The Holy Spirit is an aspect of the trinity that is not spoken enough about at all! RT Kendall has released a multitude of books and resources on the Holy Spirit, and all of it is worth reading into, but one that is incredibly valuable for discipleship purposes is his forty day devotional: 40 Days with the Holy Spirit.
I read this devotional personally earlier this year and can say with entire honesty that it has shifted my perspective and redefined the way I approach the Holy Spirit and how I talk about the Holy Spirit to young people. The Holy Spirit was not sent to earth to be distant or for only the elite Christians, the Holy Spirit was sent as a guide and a friend for people at all works of faith. This can be an uncomfortable, or perhaps just unusual, thought for new Christians and young people as the Holy Spirit can not be seen, but His presence is undeniable. It is crucial, for this generation now, to see who the Holy Spirit and to be passionate about not offending Him, to talk to Him, to walk life with His guidance by their side.
The benefit of a 40 day devotional is that it offers structure and guidance. It offers an opportunity to talk about the small, one to two page thoughts that RT Kendall discusses, and it breaks the ice for unfamiliar conversations. I highly recommend all youth leaders read this book, if not for discipleship, literally changed my life for good.
(MIN220 - Blog Post #5 - a130047)
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
|Amanda Cook; Brave New World album artwork.|
This year there have been many good Christian album releases, but not many are as soulful and touching as Amanda Cook's brand new album, "Brave New World", which can be bought here. Released on the 25th of September, the 13-Track album contains many verses and hooks that young people will be able to relate to. Notably, the bridge of track 13, "Pieces", delves deep into what true love looks like. The lyrics declaring God's love for His people,
"Your love's not fractured, it's not a troubled mind. It isn't anxious, it's not the restless kind. Your love's not passive, it's never disengaged. It's always present, it hangs on every word we say. Love keeps its promises, it keeps it's Word, it honours what's sacred, 'cause its vow are good. Your love's not broken, it's not insecure, Your love's not selfish, Your love is pure."
Something that I have learned through youth ministry, and life in general, is that there is a severe lack in the understanding of true love, 1 Corinthians 13 love. This song not only speaks life and love into the hearts of those who are listening, but it also presents an opportunity for youth pastors and youth leaders to open up a discipleship conversation with their young people about what love really looks like. If we, as leaders, can replicate the love described in the above words, we can be sure that we will be raising a generation of people that know Who love is, and know how to show love themselves. After the weekend's tragedies around the world, in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad, it is crucial to be teaching and showing the love of Jesus and the truth of the gospel at every opportunity we get.
My prayer for this generation is that would know a love that is not fractured, a love that is engaged, a love that is present, a love that is true to its word, and a love that is selfless and pure. Thank you Amanda Cook, for this beautifully written song that reminds us of what love really is, and what it should look like.
(MIN220 - Blog Post #4 - a130047)
Posted by Natasha Gardner at 11:27
Tuesday, 17 November 2015
In February 2014, Edge Church stopped doing a Friday night youth ministry program to make way for what God wanted to do in the young people, youth leaders and congregation as a whole. Originally, the program was canned for a month, but after the first month, it wasn't yet time to create a new program, for "programs sake" so after one year and four months, in July 2015, we re-launched GenYth with Project 52 on a Sunday night. This was such an exciting time for the youth team as we finally had one place at one time where all the youth would gather and we could do what we felt called to. That was, of course, until we realised that 3pm on a Sunday afternoon wasn't an ideal time for what we wanted to achieve, so we dreamed, prayed and started again. On November 6th, we launched our "Plaza Party". Youth is back to a Friday night, from 6pm-7pm before the main service at 7:30pm. We are opening up the Word of God, firing up young people, and then creating an atmosphere of praise and worship to lead the whole church at 7:30pm! It has been amazing to see young people so engaged, so on fire for Jesus, and truly setting an example for what passionate praise and worship looks like. These young people are setting a fire in the hearts of the generations that have been before them, and are creating a true and authentic atmosphere of worship. This ministry is exploding, and is has nothing to do with the practical elements or the people involved (okay, their prayer, spiritual preparation and diligence is being sincerely rewarded by God), it's literally Jesus! God is showing up, people are encountering Him and youth are being changed for the better. It may have begun with a plaza party, but now, every week, it's a heaven party! And how did it all start? With a season of silence and obedience. Thank You Jesus for your favour, thank You Jesus for carrying us through.
(MIN220 - Blog Post #3 - a130047)
Posted by Natasha Gardner at 21:28
Friday, 13 November 2015
It's that time of year again where Hillsong Worship, the worship band from Hillsong Church, release their live album. This year's album is titled OPEN HEAVEN / River Wild and features a variety of new worship songs as well as appearances from the Hillsong United team and Hillsong Young & Free. The album can be purchased, along with other resources relating to the album, from the Hillsong online store here.
The opening track, O Praise The Name (Anastasis) is an excellent resource for a worship team to lead young people in worship. Anastasis translated to English means, "a rising up from the dead". It is a song of reverence and worship, giving all of the glory back to God. The song preaches the truth of the gospel, which is advantageous for youth ministry - if youth aren't listening during the preaching, they are still having the message of God's love for them poured over them during worship. You can find the lyrics for this song here.
The theme of the album is to open hearts to the presence of God, the expression "Open Heaven" meaning to allow for a sense of God's presence to be so overwhelming it's as if heaven has opened it's gates and is being experienced on earth. This open heaven creates a place where God's glory can work in its restorative nature, bringing the lost back to Him and the broken into His loving arms. River wild is used in context in the title track to be meant as an invitation for Jesus, the Living Water (John 4:14) to overflow in the lives of those who invite Him.
This album is a great resource for youth pastors, youth leaders and worship teams, not only to lead young people in worship but to open up a conversation around what the songs they are singing mean. There is nothing more important than connecting young people to Jesus, and a great way to do that is through an open conversation about what they are singing and who they are singing it to.
(MIN220 - Blog Post #2 - a130047)
Posted by Natasha Gardner at 10:05
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
Project 52 is a fifty-two day devotional for the youth and young adults of Edge Church. After a significant message in the life of the two ministries based on Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Wall, Project 52 was designed to rebuild the walls of God’s word in the lives of these young people. The first forty days followed the devotional written by Rick Warren called, “The Purpose Driven Life”, which can be purchased here. The final twelve days were written by leaders within the church and encouraged a continued discipleship journey for young people beyond the fifty-two days. Project 52 could really be utilized by any age group, but it was especially created for youth and young adults. The devotional can be accessed here.
Personally, I found that getting into a routine and doing a reading plan with my friends motivated me, and also gave me a talking point with the youth I have been mentoring. I’d encourage all youth leaders to engage in a reading plan such as this, as it gives you the time to build a sustainable habit and fills you with the Word of God so you are able to lead to your best ability, you’re personally filled with the Gospel you believe in, and you are deepening your understanding of who God is to you.
For young people, getting deeper into the Word of God is something that will never leave you. You will find that you will learn to trust God more, from seeing stories in the bible of others who have had to, to simply knowing that God is always true to His word. God’s Word is truth, so in a world full of mixed responses to the questions of the times, you will be able to stand firm in who you are, as well as who God is in you.(MIN220 - Blog Post #1 - a130047)
Posted by Natasha Gardner at 13:06