Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sermon 3/22/2015 - Communion

What is communion and why do we do it? We explore three different Bible passages and discuss.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sermon 3/15/2015 - Salvation is Ours

When someone begins a relationship with Jesus, the churchy word for that is salvation; or being saved. But what does that actually mean?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sermon 2/1/2015 - Slavery and the Bible

Many people argue against Christianity and the Bible because they feel the Bible condones slavery. What does the Bible actually say about this issue? And is the slavery that is discussed in the Bible the same thing we faced in the 17th Century, or today?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sermon 1/25/15 - Does God See Color?

Discussion at the Grace Youth Gathering on January 25th, 2015 by Youth Pastor Jake Kircher, Youth Director Raquel Welsh and Grace Church Elder Emeritus Marcus Asante. Does race, color and differences matter to God? If so, how? Should there be a difference in how you parent kids of different races? Or are their universal things that matter no matter what color you are?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Explorative Theology: Helping Students Embrace What They Believe

I recently had lunch with Joe, a former youth group member who had just graduated from college and was living at home again while trying to figure out what he was going to do next. We reminisced about old times, talked about his time in college, and he shared about some of the opportunities coming his way and how he was hoping a full-time job would be right around the corner. About three-quarters of the way through lunch, I turned the conversation to faith and church, wanting to know where he was with Jesus. As it turned out, he really hadn't been to church much at all in the four years he was away at college except when he was home and his mom invited him. He explained that he believed in God but also had some disagreements with Christian beliefs—and he was more concerned with having fun.

This was not the first conversation of this kind that I've had with former students, and it won't be the last. A lot has been said during the past few years about high school graduates walking away from the faith during their college years. It seems as if many youth workers are wrestling with how ineffective our programming is at helping teens keep their faith in college. Despite all the negativity this is drawing from so many in youth ministry, I have concluded that it's a good thing.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Importance of Perspective

A couple weeks ago, I (Jake) was at a Youth Ministry conference and on Friday night, I was chatting with a couple of people when the topic of our book, 99 Thoughts on Marriage and Ministry, came up. One of the youth workers got a little excited and expressed that her and her husband had been married for a little over a year, and she asked me to give her some nuggets of wisdom from the book.

I smiled and asked her how her first year of marriage had been. “Oh, it’s been great,” she replied. So I began to share that our first year of marriage had been anything but great. I was open and honest about some of the struggles and pain we went through in our first year of marriage, along with some of the subsequent lessons that we learned because of those things.

Keep reading at http://youthministry.com/the-importance-of-perspective-in-marriage-communication-and-youth-ministry/#sthash.fKs87un3.dpuf

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sermon 11/30/2014 - Yeah, Right!?

The story of Jonah is one of those funky stories in the Bible that make some people discredit the entire Bible. A man being swallowed by a fish is certainly hard to believe. Is it possible that the story of Jonah is fictional though, and does that change anything about the Bible as a whole? Or is the story definitely historical?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sermon 11/16/14 - Angry at God

What are the things that usually make you angry? Going deeper, WHY do those things make you angry? What can we learn about our anger from the story of Jonah?

Bringing Home Difficult People

Whether you have been in youth ministry for 5-minutes or 50-years, it doesn’t usually take long to figure out that there are some difficult people within our churches. You know, that parent who always seems to have an issue with something you’re doing. That elder who seems to never be satisfied with youth group attendance. Or that pastor who just can’t understand why you do what you do with students.

In our experience, it’s these difficult people within our churches that can be one of the biggest threats to our marriage. Jake has had countless times, especially early in his career, where he has come home frustrated and short due to a difficult encounter that day. We’ve had pending decisions from church leadership that impact our family’s wellbeing that seem to drag out forever. And we’ve had demanding parents interrupt family time because they want something now or else…

Difficult people are a guarantee in our line of work, but how do we avoid bringing them home all the time to our families?

Keep reading at: http://youthministry.com/bringing-home-difficult-people/#sthash.nwtmNCy5.1DXh7vGI.dpuf

Monday, November 3, 2014

REVIEW: Redefining the Role of the Youth Worker: A Manifesto of Integration

NOTE: This review was written months before I signed a publishing contract with the same publisher as this book.

With the growing tide of books addressing the changes in youth culture today, The Youth Cartel continues to release highly practical books at the forefront of changing the way youth ministry is operating. April Diaz'sRedefining the Role of the Youth Worker: A Manifesto of Integration is a highly personal story of how she and the leadership at Newsong Church completely re-wrote their youth worker job descriptions.

REVIEW: Youth Ministry in a Post Christian World

NOTE: This review was written months before I had a publishing contract to write the sequel to this book.

It seems as if the youth ministry world has been talking about the epidemic of high school students walking away from their faith after graduation forever. There have been countless books citing research and observations about the changing trends of how students approach faith and where things could be heading.

Brock Morgan's Youth Ministry in a Post-Christian World is an amazing addition to this topic that is refreshingly different.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Listening to God's Voice

Conventional Biblical wisdom says to have advisors when it comes to orienting your life and ministry. To listen to your family, friends, peers, elders, and church leadership—and this is in fact a very prudent track to take. When living amidst the demands of ministry, you want to have trusted people around you who can help with making big decisions, make sure your life is balanced, and support you through trying times.

For many of us in ministry, the issue isn’t so much about having voices involved in our life and ministry; we typically have more than enough! The question we all need to be asking though is whose voice is, and should be, the loudest? Is it your senior pastor’s voice? Is it your spouse’s? Is it the church board? Or your children? Who do you listen to as you plan your schedule, as you live out your professional and personal life?

Keep reading at: http://youthministry.com/listening-to-gods-voice/#sthash.KaWs2pLo.dpuf