Jr. Poster Print, 24x36Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Life Path Ministries & Services is launching a four-month sponsorship drive for its Youth-N2-Action program.  Youth-N2-Action targets at-risk and low-income youth in grades 10 and 11 for community service, leadership development and tiered mentoring.  Our goal is to teach and train a minimum of 50 youth entering into the 11th grade next school year with leadership skills, mentoring support from community and business leaders, and offer community service and service learning opportunities over an 18 to 24-month campaign period for the class of 2013.  During 2012, we plan to expand the program to include 10th graders and have our Difference-Makers Camp offered for both classes as an excursion of education, exposure and empowerment.

We believe that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders.  It is imperative for today’s leaders to teach and train today’s youth for tomorrow’s leadership opportunities.  Join the effort to help us help youth in San Diego take charge and take action.

Go to the site: http://200club.chipin.com/200-club-youth-sponsors and donate a one-time sponsorship of $200 or a partial sponsorship of $100 during the campaign.  Forward the link http://200club.chipin.com/200-club-youth-sponsors and/ or this post to 5 other people who are concerned and compassionate about the issues facing our youth today and the leadership gap that will exist if the youth are not taught and trained today.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.– Margaret Mead
Community breaks down to a concept of being “together as one.” Our perspectives on community as something geographic, social or ethnic, even cultural, are simply flawed when we have no point of connection.  The divide within the Black community is wide between those with college degrees and those who are recovering from drugs or re-entering society from prison just like those in a Latino or Asian community There is no real community until we see ourselves as collective group with a common concern and standing on common ground without impure motives.  
Take Ownership
We have to see the common problem as our problem.  If we do not do so, we stand a slim chance of taking any measure to its full extent because our hearts won’t be in it.  We have to own it or become overtaken.
Make a Commitment and a Contribution
Get involved.  Get invested.  Your involvement and investment will draw others into the movement.  Get committed.  Give a contribution of your time, talent or treasure.
Build Forward
We have to become future-oriented “builders.” We need to invest in the future, especially in our youth. We need more of our focus to look forward rather than what is in our hands or our pockets.  What is the plan for your community for the next five years? Ten years? Twenty years? Beyond twenty? Build it now.  Otherwise, developers, politicians, administrators, and lobbyists will build it for you based upon their own interests, not yours.
See community as what is supposed to be.  It is about us all being together as one, building a better environment for all who are involved.

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Today’s Youth = Tomorrow’s Leaders

We adopted that as the tagline for Youth-N2-Action during its inception.  It is a simple but profound concept.  We may see them as youth today, pants sagging and iPods or cell phones connected to their ears, but see past the present.  See them as the future.  One day they will lead the way.

Look at the 2008 presidential campaign. President Obama did something extraordinary.  He got people out to vote.  He rallied others to get others to vote.  Yes, he utilized modern technology for raising funds, but he also utilized it as a medium and means for getting younger voters involved in the political process to bring about change.  Such a change led to a change that brought forth the change of a Black U.S. President, raising the level of achievement for those who have been short-changed and hamstrung in the past and the present by achievement gaps and other socioeconomic indicators.

Believe in today’s youth.  Seek to reach them through diverse programs.  They need everything from academics and athletics to the arts and sciences. Let them freely express themselves with everything from poetry to pottery, from rap to scrap booking. Allow them to develop into the well-rounded people we want leading our nation and embracing globalization. 

The last thing we would want as tomorrow’s senior citizens is for today’s youth to look at us with blank stares and ask: “Who are you? Now that you need me to step up I can’t because you you didn’t step up when I needed you.”

Let us not let that be the case for our collective futures.

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Evangelism is proclaiming and sharing the gospel message with the world.  We do it in numerous ways and by various means, but we are all called to do it.  Evangelism should be at the core of what we do as churches open in the name of Jesus.

We can proclaim the gospel by preaching, witnessing, or even through written material such as Bible tracts.  We can share the gospel by demonstrating our love for Christ and our fellow man through service, addressing the needs of those within our communities, and personal testimony, sharing our own trials and struggles that provides hope to those who live in darkness. We have many open avenues to share the Good News.  We must be sure that our people are exercising their God-given giftedness to glorify God and edify the body of Christ “for the work of the ministry.”

If we do not proclaim and share the gospel, we neglect one of the main purposes of the church’s existence as well as one of the greatest commands of the Lord and the least that we could do since being saved by His shed blood.  You ought to see that god is so good that you can’t help but talk it up with others.  It should be so good to you that you can’t contain yourself.

For more posts on evangelism, please visit Rev. Bruce’s Blog.  Also, be sure to visit our Life Path Storefront for S.O.W.S. (Salvation Offered Without Strings) and A Short Course on Evangelism.

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 “Need I remind you of the church motto?. . .You know the church rules. . .”- The Fighting Temptations

At times, we can have those who seem to guard the church’s rules and regulations with much more zeal than they advance the Good News.  They know what everyone else shouldn’t do and where it is forbidden, even where to find it in the church board minutes and the church’s bylaws.  Yet, some of the same people are a turn-off to those new converts who seek to find out where the new members courses are taught or who handles the children’s ministry.  They are guarding the door so rigorously that no one can squeeze their way into the church.
People need to feel that they are part of the process.  Whether they are in the church choir or on the usher board, people should feel included and considered when decisions are made for the entire church

There are people-oriented processes and procedures that lead to people-oriented programs.  If the process and policies get in the way of working with the people that they are designed to help, then you need to discover a new way to get things done.  The Lord expects His church to serve the needs of His people and give glory and praise to God Almighty.  We are treat people with respect and dignity, operating by the Golden Rule at the minimum in our daily interactions.

Think about the processes that you have in place.  If they do not help people or the church, why are in they in place? Could you explain your procedures and policies to your church’s youth ministry and senior citizens without losing anyone in translation? You should be able to do so.  The church is about the people being together as people of God.  It is the ecclesia.  We are His body, and He is the head.  Let the work that you do for the church speak volumes about Him.

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And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
-Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJV)

We should strive to reach perfection. As we work in ministry, building up and strengthening the believers under our care, we are to lead them with teaching and training that guides them to become a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Our work is cut out for us. We are to work with imperfect people as imperfect people, helping one another to become more like Christ day by day despite our sinful nature. Like the Apostle Paul, an internal war wages within us with two opposing sides- our new nature versus our old nature. At times, we must rely upon the strength of the Lord to continue in striving. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in your development as you assist in the discipleship and development of others.

You are called to oversee what happens with the people under your leadership.  You must intercede on their behalf.  You may not always feel up to it.  You may not always feel appreciated.  You are called to serve as a leader. 

Disciple your people.  Teach your people.  Train your people.  Do all so that your people will mature in perfection towards the  perfect man that they are destined to become in His name.  It is part of your calling.

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There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.- Galatians 3:28 (NLT)
There are some who consider their congregations “open,” but their reality is something entirely different.  However, some of the churches that come out of a background of putting the protest in Protestant find it difficult to include all others when those others support gay marriage, abortion or legalized marijuana.  These churches are open in the name of Jesus, but they must remain mindful to stick to the way of Jesus.

I used to live near a Methodist church that prominently posted this slogan on its marquee and advertisements.   Open Hearts… Open Minds… Open Doors… Open what? I keep wondering just how “open” they are.  Are there doors more open than their hearts and minds? I should hope not, seeing as how I know some well-meaning Methodists and Wesleyans.

Our churches need to intensify their inclusion.  America has its first African-American president in Barak Obama.  Now, as we go forward in faith, let us open up and crank up our inclusion of others. 

Let us become:

  • More Intense with Inclusion
  • More Intentional with Inclusion
  • More Inclusive with Inclusion

Does your church invest in supporting underserved community members with necessary programs? Is your church campus a safe haven for at-risk youth and abused women and their families? Can those in recovery walk into your church without the shadow of shame? Can those returning from prison and jail enter your congregation without being judged and condemned all over again?

I love the story of Rick Warren and Saddleback Church’s origin as told in the Purpose Driven Church.  Warren shares that the ministries at Saddleback were developed based upon the needs of the people who came to the church.  He developed ministries that helped meeting the needs of people who came to them and who lived around them. 

As you help others get better and to live differently, they become the spokespeople for what is possible within your church.  Ex-addicts go back and share the Word with other addicts who struggle with addiction.  Former gang members and drug dealers spread the word on the streets of what your church has done for them since they met Jesus at your church’s altar.  Your job? Keep intensifying your inclusion.  Touch lives like never before.  Make a difference in the lives of people who attend your worship services and who live around and near your church.  Remain open to innovative and inventive ways to invite and include people to be part of the family since we are all one in Christ Jesus.

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“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…” – Daniel 1:8 (NKJV)
What is offered does not have to be taken. Even when it has been set forth by the king, the supreme ruler over those held captive in Babylon, there is a way to say: “No way.”
The king set up a daily provision for the youth of Judah that he held captive. He established this “daily provision” based upon what worked for his people and what he understood culturally about his own people, not his captives. We have to understand that this was a carefully designed and devised plan to assimilate these young men with the culture of their captors.
Yet, Daniel purposed in his heart to stand up and say no.

Daniel’s Refusal (v.8)
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank. . .” (Daniel 1:8, NKJV)

Daniel found inner strength and conviction within his heart first. Daniel sought to remain pure; he understood that the Babylonian delicacies would lead to his defilement

Daniel’s Request (v.8, 12)
“Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.” (v. 12)

Daniel knew who to talk to and make his request. We need to teach our children and youth how to take a stand without causing more problems for themselves.

Divine Results (vv. 15-16)
“And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies.” (v. 15)

Your refusal to be defiled can lead to some divine results. By giving God the time to work on you, He can cleanse you both physically and spiritually. Regardless of the circumstances or conditions, we must settle the matter in our hearts first. In our hearts, we must decide that we will stay true to God. No virgin retains her purity without commitment and conviction. No athlete conditions and trains for a race without sacrifice and avoiding temptation. The attitude must precede the action that leads to the accomplishment.

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