Thursday, February 09, 2006

This is Jordon Cooper's weblog: Rediscovering the stories

Jordon writes, "As I read church history, it is rarely full of the complainers and deconstructers. That is the easy part. History is full of the builders."

So what's working?

Relationship building works. How's my church do it? Lots of ways. I help with the youth group, so that's what I'll talk about, since that's what I know.

Our youth group has no bible studies. None. But we do have roller hockey. Granted, we have Sunday school, and a large group meeting, where God's word is the basis for all that's taught. But we've given up on programs. Trying to stuff kids into an organized bible study wasn't working.

We had a bible study. Maybe five kids would come, and if we were fortunate, maybe one even brought a bible. And that's from a youth group of 100+ high schoolers.

It was hard to say we were giving the bible study up. But it wasn't doing anything. It turned into another social hour, and while there was some discussion, it wasn't that productive. It was all the regulars who go to everything, but don't necessarily contribute back. It was too comfortable.

Meanwhile, we've been playing roller hockey in our church gym, er, "multipurpose room". We regularly have a dozen guys, many of whom are unchurched. We pray, do a little devotional, and love on kids.

There's no prep time. We just show up and play. There are kids who are more plugged in to the body of believers than ever before probably because of the fellowship and encouragement they get at hockey. Without that 2 1/2 hour pick-up hockey game on Thursday night, I don't know that they'd feel part of the body. But they do.

Programs are easy to administer. Buy a curriculum and use it. Do what the super hip conference speaker tells you to do. He must be cool, because he's got those thick rimmed hipster glasses and a crazy goatee. I'm not discounting that guy, but he doesn't know your church. You do.

Slapshots may not get it done at your church. But find what does. Some guys in our church play putt-putt golf in the hallways. Whatever. Find ways to plug people in.

It may not be as easy as ordering the latest hot curriculum, but if you really invest in people and God's word, it'll pay dividends, because eternal things always do.

Harkening back to Jordon's comments, don't build programs, build people. That'll make history.

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