Our blog has MOVED to cbacyf.ca

This is a freindly reminder that our blog has moved to: http://cbacyf.ca/oneneighbourhood/

This is the last message you’ll receive from this blog if you subscribed to receive it in your email.
Please join and follow the blog at http://cbacyf.ca/oneneighbourhood/  You can re-subscribe there, if you’d like to receive the new blogs via email.

Joining God in our neighbourhoods.
-Renée @r_embree #1neighbourhood


We’ve moved to cbacyf.ca

Our blog has moved to: http://cbacyf.ca/oneneighbourhood/

We so appreciate how you have read and engaged with this blog! Let’s keep the conversation going! Join us on our new site.

If you’d like to receive our blogs directly to your email you’ve got to subscribe at the new site, where it asks for your email at the bottom of the page. IF you were subscribed on this old oneneighbourhood.org blog you’ll have to re-subscribe on the new site or you will not continue to receive the blog via email.

This is all because we have created a new one stop shop website for the CBAC Youth and Family. {CBAC = Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada, but anyone from any denomination or wherever you are in your journey of faith are welcome to join us, use the resouces and come to events.}  You can find resources to help your kids, youth and young adult ministry, neighbouring month, all our events, how to videos, the blog, more about us etc…  Check it out cbacyf.ca  We’re a work in progress, so let us know how we can be more helpful and what tweaks are needed on the new website.

I’ve posted a new blog on the new site today (Sept. 1, 2016). Check it out.

Thankful for you and how you are seeking to join God in your neighbourhoods!

-Renée @r_embree #1neighbourhood

Are we equipping kids and youth to engage the world?

As followers of Jesus we are in the world, but not of the world (John 17:14-18)
We are a part of this world, this culture, and cannot be separated from it – it is the water we swim in. At the same time, we belong to Jesus and we are a part of His Kingdom, which is not of this world.

If in our kids’ or youth ministry (or adult ministry for that matter!) we are trying to separate people from world and protect them with platitudes, Christian circles and discussing only in-house issues we are not serving them well or helping them grow to maturity in Christ. It will not go well for them when they encounter the real world or hardship! Further, it is not going to help them connect with people that have not been a part of the Christian subculture. It is not ultimately going to help their own faith or someone else’s faith.

Without realizing it our ministries we often encourage kids/youth to lead a double life – one life at church/youth group and another life at home, school and in their neighbourhoods.
We encourage this advertently or inadvertently
by only celebrating what happens in our ministry not in the community,
by encouraging kids/youth to only hang-out with Christians,
by talking about issues that are irrelevant to the rest of the world,
by encouraging them to miss out on other events/sports for the sake of the ministry,
by labelling certain things “bad” without nuance or discussion etc.
What if instead we celebrated kids/youth being the light in the world and equipped them to live their faith everyday, everywhere?

Here is my hope:
We would be leaders, mentors and parents that support and equip our youth/kids to know how to live in the real world, prepared for complexities and challenges.
Often kids/youth are in better positions than us to join God’s work in the world. They are a part of the culture and have lots of connections in their neighbourhoods. IF they have been prepared to recognize God’s work around them and have been given the tools and encouragement to engage thoughtfully with the real world, watch out world! We’ll see them join God’s transformative work in the places where they live, work, study and play.

My prayer is our youth/kids would…
• be in the world and know how to reflect Jesus in the world.
• be in the world, but know how to think rightly about what is going on. They’d be able to discern what is reflecting the messed up, distorted part of our fallen world and what is reflecting God’s goodness in the world.
• be in the world, but asking the tough questions.
• be in the world, knowing their deepest, truest identity is as a child of God.
• be in the world, showing and telling the Gospel in today’s culture
• be in the world as God’s light in places where they live, work, study and play.

Let me give one example of how we can equip kids/youth with tools to do this.
One big area that can lend itself to these conversations is media.
It is estimate that teens spend an average of 9 hours/day on media!

In talking to kids/youth about this I’ve stolen a line from Walt Mueller and talked about “using your head to guard your heart” (Here’s a great resource from him.)
Rather than mindlessly absorbing the messages coming at us, we talk about stopping and examining the messages coming to us in ads, songs, TV shows, movies, tweets, Instagram pictures, facebook feeds, YouTube video, snapchat… and compare it to God and God’s ways.

Look at an ad, YouTube video or song together and talk about it.
Ask these questions:
1. What’s the main message/topic?
2. How does the video/song/post/media make the person watching it feel?
3. Are they trying to make you feel, act, think, talk or live a certain way? What are they suggesting?
4. Are they suggesting a certain way to happiness/fulfilment?
5. How’s that line-up with who you are?
6. How’s the line-up with who God is and God’s best?
You could add more questions.

A song that is getting old now (2004), but it helpful, is “Cult of Cool” by the O.C. Supertones. It is a Christian song talking about not letting consumerism suck you in and make you believe its lies. Playing this song and giving kids/youth the lyrics can lead to an interesting discussion! (See the lyrics here)

One more resources – here is a youth group lesson about social media from the “Ministry to Youth” website. 

Friends, leaders, parents – help kids and youth be thoughtful engagers in this world!
We believe God is using kids/youth to join Him in changing neighbourhoods!

-Renée @r_embree #1neighbourhood

3 Books I’m Reading this Summer

I enjoy hearing what other leaders are reading and how it is helping them in their life and leadership. I look for leaders who are constant learners. We have never master this thing called leadership.
What are you reading? What are you learning?

Here are three books I’m reading this summer.

“Rising Strong” By Brené Brown – This is a great read. It has reminded me of the power of each of our stories, owning our stories and living our stories. Brené tells us, if we’re brave and courageous often enough we will fail. When we get back up we can write new endings to our stories. One of the changes this book has help me to make is to pause and recognize the story that is getting stirred in me in different moments/situations. In other words, to really notice and own the story going through my head, and then choosing what to do, with the Lord’s help, in that moment. I’m using the phrase “The story I’m telling myself is…” to catch myself and then deciding if the story in my head is the true story and asking what it looks like to have God’s courage for the next step.

“Three Cups of Tea” By Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin – I was reading this as a fun summer read, but picked up lots of life and leadership lessons along the way. Three Cups of Tea is the story of Greg Mortenson failed attempt to climb K2, but in the process the birth of a new dream to build schools, especially for girls, in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is a fascinating read of how the passion of one person can make such a difference – even across political, religious and ideological differences. Through this read I had leadership lessons on perseverance, the power of relationships, rising above politics, mis-management/leadership, and the monumental difference a dream can make in the lives of others.

“Flesh” By Hugh Halter – I haven’t finished this one yet. So far it is capturing my heart and mind with the amazing power and beauty of the incarnation. It is also a reminder of the powerful opportunity and responsibility we have as Christians, embodying Christ here and now in the beautiful ordinariness of every day. Full disclosure, I’m also reading Hugh Halter because he’s coming to Atlantic Canada in 2017. I want to understand more of his theology and praxis, particularly for how it may help us in Atlantic Canada as we join God in changing neighbourhoods.

What are you reading this summer?
What is it teaching you?

Happy reading!
-Renée @r_embree