Monday, June 28, 2010

How Christianity Shaped the West

by Rev. Robert D. Shofner, Jr.

St. John's UCC Boonville, Indiana

In the past few years there have been a slew of new books which make a direct attack on Western Christianity. Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and Samuel Harris’ The End of Faith along with others such as Christopher Hitchen’s God Is Not Great, make the case that our western society would be a lot better off if we just got rid of all vestiges of Christianity. They contend that we live in a secular, post-modern era that has no room nor patience for the patriarchal, nationalistic and oppressive religion of our fathers. Dinesh D’Souza, author and political thinker, states that unfortunately, what these ill—informed atheists fail to realize is, that religion, Christianity, is responsible for the principles and institutions that even atheists cherish; chief among them, equality and the liberty to proclaim that God is dead. His argument continues thusly.

Thomas Jefferson famously proclaimed in the Declaration of Indepe

ndence that “all men are created equal.” He wrote that this truth was clearly “self-evident.” However, he didn’t mean that it is immediately evident.

There is something absurd about the claim of human equality, when all around us we see evidence of inequality. People are unequal in height, weight, strength, stamina, intelligence, perseverance, truthfulness, and in about every other quality. But this kind of equality is not what Jefferson was talking about. He was asserting that human beings are moral equals, each of whom possesses certain equal rights. No matter how they differ in other respects, each person’s life has a moral worth no greater and no less than that of any other. To this way of thinking, the rights of a Philadelphia street sweeper are the same as Jefferson himself.

Where did this radical idea come from? Christianity. Many would say that it came from the example of the democracies of Greece and Rome . The founding fathers would say otherwise. One contributor to the Federalist Papers wrote: “Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.” Obviously, they were no

t enamored with that kind of direct democracy susceptible to the passions of the mob and supported by large-scale slavery, nor with the morality that was the norm in those ancient days.

In ancient Greece and Rome , individual human life had no value in and of itself. Abortion was rampant. The Spartans left weak children to die of exposure. Fathers who wanted sons would, without conscience, drown their newborn daughters. Human beings were routinely bludgeoned to death or mauled by wild animals for entertainment purposes. Roman Christians were dipped in tar, hung on posts, and set on fire to provide background lighting for Nero’s garden parties. Many of the classical thinkers saw nothing wrong with these practices. It would take Christianity to foster moral outrage at the mistreatment of innocent human life.

Likewise, women had a very low status in ancient Greece and Rome , as they do today in many cultures, notably in the Muslim world. Such views are common in patriarchal cultures. Arguably, they were prevalent in the Jewish society in which Jesus lived. But Jesus broke the traditional taboos of his time when he scandalously included women of low social status to travel with him and be part of his circle of friends.

Christian views of marriage and divorce served to so elevate the status of women that they flocked to the fledgling Church, so much so that Romans scorned Christianity as a “religion for women.”

Then there is slavery, a favorite topic for the new atheist writers. Samuel Harris writes in Letter to a Christian Nation, “Consult the Bible and you will discover that the creator of the universe clearly expects us to keep slaves.” We want to remember that slavery pre-dated Christianity by centuries. It was widely practiced in the ancient world, from China and India to Greece and Rome . Most cultures regarded it as an indispensable institution. Sociologist Orlando Patterson noted that for centuries, slavery needed no defenders because it had no critics.

Christianity, from its very beginning, discouraged the enslavement of fellow Christians. After all, how can a slave also be a brother in Christ? Christians began to regard slavery as indefensible. As a result, slavery withered throughout medieval Christianity and was replaced by serfdom. While slaves were “human tools,” serfs had rights of marriage, contract, and property ownership that were legally enforceable. In the course of time, serfdom collapsed under the weight of the argument for human dignity.

Christianity played a vital role in the development of that new concept of freedom through its doctrine that all human beings are moral agents, created in God’s image, with the ability to be the architects of their own lives. The Enlightenment philosophers and politicos continued to contribute to this understanding of human freedom, drawing their ideas from the teachings of the Church.

Politically active Christians remained at the forefront of the modern anti-slavery movement. In England , William Wilberforce spent years of his life pushing for abolition, which finally came about in 1833. In what would become the United States , Quakers led the way, soon joined by others, notably the Congregationalists, in applying politically the Biblical notion that human beings are equal in the sight of God. Understanding equality in this way, these Christians promoted the view that no man has the right to rule another man without his consent. This idea, contained in the Declaration of Independence and set as law in the Constitution, is the moral root of both abolitionism and of democracy.

What many atheists fail to realize, or refuse to acknowledge, is that some of the greatest events in American history were preceded by massive Christian revivals. The First Great Awakening swept the country in the mid-eighteenth century and helped lay the moral foundation for the American Revolution. When Jefferson proclaimed that human equality is a gift from God, he was explicitly saying that we are endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights. There is no other possible source for them. Jefferson later wrote that he was not expressing new ideas or principles when he wrote the Declaration, but was rather giving voice to something that had become settled in the American mind.

John Adams wrote: “What do we mean by the American Revolution? The war? That was no part of the Revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The Revolution was in the minds of the people … a change in their religious sentiments.” Those religious sentiments were forged in the fiery sermons of the First Great Awakening.

The Second Great Awakening, which began in the early nineteenth century, left in its wake the temperance movement, the movement for women’s suffrage, and most importantly the abolitionist movement. It was the religious fervor of men like Charles Finney, the Presbyterian lawyer who became president of Oberlin College , that animated the abolitionist cause and contributed so much to the chain of events that brought about America ’s “new birth of freedom.”

Fast forwarding to the twentieth century, the Reverend Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech referred to a promissory note and demanded it be cashed. He said: “. . . we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check.

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Remarkably, King was resting his case on a proclamation issued 200 years earlier by a Southern slave owner. Yet in doing so, he was appealing to a principle that he and Jefferson shared. Both men, the twentieth century pastor and the eighteenth century planter, reflected the influence of Christianity on American politics; a politic that promotes and preserves freedom.

And what is freedom?

To the ancient Greeks, freedom was the right to active involvement in the political life of the city. There was certainly no freedom of thought or religion of the kind we hold dear.

The modern idea of freedom, by contrast, is rooted in a respect for the individual. It means the right to worship in any way we chose or are so moved, be that Christian, Muslin, Hindu, Buddhist, even this New Age nonsense promoted by Oprah Winfry! It means the right to buy and sell property, the right to travel where we want, the right to own our own personal space, and the right to live our own life. It even means the right to run for President! In return, we are responsible only to respect the rights of others.

This is the freedom we say we are willing to fight for. But are we really?

One of Western civilization’s greatest atheists was a German philosopher by the name of Friedrich Nietzsche. He issued a warning to us. He said the ideas that define Western civilization are based on Christianity. Because some of these ideas seem to have taken on a life of their own, we might have the illusion that we can abandon Christianity while retaining these ideas. This illusion, Nietzsche warns, is just that. Remove Christianity and the ideas fall too.

Consider the example of Europe , where secularization has been occurring for well over a century. For a while it seemed that secularization would have no effect on European morality or religious and social institutions. Yet there is increasing evidence today of the decline of the nuclear family. Overall birthrates have plummeted, while rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have skyrocketed. And in the churches, priests are offering up the Eucharist in front of altars facing empty naves.

The same sad tale in true in our own country. Divorce rates, abortion, out-of-wedlock births, drug addiction – all have increased dramatically. Church attendance has dropped significantly; less than 20% of the overall population regularly attends worship, down from over 60% in the 1950’s. (And you thought it was all the preacher’s fault!)

Nietzsche also warned that, with the decline of Christianity, new and opposing ideas would arise. Consider the states, and sadly, the national churches, such as our own United Church of Christ, which demand radical redefinition of the family, the revival of eugenic theories, and even arguments for infanticide.

What does this have to do with us on this day?

The eradication of orthodox Christianity – and of organized religion in general – would also mean the gradual extinction of the principles of human dignity. Consider human equality. Why do we hold it dear? Because of the Christian idea of equality in God’s eyes. The attempt to ground respect for equality on purely secular grounds is folly. There is no basis on which to do so, other than it seems the “right thing to do.” It only seems the “right thing to do” because it is based on God’s Word and the ideals of the Christian faith. Take that away, and it is sheer stupidity to believe it could survive without the continuing aid of religious belief.

If we cherish what is distinctive about Western civilization, then – whatever our religious conviction – we should respect rather than denigrate its Christian roots.

How? By supporting our local church. By teaching our children the values of the Christian faith. By respecting the faith of others in this nation. By staying vigilant and speaking up when politicians, and even church leaders, suggest that we abandoned the heritage of our faith in this so-called post-modern age. By always remembering that God blesses this nation not because of our strength, but because of our faith.

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, Your Word has given us a goodly heritage, a heritage that ultimately overcomes the barriers that sinful human nature builds between peoples and nations and creeds. Let us always remember that it is from You that we gain our worth; that it is in the light of Your Word that we recognize all people are created in Your image, and are therefore equal in Your sight. For You loved this world so much that You sent Your only Son to us, not that we should be condemned, but that we, and all peoples, might be saved through Him.

And the people said, “Amen.”

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bits and Bytes with the Bagleys

~ Bits & Bytes for Bagley Backers - June/July 2010 ~
Swaziland Glimpses

Our recent trip to southern Africa finished up with a whirlwind visit to Swaziland where we started our missionary career 28 years ago. We were thrilled with a number of positive signs of growth and development in the church there.

  • Pastor Walter Malaza (pictured above), a former student of ours, showed us around several "care points" he had established in rural areas. The ten "care points" serve as feeding stations for orphans, education centers for the community, and all have churches established or being planted.
care point 2
  • We saw several significant church building projects underway - all at local initiative using local resources. The white building in the foreground in the photo below is the current church building at Ntabamhloshana, which has been outgrown by the congregation necessitating the construction of the larger building at the top of the photo.


  • Despite no longer being sponsored by World Hope Canada, the ministry of the Fortress and the Children's Village continues under the leadership of Mrs. Thabsile Thwala. Some of those ministries have been scaled back due to a decrease in funding, but orphans are still be cared for and counseling services are still be offered to abused women and children.


  • Emmanuel Wesleyan Bible College is facing challenging times, having recently lost several missionary staff members, leaving Dorcas Croft as the sole missionary at the college. Enrollment is down to 12 students, and the college is facing related financial stress. However, a solid African staff is in place giving good leadership, including newly appointed Principal, Bhekisisa Maziya (below).

EWBC2 2 Maziya2 2

In This Issue

Our Event Calendar

June 13-18, 23-25 - Indianapolis, IN, Missionary Training Institute

June 20 a.m. -- Jersey Shore, PA - Lighthouse Wesleyan Church

June 20 p.m. -- Loganton, PA - Loganton Wesleyan Church

June 27 -- Bellaire, OH - United Wesleyan Church

July 2-11 -- Browns Flat, NB - Beulah Camp

July 18 -- Norton, NB - Norton Wesleyan Church

July 24-26 -- Denton, MD - Champlain District Camp

Aug. 23-Sep. 10 -- Manzini, Swaziland - Emmanuel Wesleyan Bible College (Brenda)

Aug. 26-29 -- Lusaka, Zambia - National Conference

Sept. 16-19 -- Likasi, Democratic Republic of Congo - National Conference

Oct. 17 -- Xai Xai, Mozambique - Xai Xai Bible College graduation

Oct. 30 -- Manzini, Swaziland - EWBC graduation

Nov. 21 -- Truro, NS - Central Nova Wesleyan Church

Support Team

We are grateful for all who have made a commitment to become part of our regular prayer and/or financial support team. If you haven't done so, you can join the team by clicking the link below. Thanks!


Bob and Brenda2_185x266

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Ministry Vehicle Donated

During the recent Regional Board meeting held in South Africa, Boksburg Wesleyan Church, a local South African congregation, presented a new ministry vehicle to the Southern Africa church for use in ministry in a needy District. The photo shows lay leader, Tom Eloff, making the presentation to Pastor Bill Niemack, District Superintendent of the Transkei District.


Prayer Requests

Please help us pray for the following needs:

  • We leave August 3rd for a three-month stint in Africa. Please pray that God will help us to plan and prepare appropriately and that our ministry on the field will be productive.

  • Graduation at Pilgrim Wesleyan Bible College in Zambia is July 24th. Pray for God's blessings to be on the graduates as they make the transition to ministry positions.
  • Pray for the leadership of the Zambian church as they strategize and plan for integrating the Ugandan churches into the wider church and as they look for ways of effectively providing training for the pastors of those congregations.
  • Recent surgery on Mrs. Thabsile Thwala, Director of the Fortress and the Children's Village in Swaziland revealed much more extensive concerns than originally expected. Please continue to pray that God will grant her a full recovery.

Praise Points

  • Assistant Africa Area Director, Jerry Manwaring, reported a very encouraging visit to the new church work in Uganda where there are 60 churches/preaching points.
  • Our support level has now passed the two-thirds point. Thank God for those who have responded to the need. (Full support still needs to be raised before we will be given clearance to deploy to the field long-term.)
  • Recently Bob met with the International Partnership Team for Ghana in Brockville, ON. The team consists of several Districts and local churches, Project Reach Out, and Rev. Joe Ocran, the national superintendent of Ghana and meets to help coordinate efforts to assist in the development of the Wesleyan Standard Church of Ghana. An exciting atmosphere prevailed as the team explored ways to not only strengthen the Ghana work, but discussed the vision for Ghana becoming a launching pad for outreach in countries to the north and east.
Bob & Brenda Bagley |

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Five Central Teachings of Protestant Reformation

What does it mean to be a Protestant? These are five of the major teachings of the reformers by which they distinguished their beliefs from those of the Roman Catholic church of their day. I affirm all five of these beliefs because I think they reflect the Bible’s teaching:

1. Sola Scriptura – “The Bible alone.” Scripture alone speaks authoritatively, and it speaks to all believers, independently of church leaders and councils, human interpreters and so-called spokesmen for God.

2. Sola Gratia – “Grace alone.” It is only by the unmerited favor of God that Christ went to the cross and paid the price for man’s salvation. Man is by nature depraved—he has no virtue that commends him to God. Therefore God’s grace to him is truly undeserved and amazing, and God’s grace alone has the power to draw people to himself.

3. Sola Fide – “Faith alone.” Only total righteousness is acceptable to God, and that is found in Christ, not us. Man can only accept Christ’s work by placing his trust in him. Man is justified by faith alone in the finished work of Christ, not by any works of his own.

4. Sola Christus – “Christ alone.” Salvation is accomplished by Christjohn calvin alone, and mediated by Christ alone—not by angels, saints, relics, sacraments, priests, teachers, churches, or anyone or anything else. Christ alone was the perfect Savior, and he alone is the perfect prophet, priest and king.

5. Soli Deo Gloria – “To God alone be glory.” God should be thanked, praised and given full credit for his sovereign grace and spiritual and physical provision. Theology should be God-centered, not man-centered. God should be put in his place and humans in theirs. Our efforts should not elevate and celebrate men but God. We should bring him glory in our work, in our homes and at play. He, not we, should be the center of all things.

For more resources, see

Monday, June 14, 2010

Do We Really Believe People are Lost?

by Keith Kiper

It seems live in a day and time when everything around us is relative. Things that were once considered to be settled black and white issues have blended into areas of gray. Even certain mainline church denominations endorse lifestyles that are contrary to what the Bible teaches about sin and sinful living. Much of today’s generation could be considered Biblically illiterate, especially when it comes to the matter of a literal heaven and a literal hell. We hear a lot about heaven in our popular culture. After all dogs do go there, don’t they?

Most people would tell us they want to go there, even if not right now. It seems we don’t hear much about hell anymore. Sometimes we will hear someone tell another person they should go there. Most would believe that someone like Adolf Hitler should be there. My biggest concern today is that I am afraid that we as the church have neglected what the Bible says about the matter. Scripture doesn’t leave any doubts about who will someday be there.

The subjects of Heaven and Hell are often referred to as “last things.” This is how they are listed in the General Baptist’s Articles of Faith. Our Wesleyan Discipline lists these under Basic Principles.
Both come to the same conclusions which are” Heaven with its eternal glory and the blessedness of Christ’s presence is the final abode of those who choose the salvation which God provides through Christ Jesus. Hell with its everlasting misery and separation from God is the final abode of those who neglect this great salvation.” Let us look today at what the Bible says about heaven and hell. Many theologians will often use these various methods to examine something to consider whether or not it is true. These would include reason, history, experience, and of course Scripture. This is often referred to as The Wesleyan Quadrilateral. I would like to use some of these as we take a look at heaven and hell.
We have different church denominations and political parties today. This is because people have certain beliefs and ideas which they consider important. Many times they believe there is no other way but their way. Sometimes this is true when placed under the light of the Bible. Sometimes we can be wrong, even when we are so sure we are right. Listen to what happened recently in Sarasota Florida.

“An elderly Florida lady did her shopping, and upon returning to her car, found four males in the act of leaving her vehicle. She dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun. She screamed at the top of her lungs, I have a gun, and I know how to use it! Get out of the car!” The four men didn’t wait for a second threat. They got out and ran like mad. The lady, somewhat shaken, then proceeded to load her shopping bags into her car. She got into her car and was so shaken she couldn’t get her keys to work. Suddenly she realized why her keys wouldn’t work. It was the same reason she had wondered why there was a football, a Frisbee and two twelve packs of beer on the front seat. A few minutes later, she found her own car parked four or five spaces farther down. She loaded her bags into her car and drove to the police station to report her mistake. The police sergeant couldn’t stop laughing when he heard her story. He then pointed to the end of the counter, where four pale men were reporting a car jacking by a short elderly woman, with glasses and white curly hair. She was also carrying a large handgun. No charges were filed.” Moral of the story? If you are going to have a senior moment…make it worthwhile!

Hebrews 11:16 tells us, “But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a heavenly city for them.”

On a way home from a conference, Don Piper’s car was crushed by a semi that crossed into his lane. Medical personnel said he died instantly. While his body lay lifeless inside the ruins of his car, Piper experienced the glories of heaven, and was awed by its beauty and music.
Ninety minutes after the wreck, while a minister prayed for him, Piper miraculously returned to earth with only a memory of his time in heaven. With is leg hanging only by skin, the doctors could not explain how any blood remained in his body. He later wrote the book, “90 Minutes in Heaven.” Listen to some of what he relates about this experience: “When I died, I didn’t flow through a long, dark, tunnel. I had no sense of fading away or coming back. I never felt my body being transported into the light. I heard no voices calling to me. At the same time I remembered the accident, a light enveloped me, with a brilliance beyond comprehension or description. In my next moment of awareness, I was standing in heaven. Joy pulsated through me as I looked around and became aware of a large crowd of people. They stood in front of a brilliant ornate gate. I immediately recognized people who had died during my lifetime. Time had no meaning. As I gazed into all the faces I realized that they had contributed to my becoming a Christian or encouraged me in my growth. I instantly knew what they had each done to impact my life without knowing how I absorbed the information. I wasn’t conscious of anything I’d left behind. I felt no regrets about leaving family and possessions. God had removed all that was negative or would cause worry. I felt loved--more loved than ever before in my life. No one had to say they loved me--I just knew they did. I then realized what the Bible meant by perfect love.” You see, Heaven is a real place. God made it for those who love Him and accept His Son Jesus Christ. The Bible clearly tells us there is no other way to Heaven and eternal life there but through His Son. () Philipians 3:20 tells us, “For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which also we are looking for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…” As Christians, we can have the hope that the grave is not the end when we leave this world.

The Barna Research Group conducted a poll recently. They asked Americans how the view life after death.
Lets us look at what they found: 8 out of 10 Americans (81%), believe in an afterlife of some sort. Another 9% said life after death may exist, but they were not certain. Just one out of ten adults (10%) contend there is no form of life after one dies. 79%, the largest group agreed with the statement, “every person has a soul that will live forever, either in God’s presence or absence.” Here is where it gets interesting. Most Americans do not expect to experience hell first hand. Only ½ of 1 % expect to go to hell upon their death. 64% expect to go to heaven, regardless of their lifestyle. 5% believe they will simple cease to exist. This doesn’t sound like the narrow road the Bible speaks of, does it? There are several reasons for this shift in society. Most of the changes have occurred in the last 30 years. First, prayer was removed from the Public school classroom. Then the Bible and the Ten commandments. Children were no longer taught absolutes. When absolutes like right and wrong were no longer taught, the Bible was considered by many to be just another good book. Liberal Bible Colleges and Seminaries have become guilty as well. The Book of Genesis is no longer taken literally. Homosexual marriage has become accepted in certain denominations. The Bible warned us these times would come. 1 Titus 4:1-2 in The Message Translation has this to say: “The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. These liars have lied so well and for so long that they’ve lost their capacity for truth.” As wonderful as place as heaven will be, hell will be more horrific than we could ever imagine. Jesus spent much more time talking about hell than he did heaven. Many pastors no longer feel they have the freedom to preach about hell anymore. God’s stance and what the Bible tells us hasn’t changed just because of liberal theologians. The Bible tells us God will reward the righteous with eternal life in heaven, and He will banish the unrighteous to everlasting punishment in hell. You don’t have to read very far into the New Testament to see what Jesus says about this.

The Bible tells us this in Joel 2:28 ,“And it shall be afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions.” NKJV

Bill Wiese is one of those modern day people who had a vision. You may have read his book “23 Minutes in Hell.” Through a vision Bill saw the searing flames of hell, felt total isolation. He experienced the putrid and rotting stench, the deafening screams of agony, the terrorizing demons. Finally, after what seem like eternity, the strong hand of God lifted him out of the pit. God told him to please tell the world, ”I am coming very, very, soon.” In closing today, I will share a portion of that vision God gave Bill Wiese. “ I was horrified as I heard the screams of an untold multitude of people crying out in torment. It was absolutely deafening. The terror filled screams seemed to go right through me. Through the panic and deafening noise, I struggled with my thoughts. I’m in hell! This is a real place. I’m thought I was a good person. The fear was so intense, I couldn’t bear it, but I could not die.” “The flames were intense, but the darkness swallowed up the light. I could barely breath. One of the worst sensations was an insatiable thirst and dryness. I felt like I had been running through the desert for days.” “I wanted to talk and interact with someone. This was not even possible. There are no friends or buddies in hell. I didn’t even possess the thought of calling on God. I was there as someone who did not know God” ‘As painful and horrific as my experience was, God blocked much of what I could have felt. He allowed this vision to happen that I might tell others.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Getting Kids Involved at Church

By Jim Burns

CBN.comJohn and Donna are cousins. Their families have similar involvement at church. Both were active in their high school, received good grades, had lots of friends, made commitments to Christ at the same age, and attended the same church.

Today, John is an active leader in the Church. Donna dropped out after high school. What happened? Of course there are theological reasons, but I'll let the theologians work through those explanations. My answer is less complicated, but just as important: Involvement. John was involved with his ministry; Donna was a spectator.

Experiencing vs. Spectating

Many youth group leaders believe they have to entertain their group to have a successful program. Wrong! Young people must experience the work of Christ if they are to grow in their faith. For example, we can never just talk about missions and expect our young people to understand. Kids need to experience mission first hand; and it doesn't have to be a short-term trip to a foreign country. Organize local outreaches with your teens. It could be as simple as painting a widow's house, working at a rescue mission, or visiting a rest home.

Servanthood vs. Looking Out for No. 1

Our society is concerned with: "What's in it for me?" On the other hand, Christ calls His people to serve. We must instill a sense of servanthood in our young people. The ones who find the joy of serving stay committed to their childhood faith.

Community vs. Individualism

We need to teach and practice a sense of community in our youth groups. Young people will stay in the church because they are drawn into the community by faith. They were socialized into a community that affects their actions, beliefs, attitudes and values, even their dating habits.

How can you develop a stronger sense of involvement in your youth? You must see yourself as a Discipler, Enabler, and Model.


If you see your role as that of a teacher, a dispenser of knowledge, you don't have high enough goals. To nurture youth involvement, use the method Paul suggested to Timothy: "and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be, able to teach others also" (II Timothy 2:2). Discipleship is a character-building relationship that challenges people to take what they have been given by our Lord and give it to others.


Youth workers who desire to see long-lasting results must see themselves as enablers. One of the most difficult areas of ministry for many youth workers is the area of delegation. The I-will-do-it-all mentality might be great for the smoothness of the program, but it can be horrible for growth in the lives of your kids. Always look for ways to train and equip your young people.

When it comes to delegating, Dave Stone's "Four Phases of Ease" is really helpful:

[1] I it and you watch.
[2] I do it and you do it.
[3] You do it and I watch/assist.
[4] You do it and I'll do something else.

As you enable your young people to do the actual work of the ministry, the results will be evident in their enthusiasm for their faith.


Kids find heroes among musicians, film stars, and pro athletes whose lifestyles are contrary to Scripture. When it comes to the faith, kids also imitate their leaders. That's why ministry that emphasizes relationships is so important. The best way to model the faith is through a consistently open and honest lifestyle. There is possibly nothing more fulfilling than watching your young people respond to Christ's call, become involved, and continue to mature as Christians. The time and energy you invest in your young people is well worth it.

Ideas for Involvement

  • Peer Ministry: This can be a wonderful way for your youth group to minister to the entire church and other churches as well.
  • Tutoring: Set up a time where kids can come to church for tutoring help from others in the group. Open up this service to the community.
  • Teaching and sharing: Train your young people to teach the lesson or share their faith in the youth group. The credibility factor with their peers will produce solid ministry.
  • Photograph and media: Appoint a youth group photographer. Sometimes this is the perfect ministry for a handicapped person or one of the unpopular kids.
  • Caravan Ministry: Each year, hundreds of youth groups put on ministry-oriented programs while traveling from church to church.
  • Social Service: Allow your kids the privilege of serving some of the older saints in your church and community. Visit lonely patients in the hospital. Help at a children's hospital.
  • Hunger: Sponsor a child from one of the many outstanding relief agencies. You can always help out at the local soup kitchen or Salvation Army.
  • Prison: Most prison ministries have a letter-writing program for inmates. Just be sure that an adult mentors a teen through this process.
  • Work Camps: This is one of the most outstanding ways to let kids serve God. As young people work hard, whether it be painting, building or cleaning, they see the results of their ministry.
  • Family Night: Sponsor a family night at your church where the youth group designs the program.
  • Parents Update: Write a newsletter to the parents perhaps once every quarter sharing information about the youth group.
  • Growth Booklet: Your youth group can sponsor a time where the family can participate in a Christian education experience together.
  • Intergenerational Sunday School: Periodically, develop a Sunday morning program that includes all generations and let your youth group take an active lead in planning and preparing the presentation.
  • Family Camp Out: Let the youth group plan a special camp out and be responsible for the program.
  • Teaching Sunday School: On occasion, give all the Sunday School teachers the day off and let the youth group put on a program for the kids or teach the Sunday School lessons.
  • Big Brother/Big Sister: This is an effective ministry your youth can have with some of the young generation in your church.
  • Day Camp: Let the youth group run a day camp for the younger kids this summer.
  • Youth in Leadership Positions: Have some of your leaders sit in on some of the decision-making committees in your church.
  • Clean-Up Day: Sponsor a special day where the youth group takes on a special project at the church.

For more stories like this one, sign up to receive our Family Email Update from in your email every Tuesday.

Printed by permission of HomeWord. For additional information on HomeWord, visit or call 800-397-9725.

Let Jim know what you think of his article!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekly News...

Indiana Wesleyan Academy held their 15th High School Graduation this past Saturday June 5th with five students graduating. You can see more pictures on our Facebook Fan Page. The Russels from Ohio who are friends of the Ames were here for our graduation and Sunday Morning Service. L-R: Daniel Yoder,Cameron Shaw,Johanna Oliver,Sarah Barnett, and Heather Ames.

Upcoming Events...

  • June 13th Birthday Party 5:00PM in the Fellowship Hall-April, May, June, everyone is welcome.
  • Ladies meeting June 12th in the Fellowship hall.
  • Every Wednesday is IWA night at Pizza Hut Boonville.
  • District Conference June 8th.
  • Happy Birthday Dorothy Byers June 10th!
  • Happy Anniversary Keith and Vicky Kiper June 7th!