Posted by Kendall Harmon

So often, when faced with their own limits, the young people I meet turn to music. They turn to the artists who can articulate (perhaps more clearly than they can) precisely what they’re feeling. So how do we engage?

It all starts with listening. It always starts with listening. Listening to young people, listening to their music and listening to the struggles and joys of their daily lives.

What comes next is the hard part: accompanying young people in the midst of the pains and struggles of everyday life, and welcoming them into the story we call our own: the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

I said earlier that this is hard. But it shouldn’t be. In fact, in my experience, it isn’t hard at all. Looking for companions when forced to confront the limits of human existence, young people constantly blow me away with their deep desire for some good news. We’re good-news people. We’ve got plenty to share.

And yet we need to start by listening.

Read it all from the Anglican Journal.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchMusicReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologySoteriology

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Posted May 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We expect a certain level of theological sophistication from our preaching pastors. They must at least know church history, systematic theology, and hopefully some Greek and Hebrew so they can properly interpret and apply the biblical text. We're confident that when we approach them with questions about the canonization of Scripture, the implications of the incarnation, and the doctrine of the body and sexuality, their learning will aid us in responding faithfully to such pressing questions in our culture. If anything the world bears down with even greater ferocity on the fledging faith of Christian youth. So why should we expect less theological rigor from our youth pastors who serve them through teaching, counseling, and more? Every youth minister needs to be a theologian, whether formally or informally equipped to handle God's Word with integrity and care. This new 10-minute video feature insights from David Plant, director of youth ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City; Cameron Cole, director of youth ministries at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama; and Liz Edrington, who is pursuing her master's degree in counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando.

Read and watch it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted May 20, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Welcome Richard Giersch! As our new Director of Student Ministries, Rich will focus on transforming the hearts of our 6th-12 graders. Rich joins us with a wealth of experience and spiritual depth. Since 1988, Rich has been ministering to teenagers working with such organizations as Young Life and St. Andrews Church, Mount Pleasant. Rich was also ordained as an Anglican Priest and served as the interim Rector of Resurrection Fellowship Anglican Church in Greenville, SC.

Rich is married to Holly and they have two sons, Griffin and Oliver. Rich graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and has produced two Christian C-D’s of original songs.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* South Carolina

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Posted March 9, 2014 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Julian Henderson, said the event was a different way of engaging young people.

Read and watch it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted February 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, by whose grace thy servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryYouth Ministry* International News & CommentaryEuropeHungary

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Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Youth leaders must be able to speak God's truth into the given circumstances of a student's life. If you're ready, this can occur spontaneously while riding in a car, playing Settlers of Catan, or taking part in a service project. No formulas. Just two people listening and responding to one another, their stories made sense through his.

Of course, there's no shortage of helpful methods for learning Scripture. One that's shaped me personally is regular group meditation. By "meditation" I mean part rote memorization (chapter and verse) and part prayerful imagination. Beginning on my own, I like to prayerfully consider a cluster of verses based around a particular biblical topic—say, the church.1 Over a week or so, a brief conversational narrative begins to form in my mind that sufficiently explains the topic in a way that's both orthodox and also unique to my personality. My primary purpose is to know God better through his text, then to share it with others doing the same thing. Once I can distill from a cloud of ideas one or two pithy thesis-like statements, I know I've spent transformative time with his Word and am ready to share and discuss with my leader friends.

Sharing is as an act of fellowship. It encourages accountability to the task and is an opportunity to learn from others. As I'm shaped by my time in Scripture, I'm sustained in the valley, and my functional trust in Scripture increases. When we experience and model rich biblical thinking, the incomparable wisdom and power of God's truth is made apparent not only to ourselves, but to others as well.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 18, 2013 at 9:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Empowered21 Next Gen Youth Leaders Network (NGYN21) hosted a summit comprised of youth leaders from around the globe. The youth leaders discussed topics such as Spirit-empowered living in the 21st century, the impact of the Holy Spirit on discipleship and developing young Spirit-empowered disciples in the ministry.

“We seem to think there is a different method used in other countries,” said Christ for All Nations President Daniel Kolenda. “The gospel works with humanity and all cultures. We were created to receive it. Just preach its simplicity and let the Holy Spirit do the drawing. God is going to give our generation a message that is so old, they think it is new. The hub is the gospel of salvation; the other spokes will align.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults

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Posted November 18, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When we step back and take a deep breath, we come to understand that there is much at which to wonder. The Rev. Bill Cliff, Huron University College’s chaplain, is fond of saying, “If the gospel isn’t astonishing, you’re not reading it right.”

If we’re going to engage in Christian youth ministry that matters, we need to reawaken our sense of awe, wonder and astonishment. If we are not captivated by the Christian story, how can we expect our children to find it relevant?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry

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Posted October 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Several years ago, as I watched our diocese and our church head towards the inevitable break with the national church and as I watched churches struggle with hard decisions on the uniqueness of Christ, the authority of scripture, or any other number of issues I went on a journey to see if I really fit in the Anglican Church. Part of my issue was a fear that there would be no professional home for me in the coming years, and I might as well see if I am truly Anglican or if perhaps I was Baptist or some sort of non-denominational Christian… The other issue I struggled with was reconciling my theology with the theology of the National Episcopal Church (who claimed to be Anglican). So I started searching my heart and mind for what I believed, as well as what scripture says to see what Christianity is supposed to be about. And while I am definitely not the scholar that Father Greg is, and while my understanding of pork products and the sacraments pales in comparison with Father Free’s, I hope you might find what I have to say somewhat helpful… In understanding my journey, and in a brief introduction to what we Anglicans believe.

Now I should start by saying that I am not Anglican by birth. I was not a cradle Episcopalian. I was baptized in an Episcopal church as an infant, but through a series of events I grew up in a rural Methodist church. Please don’t hold that against me or my parents… So I can’t claim to be Anglican because it is all I have known. In fact, when I visited an Episcopal church for the first time, I had to come to grips with the fact that it existed at all. My Methodist training and upbringing had neglected to tell me about the Episcopal Church. I didn’t even know it was there. So I claim no birthright.

And to be fair, I went to an Episcopal church because I thought a girl was cute. I was a teenager, a rather typical one actually, whose mind was less on theology and more on what my girlfriend was wearing. So I can’t even claim to have chosen the Episcopal Church. In many ways it chose me. A group of loving adults pointed the teenage me to the Jesus of the Bible, prayed that I might come into a saving relationship with Christ, and then proceeded to disciple me. Anglicans chose me, not the other way around. But a few years ago, I no longer could rest on that fact. It was time for me to choose.

As I searched my heart, and indeed the Bible, one thing was evident to me… Scripture is very important! I know that many of you hold to a very high view of scripture – in fact you would agree with St. Paul as he reminds Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “All scripture is breathed out by God…”. That the Bible is God’s very word! That God inspired its creation, and He speaks through His word today. But the Bible has an author (God) and an audience (us). While God breathed out the scriptures of the Old Testament and the New Testament, he did so for his glory and our transformation. Paul continues in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is breathed out by God… and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” The Bible is sparked by the divine, with all His authority. In fact, because it comes from God it’s profitable for little ‘ol me. God’s word can transform my heart and my life. And through that transformation, I might be made more and more into the image of Christ, ultimately leading to righteousness.

So, I wanted a church that thought as highly about the word of God as I do. I want a church that encourages us to daily take in God’s word, ponder its meaning, apply it to our lives, and live it out according to God’s purpose. So what is the Anglican Church’s view of scripture? Please turn with me to page 877 of the Book of Common Prayer… To the Chicago – Lambeth Quadrilateral and the Lambeth Conference of 1888…

A quarter of the way down the page, you will see a number one. It proclaims, “The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the revealed word of God.” And if you scan further down the page to the “A” under the Lambeth Conference, it reads, “The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as ‘containing all things necessary to salvation,’ and as being the ultimate rule and standard of faith.”

So, what does that mean? Simply, it means the Anglican Church, and St. John’s, hold a high view of scripture. It contains all things necessary to our salvation. In the Bible, the gospel is proclaimed to us, in it the grace of God is demonstrated for us, in it we are called to repentance, in the Bible our identity in Christ is made clear to us, and through it we are strengthened by God’s Holy Spirit to live redeemed lives. And we can see the Anglican Church’s view of scripture in this very service. We enter in prayer and then sit under the word of God as it is read to us from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the New Testament, and as if that weren’t enough, even from the Gospels as well. No other flavor of Christianity (that I know of) spends so much time in the word of God. And then to cap it all off, the priest stands up to teach us from God’s perfect word. I sought a church that held a high view of scripture, and in the Anglican Church I found a wonderful home.


And while I tend to view myself as a good boy steeped in the Reformed tradition, I realized that scripture called Christians to do more than just study God’s word endlessly. That we were to live in our world, proclaiming Christ crucified. That indeed we are connected to the historic church through the centuries… That we are to profess the faith of the early church Fathers… And we profess this faith; we summarize what we believe, through the Apostle’s and Nicene creeds.

You know, I was trained many years ago how to interact with the random Jehovah’s witnesses that showed up at my door by telling them exactly what I believe. I was taught to do that by sharing the Nicene Creed. The creeds effectively sum up what the Bible teaches us about our faith… Who God the father is, who his son Jesus Christ is, who the Holy Spirit is, and what the church is. I hold fast to the creeds, especially in recent years.

It seems like every day there is a new preacher, interpreting scripture in a new way, telling us that God really meant this or that. And the best way I have found to combat that is through searching scripture for answers the church has been giving for nearly 2000 years. In the creeds, the doctrine of the church is summed up for us.

If you look back at your prayer book, number 2 and “B” both point us to the use of creeds to sum up our faith. To keep us in check… To make sure that we don’t wonder from essential truth’s about God due to our own selfishness. This is so crucial! In Malachi 3:6, God tells the Israelites, “…I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” I’m sure you have heard it said that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And that is what the verse in Malachi is telling us. That God doesn’t change his mind – He doesn’t go back on his promises… He doesn’t think one thing is sinful one day and then come back to us another day to tell us there is no more sin. And because God doesn’t change his mind, the church shouldn’t either. So when someone argues the deity of Jesus – we point them to the creeds. When the uniqueness of Christ is questioned – we point them to the creeds. When the Holy Spirit is denied – we point to the creeds. So we as a church must continue to profess the same God as the first Christians did. And we do that by learning the doctrine that the creeds teach us. The creeds are useful summaries of our historic faith.

Father Greg has told me several times that the Nicene Creed is placed after the sermon in Rite I and II services to stand as a correction if the preacher wonders too far from the truth found in scriptures. I hope that isn’t too necessary today!

So as I see it, we need the Nicene and Apostles creeds to ensure that we are holding on to the faith of the historic church, to scare away Jehovah’s witnesses, and to correct false teaching.

I feel like this might be getting a bit serious or stiff, and in my training as a youth minister I was taught to break up your teaching as often as necessary to keep people’s attention, to let their minds ponder what you have just shared, and to let the Holy Spirit work on their hearts. So let’s take a momentary detour.

In 1996, I went off to college… Well, by off I mean that I went to the College of Charleston, which is essentially just down the street. And what I wound up studying while I was at college was history. I love history. And my wife doesn’t… I am constantly trying to tell her that I love history because it connects me to the people who came before me. I enjoy going to civil war sites and thinking about the brave soldiers that stood there long ago. I like to think about what they were doing, feeling, and seeing. I love going into old churches and sitting in the pews. I like to think of the countless people who have sat in that seat seeking God’s voice, crying out to him in pain, or praising God’s holy name. I love history. I am so honored to stand here, knowing that great Bible teachers have stood here proclaiming the word of God, that missionaries who have given their lives wholly to God stood on this ground sharing what God is doing through them, that children have grown up at St. John’s and then stood in this spot to proclaim who God is. I love history.

And as I searched my heart and the scriptures I saw that history matters. We see the importance of history in the genealogies of Jesus… We see the importance of history in God’s unchanging promises… If you think about it, that is exactly what God is telling the Israelites in Malachi, that he doesn’t change. He is telling them that his promises don’t change. That verse tells us that history, what God has done and said, matters.

So I longed for a church that understood history. I wanted a church that was connected to the ancient church. It’s like the creeds in that respect. I wanted to be sure that the body of Christ I belonged to was the body that Jesus set to create through the early apostles and by his death on the cross. And that is exactly what the Anglican Church offers. Please look with me at the prayer book again. Number 4 and “D” both tell us about the history of our church. It reads, “The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church.” That is a dizzying sentence.

I might need to offer a simple definition… Episcopate = bishops.

We are a church run by Bishops. And as a lay person, that can frustrate me at times. That someone is in authority over me. But many times scripture reminds us that we are not our ultimate authority.

Take 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 for example; “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly because of their work…” Paul is reminding the people of Thessalonica that God has put others over them. And in Ephesians 4:11-12, Paul says, “(God) gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for ministry…” Our Bishops, priests, and leaders are gifts from God! Sometimes it is hard to see that, but think back to our recent struggles with the National Episcopal Church… Who would not count Bishop Lawrence as a gift from God? Who would not count our vestry and priests as gifts from God? And Paul goes on to tell us in Romans 13:1 what our respect for God’s gift of leadership is to look like… “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

Now, I realize that Paul was talking about civil authorities, but let’s look at the principal. We submit to the authority God puts over us. In the church the authorities over us are bishops and priests. That God calls to lead us, to shepherd us, to teach us, to equip us for ministry, to counsel us, to love us as God loves us… So we submit – we surrender ourselves (our wills and our authority) to their authority, as they submit themselves to Christ Jesus.

But you might have noticed that I skipped a word that the Chicago – Lambeth Quadrilateral and the Lambeth Conference both use: Historic. And by now you know I love that word. So not only are we a church run by bishops, our bishops can trace a line back to the earliest apostles. So we are an ancient church, confessing the truths that Jesus taught his disciples. I love that, don’t you? Knowing that we aren’t adrift on a sea by ourselves… But that we are connected to a church that spans 2000 years of history. I love that we are connected to a church whose body covers the entire globe. We are connected to that church by the very bishops God puts in authority over us today. That Bishop Lawrence is connected all the way back to the founding apostles. Amazing!

Some of you tuned out the last few minutes either because I was talking about history or because I was talking about someone being in authority over us. All I can say is… I’m sorry?

There is one more aspect of Anglicanism that I have fallen in love with: The Sacraments. Please look one more time at your Book of Common Prayer. Number 3 and letter “C” talk about the importance of the sacrament to the Anglican Church. Letter “C” on page 878 says, “The two Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of Institution, and of the elements ordained by Him.”

I love that the sacraments are the visible, tangible signs of what Jesus is doing and has done for us. I love that they are the very things that Jesus did when he walked the Earth – that he ordained them Himself. I love that he gave them to us. I love that through them I am receiving the grace of God.

For example… Every Sunday, as I am invited by the priest to come to the Holy Table, I am aware of how much I don’t deserve to be called to feast with the Lord. I am aware of what Jesus did on the cross to secure my spot at the table… I am aware that God is looking past my sinful nature and at Jesus, whose sacrifice covers me – and He is calling me his child. Telling me to take my seat… And then he feeds me… And not just with any food, but with spiritual food… The body and blood of Jesus himself, shed for us that we might come to God’s table. It is clear to me that God’s grace rests upon us as we approach his altar. And I love that! Don’t you?

Because sometimes it is hard for me to think in abstracts, and I need that visible – tangible – outward sign of God’s grace. And we have that in the sacraments.

I realize this has been a long sermon, and there is much more that could be said or taught about what makes us Anglican. But I’m going to stop here and ask you a question.

Why does this matter? What difference does it make if we are Anglican or not? That was a question that I wrestled with for quite some time. And to answer it, I need to tell you about fishing tackle… Before I had kids (when there was such a thing as ‘Rob’ time), I loved to go fishing. I honestly didn’t care if I caught too much, I just liked to be on or near the water, with a line in the water – waiting to see what I might bring up. And one thing I learned while fishing in front of my in-laws house was that you need the right sinker for the right type of water.

When the tide is slack, you can use a small, light sinker – the current isn’t pulling it away from you very hard. When the tide is coming in our out – you need a larger sinker (or more than one) to fight against the current. To reach the depth you want to fish in…

Well, the current of our culture, our world is a hard and fast moving current. It pushes us – and it even pushes churches… The culture will try to erode our thinking on biblical issues, tell us that Jesus is just another great teacher – an example to emulate… But He is not God. It will tell us that we have been reading the Bible all wrong, and that we should skip certain parts of scripture because they have no meaning in our world. The culture will tell us – will push and pull us – to be just like them.

So we need a good sinker. And Anglicanism has four heavy sinkers…
1. We hold fast to God’s word. We know it comes from Him and is useful for our transformation and His glory. So we read it, we teach it, we study it, we seek to live it…
2. We use the creeds to summarize our faith and to be a solid foundation of doctrine for us to stand on. Fighting hard against the current of our culture – refusing to change our beliefs since God himself does not change.
3. Anglicans are not a fly by night kind of church. We can trace our roots back to the earliest church. So our sinker is heavy, and we run our church as scripture asks us to – with people submitting to the authority put over them, even as the leaders of our church submit to Christ himself.
4. And our last sinker is the visible and outward sign of God’s grace for us. The sacraments. I am so thankful that Anglicans did not throw out the sacraments like many other churches during the reformation – since they are a means of God’s grace for us.

All four of these sinkers, when held faithfully together, are enough to drop us down through the fastest current. They anchor us to Christ and the church he died to create. And they work together making us Anglican. That is why this matters. And that is why I am an Anglican.

--Mr. Rob Schluter is the Youth Minister at Saint John's, John's Island, S.C. (and this is posted with his kind permission)


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Identity* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / HomileticsYouth Ministry* Theology

3 Comments
Posted October 14, 2013 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By his own admission, San Antonio youth minister Gavin Rogers has a knack for making his parents worry.

In 2012, as minister to youth and families at Trinity Baptist Church, he observed Lent by living as a homeless person, dodging cops, sleeping under bridges and wrestling with hunger.

Rogers, 31, has pushed the envelope of parental stress again, this time by making a five-day visit to Egypt just a few weeks after violent, deadly riots swept over the nation.

“When I told my parents about the homeless journey, my mom was really worried,” Rogers said. “With this one, my dad wasn’t too happy.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureViolence* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesBaptistsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

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Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all, and note the participation of Cameron Cole, director of student ministries at Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults

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Posted September 26, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The Church has been too slow in terms of putting structures in place," said Youth Co-ordinator for the Church of the Province of Central Africa, Fr Robert Sihubwa. "While we acknowledge the verbal commitment, the lack of funding commitments indicates slow movement."

Tony Lawrence is the Provincial Youth Co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. He told ACNS, "Changing our approaches and actively focusing on the ministry to children and young people is critical for the growth and survival of the Church."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Southern Africa* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAfricaSouth Africa

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Posted September 14, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Southern church culture, including Birmingham, celebrates nearly anyone who claims to reach teenagers. We often assume the inherent goodness of any ministry that draws large numbers. And we idolize reaching the next generation to the point that we largely ignore what we are winning them with and what we are winning them to. Despite warning signs, youth pastors continued to take busloads of teenagers to The Basement and Christian radio relentlessly promoted Pitt's meetings.

All the while The Basement's theology was largely ignored. Viewing the videos on The Basement's website reveals an exciting atmosphere that lacks substantial understanding of God as revealed in his Word. Pitt's sermons might have been "in your face," but they did not point teens to the Bible and the gospel message revealed in it. Much of the public also ignored the Bible's teaching about character in leaders because Pitt claimed to have a "calling" from God to lead this ministry. And who could question his results?

But internal calling is only part of what it means to be a gospel minister.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureTeens / YouthUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted August 30, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the late 1990’s the face of youth ministry was this big, overblown monstrosity of thrills and excitement, and I was all in. I simply assumed that if there were more games than God, I would draw more students with the entertainment, and hope to keep them engaged. However, in recent years I discovered by listening to my students that they want more truth.

My leaders and students have a desire to make more of an emphasis on four things these days: the Gospel, the Scriptures, discipleship, and missions, which was not the case when I started in youth ministry fifteen years ago.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry

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Posted June 17, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, at the southern end of Seabrook Island, marks its 75th anniversary with a three-day celebration beginning June 22.

Most of the scheduled events are free and open to the public.

Read it all and please take the time to look at the special website for this event.



Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedYouth Ministry* South Carolina

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Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When I first started in youth ministry, I did everything I could think of to attract and engage high school youth. I held monthly social events and service projects. My Sunday school classes and weekly youth group meetings included crazy games, youth-only worship with contemporary Christian music, and discussions of relevant topics.

I chose topics based on what I thought youth cared about, so we talked a lot about friendships, sex and alcohol. While I tied these topics to scripture, I rarely focused on Jesus. I assumed that the youth, who had grown up in the church, already knew the Jesus story well and were likely to be bored by it. Rather than help students cultivate a lifelong relationship with Christ, I focused on getting them to live a Christian lifestyle. I had zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior.

Only a handful of the youth I worked with in that year are attending church today. My extensive efforts at reaching them seem to have made little difference.

Research suggests that my approach to ministry was not unusual—nor was the outcome. According to research by the Fuller Youth Institute, 40 to 50 percent of kids who are part of a youth group in high school fail to stick with their faith in college. To find out why, researchers at FYI conducted a six-year, comprehensive and longitudinal study from 2004 to 2010 called the College Transition Project. The study’s findings are found in Sticky Faith: Practical Ideas to Nurture Long-Term Faith in Teenagers, a 2011 book by Kara E. Powell, Brad M. Griffin and Cheryl A. Crawford.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyTeens / Youth* TheologyAnthropologySoteriology

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Posted June 5, 2013 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all. The preface alone, to his two sons and only daughter, is wonderful--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedYouth Ministry* Theology

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Posted April 29, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I would especially like to draw your attention to the article entitled "St. Christopher Celebrating 75th Diamond Anniversary on June 22-24--"read it all (pdf).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPastoral CareYouth Ministry* South Carolina

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Posted April 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly 400 people attended the 222nd Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina at the Francis Marion Performing Arts Center in Florence, South Carolina, March 8-9, 2013.

"Wasn't the worship incredible last night?" said Patricia Smith, remarking on the Convention's Friday evening service of Holy Eucharist. Smith is a member of St. Paul's, Summerville, and attended with her husband who is a delegate. "I felt like I was coming in to the gates of heaven. It had that triumphant sound. I guess, now that we've made a stand there was a unity, a lack of confusion. We were uniting in worship. It felt like God's favor was there."

For the second time the Convention voted unanimously to remove all references to The Episcopal Church from the Diocese's constitution--the final step in severing their ties to the denomination they helped to found in 1789, five years after the South Carolina Convention first met in 1785.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedYouth MinistrySpirituality/Prayer* South Carolina* TheologyApologetics

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Posted March 13, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At our convention last March I stressed two dimensions of our diocesan calling: Our vocation to make Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age working in relationship with Anglican Provinces and dioceses around the world; and secondly our calling to make disciples by planting new congregations as well as growing and strengthening our existing parishes and missions in an era of sweeping institutional decline among almost all of the mainline denominations. These remain two constants for us today even while so much around us is in flux. You will be relieved to hear that it is not my intention in this address to retrace the road we have traveled in these intervening months since our Special Convention on November 17th. Suffice it to say that since these two dimensions of our common life and vocation remained unshaken when the tectonic plates of the diocese shifted, I remain convinced that they were God’s mandate for us then and they are God’s mandate for us now. The reason for this is two-fold: What is at stake in this theological and moral crisis that has swallowed up the Anglican Communion since the latter years of the 20th Century is first and foremost, “What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as this Church has received it?” We did not create it and we cannot change what we have received. So what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Anglicans have received it? There is nothing in Anglicanism that cannot be found elsewhere among the churches of Christendom. What is unique is how we have blended certain aspects of what other churches hold together. But we have received a Gospel. What is it?

The second thing is “What will Anglicanism in the 21st Century look like?” While the former is the more important, the latter is the more complex. Put another way, proclaiming the Good News, “the whole counsel of God” as St. Paul declared in his parting address to the presbyters of Ephesus in Acts 20:27, that should be our first concern. Proclaiming the good news – the whole counsel of God. But the charge to “care for the Church of God, which he obtained with his blood” (Acts 20:28) or as our text last evening put it, “which he obtained with the blood of his son.” was also part of St. Paul’s charge to the bishop-presbyters. If we apply this second charge to take care of the church of God, which he obtained, with the blood of his son, if we apply this charge to ourselves – those of us whose leadership is in this vineyard where the Lord has placed us – I believe this means caring for emerging Anglicanism in the 21st Century. Frankly, this caring for Anglicanism in the 21st century gets wearisome at times, painful almost daily, exhausting, but it is a charge we cannot relinquish without abandoning our vocation. What does this mean specifically for us here in this Diocese of South Carolina? Let me take up three aspects of this charge as it I believe it applies to us.

Read it all and a pdf version is available top right of the page.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPastoral CareYouth Ministry* South Carolina* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted March 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than 350 people are expected to attend the 222nd Annual Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina at the Francis Marion Performing Arts Center in Florence, March 8-9. The last time the Convention was held in Florence was 1976.

This year the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, the 14th Bishop of South Carolina, is focusing on the future. “We cannot afford to focus on the backward glance,” said Lawrence “Christ calls us to look forward and carry out the Great Commission to make disciples and to proclaim the Gospel to a hurting world.”

This year’s convention workshops are designed to equip the Diocese’s lay members and clergy for the work of ministry. Bishop Lawrence promised that such workshops would be key parts of future annual Diocesan Conventions....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedYouth Ministry* South Carolina* TheologyApologetics

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Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today...the church may look healthy on the outside, but it has swallowed the fatal pills. The evidence is stacking up: the church is dying and, for the most part, we are refusing the diagnosis.

What evidence? Take a gander at these two shocking items:

1. 20-30 year olds attend church at 1/2 the rate of their parents and ¼ the rate of their grandparents. Think about the implication for those of us in youth ministry: Thousands of us have invested our lives in reproducing faith in the next generation and the group we were tasked with reaching left the church when they left us.

2. 61% of churched high school students graduate and never go back! (Time Magazine, 2009) Even worse: 78% to 88% of those in youth programs today will leave church, most to never return. (Lifeway, 2010) Please read those last two statistics again. Ask yourself why attending a church with nothing seems to be more effective at retaining youth than our youth programs.

We look at our youth group now and we feel good. But the youth group of today is the church of tomorrow, and study after study after study suggests that what we are building for the future is…

…empty churches.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEcclesiologyPastoral Theology

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Posted September 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Youth ministry researcher Chap Clark says, “I’m convinced that the single most important area where we’ve lost ground with kids is in our commitment and ability to ground them in God’s Word.”

As a result, Barry Shafer says, “The church today, including both the adult and teenage generations, is in an era of rampant biblical illiteracy.” Duffy Robbins takes this one step further when he says: “Our young people have become incapable of theological thinking because they don’t have any theology to think about. … And, as Paul warns us, this … leaves us as ‘infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching’ (Ephesians 4:14).”

At the conclusion of the National Study of Youth and Religion, lead researcher Christian Smith reported: “Even though most teens are very positive about religion and say it’s a good thing, the vast majority are incredibly inarticulate about religion. … It doesn’t seem to us that many teens are being very well-educated in their faith traditions.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted September 19, 2012 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is bad news for boys in North America: They are being blown out of the water by girls in academic achievement; and psychologists say young men are becoming more socially awkward, making relationships with young women difficult.

Sidney Gale, a medical doctor and author of Unto the Breach, an outdoor adventures book for boys, is concerned..."We need to get boys out of their solitary bedrooms and into the sun," Gale says. "It's also a good idea to get them reading something other than tweets, texts and the like. They have intellect, and we should encourage them to use it."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologyTeens / YouthWomenYoung Adults

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Posted August 26, 2012 at 3:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The house lights go down. Spinning, multicolored lights sweep the auditorium. A rock band launches into a rousing opening song. "Ignore everyone else, this time is just about you and Jesus," proclaims the lead singer. The music changes to a slow dance tune, and the people sing about falling in love with Jesus. A guitarist sporting skinny jeans and a soul patch closes the worship set with a prayer, beginning, "Hey God …" The spotlight then falls on the speaker, who tells entertaining stories, cracks a few jokes, and assures everyone that "God is not mad at you. He loves you unconditionally."

After worship, some members of the church sign up for the next mission trip, while others decide to join a small group where they can receive support on their faith journey. If you ask the people here why they go to church or what they value about their faith, they'll say something like, "Having faith helps me deal with my problems."

Fifty or sixty years ago, these now-commonplace elements of American church life were regularly found in youth groups but rarely in worship services and adult activities. What happened? Beginning in the 1930s and '40s, Christian teenagers and youth leaders staged a quiet revolution in American church life that led to what can properly be called the juvenilization of American Christianity. Juvenilization is the process by which the religious beliefs, practices, and developmental characteristics of adolescents become accepted as appropriate for adults. It began with the praiseworthy goal of adapting the faith to appeal to the young, which in fact revitalized American Christianity. But it has sometimes ended with both youth and adults embracing immature versions of the faith. In any case, white evangelicals led the way.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

4 Comments
Posted June 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Christian community is struggling to remain connected with the next generation of teens and young adults. In particular, the church is “losing” many young creatives (like designers, artists, writers, musicians, and actors) as well as young science-minded students (such as medical students, engineers, biologists and mathematicians).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureYoung Adults

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Posted May 1, 2012 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new longitudinal study of 500 youth group graduates may provide some answers. Conducted by the Fuller Youth Institute at Fuller Theological Seminary, the study followed the graduates through their years in college or vocational school. The results are compiled in a book, "Sticky Faith: Everyday ideas to build lasting faith in your kids" (Zondervan).

Some of the suggestions aren't surprising (for instance, the level of church involvement by parents plays a key role in a teen maintaining their faith walk). Other suggestions, though, may surprise Christian leaders.

Baptist Press asked Sticky Faith co-author Kara E. Powell -- executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute -- about the research....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults

1 Comments
Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From the perspective of one who values freedom of choice, individualism, and the market, the proliferation of new translations and paraphrases of the Bible must seem, on the whole, a good thing. From a perspective that places a greater value on theological probity, spiritual understanding in the laity, and coherence in the witness of the Church, however, the plethora of English translations and the Babel-like confusion of tongues they create is arguably a calamity. While every new translation is evidently a “market opportunity” and may express in some way the particular slant or voice of individual denominations on certain doctrines, the dissonance and “white noise” of competing Bibles tends to confuse rather than clarify discussion across denominational boundaries. In fact, the “Babel effect” intensifies the confusion.

In addition to new translations, we now have a plethora of “niche” editions, like the “Revolve” magazine-format Bibles, aimed at pre-pubescent girls, whichincludes marginal tips on how to put on makeup and deal with two admiring boys at the same time, or The Veggie Tales Full Text NIV Bible, the NIV Faithgirlz Backpack Bible (in periwinkle blue with a green flower!), the NIV Bible for Busy Dads (or perhaps for dads who aren’t quite busy enough), the Holman CSB Sportsman’s Bible (in camouflage, natch). If you are tired of your mother’s old Bible, which printed the words of Jesus in red, you can choose a more trendy Green Bible, with all the eco-sensitive passages printed in green ink. If you are a feisty woman unfazed by possibly misdirected allusions, then maybe you would like the Woman Thou art Loosed edition of the NKJV. If perchance you should be a high-end of the TV-channel charismatic, there are “prophecy Bibles” coded in several colors to justify your eschatology of choice. If you are a devotee of the U.S. Constitution (the document, not the ship), Tolle Lege Press offers the 1599 Geneva Bible, Patriot’s Edition, complete with a frontispiece portrait of George Washington, a prayer by him, and facsimile reproductions of the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution of the United States of America (with the Amendments), and finally, a tract on Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior by George Washington.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeBiblical Commentary & ReflectionChurch HistoryParish MinistryAdult EducationPreaching / HomileticsYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchBooksEducationHistoryReligion & Culture* TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted February 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is critical for church leadership to challenge believers to be in the Word of God, consistently growing in their knowledge of the Scriptures. One way to do that is to teach and encourage study of the Scriptures in the context of the grand narrative of redemption. I try to read the Bible in the way it unfolds. The Bible is not a series of isolated morality tales. Instead, by looking at it as a whole through a Christ-centered lens, I read the Scriptures with the whole story of redemption in mind....

Churches today face some big challenges. One of the greatest is the evangelical angst occurring in North America. Evangelicals in our country are just not sure of who they are or where they're going.

Perhaps what evangelicals need most right now is a strategy for biblical literacy. We need to reengage the biblical narrative and immerse ourselves in consistent study. It will help us be more gracious and winsome in the way we communicate. It will help us have a clearer view on controversial issues. It will help us to understand and communicate a clear Gospel as laid out in the Scriptures -- a Gospel of the cross and of the Kingdom. The Word of God is essential to where we are right now.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedYouth Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted November 22, 2011 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why do young Christians leave the church?

New research by the Barna Group finds they view churches as judgmental, overprotective, exclusive and unfriendly towards doubters. They also consider congregations antagonistic to science and say their Christian experience has been shallow.

The findings, the result of a five-year study, are featured in You Lost Me: Why Young Christians are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith, a new book by Barna president David Kinnaman. The project included a study of 1,296 young adults who were current or former churchgoers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

2 Comments
Posted October 13, 2011 at 6:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While many pastors and parents have heard horror stories about children straying into dark corners online, few are aware of just how common these problems have become — even in their sanctuaries and homes.

This is the kind of danger and sin that religious leaders often fear discussing, precisely because these realities have not remained bottled up in the secular world. Thus, Heil urged his listeners to ponder the following statistics in his presentation, drawn from mainstream research in the past year:

• Two-thirds of Americans under the age of 18 have reported some kind of negative experience while online. Only 45 percent of their parents are aware of this.

• Forty-one percent of children say they have been approached online by some kind of stranger, possibly an older predator.

Read it all, another from the long line of should-have-already-been-posted material.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenReligion & CultureScience & TechnologyTeens / Youth

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Posted September 5, 2011 at 11:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Challenging the cultural climate is a major component of the new apologetics, said Sean McDowell, head of Worldview Ministries. "The apologetics resurgence has been sparked ultimately by teens who are asking more questions about why people believe the things they do," he said. "Those who thought that kids in a postmodern world don't want an ideology were wrong."

Greg Stier, founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries, agrees. "[Teens] are aware of the latent apologetic conversations in culture—Harry Potter, for example—and want to react," he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyApologetics

0 Comments
Posted September 4, 2011 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Irish society is not just suffering from the sex abuse scandal but from a failure to pass on the faith to the younger generation, said the archbishop of Dublin.

"We have to completely, radically change the way we pass on the faith," Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told Catholic News Service May 16. "Our parishes are not places where evangelization and catechesis are taking place."

The archbishop traveled to Washington to present the Order of Malta Inaugural Lecture, "Faith and Service: the Unbreakable Bond." During his speech and in remarks to CNS beforehand, he spoke of the declining practice of the faith in Dublin -- 18 percent of Catholics regularly attend Sunday Mass -- and of the need to give young people responsibility in the parish to reinvigorate them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchTeens / YouthYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* Theology

7 Comments
Posted May 18, 2011 at 5:52 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Within the Church," the Pontiff said, "believers' first steps along the way of Christ must always be accompanied by a sound catechesis that will allow them to flourish in faith, love and service."

He continued: "Christian revelation, when accepted in freedom and by the working of God's grace, transforms men and women from within and establishes a wonderful, redemptive relationship with God our heavenly Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit.

"This is the heart of the message we teach, this is the great gift we offer in charity to our neighbor: a share in the very life of God."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationYouth Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 17, 2011 at 1:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fifteen teens and youth minister, Oeland Camp, from St. Paul’s, Summerville walked 4.4 miles from Summerville’s town square to the I-26 overpass and back carrying wooden crosses Saturday. Cole Sanders, an 18-year-old Pinewood Preparatory student came up with the idea after seeing the “famous man who carries his cross across town.”

“I thought ‘Why don’t I do that?’” Sanders said. “I told all my friends and this happened.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekParish MinistryYouth Ministry* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted April 27, 2011 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York and more than 30 bishops committed themselves to making young people a priority in the Church of England, when they attended a conference held in Sheffield last week.

The Regeneration Youth Summit took place at St Thomas’s, Phila­delphia Campus, on Thursday of last week, and was organised by the Church Army, the Archbishop of York Youth Trust, and a group of young people, including Sam Follett, aged 20, the youngest member of the General Synod.

More than 120 people aged from 15 to 21, and about 30 youth workers, discussed ways of better equipping the Church to reach out to young people. All delegates were invited to sign a pledge committing to the work of the Church and young people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted March 11, 2011 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Moving Images, Changing Lives by Sarah Brush and Phil Greig uses popular films to engage young people creatively with the themes and ideas associated with Confirmation and discipleship via a course of 11 sessions.

There are clips from more than 30 films, including Star Wars: A New Hope (where Obi Wan Kenobi faces Darth Vader in combat), Bruce Almighty, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (showing the reanimation of life on earth), Big Fish, The Miracle Maker, Notting Hill, The Matrix, Dogma, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Dolores Umbridge's speech), The Passion of the Christ and The Life of Brian. All lead to discussions, the study of Scripture, fun ice-breakers and prayer.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry

0 Comments
Posted March 4, 2011 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Leaders from the Church of England have gathered in Sheffield to meet over 150 young people.

The Bishop of Sheffield, Right Reverend Dr Steven Croft attended the event at St Thomas' Church in Hillsborough alongside Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.

The event, called 'Regeneration' was a summit led by young people aged between 15 and 21-years-old, giving them an opportunity to talk about how young people feature in the churches agenda.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

2 Comments
Posted March 4, 2011 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than 100 young people are preparing to meet with Church of England bishops at a national summit in Sheffield where the future of the church will be discussed.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, will be attending the Regeneration Youth Summit on March 3rd along with more than 25 bishops and 30 youth leaders.

Regeneration is being led by young people, aged between 15 and 21 years old, and offers them a unique opportunity to meet with bishops on their terms. Throughout the day they will seek to make the future generation a priority for the Church of England and discuss in small groups how the church can better equip, resource and reach young people in the UK.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted March 4, 2011 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check their website here; I will post more on this tomorrow.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchTeens / YouthYoung Adults

0 Comments
Posted March 3, 2011 at 6:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The study pointed out that relatives were most often esteemed because of goals accomplished, personality traits, and overcoming adversity, while friends were most highly regarded because of the encouragement and support they provide the teen. Faith leaders received recognition because of their strong spiritual convictions, their moral lifestyles, and because the teen hopes to pattern their lives like these leaders. Coaches and teachers also made the grade because teens hope to follow their lifestyles and because of the encouragement coaches and educators dole out.

Not surprisingly, entertainers and sports figures are recognized most often for their talent. However, the profiles of the two types of celebrities diverge from there. Entertainers earned teens’ attention not only with their humanitarian efforts but also with fashion and money. In contrast, sports stars scored points with teens based on their accomplishments as well as their ability to overcome adversity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & CultureTeens / Youth

0 Comments
Posted February 3, 2011 at 6:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...somewhere around the 10 year point in my own youth ministry experience, I began to realize that I was teaching on some of the same topics over and over again, and there was really no plan guiding me. Looking over the messages I had delivered over the previous three years, I discovered that we spent almost six times as much time in the New Testament as we did in the Old Testament; that we spent more time studying general topics than we spent studying specific biblical texts; and that our teaching curriculum was more a reflection of my training and biases than it was a reflection of the whole counsel of God.

I took my concerns to our volunteers and we began with the basic premise that we might have a student in our ministry for three years. On the basis of that assumption, and with input from our pastor and some members of our Youth Advisory Team, we developed a curriculum plan of topics and texts that we wanted our teenagers to be exposed to prior to graduation. For students who were in our youth group from grades 7-12, we decided there was no harm in their repeating the cycle a second time as long as we used different lesson plans.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist

1 Comments
Posted February 3, 2011 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A BBC Today audio report on this is described as follows:

A Church of England bishop has called on Anglican clergy to take the Church's message to young people by trying to address the fundamental questions of life and death. Dr Graham Kings, the Bishop of Sherborne, in Dorset, says a lack of religious knowledge is one of the causes of religious doubt. Robert Pigott reports.

Listen to it all (about 3 1/2 minutes).

You may also find much more about this ministry here.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchTeens / Youth* TheologyApologetics

1 Comments
Posted January 22, 2011 at 10:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

1. Is youth ministry killing the church? by Kate Murphy (February 4)
I've always met young Christians through youth programs. I've been hired by churches that expect regular events created exclusively to minister to young people. But I wonder now if we're ministering them right out of the church.

Read it all and follow the links to the articles/posts if you have not seen them.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaReligion & CultureTeens / Youth

0 Comments
Posted January 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you're the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning:

Your child is following a "mutant" form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.

Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls "moralistic therapeutic deism." Translation: It's a watered-down faith that portrays God as a "divine therapist" whose chief goal is to boost people's self-esteem.

Dean is a minister, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of "Almost Christian," a new book that argues that many parents and pastors are unwittingly passing on this self-serving strain of Christianity.

Read it all

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* Theology

7 Comments
Posted August 29, 2010 at 5:49 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Entertainment for the sake of entertainment is missing the point," said Cameron Cole, director of youth ministries at [Cathedral Church of the] Advent. "A lot of youth ministry focuses on entertainment and behavior modification, not on long-term spiritual formation. If there's no belief system that undergirds it, there's not much foundation on which to stand."

Anglican theologian Ashley Null, a chaplain for the U.S. Olympic team, led a discussion about pressures on youth ministers to entertain, draw numbers and "fix kids."

The push to perfection for both youth ministers and youth can be destructive, he said. "Are you pursuing perfection to your own harm?" he asked. He urged ministers to embrace God's grace and love of imperfection.

"Love does strange things to us," he said. "We gladly make changes out of love."

Read it all and enjoy thew lovely picture of Ashley Null.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* South Carolina* Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 15, 2010 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yes, evangelicals do have more retention of youth than mainline churches. But it is unfair to say that this is because evangelicals care more about keeping them. As someone who grew up as an evangelical and who is now in a mainline denomination, I see a different way of analyzing this trend. Rather than evangelicals caring more, they engage in the business of scaring more (sorry for the pun, it just worked well.)

Mainline denominations are uninterested in telling youth that they are going to burn in Hell if they don’t commit to Christianity and regularly come to church. Evangelicals, on the other hand, do. Mainline denominations are uninterested in guilting their members into attending; evangelicals see no problem with this. It’s a matter of philosophy. Evangelicals are consequentialists when it comes to youth formation–the end justifies the means. Mainline denominations are typically deontologists–if the means are not right, the action is wrong, even if good comes from it....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsLutheranMethodistPresbyterianUnited Church of Christ

4 Comments
Posted August 2, 2010 at 7:53 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Almighty God, from whom every good prayer cometh, and who pourest out on all who desire it the spirit of grace and supplication: Deliver us, when we draw near to thee, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind; that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affection we may worship thee in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

--William Bright

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth MinistrySpirituality/Prayer

1 Comments
Posted July 25, 2010 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Birmingham youth leader Helen Tomblin has jumped out of planes, abseiled down buildings and tackled white water rafting but she thinks she may have bitten off more than she can chew with her latest challenge – the Tough Guy.

Superfit Helen is aiming to complete the notorious course near Wolverhampton when Tough Guy holds its summer event, known as the Nettle Warrior, later this month.

And the 36-year-old from Stirchley is training flat out to ensure she is up to the grade for the gruelling run and assault course which attracts competitors from around the world.

Helen, who is the Bishop’s advisor for youth mission for the Anglican church in Birmingham, says she believes this may be her toughest challenge yet.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry

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Posted July 20, 2010 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Injustice is all around us: oil spews into the ocean, and people live in poverty around the world and in our own backyard. It seems like everything we buy is built at someone else’s expense. Where is truth found? Often, it’s in the most unlikely places. Young Anglicans will explore that quest for truth at this year’s Outreach Conference youth program, taking place Oct. 16.

The youth will listen to hip hop and read children’s stories, hear from each other, and connect their reflections to the parable of the talents. They will then learn about practical ways of responding to issues such as poverty, environmental destruction and corporate responsibility.

Meanwhile, the regular conference program will be highlighted by a keynote address by Ched Myers, a gifted author, theologian and justice advocate. Re-reading the Bible in light of concrete struggles against violence and oppression is a key focus for Mr. Myers. “I believe that the Judeo-Christian sacred story is the older, deeper and wiser tradition that has the power to transform our lives and our history – but only if we can overcome its domestication under the dominant culture,” he says.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry

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Posted July 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Evangelicals care more than mainline Protestants about keeping their young people in the faith. This is the striking conclusion James Wellman reaches in his fascinating book, “Evangelical vs. Liberal: The Clash of Christian Cultures in the Pacific Northwest” (Oxford). Based on observations, interviews, and focus group discussions with people from 24 evangelical and 10 mainline churches, all vital churches with stable or growing memberships, this lively book compares these two religious cultures in many ways. How people think about youth and youth ministry emerges as a key difference: “For evangelicals, if children and youth are not enjoying church, it is the church’s fault and evangelical parents either find a new church or try to improve their youth ministry. For liberals, the tendency is the reverse; if youth do not find church interesting it is their problem. Evangelicals are simply more interested and invested in reproducing the faith in their children and youth and their churches reflect this priority.”

Even though evangelical and mainline churches both lose many young people to the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated, and even though both groups lose more young people than they did before, evangelical churches still lose fewer young people than liberal churches lose. Evangelical families emphasize religion more than mainline families do, and evangelical churches involve young people in a denser social web of youth groups, church camps, and church-based socializing, all of which increase the chances that a young person will remain in the fold as an adult. This is one reason that evangelical denominations have not suffered the same membership declines in recent decades that more liberal, mainline denominations have suffered.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsLutheranPresbyterianUnited Church of Christ

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Posted July 15, 2010 at 9:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[GREG] COLLARD: It's not just a Charlotte problem. U.S. Census figures show almost two-thirds of African-American kids don't have a biological father living at home, and that can lead to other issues. A Justice Department report found the incarceration rate for black men in 2008 was six-and-a-half times that of white men.

Mr. WARREN BROWN (Bishop): We're not just going to visit you in prison, we're going to try to keep you out of prison.

COLLARD: That's Bishop Warren Brown speaking this month in Columbia, South Carolina, at what was billed The Great Gathering. Almost 7,000 people attended a meeting of the major black Methodist denominations: the AME, AME Zion and CME.

Mr. BROWN: We recognize that oftentimes we feel that we will deal with our young black men in the eighth or tenth grade. That's too late. We've got to work with them out of kindergarten.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPastoral CareYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMenRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

5 Comments
Posted March 25, 2010 at 6:17 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchSports* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted February 24, 2010 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When 17-year-old Anthony Turner was gunned down outside a city home early the morning of Nov. 1, 2009, siblings Emily Gibson, 14, and David Gibson, 17, knew they couldn't stay silent anymore. Anthony had attended East High School with the Gibson siblings, and the home he died in front of belonged to someone they knew from the Cathedral Community Youth Group.

Emily, David and other members of the Cathedral Community Youth Group decided they had to do something to try to stop the violence that plagues their neighborhoods. With the help of Belinda Brasley, the Cathedral Community's youth-ministry coordinator, the teens decided to hold a Teen Prayer for Peace, which took place at Sacred Heart Cathedral on the rainy evening of Jan. 24.

The lighting in the cathedral was dim that night, indicating the solemnity of the occasion. The mood of the approximately 50 people gathered there, however, was light. The teens and adults in the audience smiled as they murmured to one another before the event began.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolence* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted February 3, 2010 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Barna Group pollsters and the Innovating Tomorrow blog site reports that 75% of teens from Christian families stop going to church when they leave home to get a job or go to college and don't return to church until they have are married and have children of their own. Some blogsters blame the teen walk out on a general increase in agnosticism and atheism. Some blame the parents. Some blame the internet. I don't agree.

I blame the churches. I blame the dumbing down of the message so that many leave out of sheer boredom. The rock music and mimicking of worldly culture which was thought to appeal to teens is driving some away. However, I think the main problem is the lack of content and the metaphysical shallowness of the teachings. During one's late teen years, one is trying to discover the meaning and purpose in life. The teens want to gain a sense of who they are and to find a place for themselves in the grand scheme of things.

Questions on meaning and purpose and questions about the grand scheme are metaphysical questions. The typical evangelical ministry behaves as though they are afraid of metaphysics. For this reason, many teens find the shallow ministries offered to them irrelevant to their needs. This is the only convincing explanation I can think of to explain the general teen walkout.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchTeens / Youth* Theology

14 Comments
Posted September 4, 2009 at 7:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy



Watch it all and here is a challenge for blog readers. I think every youth ministry in whatever parish where you worship should be challenged to discuss this issue whether through this report or another. Contact your youth minister or youth leaders and see if it has happened and if it hasn't ask why not--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchScience & TechnologyTravel

5 Comments
Posted July 29, 2009 at 7:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy



Caught this one on the morning run. Take the time to watch it all. Those of you with connections to youth ministry, this video is the kind of thing all youth groups needs to be challenged to watch and discuss.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionTeens / Youth

0 Comments
Posted July 6, 2009 at 5:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A remembrance service took place on 27 November 2008 at Southwark Cathedral for Damilola Taylor and all young people lost to violent crime. The date marks eight years since the murder of Damilola. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who chaired the inquiry into the 11-year-old's murder investigation, delivered the sermon during the service.

This is holy ground – we should take off our shoes. We are here for Damilola Taylor, and for the families still grieving for their young ones murdered on our streets for the past eight years. We are treading on the holy ground of human grief, of love wounded by violence.

And yet on this holy ground, where we must tread so gently, there are voices we must hear, and things we must learn. For we stand also at the foot of the cross, where I believe God took upon himself our sorrows and our love turned in on itself, so that we may return from our self-imposed exile to our true home of love.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted November 28, 2008 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I will be speaking at a seminar at this major event this morning which draws hundreds of youth from throughout the diocese. Please pray for the gathering, the speakers, Bishop Lawrence, and especially the participants. if you have a moment, check out the homepage of the youth minstry in the diocese of South Carolina. They do fantastic work--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchTeens / Youth* South Carolina

1 Comments
Posted November 15, 2008 at 8:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Too few people know about this wonderful ministry. They held their recent summit in South Carolina and kindly asked me to preach. I went early and had dinner with them and listened to their first session and was completely blown away by the deidcation, spiritual seriousness, and energy of these young leaders. We do not deserve them, they shouldn't be there, but God is raising them up any way--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchYoung Adults

2 Comments
Posted November 17, 2007 at 9:57 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"If I died right this minute, I would be able to say, 'God, what a ride! What a ride!'"

and

"If I were to die today, I would be nervous about what people would say at my funeral. I would be happy if they said things like 'He was a nice guy' or 'He was occasionally decent' or 'Mike wasn't as bad as a lot of people.' Unfortunately, eulogies are delivered by people who know the deceased. I know what the consensus would be. 'Mike was a mess.'"

-- Michael Yaconelli (1942-2003), whom we sorely miss

Update: A Christianity Today article on him and his death is here.



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry

4 Comments
Posted October 14, 2007 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A stimulating response to a David Brooks piece I was going to link to anyway, so read both it and the Brooks please.

What I would have liked to have seen, however, was a reference to key thinker Zygmunt Bauman in this area. It is something with which we will all have to contend: what Bauman calls liquidity as one of the central aspects of modern life--KSH.



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture

15 Comments
Posted October 11, 2007 at 10:47 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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