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
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
When my youngest daughter Sammy became a senior in High School, I asked her how I could pray for her during that entire year. When she asked me to pray that she would improve her relationship with God, I suddenly realized I needed to be more intentional in my spiritual leadership in her life. As … More Pray for your kids!
You never know when your last communication will be with anyone, including your children. Children can die from many causes, but it is always shocking when it happens. I remember the shock and heartache I felt for Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman and his family when I heard about their little five year old girl … More Last phone call!
At 7:35 p.m. on March 20, 1985, I became a father for the first time. As I stood beside my wife in the delivery room of a mission hospital in the DR Congo, four people were in the room: me, my wife Julie, the doctor, and the midwife—and then suddenly there were five. Sarah Ann … More A Miraculous Gift!
I am trying to remind myself to be more mindful in everything I do. I know that many ordinary things hold beauty that I can see if I train myself to pay attention to them. Think of how many times we walk past flowers every day without taking the time to see them, let alone … More Stop and smell the roses!
One day when my daughter Sammy was three, I was holding her on my hip. We were standing in the dining room of our home, and she was trying to tell me something important—but she could tell that I was looking away at something else. So she grabbed both of my cheeks with her little … More Are you fully present?
Because we will be talking with God for eternity, it makes sense for us to begin our conversation with him while we are on Earth. We should start these daily conversations the moment we wake up. Our first thoughts should be a prayer instead of us reviling the alarm clock or begging for caffeine. Consider … More I am a stumbling toddler!