Thursday, September 17, 2009

Always Learning

When I migrated from political science/law into ministry following graduation, I never thought those random elective courses I took would become some of the most useful. I also didn't think I'd be reading some of the same journals and books to polish up my understanding of psychology, communication, etc with such dedication.

I've found thus far that some of my most useful classes from college are:
  • Communicative Disorders - this has helped me to understand various disabilities, how people hear and process aural stimuli, etc. As it also talked about normal communication there were tons of pointers.
  • Psychology 201. Yup, of course I took psych. What college (liberal arts major) freshman doesn't? Though it is seriously helpful.
  • Philosophy of Moral Education - Hands down winner. This elective was cross listed with Educational Policy Studies, Philosophy, and (I think) Religious Studies. To Know As We Are Known is a book I continuously pick up to reflect on and apply. Stages of Faith is up there too. The other education philosophers we focused on helped me to figure out the impact of the physical set up of the space I minister in, the tone and words I use, etc.
  • My 3 Astronomy classes - just because the bishop from Australia at one of our catechetical sessions studied with my prof and the kids thought it was cool to have that link. Plus it makes star gazing more fun when we've got bonfires and overnight events.
Now I find myself scrambling to improve my understanding of autism, Asperger's, and the autism spectrum. I have a couple of kids that fall somewhere on that spectrum. With a small space, many individuals, and the normal chaos of youth group, I want to make sure we can incorporate these kids smoothly. So far it means I really do need to get the lighting worked on (find floor lamps to use instead of the bright overhead lights) since lower lighting can help kids with autism. It also means adding a new topic to the formation of our leadership.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So we begin!

Sunday was our first Sunday Night Youth Group (as opposed to our summer Wednesday nights). It was fantastic - lots of excited freshmen, some new mid & upper classmen. We had some fun with ice breakers, creating our Wall of Fame (quote board meets year book page idea), and prayer time. I'm looking forward to hitting our stride in the coming weeks. On the downside, the kids were super talkative and given a larger number and the small space, it was noisy! As I had spent Saturday giving workshops, by 8 pm on Sunday (halfway through youth group) my voice was disappearing. If this keeps up, the year could be interesting.

The annual survey of ideas and open discussion that follows fielded some good topics and activities. The suggestion to do a night on my personal life was not put on the board.

Today has been busy with the cleaning up of paperwork and the youth room. Plus I've been on the phone and email for some time working on WYD.

To further the recommendation previously posted - make sure that you read Souls in Transition. Excellent resource and I have a hunch we'll hear even more about it at all the national conferences in the coming year or two.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Under the Radar Lately

With the major kick-off of just about everything this Sunday, things at the parish have been hectic to say the very least. Plus I'm heading out of town (again) for about 30 hours to give a workshop at a conference.

What I wanted to highlight for those in YA ministry, well it has implications for youth ministry too, is that Souls in Transition: the Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults is out. I hope that I can at least get through a significant portion before Saturday. I'll have two flights and some airport time to make that happen. It is the follow up to Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Facebook and Faith

I really promise that I will share more on the Guatemala trip. Especially as I had a meeting yesterday to schedule our next trip with International Samaritan.

Today, though, I want to spend some time on that Washington Post article, Soul-Searching on Facebook.

Religious views: _______________

How do you answer that question? Those who are, like me, employed by the Church (or any faith group) can likely put the one or two words for our denominations. But is that really it?

While their sample is small and we have a brief window into the minds of a few young adults active on the Internet. All gave the question some thought. All had very different answers. Pretty interesting.