Saturday, 11 December 2010


I am writing a new blog focused more on ministry, the church and youngens @
Might not be of interest to you, but if you know someone in ministry..send them on over.


Friday, 10 December 2010

"Mejus" or "Wejus"? :a conundrum

Fresh into my first year of youth ministry, I found myself sharing a long list of accomplishments with an old sage of a minister. He listened to me go on and on about how needed I was in the lives of teenagers in my church and community. The seasoned pastor listened to me boast about being called in the middle of the night to address a teenage drama or how I had given several of my house keys to students in my ministry. As I finally began to realize how special I was, I paused and the old man began to speak. He said, "Son, do you know what you have done? You have cut off the legs of the body of Christ and you've left one hell of a mess". Not exactly the response I was looking for, but one I'll never forget.

This conversation is one of the defining moments in my ministry that continues to push me to partner with parents, para-church ministries and many more. I have been humbled since those days but I still fight the urge to put that old superman cape back on. I honestly think that our theology is the culprit. When we focus so much on Me and Jesus, aka "Mejus", we often find ourselves trying to be each body part within the body of Christ. When we understand the beauty of "Wejus" which is abundant throughout the Old Testament, Acts and Pauls's letters, we will then find ourselves working side by side a wide variety of faithful and willing servants.

So what has changed since those days? I believe that God has allowed me to play a role in recruiting a wide variety of faithful friends who weren't always flashy or the most talented. I have seen the beauty of those friends using their God given talents to reach many teenagers in the name of Jesus Christ. For youth ministry to be effective and sustainable, we must move to a "we" over "me" philosophy of ministry. The village style of youth ministry will always be messy. The village style of youth ministry will always be a better picture of Christ's church.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Nate's just pickin a fight

Whether true or not, a historian once told me that it takes 50 years to appropriately and accurately analyze a particular Presidency. How long has President Obama been in office? Let's give him a little time, shall we?

Secondly, I won't let you get away with saying that you're "apolitical." You may not like the current two-party system (who does, really?), but as long as you pay taxes, drive on roads, send your kid(s) to public schools, check a book out of the library, enjoy the saftey afforded by the military, hike in national parks, etc. etc. etc., then you cannot be "apolitical." I know that it's a current trend for young Christians to denounce all politics, but as I said, that's an impossible act unless you want to be Amish.

The question we should ask ourselves instead, "is how should Christians engage in politics?" Our voices must be heard in the public forums: war, homelessness, economic crises, abortion, marriage, healthcare, etc. etc. etc.

The prophet Samuel warned the people that desiring human leadership would only cause problems. We got what we asked for. Our political system is a part of the fall, so it's our job to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world--that includes the world of politics.

That's all I got: this was a "straw-man" argument in the first place. Let's talk about how the National League hasn't won an All-Star game in 13 years.

the elder

Friday, 10 July 2009

Still Smokin?

My elder,
Has He proven to be the Messiah that you and your Democratic friends have hoped for?


PS- A) I'm "apolitical" when it comes to party affiliation so don't start railing on Bush, that doesn't hurt me. (:
B) Yes I'm being one of those armchair quarterbacks who has 20/20 vision
C) I know you don't consider him a Messiah with a big M, but maybe a little one?

PSS- Leaving the sarcasm behind, with each leader it is a matter of time before their capes become tattered. I fully believe they are human and fallible. Here is my question though, "Will Obama eventually fall from the pedestal that has climbed on?
Was there too much "RAh RAh"?

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Faith in College

Nate's blog is full of big questions. I think we should spend some time on many of those issues. For now, I'll just address this question: "So Dr. Jake, from your perspective, why do so many college students leave the faith during college years?"

I'll argue that most students who go through faith crises in college are not really questioning God's existence; Jesus' life, ministry, and divinity; salvation, etc,. What they are really questioning is their family's, church's, youth pastor's "brand" of who God is. They feel like they're at a crossroads: believe my parents or believe my professors. That's a scary place to be.

A friend of mine who teaches in our Biblical Studies division once told me that when a student enters his office and says, "I don't believe in God," his first reaction is to ask, "Tell me more about this God you don't believe in." What begins, then, is a critical dialogue about God and about that student's faith journey and background.

What I've noticed about our students is that many of them were never asked by their parents, churches, or youth pastors what THEY think about faith, God, salvation, etc. They're told what to think, so they enter college without any real critical thinking skills. And, ultimately, they become even more vulnerable to a variety of opposing worldviews.

We have many students who go through periods of doubt and skepticism at JBU; however, the professors here are committed to walking with students and allowing them to ask the difficult questions. We have to allow people to ask the difficult questions. They're really asking God; you just happen to be standing there at the time.

the elder

Sunday, 28 June 2009

A Wide Open Door

The middle stat by George Barna is something I understand, but it raises questions.
Is the church not doing it's job?
Is youth ministry ineffective? (gulp!)
As Christians are we o.k with declaring college as a hedonistic exploration?

I personally have been on a mini crusade to rethink the way we challenge young people in the church. We must be relevant, but grounded in truth. We must as a body of Christ stop tip toeing around the tough questions that young people are wrestling with. We should be ready to talk about the environment, sex, war, politics as well as sports, music, history and science.

So Dr. Jake, from your perspective, why do so many college students leave the faith during college years? Where do you believe the church has messed up with children and adolescents? What could college/university ministries or local churches do for college students?

the younger


Sunday, 21 June 2009

TRUTH: part 3

Clarification on the Elder's clarification: I may sound old fashioned, but I absolutely believe there is still absolute Truth. There are theological truths that I rarely waiver on.
What i was referring to in my original post can be called "little "t" truth" or peas and carrots. Here is the problem I run into; what is a pea to me can be a hunk of meat to you. I'll give you an example using myself as the resident idiot. I was in a meeting full of guys and gals who serve in the family ministiries area of our church. We were studying 1 Peter and got into a discussion about women in leadership. I made the comment that I wish this would all go away so we could get on to bigger and better things. One of the females remarked, "of course it is not a big deal to you!" I responded with "touche". She was very right. I'm male and white, so it's easy for me to gloss over all kinds of issues.
last point: You may disagree with me,but here is how I have defined the meat from the peas. If it is salvific, then it is meat. If it is not, then it's not.

word to your mothers,
young nathan