Archive for the Uncategorized Category

The Idiot File

Posted in Uncategorized on July 1, 2009 by joetheyouthpastor

Here’s a news article straight out of the idiot file. Check it and then come back for my advice to these parents…



watching v. viewing films

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 16, 2009 by joetheyouthpastor

I’ve been reading the spring 2009 ‘Engage’ youth journal from I highly recommend it to anyone interested in young people, youth culture, and how to help young people navigate their culture. There’s an article in there called ‘In Search of Good Film: Nine Signposts’. The gist of the article is that we should be a little more thoughtful in how we select our movies, and the author, Greg Veltman, gives nine ‘signposts’ to help us out.

The one that really jumped out at me was the second signpost- ‘Viewing, not watching’. Veltman makes a great point here. He says that we can approach movies in one of two ways. We can watch movies as voyeurs, simply observing while remaining uninvolved, only to go home and return to our routines. Or, we can watch movies as thoughtful participants, engaging, asking questions, discussing implications, discerning the good and bad that a film has to offer.

I firmly believe in being a viewer, not a watcher. You can ask almost anyone I’ve seen a movie with since probably the 8th grade, and they’ll tell you that my usual first statement after a movie is some variation on, ‘So, let’s critique…’ Parents sometimes ask me if I’ve seen a particular movie, what I think about it, whether or not I think they should let their kids see it. My replies sometimes surprise them. I think they often come to me expecting me to back them up when they’ve told their kid no. They want me to say that the whole movie is worthless and vile because there is some strong language or violence. My usual response is to tell them about the positive elements of the movie, but also that they need to be aware of the negative elements, too. From time to time, I see some very shocked looks.

Personally I don’t put much stock in movie ratings. Read this article for a lot more in-depth discussion of movies and ratings. I believe that if a student is mature enough to handle mature themes/images/languages and if the parents are willing to put in the time and effort to watch the movie (ahead of time, if possible) and discuss the themes/images/languages with their kid, then it’s up to the parents to decide whether or not it’s okay. Teenagers are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for sometimes.

So, to sum up a post that started out short but meandered long, don’t just watch movies passively. Engage, prod, discuss, ponder, and be a viewer.

God is moving

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 15, 2009 by joetheyouthpastor

Man, today was one of those fantastic days where everything happened right. Start to finish, it was an awesome day at church. Worship practice was great, then SMS went extremely well (I thought the lesson was a ‘hit’ today), then the worship service was awesome.

Through it all, it was clear to me that God is blessing our ministry at our church. Me and the rest of the staff at our church, we pray and agonize and plan, and then pray some more about worship services, lesson series, etc., and we work hard to make it all happen excellently. But when God is all over what we’re doing, that’s when something special happens, and I think something special happened at church this morning.

Even though we always seek His presence, it’s awesome to be able to say with 100% certainty that God was in the house today, and God is moving at FCC.


the blogosphere

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 12, 2009 by joetheyouthpastor

I have recently gained a new understanding of how our new ditigal world works. I have heard the term ‘blogosphere’ before, but never really gave a ton of thought to what it actually meant. Now I think I understand a little bit more.

Yesterday I went in search of some blogs to read on a regular basis. My purpose was several-fold… I wanted to find blogs that speak to student ministry concerns, blogs with scriptural teachings that I could read to increase my understanding, and blogs just to give me an idea what a blog is supposed to be like (this is actually the third blog I’ve kept, but I’ve never been what I would call ‘successful’ at it).

I ran across the blog of one Matt McGill, an incredibly thoughtful guy/Christian/youth-ministry-fount-of-knowledge who I have thoroughly enjoyed watching on the Simply Youth Ministry podcast. As I was reading his recent posts and the comments, I realized that the names of people who had commented were sometimes links – links to their own blogs and websites. It occurred to me that, when I comment on Matt’s blog, and I put the address for this blog in the ‘website’ field, people can link to this blog just as easily. Hence, the ‘blogosphere’. Yet again, digital technology connects us all.

I feel a new sense of responsibility to not just be silly with this blog. I’ m still going to do an American Idol recap each week, but I promise to try to have something meaningful on here at least occasionally.


What I’m About

Posted in Uncategorized on February 24, 2009 by joetheyouthpastor

You can find all this information on the ‘About’ page here, but I thought it would be appropriate to use my first post on this blog to just lay out what I and this blog are all about. Here are the basics…

  • This blog is for thoughts and ideas, commentary and conversation about life, faith, Jesus, culture, politics, and just about anything else that is on my heart and mind. I welcome comments. No one likes a one-sided conversation.
  • You need to understand right up front that I’m not perfect. I’m a youth pastor, but I still make mistakes. I feel like God has gifted me with wisdom, but I’m still young. I know a lot about the Bible and what it says, but not everything. I have a good understanding of right and wrong, Christian doctrine, what I believe, and what I think everyone should believe, but I’m always open to meaningful dialogue. Hence the fact that I welcome comments.
  • Relationships are the most important thing in the world. Your relationship with Jesus. Relationships between spouses. Friendships. Mentor/Mentored relationships. Family. God is all about relationships. So much so, in fact, that He himself lives in the relationship of the Trinity. If it’s important enough to God to live in relationship, it should be for us.
  • Stories are also incredibly important. You can teach truth all day long in a pedantic sort of way, and maybe some people will find a couple of points to latch on to. But put that same truth into a story, and it will stick with people for the rest of their lives.
  • I hate ‘The Bubble’. I know that hate is a strong word, but I mean it. ‘The Bubble’ is where a lot of Christians live a lot of the time. It’s where we only listen to Christian music, only read Christian books, only wear Christian t-shirts (there will be a blog later on Christian t-shirts). The worst of it is when we find ourselves only hanging out with and spending time with other Christians. How are we supposed to fulfill the Great Commission if we have little or no meaningful interaction with people outside ‘The Bubble’?
  • I will try as hard as I can not to be terse and forceful when it is not appropriate. But, honestly, that’s part of our problem in ‘The Bubble’ – we frequently don’t say what needs to be said because we’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. It just wouldn’t be ‘Christian’. Jesus didn’t seem to care too much. He spoke truth even when it hurt the people he was speaking to. I will do my best to be positive and uplifting, but if you know me (and as you get to know me through this blog) you know that that’s not always me.

So there it is. Welcome to Images and Words. Let’s get swept away into God’s great story together.