How To Encourage Apathy In Your Kids

Note: I didn’t write this article, but connect with it throughout. Being able to do what God allows me to lets me see many families struggle through these very points. Please read completely though to the end and be encouraged about the opportunity to lead our kids in a loving and growing relationship with Jesus and other believers. Feel free to view the original article in it’s entirety here


Your kid’s an All Star? Wow! Someday he’ll be average like the rest of us.

The church in America is puzzled. Young adults are leaving in droves. Magazines, books and blogs are wagging the finger of blame to point out who is responsible. Some say it is a failure of youth ministry, some point to church budgets and some nail the blame on outdated, unhip worship services. We parents are shocked that our kids just really aren’t all that into Jesus.

When I look for someone to blame I head into the restroom and look into a mirror. Yupp, there he is. I blame him. That parent looking back at me is where I have to start.

If you’re a parent, I’m might tick you off in this post. But, hear me out. I think that we, as parents are guilty of some things that make it easy for our kids to put faith low on their priority list.

Keys to Making Your Kids Apathetic About Faith

1) Put academic pursuits above faith-building activities. Encourage your child to put everything else aside for academic gain. Afterall, when they are 24 and not interested in faith and following Christ, you’ll still be thrilled that they got an A in pre-calculus, right? Instead of teaching them balance, teach them that all else comes second to academics. Quick … who graduated in the top 5 of your high school class? Unless you were one of them, I bet you have no idea. I don’t.

2) Chase the gold ball first and foremost. Afterall, your child is a star. Drive 400 miles so your child can play hockey but refuse to take them to a home group bible study because it’s 20 minutes away.

2b) Buy into the “select,” “elite,” “premier” titles for leagues that play outside of the school season and take pride in your kid wearing the label. Hey now, he’s an All-Star! No one would pay $1000 for their kid to join, “Bunch-of-kids-paying-to-play Team.” But, “Elite?!?” Boy, howdy! That’s the big time!

2c) Believe the school coach who tells you that your kid won’t play if he doesn’t play in the offseason. The truth is, if your kid really is a star, he could go to Disney for the first week of the season and come back and start for his school team. The determined coach might make him sit a whole game to teach him a lesson. But, trust me, if Julie can shoot the rock for 20 points a game, she’s in the lineup. I remember a stellar soccer athlete who played with my son in high school. Chris missed the entire preseason because of winning a national baseball championship. With no workouts, no double sessions, his first day back with the soccer team, he started and scored two goals. Several hard-working “premier” players sat on the bench and watched him do it. (Chris never played soccer outside the school season but was a perpetual district all-star selection.) The hard reality is, if your kid is not a star, an average of 3 new stars a year will play varsity as freshmen. That means there’s always 12 kids who are the top prospects. Swallow hard and encourage your kid to improve but be careful what you sacrifice to make him a star at little Podunk High here in Maine.

2d) By the way, just because your kid got a letter inviting him to attend a baseball camp in West Virginia does not mean he is being recruited. You’ll know when recruiting happens. Coaches start calling as regularly as telemarketers, they send your kid handwritten notes and they often bypass you to talk to your kid. A letter with a printed label from an athletic department is not recruitment. When a coach shows up to watch your kid play and then talks to you and your kid, that’s recruiting.

3) Teach your kid that the dollar is almighty. I see it all the time. Faith activities fly out the window when students say, “I’d like to, but I have to work.” Parents think jobs teach responsibility when, in reality, most students are merely accumulating wealth to buy the things they want. Our kids learn that faith activities should be put aside for the “responsibility” of holding a job. They will never again get to spend 100% of their paychecks on the stuff they want.

3b) Make them pay outright for faith activities like youth retreats and faith community activities while you support their sports, music, drama and endeavors with checks for camps and “select” groups and expensive equipment. This sends a loud and clear message of what you really want to see them involved in and what you value most. Complain loudly about how expensive a three-day youth event is but then don’t bat an eye when you pay four times that for a three-day sports camp.

4) Refuse to acknowledge that the primary motivating force in kids’ lives is relationship. Connections with others is what drives kids to be involved. It’s the reason that peer pressure is such a big deal in adolescence. Sending kids to bible classes and lectures is almost entirely ineffective apart from relationship and friendships that help them process what they learn. As kids share faith experiences like retreats, mission trips and student ministry fun, they build common bonds with one another that work as a glue to Christian community. In fact, a strong argument can be made that faith is designed to be lived in community with other believers. By doing all you can to keep your kids from experiencing the bonds of love in a Christian community, you help insure that they can easily walk away without feeling like they are missing anything. Kids build friendships with the kids they spend time with.

5) Model apathy in your own life. If following Jesus is only about sitting in a church service once a week and going to meetings, young adults opt out. Teenagers and young adults are looking for things that are worth their time. Authentic, genuine, relevant relationships where people are growing in relationship with Jesus is appealing. Meaningless duty and ritual holds no attraction.

There are no guarantees that your children will follow Christ even if you have a vibrant, purposeful relationship with Him. But, on the other hand, if we, as parents do not do all we can to help our children develop meaningful relationships in Jesus, we miss a major opportunity to lead them and show them the path worth walking.

I want my kids to see that their dad follows Jesus with everything. I want them to know that my greatest hope for them is that they follow Him too.

Mt. 6:33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. (The Message)

On a personal note: I know the struggle. My wife and I have lived the struggle firsthand. My son was recruited by a few D1 NCAA schools for baseball and opted instead to attend a small D3 school. My daughter was recruited to play field hockey by a couple D2 programs and ended up playing D3 when the scholarship offer was not enough to make her top school affordable. Both played in “premier” leagues. Both got A’s in high school though we often told them not to stress out too much over it. Both are in honor societies in college and my son now has offers from UNC, Univ. of Wisconsin, Johns Hopkins and Weil Cornell for a Phd in Pharmacology. Neither ever missed a youth group retreat, conference or mission trip because of their sports or academic commitments. Both missed a game or two to attend faith-based activities. Both missed school for family vacations. Both held down part-time jobs in high school and learned to give employers advance notice for upcoming retreats. My son often changed into his baseball uniform at church to arrive in the third inning of Sunday games. Robin and I did all we could to make sure they connected in student ministry even when it meant driving straight from a tournament to a music festival at midnight so that they would not miss out. It was that important to us. My youngest, a culinary student, lost a restaurant job because he went on a mission trip. That’s fine. Thankfully, all 3 have strong faith walks today. That is due only to God’s grace. But, I do believe that our efforts and example helped them long for a community-based faith.

Use this post however you find helpful. Reprint, repost, link to it or whatever. A link back to http://scottlinscott.wordpress.com would be awesome.


I have problems, so do you…We have problems, so do they.

It’s confession time…

I have problems.  I have issues. I have struggles. I have shortcomings. 

Here’s a bigger confession…

My church has problems.  She has issues. She has struggles. Her people and leaders and ministries have shortcomings.

As I sit here, I can name dozens of people that I know that have ‘moved on’ from one church to another because of one reason or another. We aren’t getting fed…The leadership doesn’t care about me…(other church) does things this way…______ministry is too shallow…______ ministry is too irrelevant…People don’t love me there…

We all could add more….we have heard these and more so many times.

At the core of these and others, we believe that…

Church can’t have problems. Church can’t have struggles. Church can’t have shortcomings. Church needs to be perfect.

I read the Bible.  When I do, I don’t get done, close my Bible and think ‘Man, they all were perfect!’ When I read the Old Testament, I read story after story telling about person after person who, sometimes more than we would care to admit, they screwed up…a lot! (I could give examples but you know already know them)

I read the New Testament and hear Jesus time after time lining out his closest followers.  I hear Paul writing to churches that have struggled with the basics of Christianity over and over.

We have been trained to seek after the next best thing. When things get tough, when we struggle, when problems arise, when things don’t go our way, we cut it loose and move on.  When organizations, friends, family, marriages, cellphones and jobs no longer completely meet our needs and there’s another ‘better’ option, society validates  our ditching the old and bringing in the new. Everything around us promotes a me-centered approach to our lives. What do i get out of it, that meets my needs, with as little of my involvement and input. We have been conditioned to not ever work thru struggle.

I have struggle in my life and family. Divorce…not an option. Ditching my kids…not even considered. Why? Because of my commitment to them before God, because of my relationship to each one of them, because I’ve committed my life to them.

Paul talked about these evidences that can be seen when the Spirit of God is working and growing in you.  He called them the fruit of the Spirit. One of them is faithfulness.

A friend of mine spoke wisdom about this to me a few weeks ago. Following Gods leading in our lives to stay, remaining faithful even through the struggle, tension, frustration, shortcomings…problems…is a sign of God working through and in you.

Does it mean you have to stay forever? No. Gods leading takes people to different places for different reasons, but it’s HIS LEADING, NOT OUR PERSONAL WANT.

Too often, when churches and people don’t meet our expectations, we just move on.  Justifying it in our minds that it’s a good move for us when in reality, we move on because we don’t want to try to be  a part of change.

My heart breaks every time I hear this. I believe we cut short Gods blessing for us because we don’t stick it out long enough to see the result of our faithfulness and work.

It’s not too much to ask for you to commit to your family, your spouse and your kids (even with their problems, struggles, and issues). People have committed to you, and we even expect it, even with our personal problems, struggles, and issues.

So, not as a pastor, but as a fellow Christ follower, for you and your families spiritual growth…

Commit to a local church. Maybe it’s the one you’re a part of (using that phrase loosely as many of us struggle with being a ‘part’ of any church). Maybe you need to find one.  Commit, long term, to a (1) church.

Commit to being a part of her solutions, not adding more problems.  Be active in helping resolve issues you see, not expecting everyone else (leadership only) to solve all the problems.

Commit to her ministries that are there for you. They were made for you. They have people in them that will benefit from you investing in it. If it’s too deep, shallow, flashy, unloving, unattended, whatever…help fix it.

Commit to her ministries that aren’t for you. They are made for someone else, but they need you. Our selfless serving others in ministry grows us, molds us, and shapes us. We miss out when we don’t serve others I ministry.

Commit to her people. If someone sins against you, do the right thing and deal with it.  If you sin against someone, do the right thing and deal with it. Show love. Show patience. Show acceptance. Don’t just run from it.

Commit to her leadership. They are people. They are struggling just like everyone else. They also need to know people in their church body support them, even in their shortcomings.

Commit to her future. The church needs people who are passionately committed to furthering her work in your community.

Commit to her community. We need…need, community with other Christian people.  We need support. We need to lock arms together and fight the sin and struggle and hardships, and persevere through, because of our relationships with each other.

———————–——-

I have problems. So do you.

My church has problems. So does every single other church.

When dealing with people and churches…perfection, by most standards, doesn’t…cannot exist.

What makes us and our church perfect is when imperfect people commit to making them better.

SPRING THING 2015 – ROOTED (event info)

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Spring is around the corner and so is our yearly Spring Thing event! Each year we join up with youth ministries from arounds the area for a weekend of fun and games, awesome worship and speaking, great youth group times and tons more! And this year, we are hosting!

Here’s some details:

– When: April 24-26, 2015

– Where: North Christian Church, Cheyenne, WY

– How Much: $45 if registered by March 11 (see special pricing below for NCC students)

Here’s what to expect:

This weekend is going to be stuffed full of awesome stuff! Taylor Brown from MIX (CIY’s Jr High Conference) will be our speaker. Students will love listening to him and his artistic and unique way of presenting the Word in a tangible way students understand.  Boise Bible College is bringing down a band to lead our worship times also! We are also finishing up a number of other details that will be announced soon.

Forms are available at the office or in the youth room.

*Special Pricing*

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Please contact Matt Snyder with any questions!

MOVE & MIX Summer Conference 2015 Info

THERE IS STILL TIME TO SIGN UP! Each year we attend one conference per age group. MOVE is our entering-9th-grade thru 2015-graduated-seniors event, and MIX is our entering-7th-grade through exiting-8th-grade event. MOVE and MIX are an important part of our programming at NCC because these events come alongside what we do weekly and give us another opportunity to be with students.  EVERY YEAR students are challenged in God’s word to not only let it inform them and tell them who God is, but also to let it change their lives. Students hear relevant teaching from some of the best speakers in the country, lead in worship by amazing bands, and are challenged to grow in their relationship with God and others through the conversations that take place in our small groups.  If you aren’t convinced yet that this is an investment in your child’s spiritual life, give Matt a call, he would love to share with you how his relationship with Jesus started at a week of MOVE! Registration for these events are open now! Here are some specifics for each event:

Image MOVE is a 5-day high school only event held all over the country (we attend in Durango, CO), designed to amplify the call of Christ on students lives to become Kingdom workers. You not only learn and worship together but also spend quality time with your group. MOVE is an experience! it’s an all-inclusive event providing food, lodging, recreational activities and an amazing program! Specifics: WHO: Entering 9th grade thru graduated 2015 Seniors. WHEN: Leaving June 27 – Returning July 3 WHERE: Fort Lewis College – Durango, CO HOW MUCH: $339* registration cost / additional cost for food, activities, etc. Additional cost info to come soon! $50 non-refundable deposit and completion of this form (click here) is needed to hold your spot. Space is limited and fills up quickly!! Don’t hesitate to contact Matt with any questions concerning this event!! mix

MIX is not designed for hush schoolers or preteens. MIX is specifically designed for 7th and 8th grade students!! You will build relationships with others while being challenged to grow as Kingdom workers through dynamic worship, engaging activities, off-the-chart recreation and small group interaction. At MIX, you can be exactly who you are, while being challenged to embrace Christ’s call on your life!! Specifics: -WHO: Entering 7th grade thru leaving 8th grade students -WHEN: Leaving July 19 -Returning July 24 -WHERE: Western Colorado University – Gunnison, CO -HOW MUCH: $339* registration cost / additional cost for food, extra activities, etc.  Additional cost info to come soon! $50 non-refundable deposit and completion of this form (click here) is needed to hold your spot. Space is limited and fills up quickly!! Don’t hesitate to contact Matt with any questions concerning this event!! *Cost is based on registration (deposit and completed form) received to North Christian Church by two weeks before the event starts.  Registrations received after this date may incur a late fee or be declined.  Please talk to Matt about questions requiring registrations.

Winter White Wash – Metamorphosis (info)

Interested in Winter White Wash or want to know more?  Here’s the details!

Who’s Invited: Any and all 7th-12th grade students.

What’s Happening: Full day of skiing/boarding, tons of games, ice skating, worship and sessions, and more!!

When it’s Happening: We will leave no earlier than 10am on FRIDAY January 23rd. We will be getting back into town no later than 3pm Sunday January 25th.

Where’s it Happening: Skiing/Boarding at Snowy Range Ski and Rec Area, Sessions and games at Gryphon Theatre in Laramie, Housing in a  hotel in Laramie.

Why it’s Happening: We like hitting the slopes, we like hanging out together, we like hearing about Jesus. Why not do it all the same weekend?

Ok, I hear ya. You want more info.  Here’s the specifics.

Registration forms and early bird fee (pricing outlined below) are due to Matt by December 3rd. ANY registrations received after this date will incur a higher cost and will not receive an event hoodie! Registration forms are available at the bottom of this post, on the church website or at the church.

We rent skis/boards locally from Rock On Wheels (900 E Lincolnway) for a couple of reasons. 1) We get fitted before going to the event, ensuring that our equipment fits properly.  2) We get to avoid the long lines at Snowy Range waiting to get rentals. 3) We like George at Rock On Wheels and like supporting his business. These advantages come with an additional $5 cost to the total registration cost (pricing outlined below)**. Matt will let you know when you need to get fitted for your rental, approx 10 days before the event, and Matt will also be sure your rental gets to the mountain and back home safely.

If you wish to rent a helmet or goggles, George at Rock On Wheels would love to help you out. You will be responsible for paying for this gear separately.

We will be leaving for this event on January 23rd no earlier than 10am. This is a Friday which means you will need to plan on being out of school that day. We make our way to Laramie and eat lunch there (you cover this meal). After this, the weekend begins! We head out of Laramie at 12 noon on Sunday January 25th, eating lunch on the way (you cover this meal), and will be back to the church no later than 3 pm.

The theme for this weekend is ‘Metamorphosis’. Mark Scott, professor at Ozark Christian College will be our speaker. The Matt Estrin Collective from Journey Christian Church in Greeley, CO will be leading worship again this year.

Here’s a look at how the financials work for this event:

Early Bird Registration Costs: (All forms and early bird deposit received by Dec 4)

-$125 if early bird deposit ($60) and forms are received by 12/3

-$165 if early bird deposit ($60) and forms are received by 12/3 AND you want a ski/board lesson

Late Registration Costs: (Forms and payment received after Dec 3)

-$155 if registered after 12/3 (no hoodie)

-$195 if registered after 12/3 AND you want a ski/board lesson

*There are additional discounts if you own your own equipment, have your own lift ticket or don’t wish to ski/board

**Our prices are different from you may hear or read other places, because we rent equipment locally.

There is a lot of info in a short amount of space. Please free to get ahold of Matt with any questions about this event. I pray you join us for this awesome weekend.

Attached below is a registration letter and packet.

WWW early letter

WWW Packet ’15

Matt Snyder – 307-632-2331 – youth@nccheyenne.com

Winter White Wash – Awake (info)

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Interested in Winter White Wash or want to know more?  Here’s the details!

Who’s Invited: Any and all 7th-12th grade students.

What’s Happening: Full day of skiing/boarding, tons of games, ice skating, worship and sessions, and more!!

When it’s Happening: We will leave no earlier than 10am on FRIDAY January 24th. We will be getting back into town no later than 3pm Sunday January 26th.

Where’s it Happening: Skiing/Boarding at Snowy Range Ski and Rec Area, Sessions and games at Gryphon Theatre in Laramie, Housing at Ramada or Days Inn.

Why it’s Happening: We like hitting the slopes, we like hanging out together, we like hearing about Jesus. Why not do it all the same weekend?

Ok, I hear ya. You want more info.  Here’s the specifics.

Registration forms and early bird fee (pricing outlined below) are due to Matt by December 4th (HUB Night). ANY registrations received after this date will incur a higher cost and will not receive a event hoodie! Registration forms are available at the bottom of this post or at the church.

We rent skis/boards locally from Rock On Wheels (900 E Lincolnway) for a couple of reasons. 1) We get fitted before going to the event, ensuring that our equipment fits properly.  2) We get to avoid the long lines at Snowy Range waiting to get rentals. 3) We like George at Rock On Wheels and like supporting his business. These advantages comes with an additional $5 cost to the total registration cost (pricing outlined below)**. Matt will let you know when you need to get fitted for your rental, approx 10 days before the event, and Matt will also be sure your rental gets to the mountain and back home safely.

If you wish to rent a helmet or goggles, George at Rock On Wheels would love to help you out. You will be responsible for paying for this gear separately.

We will be leaving for this event on January 24th at 11am. This is a Friday which means you will need to plan on being out of school that day. We make our way to Laramie and eat lunch there (you cover this meal). After this, the weekend begins! We head out of Laramie at 12 noon on Sunday January 26th, eating lunch on the way (you cover this meal), and will be back to the church no later than 3 pm.

The theme for this weekend is ‘Awake’. Mark Klingler from Seattle, WA will be our speaker. The Matt Estrin Collective from Journey Christian Church in Greeley, CO will be leading worship.

Here’s a look at how the financials work for this event:

Early Bird Registration Costs: (All forms and early bird deposit received by Dec 4)

-$125 if early bird deposit ($60) and forms are received by 12/4

-$160 if early bird deposit ($60) and forms are received by 12/4 AND you want a ski/board lesson

Late Registration Costs: (Forms and payment received after Dec 4)

-$145 if registered after 12/4 (no hoodie)

-$180 if registered after 12/4 AND you want a ski/board lesson

*There are additional discounts if you own your own equipment, have your own lift ticket or don’t wish to ski/board

**These costs are different from what is on the forms due to us renting locally. See explanation above.

There is a lot of info in a short amount of space. Please free to get ahold of Matt with any questions about this event. I pray you join us for this awesome weekend.

Attached below is a registration letter and packet.

Winter White Wash Cover 2014

REGISTRATION PACKET

Matt Snyder – 307-632-2331 – youth@nccheyenne.com

INSIDE THE TEENAGE BRAIN – Webinar Review

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to take in a webinar presented by a guy named Mark Oestreicher. Mark has been involved in youth ministry in different roles for decades. He currently is founder of The Youth Cartel, specializing in encouraging and challenging adults who minister to youth through holistic professional coaching, strategic consulting, transformational events, and inventive resource development that advance youth ministry. He still meets weekly with a small group of Jr High boys in his home every week.

I’m not even going to try to touch on everything that was talked about. There was a TON of info communicated in the 45 minutes, and so I’m going to write on what hit me the most, hopefully it’ll be beneficial to you also.

This webinar talked about the cognitive changes that are taking place during the teenage years. Yes, there are physical changes that happen, and yes they are important to understand, but there is little talk of the changes that take place mentally during these years. You are going to see my basic notes from the session, hopefully a organized and explained enough to make sense. I’m not siting sources, I trust his sources are good. So here we go…

The cognitive change that happens during the teen years leads to some other changes that are easy to spot.  1) Emotional Change – includes abstract thinking and understanding information. 2)Relational Change – they start seeing themselves in the 3rd person perspective, being friends with others because they have similar interests, not because they are geographically close (as is during the childhood years primarily). 3)Spiritual Change – Changing from the black and white understanding of  faith. Beliefs are questioned and challenged now. They usually respond one of three ways: 1-This doesn’t work and I reject it. 2-This doesn’t work but I have nothing else so I will stay (legalistic believers). 3-This is real and I want to grow in it.

It is our job (parents/youth ministries/involved adults/etc) to help them wrestle through these questions. Doubt is ok, and possibly essential to development. They have to wrestle through the faith of their childhood, and we need to help with this.

The implications of abstract thinking are that they begin to see the world or people from a different point of view and they begin to speculate, asking ‘what if’ and ‘why’ questions. They are not good at it, and they tend to go back and forth between abstract and concrete thinking.

12-ish years ago the medical/scientific community began really learning about the teen brain. They believed it was unethical to study them until the invention of machines such as MRI’s. Since then, they have learned some things.

Teen Brains are not done growing. Before these advances, it was believed that brains were full grown by age 6. Now, they know that brains are not fully developed till 25ish.

There are some important parts of the brain that are not done growing or even there during the teen years.

– Frontal Lobes (behind the forehead) – This is the brain’s CEO – handles decision making, wisdom, priorities, impulse, control, planning, empathy, organization, focus, etc. This does not mean they are not capable of these things, its just limited. This is why it is easy for this age to test, push and risk.

– Temporal Lobes (in frond of the ears) – handles emotional understanding and interpretation. Guys are naturally behind in this area anyway. Teens don’t always know, because of this, what is appropriate in certain situations. We need to act as emotional tour guides, helping navigate these situations.

-Neuron Proliferation and Winnowing –  A couple years before puberty, neuron pathways are created and growing. During the next fourish years many of these are then cut away. What determines which are kept is how students use their brains, and these habits and tendencies effect them for the rest of their lives. If they are big gammers in the adolescent years, they will most likely be for many years following. This brings up a question of stewardship: How do we spend the time we have with the kids? We need to help them wrestle with what a follower of Christ looks like, just just giving us the right answers.

 

My takeaway – We need to be very intentional about how we spend our limited time with teens. We only have a few hours at best with them per week, and so we need to make the most of it with them. They are in a hugely changing season of their lives, we have the opportunity to challenge them to think truth out and seek out what a Christ follower really is.  Parents have such a greater influence because of the greater amount of time they have with their kids.