Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ongoing Reflections at NYWC

I arrived at the convention this morning in time to hear Tim Eldredge speak about the importance of including youth in all areas of planning and implementing youth ministry. His message was nothing new or even that revolutionary, but it was a good reminder and a kick in my butt. Even though I’ve implemented a youth council at church, I’ve been reticent to give the youth responsibility for everything. Well, that’s not exactly true. I would love to give them more responsibility, but I worry that if they don’t follow through and things start falling through the cracks, I’ll have people in my face asking me how I could let things fall apart. For example, I’d love for the youth council to actually choose/write curriculum for Sunday nights, and for them to take that next step of sorting through the lessons and decide exactly what we’ll talk about on Sunday nights. I’d be more than willing to walk them through that process the first few times, but I have this feeling that they would lose focus and drop the ball as time went on. Maybe I don’t give them enough credit. In any case, I walked out of there feeling convicted to hand over more and more responsibility to the youth of Harpeth.

Props to Jeremy Camp for singing “our God” instead of “my God” in the songs he led this morning.

Tony Campolo spoke this morning as well. It was mostly his spiel about red-letter Christian replacing Evangelical as a term for those who seek to follow Jesus’ teachings and put them into practice. At one point he said that right-wing Republican Christians and left-wing Democrat Christians focus on the same problems, then listed some of those problems, and said that right-wing Republican Christians simply don’t believe the government should be involved in solving those problems. The only item on the list that I took issue with was war. First of all, I’m not sure that all right-wing Republican Christians are totally opposed to war, especially in “the real world.” Second, who has the power to end wars other than the governments who start, encourage, and continue funding for those wars? Finally, if so many right wing Republicans are opposed to war, why on earth would George W. Bush have been re-elected by those same people? In principle, I agree with Tony that there is more than unites Christians of various political stripes than divides them, but I don’t think we can simply dismiss the differences as being about government involvement.