Hyper – Achievers

I was reflecting the other day on why it is that some people seem to be motivated to change the world and other struggle to change their undies.

The two types of people were juxtaposed this past month in a couple of events I have been involved in. A camp for kids who are at risk from falling through the education system as well as falling into the prison system, then a couple of meetings with a young guy who used to be in my youth group who has recently set up Spark* a fantastic leadership development not-for-profit organization to train leaders in the developing world, starting with PNG.

The camp I ran was for Alta-1, a great education program to help kids hold their education until they can either graduate to further study or into the work force. Many of these kids have done time in juvenile detention or/and have been kicked from school to school due to behavioural issues or simply learning ability. Some of these kids lack so many of the things people need to ‘make it.’ And by make it, I mean…the basics, healthy relationships, a job…any job, a place to live, a budget to enable them to eat and sleep somewhere, stay out of trouble and the like. Many, not all, but many, seem to lack serious EQ. Awareness skills. I sat there listening to some of the conversations wondering how they would do much with their lives. It sounds judgemental – I know – but that was what I was thinking. I even went to questioning the parenting. I had opportunity to spend the second week of the camp camping alongside one of the parents of the kids who came in week one. This Dad, I pre-judged the first time I met him. I judged him based upon the behaviour of his son on a previous camp I had run. But having 4 nights together around a campfire I was able to put aside my prejudices and get to know him a little better. I have heard myself saying, “it’s always the parents”, when it comes to kids and their behaviours. Well maybe parenting is a major part in teenage rage and misbehaviour, but I tell you this – This guy was a really nice guy with some very strong views on parenting and discipline. Not too heavy, not too light, he seemed to me – just right. Why then would his kid plant a brick through the front window of their house and the family car, then proceed to kick in all the doors in the house? Drugs? Maybe. But why drugs? Peer pressure? Maybe. But where did he learn how to choose his peers and be wise in these choices? Man!! Sometimes I wonder if there is a heap of luck in parenting. You just get what you get. Well actually, I don’t think that at all. I do believe parenting plays a major role in moving teens through ‘those years’. Easy for me to say this…my oldest has only just entered ‘those years’. But decisions we make as parents, ways in which we parent, consistent positive patterns of parenting all compound – surely – to create a safe(r) passage through adolecence…I hope!  One example of this was when I was speaking to this father around the campfire and he said he only let his  14 y/o stay out all night twice a week. I shared that my daughter was only just allowed to go to the shops with friends for an hour on a Thursday night and even then only a few times a term! But it’s too late for my friend I think. The freedom has been given, now it would be more than hard to take it back. His son has parked his brain somewhere and is running with a pretty rough crowd.

The other conversation that I had this past month was with a young guy I had in my youth group when I was a Pastor at Whitford – Aaron Tait. This guy comes from a classic “anything is possible” type family. His Dad makes pretty much everything he touches turn to gold. He talks like something between your nicest next door neighbour and an Amway seller, he is a good guy.

Aaron is an inspiring leader and social entrepreneur. Deployed to Iraq on a United Nations mission as an 18-year-old, the leader of a secondary school for vulnerable children in a Tanzanian slum at 23, and more recently the developer of a HIV orphanage and micro-finance project in rural Kenya, his leadership of his new venture – Spark* is built on a first hand understanding of the frontline realities of humanitarian work. Aaron matches this experience with a Masters of Strategy and Policy, and a Masters of Development with Distinction from the University of Cambridge, as well as a couple of degrees he completed whist still in the Navy. To sit and hear him and his wife Kaitlin share their story this past Wednesday night at our church was simple inspiring. But as much as it was inspiring, I had to ask in relation to this post, “was this the ‘doing’ of his parents? Was it just a lucky series of events?” (he just got a good commander in the Navy who encouraged further study, he didn’t get shot, he met a great wife, he was moved by compassion on a trip to Africa to start a school etc) – I suggest not! Was it something he was born with, just a positive, ‘can do’ personality…the same as his Dad’s! So what do you think? Environment or genetic? Both?

How does one kid leave home at 17, knowingly or unknowingly to change the world, and another (I know he is only 14 and could yet become a world changer!) ends up doing time in Rangeview Detention Centre and continues to tag everything he can touch and is generally looking like heading into an ugly life of interactions with the wrong side of the law?

Dads – Fathers Day this weekend – may you be challenged not only by the question – “What do you want as a gift” (for me – a new drill!) but also by the question, “How will you raise, challenge, nurture and love the gift you have been given in the child(ren) you have”?

I am not saying every child has to end up like my friend Aaron and create brilliant organisations like Spark* and change the world…but, heck, the world could use a few more like him!

Hack On ABC 2

If you ever listen to the excellent Hack programme hosted by Steve Cannane on Tripple J, you will be happy to know that he is on for a half hour programme on ABC 2 at 8.30pm starting tonight.

The Hack Half Hour is a studio-based chat program, which encourages feisty, passionate views, stories and debate. It’s confronting, irreverent, thought-provoking and a little bit naughty. It’s time to hear from a younger audience.

Each week we’ll be covering a different topic, looking at it through the eyes of young Australians. In the first episode of The Hack Half Hour: Myface, we ask the question, “will we end up regretting what we reveal about ourselves online?” We’ll explore the reasons why people want to post so much personal information online, and look at what the repercussions might be for user’s life, relationships, and career. We talk to bloggers, vloggers and social networking junkies, and even a hacker. All of them have strong opinions.

At the centre of the discussion, we meet a very popular 16-year-old. Sophie Calland has the second highest number of friends on My Space in Australia. With over 208,000, she welcomes just about anyone into her space. She spends several hours a day maintaining her profile, posting photo-shopped pictures of herself, and writes a blog about her battles with illness, depression, and the things that piss her off. Sophie is happy with the level of control she has over her profile and isn’t worried about the possible consequences of making personal information widely available.


Sydney Anglican Youth Ministry Conference

I am heading over to Sydney to meet with the Youth Vision Australia crew next week. We thought that we may as well take in a conference whilst there.
The Sydney Anglican youth department (YouthWorks) are running this Theology of Youth Ministry conference. It looks quite the academic style conference you would expect from the Sydney Anglicans. The week before the conference, all the speakers notes come out in a PDF.

This one caught my attention. The speaker is Graham Stanton, Principal of the Youth Works Bible college. His topic? All Things to All People? The Incarnation and Relational Youth Ministry.

In his notes are the following thoughts and reflections on a book by English Youth Minister and Author Pete Ward;

This incarnational approach (also referred to as ‘relational outreach’) follows five
basic stages: contact, extended contact, proclamation, nurture and church. The aim is
to move young people who are well outside the social group of the existing church to
see them established in their own church, one where the gospel is contextualised
within their own culture. The process seeks to establish a relationship (contact:
‘going to places where [young people] naturally “hung out”’ p.47), and develop that
relationship (extended contact: ‘moves a relationship physically away from the point
of contact’, with the youth worker ‘signalling that [the young people] are significant
to him’ and the youth are ‘expressing an acceptance of the youth minister’, p.53).
The aim of this relationship building is to move to a significant new stage when the
youth worker looks for opportunities to proclaim the gospel message. The
importance of contact and extended contact as pre-cursors to this stage is summed up
in the imperative (attributed to Jim Rayburn, founder of Young Life) that youth
workers ‘earn the right to speak’ (p.60).
Once young people make a response to the gospel the focus of the ministry moves to
nurture and church. Notable in Ward’s approach is that this work of discipleship
needs to be done outside existing church groups. Ward notes, ‘we are hoping that the
faith can become real within their own subcultural setting’ (p.63). The final outcome
will be a new church where the gospel is ‘contextualised amongst a group of people
who were not previously part of the Church. The hope is that Jesus can become real
within the subculture which these people share’ (p.18).

(italics mine)

Wow! Sounds like a Forge conference to me! Not sure the S.Anglican crew would recognize it as such, but boy, some of the stuff being suggested looks like something from Neil Coles Organic Church or as I said, a speaker at a Forge gig. Well they say there is nothing new under the sun, and if God is making moves to disrupt the way we have done church and church planting for a while who says it will not be coming out from all sorts of places, in fact it would be arrogant of me to ever think Forge or even the emerging church in general has some right to claim ideas such as the above as their own – they are starting to leak out in all sorts of odd places! Must be God 🙂

Where have I been?

Been Slack on the Old Blog stuff, here is a quick update;

Going Where?
I have spent the last 2 weeks with Scripture Union. Camp one was with Mirrabooka High Yr 8 boys doing a selective boys to men type camp. 17 kids, lots of attitude and not all good. The last night we had to sleep out by ourselves in the bush under our own hoothchies, I was wet, very wet! The talks I did on Men as Lover, King, Monk and Warrior went well (Thanks to Mike’s suggestions on this site!)
Last week’s camp was a bit less intense, Winthrop Baptist yr 11’s Kayaking on the Murray.

Reading What?
Reading a few books;
Mark Sayers, “The Trouble With Paris
Rob Hopkins, “The Transition Handbook
Henry DeWitt, “Fathering Daughters – Reflections By Men

Watching What?
Last night watched Kung Fu Panda – Great Laugh, even some Python style humour!
Watched a 1999 flick called Pitch Black which was the first in the Chronicles of Riddick series, Vin Diesel – Good watch!

Playing With What?
My bio diesel processor…we made a batch of 50L, then 80L went great, then a batch of 150L, not so great but managed a rescue and it looks great now. Then a couple of weeks ago did a 100L batch and managed soap. Yes soap is an unfortunate bi-product of stuffing up with this process. Glycerol is one of the waste products, it is also the base product for soap manufacturing, stuff up some small element in the bio process and wham – you have litres of liquid sticky glue which is actually heavy grade soap. My mate Lance has done most of the rescuing as I have been away. It looks like we may have saved a good deal of the oil!

Enjoying What?
Loved a walk to the library and then take-a-way and movies with my family yesterday arvo.
I am also enjoying the thought of 2 weeks leave over the July school hols. 3 days at Contos camp group near Prevally/Yallingup. 2 days up at the farm, lots of days just pottering at home.

Working For Whom?
I am still full time with Churches of Christ (3 days Youth Vision Ministry Coach and 2 Days OnEARTH/GMP). The SU (Scripture Union) stuff is really to keep a hand in with youth ministry experience as well as looking at options for next year.
I will be working for SU 2 days a week next year in their Neighbourhood Outreach/Forge area as well as doing a camp a term for them in Warriuka. Hopefully I can continue doing the OnEARTH stuff as it is hotting up a little.

Looking Forward to What?
Well 2 weeks leave, then 3 days in Sydney with Youth Vision, then starting up a 14 week study (OnEARTH/Ignition) which includes 2 weeks in Halls Creek with a crew from our Church as well as some others, I am also running a weekend leaders retreat in August which looks like fun.
Finishing off our new raised garden beds out the back, fixing my dead roller door, tidying up my yard a bit and generally slowing down and reading some more.

So that is it. Been way too busy, but feel ok. Not pumped. Always dreaming too much of a quiet life in the country, working less not more. But I need to learn to be in the moment more, “be where you are”.

Interesting Topics at Conference.

I am heading to Sydney at the end of July to meet up with some of the Youth Vision Australia crew I work with. Whilst we are there we are going to attend a conference put together by Youth Works – “A Theology of Youth Ministry Conference”. Not sure I have heard of them before, but it looks interesting to say the least, I have heard of the Sydney Anglicans who are behind it all though… interesting to say the least 🙂 So I would say they are the youth department of the Anglicans.
Here are some of the topics –
– All things to all people – the incarnational youth ministry.
– The Spirit of Gen Y
– Missiology For Youth Ministers
– Implications of Missional Ecclesiology for a Missionary approach to, and understanding of, Youth Ministry.

If you ask me it could be a Youth Ministry breakaway session at a Forge conference! Look at those topics!

Warrior King Lover and Monk

I have to do a talk at a camp for year 9 boys from Mirrabooka High. These kids are tough, fringe kids, hand picked, a kind of mini Brat Camp.

Each day we have a theme.
Man as Warrior (Pioneer, Adventurer, protector)
Man as Lover (Love, honour, respect)
Man as King (Leadership)
Man as Monk (Spirituality)

I want a kind of object lesson for each one, even something they can take home, a rock, a picture, a … something??

We are out in the bush, so I don’t have a heap of space in my pack to carry stuff, so any ideas??
Any help???