I played the role of a youth advocate in 1984 when I arrived in the DR Congo with a desire to start a youth ministry movement. The children and youth of the DR Congo were considered by many to be second-class citizens, having no voice of influence in their culture. Sadly, the cultural view of … More What is youth ministry?
Can you imagine God asking you in heaven why you didn’t stick up for someone who needed help during your life on Earth? The first time I remembering needing to stick up for someone came when I was attending junior high in Potomac, Illinois. While waiting for the school bus one day, some kids started … More Advocate
Fighting stereotypes is hard work, especially when they have taken root over many years. I grew up with a stubborn stereotype about Russian people, thanks mainly to all the Cold War propaganda I was fed during my childhood. I remember having nightmares as a child about nuclear war. I remember thinking Russians were the personification … More One person at a time!
A few years ago, I took a class on ethnicity at Trinity International University in which I realized that the conception of race as a biological or physical reality that can be used to demonstrate how one group of people is superior to another is actually a 400-year-old lie based on no credible evidence—nothing! And … More There’s only one race!
The citizenship of heaven will be made up of people from every ethnic and language group on Earth. God’s kingdom has no place for ethnocentrism, racism, or prejudice. Prejudice simply means to “pre-judge” someone—that is, judging without the benefit of all the facts about him or her, which no human will ever have. Only God … More It’s just a joke?
In Matthew 21, Jesus reminded the Jewish leaders that God had ordained praise from children and infants (Matthew 21:14–16), and by extension this includes youth as well. The children and youth in our churches have been ordained by God to worship him—and to eventually become leaders in the Church. Older generations must come to grips … More Old and New Treasures
Young people can tell whether an older person truly likes them or not. They know instinctively whether they are included as “part of the family” or rather someone who is an outsider or stranger. Some church leaders who fear change have felt threatened by youth whom they suspect want to “take their position” in leadership. … More Generational Walls
Life is too short to spend it only with people your own age. Intergenerational relationships can be some of the most rewarding in life, but crossing the generation gap takes courage. I deal with this divide every time I walk into the cafeteria of the university where I teach. In that moment, I have to … More Can I sit here?
Ignoring the people around us every day is easy to do. We walk by so many people whom we don’t even see, let alone acknowledge—they just seem like part of the scenery. Can you imagine having this embarrassing conversation with another human being, created in the image of God, when you get to heaven? You: … More Prior Value
Other-focused people are great listeners. Listeners can be selective, attentive, or empathic. When we listen selectively, we focus only partially on others, hearing only part of what they say—often only the parts we want to hear. When we listen attentively, we pay attention to the other person and probably will remember what he or she … More Listen and Learn