You can listen to the message from this week's IMPACT youth service by clicking right here!  Comments/feedback welcome!
This weekend I'm teaching students on the question "Can we know that God exists?"  Tough topic, to be sure!  In my preparation I sat down today and watched the pilot for the Discovery Channel's new show "Curiosity" featuring Stephen Hawking answering a similar question.

Of course, Hawking's final thesis was that no, God does not exist.  Though I think the guy is INSANELY brilliant, I could go on and on about why I think his logic on this is flawed (check out my Facebook statuses from earlier today!).  But more importantly than that, I was reminded how important it is for us in YM to help our students navigate through some of the conflicting ideas that are out there regarding the existence of God and our ability to know Him.

I know it can be intimidating for the average youth minister to teach or lead discussions on this topic.  But take heart!  There are lots of great resources out there for you.  One of my new favorites that I led a group of middle school, high school, and college students through early this year is called True U: Does God Exist.

This is a fantastic video-based study that our students absolutely loved!  WARNING - some of the information can go a little over a middle schooler's (or a youth pastor's!) head, but I told my students to not worry about the information as much as the ideas.  Go for the big picture stuff, so to speak.  Check out the trailer below for True U and click right here to check out the website.

This is really important stuff - ask your students what conflicting worldviews they face when it comes to the existence of God, and then help them strengthen their faith by talking about and teaching on those issues!
You can listen to last night's IMPACT youth message by clicking right here.  Enjoy!
"I don't want to talk about You, like You're not in the room; want to look right at You, sing right to You."

So good!
A few years ago I sat down and did some math.  If a student in our youth ministry comes to every program/service we offer during a week (including "big church") from the time they start 6th grade to the time they graduate high school - that's roughly 4 hours a week for 6 years - we get about 1% of their time in middle and high school.


What are we doing with that 1%?
"Christians don't change culture by critiquing culture. They change culture by making culture." - Andy Crouch

I heard from a girl who visited our youth group this past week.  She had some encouraging words about how welcome she felt, and thanked us for that.  I've always hoped that more than anything else, students would feel welcomed, accepted, and loved - just as they are - in our gatherings.  If they don't feel welcomed and loved by us, I feel like we're hindering the message of a God who welcomes and loves them.

Her comment, though it was encouraging, made me realize again that every time a young person walks through our doors, they enter in to a culture that we've created.  They'll either feel accepted or rejected, welcomed or shunned, encouraged or torn down, loved or ignored.

I want to make sure that we don't spend our time bashing "the world" and talking about what a dark place it is, and offer nothing alternative in return.  Instead, I want to present to students an alternative culture and way - one based on the radical and relentless love of Jesus.

What kind of culture are you creating in your youth ministry?
That's my kid!  :)