Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.
Christianity is on the verge of extinction.
Let that sink in…I don’t say that to be an alarmist, but if we do not pass on the Christian faith to the next generation, then Christianity will become extinct. You take this into account and couple it with the last words of Jesus to make disciples of all the nations (Mt. 28:19-200 and you have the mandate that drives us in student ministries. This has always been our mandate. This has always driven me in ministry back when I started in youth ministry 16 years ago and here at Knox almost 7 years ago. This is why we want to emphasize our ministry is for everyone, not just those who go here. We want to reach them all with the Gospel, and we want everyone to grow into being lifelong disciples of Jesus. This can be messy. This generation has more pressure, more temptations, and more expectations than any generation before it. They are faced with this all the while not knowing what will be left for them. You might have been a teenager once, but you were never them. They are different. So how do we try to go about reaching a generation for Christ who has increasingly turned its back on the church?
If you plan to reach the next generation for Christ, don’t ask them to believe what you believe, instead invite them to do what you do.
Let that sink in…Beliefs are a dime a dozen. This generation has seen every variety of spiritual beliefs you could imagine (and many you couldn’t imagine). They’re extremely turned off by people who don’t live what they claim to believe. This generation doesn’t want to hear about what you believe. They want to see your beliefs in actions. And if you’re daring enough to live like Jesus, you’ll have a shot at reaching the next generation. If your version of Christianity is limited to what you’re against, you’ll not likely reach many. If, on the other hand, your faith is so alive you must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and love the outcasts—all in the name of Christ, the King, you will attract interest. As strange as it might sound, if you truly live a missional and Spirit filled life, the young generation might join you and do what you do, then one day believe what you believe.
We teach what we believe and invite students to believe it as well.
We don’t water down the truths of Jesus, the Bible and what it means to follow Jesus. Just ask any high school student who attends our ministry. In fact worship, teaching, and small groups are at the core of what we do. We don’t focus on games, we focus on Jesus. We play a game here and there, but it is not why most students attend. I recently ran into a student who does not come from a churched background. She was with a friend and we began to speak about our ministry. This girl invited her friend to come to our ministry because “Dave talks about real stuff.” To me this spoke volumes. We simply don’t sugarcoat the truth. This generation needs to hear it.
I guess you would say that we take a two-pronged approach to pass on our faith to the next generation.
We invite them to do what we do as we seek to follow Jesus ourselves, and we teach what we believe so that by doing and hearing they might believe. It’s a messy journey at times, but it is also filled with great joy. Sound intriguing? Come talk to me, let’s grab coffee or lunch. I would love to share more with you.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
Friends and Members of my Family here at John Knox,Each and every one of us attending worship or working at this corner of Normandy Park has a story about how we became part of the cloud of witnesses here. Some did much research into what is taught and came to stay because of the message Pastor spoke, others found the music spoke to their soul, still others wanted their children to learn and grow in a caring environment. Many were here from the beginning 50+ years ago. I often think the story of my coming to worship here and eventually to become part of the staff might be one of the stranger ways to have done it. It certainly must be one of the hardest.Have you read the great children's book "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel? " I hope you have, or will soon. Mike's story and mine have a common theme.Mike was a good hard worker with a seemingly outdated skill set -- in the form of a steam shovel. A steam shovel in the time of diesel, gas and electric shovels! He found himself out of work in a time of new tools.He had to take the work that he could and then work harder to keep it. Well, about the time our church was ready to break ground on the Atrium and Youth building additions I too found myself out of work and the skills I had performed were not in demand as newer models arrived. I presented myself to the contractor who was to build our new campus and told him although I was older , I would dig harder and longer than the younger laborers he had planned to hire. I would be on the job each day and stay until the work was done. It would be hard work for strong backs, and my opinion would not matter at all. He was doubtful, but he gave me the chance.Years before, Mike and his steam shovel had signed a contract with the folks of Popperville to dig the foundation for their new city hall. He would work hard and for less money than the others so that he could keep working in a demanding environment. Well he and his steam shovel did well and all involved were pleased. His work was in done in a day ; mine took a year. But, he had a bigger shovel.For that year I was the site laborer during the whole building project. Lowest on the pole. From digging foundations and demolition work to final paint and cleanup I worked the week and worshipped with all of you on Sunday. Mulligan had a big old steam shovel...I had one with a long wooden handle. Good honest work at a place that mattered to me.As the dust settled on our new shiny buildings here, and the preschool got bigger, and programs and events resumed in their new spaces, it soon became obvious that the church would need a formal plan to oversee the upkeep of such fine new parts and some of the older ones as well. Who could do the maintenance planning was the next question.My previous jobs involved working on and planning various building projects for a wealthy family in Seattle, and I sure knew a lot about how the church was put together. So I was asked to put together a budget and maintenance plan so that the campus would look good, be safe and function well into the future. I worked on this comprehensive plan and gave it to the Elders for them to put into action. Then I was out looking for work once more.Our friend Mulligan had been working, and he too soon had finished his contract...and was out of work as well. I'll let you finish the story, or better yet read it to your children. Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel did find meaningful work in a most unusual way, that he had never planned on I'm sure. Just like I did!.Soon after the Pastor and Elders had read my report, I was asked to put the plan into motion as your part-time Facilities Manager! And within a year, I was able to join the JKPC staff full time.It was a long, hard road to get here, but I did have just enough steam left to make it work. Lots of family prayer and God's planning for me. I now get up each day and open the building for the preschool and get the lights and heat going. I also have been doing a lot of snow removal (again with shovel). I make sure the kids and teachers are safe and happy in their classrooms then tend to the many needs a of campus of our size. I even tend to the 19 furnaces we have here and that's a lot less than our friend Mulligan! I also supervise a night janitor service, and I'm helped by Evan who you see working around the church on Sunday mornings, so I can worship with you.My office is in the basement of the Admin/Chapel building, just like Mike's. Stop by during the week and say hello, or I'll see you on Sundays! I thank you all very much. Bob Erickson (and wife Marilee)
Friday, January 23, 2009
On last Wednesday, I began as Temporary Associate Pastor here at John Knox Presbyterian Church – “temporary” because I’m serving on a 6-month contract, while the church searches for an Interim Sr. Pastor.
I’m glad to be here with you for this season, and thought I’d introduce myself in referenceto your church’s much more famous namesake. This might seem more than a little pretentious, but I hope it’s fun. Bear with me…
John Knox - 16th century Scottish Reformer
Steve Lympus - 21st century Scottish/Montannan pastor
John Knox - Founder of the Presbyterians....
Steve Lympus - Founded nothing (yet), but is a Presbyterian (with some Charismatic/Penecostal roots)
John Knox - Educated at the University of St. Andrew's...
Steve Lympus - Educated at the Unifversity of Montana (Journalism) and Regent College Vancouver
John Knox - Known for a long beard and funny hats....
Steve Lympus - Bearded yes, but no funny hats
John Knox-Involved in some political intrique and exiled to England......
Steve Lympus - Never exiled (yet), but went to England nearly five years ago on honymoon with wife, Laura Partridge - the two met at Bethany Presbyterian in Seattle.
John Knox - Met John Calvin in Geneva, influenced heavily by him.....
Steve Lympus - Appreciates Geneva chocoate, and heavily influenced by Karl Barth, N.T. Wright, Fredrick Buechner and Euguene Peterson
John Knox - Had three daughters and two sons...
Steve Lympus - Has one son, nearly 15 months old, named Theoden (for a king in The Lord of the Rings)...known widely as "Theo"
John Knox - Published, among several more noted works, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women (1558), and also co-wrote the less inflammatory Scots Confession
Steve Lympus - Published nothing (yet), but enjoys writing sermons, hacking away at a novel for young readers, and the occasional poem.
John Knox - Served in various non-pastoral capacities such as tutor, sword yeilding bodyguard, and creedal translator....
Steve Lympus - Has served as a barista, waiter, and "sword-weilding" prep cook
John Knox - Upon his first nomination for a pastoral position, Knox reportedly burst into tears and fled weeping from the room....
Steve Lympus - No Comment
John Knox - Once forced to row in a French galley....
Steve Lympus-Enjoys french food, loves to cook, generally loves to eat (in or out of a galley)
John Knox - Held up in a besieged castle for over 3 months....
Steve Lympus - Currently holding up in Lynwood, renting a home of some friends....any leads on affordable, large-dog-and-toddler-friendly rentals closer to the church would be much appreciated!
John Knox - While in Geneva, preached 3 times a week, usually for at least 2 hours. Later sermons in Scotland were said to incite riots....
Steve Lympus - Tends to preach much shorter sermons (!), and will preach here 1-2 times a month (other pulpit supply is being arranged)....no ensuing riots (yet)
Steve's new email address effective Monday, January 26 is firstname.lastname@example.org