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Miller Time at SHIFT Conference February 28, 2007

Posted by peterong in Rants, Reflections, SHIFT Conference, Youth Ministry.

The Don (I affectionately call him that) brings his much touted brilliance in this touch of humour and authentic approach to evangelism. He speaks of narratives and each of our yearning to be part of a story…and what is our story? I think that our youth ministries are not part of this big story of God’s call for redemption and justice…to free the chains of oppression…a spiritual activity that is beyond the maintenance of our youth models…He gave glimpses of being part of a larger story such as when Pastor Rick at Imageo Dei challenged his congregations to not go into debt but make gifts…to challenge our notions of what story we are part of…

I have seen so many of our youth ministry resources feed into this unhealthy and shallow narrative of comfortable surburban Christianity (A great discourse on this is Dave Goetz’s Death by Suburbs). Yet Miller hints as something more…something that goes beyond the mere pretense of worship, but a life that is infused into a narrative that involves conflict, sacrifice and ultimately points to a redeemer…

The Don is brilliant in taking pause for us…especially for those of us who have either been too consumed by the “methods” and the “formulas” or even worse the “sales pitch” of evangelism…that when it comes time for us to speak of God…we stutter through…and seem mute because perhaps our story is one of deep comfort and huddling in fellowships where we congratulate each other on being a Christian but not engage in a larger narrative of redemption.

What if we were able to create ministries can show the redemptive power of the gospel…to those who are poor around the world…what if we did 30 Hour Famines every month…what if we instead of buying Christian T-Shirts used it to give thirsty people drink…

That is why we are sometimes wondering why our kids are bored…their highlight in fellowship is…the free pizza, they will tolerate the friday night pep talks, or just catching up with their childhood friends…they are bored because we have presented an incomplete gospel…one that is insular and focused on being safe versus relevant…

I did wonder what the Don considers to be “good” community…He touched on it…but didn’t expand on it…any thoughts?


1. Chris Peters - March 4, 2007

Peter, This is really hitting the nail on the head. We have a generation or two of fat, dumb, happy Christians who don’t do anything and will die of heart disease. God’s broken heart will be their undoing. We need to at every level of the church engage people in reaching out and serving those around them, instead of treating church like a health club, “I’ll go if I have time.” If we don’t offer a time for our teens to serve, then we should pack it up and find another church.

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