What Mr. Peters Taught Me

What would youth ministry look like if we helped youth and young adults identify and use their gifts? I love working with young people. Prior to becoming a pastor, every job I’ve had from the time I was 16 was working with or for young people. Serving youth is a passion and one of the main ways I have participated in the work of Jesus Christ. The seed of this passion was planted in the fourth grade by an extraordinary educator. My teacher, Mr. Peters, made learning fun. He put his all into his lessons and made every student feel known. He was the first teacher to show an interest in me, and he placed me in the Gifted and Talented Program (as an adult, I have concerns about the equity of Gifted and Talented Programs, but I am thankful for... Read the article

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It’s Time to Talk About Trauma

An important step in helping youth deal with trauma is to be a listener like Jesus. One day while Jesus was addressing a crowd, a synagogue leader named Jairus begged the young rabbi for help. Although he had status in the Jewish community, he unashamedly pleaded with Jesus to heal his daughter. Jesus agreed to go with Jairus and the crowd decided to go as well. The spontaneous parade plodded along until Jesus brought the procession to a screeching halt. While dozens of people pressed in on him on every side, he turned around and asked who touched him. The disciples were incredulous because there were people everywhere. It was soon learned that a woman who suffered for 12 years with a bleeding condition touched Jesus’ garment with... Read the article

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Contextualizing Jesus

Youth Vision Jesus was a master storyteller. He communicated profound truths using images easily recognizable to his audience. He was able to make his message relevant and immediately applicable. A good example is found in Luke 13: Again he asked, "What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough." (Luke 13:20-21) Given his profession as a carpenter and the roles of men and women in his day, Jesus probably did not make a lot of bread. However, he knew enough about making bread to speak about it in detail, and he was able to use it to make a point about the kingdom. The kingdom, unnoticed and under the surface, would... Read the article

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Children are the Now

The statement “children are the future” has become so common that it is a cliché. As someone who works with young people, I have said the phrase more than a few times. I always said it with the best intentions to audiences of well-meaning adults who sagely nodded their heads with me. My desire was to convey how children are precious and worth our care and investment. I wanted my audience to understand that children will one day grow up to fill the shoes of the leaders, thinkers, and makers of our time. While these statements are true to some extent, they are incomplete. In an effort to paint a picture of the future, I overlooked the present. I inadvertently was sending the message that children were valuable only because they... Read the article

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