Five Minute Friday: Small

5minutefridayToday, I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five Minute Friday. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

This week's prompt: Small.

Jesus didn't seem to mind small.

He invested far more time in his 12 apostles (and from this group, in his three BFF's) than he did in the masses.

Not only that, but when the crowds grew too large, he'd say something controversial or inflammatory to shrink them. 

He also spoke often of the power of small, saying things like, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

For Jesus, small seemed to be an integral part of his upside down Kingdom.

Unfortunately, it seems many of us have forgotten this.

Nowadays, regardless of whether we're talking about business, church, or youth ministry, we measure success by numbers.

We equate bigger with better, especially, it seems, in the Christian subculture.

Last weekend, however, I attended something different, Open Grand Rapids, an event facilitated by The Youth Cartel.

This event was the opposite of the many flashy conferences I've been to.

Though The Youth Cartel lent its name and publicity to the event, it was largely planned by a team of local partners.

It's biggest names were professors, not youth ministry celebrities. As a result, it allowed local experts - youth workers in the trenches at local churches - to share their passions with their community.

It's small size allowed for genuine connections to be formed easily between people.

The result?

It wasn't always perfect, but it was very very good.

I left the day recharged and excited about youth ministry in my context as well as youth ministry in the broader church.

Since then, I've found myself reflecting often on Adam McLane's opening remarks. He shared The Youth Cartel's tag-line, “Instigating a Revolution in Youth Ministry", and said something like, “It seems crazy to think two people can start a revolution.”

At the time, I thought so too.

But now, having seen this model in action, I'm not so sure.

After all, according to Jesus, smaller might actually be better than bigger.

And if Jesus could start his church with a handful of troublesome apostles, then why's it so absurd to think a couple of guys with a heart for youth ministry and the local church could start a revolution, too?



Visiting from FMF. What a great post! Thanks for sharing, and I will pray this week for your youth ministry.

Posted by Lyndse , almost 7 years ago

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

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