So many times, in youth ministry, we try to put on a performance to attract youth. We hold fun events, play contemporary music, do extravagant set designs for the stage and youth room, and more. Now, none of these are bad. They are great tools. However, ministry is about relationships. We have to practice relational ministry. In order for a youth leader to reach an adolescent, they must build a relationship. According to Bonhoeffer, relationships are what hold the church and the world together. We have to enter deeply into each other’s lives and become place-sharers.
6 easy games with no equipment to play with middle school and up when you do not have enough time to prepare a game.
These days, more and more churches are utilizing a church website (and even a social presence! High adventure indeed!) We have never lived in a time where information is so accessible (Daniel 12:4). Churches can and should take advantage of the digital tools at their disposal to broadcast to the world what they believe.
Making a website for a church can help to overcome anonymity and become recognized by its community. Many churches have great youth groups, inspiring and uplifting worship services and regular community events. However, without being able to spread the word effectively, these church activities may go unnoticed and suffer very little participation.
I have often wondered why it is so easy to fall into victim blaming. I have never understood why victims are drug through the mud. This reaction happens in society and within the church, which should be the safest place to share our burdens without being cast aside. When a sexual assault victim comes forward and tells their story years later, they are asked why they didn’t report it at the time, why they hid it or even questioned about their motivation for sharing now. When a person reports being raped, they are often asked if they were sober, why they were alone and questions such as what were they wearing or if there was anything they think they could have done differently to prevent the attack. When a domestic violence victim shares their story, they are asked why they haven’t left yet. Since the responses are pretty similar from society and the church, I wonder why. Aren’t we called to respond differently than the world?
What are 5 free tools that will help your ministry run efficiently?
As most of you know, Demi Lovato has been in the spotlight a lot from being a child star on Barney and Camp Rock to her struggles with addiction and mental health. I have followed her social media for a long time because I find her inspirational for a struggle with a lot of the same things that she does. Knowing that Demi has struggled with body image and eating disorders is common knowledge. She has been candid with her struggle. She has done a lot of things from very strict diets to strenuous exercise regiments to achieve this unachievable goal of the perfect body. As somebody who has struggled with Bulimia and Body Dysmorphia, I can say that Demi is an encouragement for me.
I have bipolar, so depression is inevitable. Even with medication, I still have bad days. I have been experiencing a depressive episode lately. I call it an episode because I know it won’t last. However, it does not feel like that when I deep into my depression. I tend to isolate, avoid responsibility, lose my humor, and worst of all, lose myself. There are steps I need to take to get out of myself and focus on more positive things in life.
A journey through recovery from bipolar depression is like surfing on the ocean. There are waves and seasons in life. Sometimes the waves seem higher than you can manage. Sometimes there are no waves and you are just wading in the water. You have to learn how to surf and manage those waves. When you are in the midst of a wave that seems like a juggernaut, your depression starts talking, and talking loudly. It tells you that you are unlovable, a screw up, worthless, and more. Your reality becomes a distorted perspective of reality. Here are some lies my depression tells me when I am surfing a large wave that seems to have no end.
There are several sources for somebody with Bipolar Depression to learn to love themselves from self-help books to the Bible to therapy to more. However, there are limited sources available for people who love somebody with Bipolar Depression. You could be a family member, a significant other, or a friend and not know how to respond in love to somebody struggling with Bipolar Depression. I know sometimes it is difficult for my family and my girlfriend to know what I need when I am going through an episode, and it is difficult for me to articulate what I need at that moment. Here are some tips for how to love somebody with Bipolar Depression.
From a year ago to ever since I can remember, I always struggled with depression. There was low self-image, self-esteem, self-compassion, and self-love. I had no sense of self-worth. Most days, I passively tossed around the idea of suicide. Even when I wasn’t suicidal, fleeting thoughts like “what would happen if I was not here anymore” would cross my mind several times a day. I thought I was good for nothing except to be another statistic of people who took their own lives. Nobody would see it coming. I looked as though I was happy and had my life together on the outside. On the inside, I wanted to die.
As humans, we are all inclined to sin because of our sinful nature. Different people have different temptations. For a lot of men, porn and sex are strong temptations. For an alcoholic seeking sobriety, drinking is a strong temptation. For somebody who has depression, the temptation to cut may be present. Temptations are most strong when one is tired, bored, or stressed out. There is a way to overcome the temptation. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (NIV). The temptation will pass, but you have to find an alternative way to occupy your time.
As I am going into a 4 month relationship with my loving boyfriend Johnny Fernandes, I have learned so much about myself and how to love someone unconditionally. Learning love is putting the needs of someone else before yours and learning to love them for who they are. Just as Christ does for us. When being in love with someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, there are a few important things to keep in mind:
I remember the first time I ever wanted to end my life. I was fifteen years old; a freshman in high school on the bus ride home from school one day. I had found out that the people I considered to be friends were not friends of mine at all, my fifteen year old heart had been broken for the first time by a boy, and I was on my way to a house that I desperately tried to spend more time outside of it than inside.
Technology today has grown to levels that we might not have expected in some years before, and the applications to different aspects of life have also been boosted in no small means. By different forms of life, though, we mean both the good and the bad.
To cut the long story short, this is evident in how technology can now be used to carry out domestic abuse in varying degrees. This is surely a growing concern for us, but there is good news too.
A worldview is the framework for comprehending and interpreting reality. This interpretation influence our behavior for one acts according to the truths they believe. Each person has a worldview and every worldview is made up of both faith and reason, whether you are a Christian or not.
In this season of plastic free July, I am reminded of one of the first calls of Christianity: to take care of the planet. Now this may seem like a made-up idea that is used to push the agenda of the trend of being eco-friendly, but this is an actual issue for the Christian nation. In Genesis, God calls Adam and Eve to take care of the land and the animals that was provided for them.
We must not only choose to follow the call to love our fellow man when we are standing around a Christmas tree. It does not take the flame of an Advent candle to give us the ability to love and serve. Peace on earth is not meant to be a short-lived fantasy in the holiday hustle and bustle. If we only seek to follow our call to love the poor, widow, and orphan under the mask of the Christmas season, then our offense to the character of God is rank; our motives are tainted, and even our acts of righteousness are defiled.
Let’s start with the bigger picture...something we usually skim over in the Bible. Luke and Matthew both bring us the genealogy of Jesus. There is much debate about why they differ, the literal blood line versus the adoptive lineage, who was left out and why, but I’m not getting into that today. Today I want to focus on Matthew’s account. While the genealogy in both gospels is patrilineal, Matthew brings a twist. He intentionally names five women, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary.
Betrayal spreads like a wildfire. It starts with one incident with one person, and then it grows out of control. It consumes you to the point that it begins to affect others who were not even involved in the original incident. We tend to tell our stories to anyone who will listen and want everyone to know who betrayed us and how. If the betrayal isn’t forgiven and dealt with properly and biblically (Matthew 18), it will impact those who are in your life now, but can also become a generational problem.
Betrayal is how Satan loves to do his work. As Christians, our foundation is built on LOVE (Matthew 22:37-40, 1 John 4:16 ), TRUST (Proverbs 3:5-6, 2 Corinthians 5:7 ) and FORGIVENESS (Acts 2:38, Ephesians 4:31-32, Matthew 6:14-15), and betrayal is the opposite of our foundation. That is why Satan is so successful in using betrayal to chip away at our foundation.