National Conference on Youth Ministries – Day 3

I am writing this from the Denver airport as my time to fly is upon me. I will give a few highlights from Day 3.

Wednesday Morning Mike Cope “Community in Lars and the Real GirlHebrews

  • It’s a movie about church, it begins in church and ends in church.
  • Hebrews
    • Imagining a world where we are not our own.
    • Somebody who watches for you.
    • The real test for community is the worst things you have done who is up there watching you.

Wednesday Morning Keynote Scot McKnight @ScotMcKnight “Did Jesus Found the Church?”

Major Idea: The church is naughty and the kingdom is nice

-       People today love the kingdom but are embarrassed by the church

-       The kingdom has come to mean “good things Christians do in the public sector usually involved in the political process.”

  • It has nothing to do with the church…people say
  • Social Justice? Where did we get this idea of social justice? There is one idea of justice in Scripture. Justice is connected to righteousness and justification.
  • Peace…compassion…walking from Cape Town to Alexandria raising money for water.

-       Kingdom has been flattened into an ethic: peace, justice.

-       “When we flatten kingdom to an ethic we deny the gospel.”

-       We have a young group of Christians whose kingdom theory has to do with changed political processes and are neglecting the church.

  • But…doing good in a society is a good thing.
  • Being compassionate is a good thing.
  • Working for peace in our world is a good thing.
  • But we do this because we are disciples of Jesus.

-       Good work versus Kingdom work

  • Did Ghandi do kingdom work?

-       The most profound act of kingdom work is when we celebrate Eucharist on Sunday morning.

-       “You cannot be committed to kingdom unless you are committed to the church and your commitment to the church is the sum total of your commitment to the kingdom.”

-       It is far too easy giving money to Rwanda and not to local people in the church.

-       Matthew 16:13-20

  • Their options to the question were not good enough.
  • Jesus was more than a prophet.  Prophetic Christianity is not enough.
  • The answer is that Jesus is messiah.
  • 1 Samuel 8—“They want a king because they want to be like other nations.”
    • Saul collapse
    • David…
    • Eventually they realize that Jesus is the king.
  • Peter labels Jesus with the right title. When the Messiah was said all the ideas came to completion: Temple, Torah, Land, Citizens, Command, Covenant.

-       When Jesus is the Messiah kingdom will always mean more than social justice.

-       Peter had no idea what Messiah really meant.

  • Messiah –> Kingdom –> Cross –> Resurrection –> Kingdom
  • Kingdom and social justice does not mix well.

-       Jesus came to establish a whole new social order. The ekklesia….the church.

-       There is an inextricable connection between kingdom and church.

-       Church is the only place kingdom work can occur because in the church is the only place where Jesus is king.

-       Kingdom never refers to social action in Scripture.

  • We have become intoxicated with social power and justice.

-       The kingdom is more than an ethic because Jesus is more than a prophet.

-       Kingdom work is about telling people about King Jesus.  Summoning people in the church as the place where God’s redemptive work is now alive.

Wednesday Afternoon Jon Acuff @JonAcuff “Our Relationship With the Gap”

Our job is hard because…

1)   We never feel it is over…

2)   There’s no manual for most of the things you do

3)   The success rate is really low for youth ministers

4)   You run into a period of life most people run from

  1. 1 out of every 4 girl will be raped by the time they graduate

5)   We don’t get to see the end of the song.

Three things of the challenges

1)   SUCCESS

-       It’s so easy to compare.

-       Never compare your beginning to somebody else’s middle.

-       Always play to the size of your heart not to the size of your audience.

-       If you tie what you do to the success/failure of it you will disappoint.

-       Measure your obedience not your results

-       God will not be handcuffed by my failures or unleashed by my successes.

2)   FEAR

-       It only bothers you when you do things that matter.

-       Voices?

  • You are not a youth minister…
  • You are woman.

-       The best way to fight those is to share those. Fears fears community.

-       The higher you climb in leadership the harder it is for you to be honest.

-       “Enough” is a slippery slope

-       If you ask “fear” when you will have enough experience it will be later.

-       Fear always says, “This is forever.”

-       What to do with voices

  • Write down the voice…
  • Answer it with truth
  • Share them

3)   HATERS

-       We are not good with criticism and compliments

  • Critic’s Math – 1 Insult + 1000 Compliments = 1 Insult
  • We have the ability to lose heart with insults.
  • Are you giving power to the very people you don’t need to give it to.

Those were the extent of my notes. I did not attend an afternoon class because I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Scot McKnight and Rusty Pettus for an hour and talk theology. Scot was gracious enough to extend some time just to talk and share some coffee. He even bought my coffee which he did not have to do. Before I close this blog I want to share something I did on my way back from Denver. I visited the Century 16 Theater in Aurora where 12 people were killed by James Holmes. Tragedy. Just like praying at Columbine I wanted to reflect and pray at the theater. To the left is a picture I took while driving to the theater.

Tomorrow I hope to reflect on the week with some implications.

  • Karen

    Robbie, I just wanted to say from the anonymous space that is the internet thanks for your brief notes on the conference. I’ve been reading them everyday and have gotten some good nuggets from them. Not sure if I agree with Scot McKnight; I wish I heard the whole message to get the context bc it’s an interesting viewpoint. BTW, I’ve enjoyed your pictures too. I especially liked that you posted the pics of the brewery tour. Brewing is a creative and honorable art form (from God I should add, as is everything creative and beautiful); it’s only bad when humans abuse it by imbibing too much. Look forward to reading your reflections in the days ahead. (Karen, middle school youth volunteer from San Jose, CA. Just subscribed to your blog over Christmas when I was googling sermon ideas for Advent, if memory serves.)

    • Robbie Mackenzie

      Karen that is nice of you to follow the blog and I appreciate your input. Hopefully I had something redemptive to share for you during advent :) I am curious as to why you do not agree with Scot but you’re right, context is important and it is hard to gauge the meaning without the message.

      Ahhhh the brewery tour! It was fantastic. I have been to Coors and Anheuser- Busch in St.Louis. When I went to San Francisco we tried going to the Anchor Brewery tour but it was booked for the entire month. All the best to you and yours and thanks for checking in.