How to Structure A ‘Successful’ Youth ‘Ministry’

Via the Bee

We consulted with thousands of biblical scholars and asked them what the most important elements of a biblical youth group are, and this is what they came up with. Don’t get mad at us; we’re just reporting the facts.

1.) A fully stocked video game arcade. Lame youth groups might have a busted old Ms. Pac-Man cabinet or Donkey Kong arcade machine gathering dust in the corner. You need to rise above the chaff with the very latest arcade games, ones that are only out in Japan and you’ve got to have them specially imported for tens of thousands of dollars. It’s the only way to show that you truly care about the souls of your youngsters.

2.) Wacky biblical games like spin the bottle and chubby bunny. What better way to train up your kids in the way they should go than playing some spin the bottle, steal the bacon, or chubby bunny?

3.) A youth pastor you can’t tell apart from the youth. Your youth pastor should blend in perfectly, showcasing a Sherlock Holmes-level mastery of disguise. He needs to infiltrate the group carefully, gaining the trust of the natives before they’ll ever listen to his life lessons and messages ripped straight from the latest issue of Game Informer or Teen Vogue.

4.) Summer missions trips to idyllic locations. Your entire goal here is to get the kids to feel good about themselves. So send them off to the Caribbean to build a new youth building for a poor church somewhere, whether or not the church actually wants the shoddy building your kids will slap together in a few days before going off to explore the exotic tropical beaches.

5.) Bus rides filled with more drama than an HBO miniseries. You know your youth ministry is effective if bus trips to summer camp feature no less than 250 break-ups, DTRs, and dramatic cat-fights. This is powerful evidence that your attempt to disciple your youth is paying off in a big way.

6.) A worship band with eighteen electric guitar players on rotation and one bassist. A biblical youth worship band has between one and two dozen guitar players playing a Fender Stratocaster on their rotation, and only one bassist on their roster. Chicks dig the guitar players, especially the ones with 49 pedals.

7.) Glow stick worship raves, like King David used to throw. Have your worship band bump up the jam with some biblical party rock penned by theologians like Kesha or LMFAO, crack some glow sticks, and toss ’em into the crowd. Watch the Spirit move, baby!

8.) Total lack of anything resembling the boring main service. If you want your youth to one day grow up to be faithful church members (and let’s be honest here: tithers), you’ve got to pull off the ol’ bait-and-switch. Make them think Christianity is 100% fun and games, or else they may slip through your fingers when it comes time for them to graduate to real church.

Now get out there and use the methods of the world to bring the youth into the Kingdom!

Have Archaeologists Found the Home of Peter, Philip, and Andrew?

Nope.  It’s just another one of the many exaggerated claims that fly around.  Indeed, the story doesn’t match the headline.  Here’s the headline:

The Lost Home of Jesus’ Apostles Has Just Been Found, Archaeologists Say

Here’s the opening of the story:

Archaeologists think they may have found the lost Roman city of Julias, the home of three apostles of Jesus: Peter, Andrew and Philip (John 1:44; 12:21). A multi-layered site discovered on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve, is the spot, the team believes.  The key discovery is of an advanced Roman-style bathhouse. That in and of itself indicates that there had been a city there, not just a fishing village, Dr. Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret College told Haaretz.

Speculation in the guise of reporting.

The Earliest Involvements of Calvin in Reform

It is the year 1523. Young Calvin had just arrived from Noyon. De Berquin had translated something of Luther into the French. Thoroughly ill at ease the Sorbonne had accused him before the Parlement. His books and papers39) had been seized, examined, condemned. He was locked up in the Square Tour of the Palace. At the moment when the sentence of death is expected, the Court intervenes. He is freed August 8, 1523.

The University students, elated over this, and more zealous than prudent, celebrate the occasion. They do so by staging “La Farce des théologastres.” The story of the play is evidence of the fact that by 1523 the name of Luther was generally known in Paris, and that it was associated with the progressive group over against the Nachtschule of the Sorbonne. Now since the Thirteenth Century the so-called morality plays had been presented on the stage. Out of twenty-one collected by M. Picot only one was found to have been written by an out and out loyal Catholic. The “Farce des théologastres” was one in line with the tradition of l’ancien théâtre français therefore. It was written by a friend of de Berquin. The title speaks for itself. The play itself heckles the reactionary spirit of the Sorbonne and the Collège de Montaigu. There are six characters: Théologastres, Fratrez, Foy, Raison, Le Texte de Saincte Escripture, Le Mercure d’Allemagne. Louis de Berquin is identified with the last, the messenger from Germany.*

These are the very kinds of things which worried the establishment about Reform. Was it a legitimate desire to reform Church life or was it an attempt to undermine authority? At this stage, no government could really tell.
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*John Calvin: a study in French humanism (p. 28).

Calvin: As Equally Gifted as Luther and in Many Respects Moreso

I must patiently submit to this condition which providence has assigned me, that petulant, dishonest and furious men, as if in conspiracy, pour out their virulence chiefly upon me. Other most excellent men indeed they do not spare, assailing the living and wounding the names of the dead; but the only cause of the more violent assault they make on me is because the more Satan, whose slaves they are, sees my labours to be useful to the Church of Christ, the more he stimulates them violently to attack me. I say nothing of the old pettifoggers, whose calumnies are already obsolete. A horrible apostate of the name of Staphylus has lately started up, and without a word of provocation has uttered more calumnies against me than against all the others who had described his perfidy, bad morals, and depraved disposition. From another quarter one named Nicolas Le Coq, has begun to screech against me. At length from another sink comes forth Tileman Heshusius. Of him I would rather have the reader form a judgment from the facts and his own writings than express my own opinion.

And

I shall not quote the bitter words with which you have lately censured me. While you are indulgent to yourself, you represent me as by far too rigid; and yet if you fancy that the easy good nature which you aim at is commended by all, you are greatly mistaken. For there are grave and moderate men, who complain that you are weak and remiss, and are indignant that your other remarkable virtues should be tarnished by this blot. You grant, too, that since the natural temper of all is not alike, it is just that we should promote friendship by mutual forbearance. But here you furnish me with a just reason for expostulating with you, for whatever persons accuse my severity are sure without exception to gain their cause with you as if they were unblamable; and even though you perceive that the fault is on their side, yet am I without any distinction deprived of the advantages of your good word. You mention only three individuals, as if indeed there were not in your territory numberless enraged dogs, who cease not by all the ways in their power to snap at me. I am aware that sometimes you have refuted their calumnies, but you have always contrived to leave along with your refutation the sting of some unfavourable remark behind.

Bought with a price: Paul and manumission – Student dissertation (part 3)

The series continues…

Newman Research Centre for the Bible and its Reception

In parts oneand twoof Isabella Wray‘s dissertation (BA) exploring Paul’s use of the term ‘feedman’ (ἀπελεύθερος – apeleutheros) in 1 Corinthians 7:22, Isabella has drawn our attention to the importance of status within Roman society. She makes the point that how one was even treated in the law courts was dependent upon one’s status and rightly noted that this would have informed Paul’s instruction against their use for disputes among assembly members (1 Corinthians 6:1-6).

Furthermore, the relatively recent re-establishment of Corinth created a rather unique environment which resulted in some of the legal obstructions to influential civic/political posts being lifted – even to those who were once slaves. The lure of upward mobility in Corinth was a very tangible and visible possibility; even someone who was a slave could rise up the social ladder, command respect of their peers, and acquire great wealth and…

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