many dots, still working on the lines

One of my goals for this year is to spend more time drawing the lines that I spend spotting dots. I have let input-mode overload me, and given myslef a bit of a brain freeze in the process. I’ve already seen this phenomenon mentioned in several places, and I’m sure it will only become more apparent as the google-generation moves into high-school. So, by no means do I think I am recognizing something new, but I do want to name it for myself so someday I can remember this post.

That said, here are a few dots from today:

– At Bethlehem (the church where my wife and I are directors of senior high youth), we are about to launch a kind of small groups. I say “a kind” because they aren’t the kind of small groups we’ve always heard about. Neither kids nor leaders want to commit to a group of people for nine months, or a year, or until they graduate. And the few groups who have done that really don’t get deep because the kids just don’t have time to meet. Not only that, but the whole ‘open chair’ thing just doesn’t really work. (If it works for you, PLEASE comment below and let me know how it goes.) In my experience, a group gets close, they don’t invite anyone in, or if they do they just keep getting bigger because, who really wants to split.

So we’re doing short-term small groups, that will have a small level of time commitment (four to six gatherings) but a high level of emotional commitment (you can’t sign up if you know you will miss more than one gathering). That way, both our leaders and our students can experience a high level of commitment to discipleship and one another, while still realistically being able to pull it off in this busy world.

At the end of the small group, students can pick another topic or purpose, but they have to open up the group to anyone. They can’t just keep being their own little group without inviting others to join. This allows students to be in more than one group at a time if they want, and it makes it easy for the ‘seasons’ to come and go.

When I get back in the office I’ll post our small group leaders handbook.

– Another dot: prayer.
24-7 prayer
ihop
Prayer is vital. Right now, it isn’t driving my life. But the need for it to is invading my life. And the need for it to be a significant part of the youth ministry at Bethlehem keeps knocking on my dreams.

– the whole centered set church thing is swelling, and I’m getting really excited. But this is the area I most need to start drawing lines, and stop spotting dots. If you have a moment, ask me if I’m doing my homework.

– I’m currently being forced to work on several different computers, and I will be losing my school IBM soon. My PowerBook died last year and I am urgently begining to recognize that I do not trust my current system. I can/could let my ‘computer’ be the internet. I’m already using writely for most of my documents. gMail has long been my email client. I can even store most of my files on my web server. But I don’t have a solution for my music. And I don’t have a solution for my calendar. At this point I still need an application running on the local machine to make use of my palm. So, I need to figure out how to go from web to audible reminder in a way that I can trust.

– Fun conversations with my friend Jason Evans.