Touch Pause Engage

In most monastic communities the monks would meet together to pray several times a day.  It was part of their every day life, and it would become a habit – something that happens without thinking.  No matter what they were doing at the time, gardening, preparing food, study… when the bell tolled they would “down tools” and head to the chapel.

Being together regularly formed authentic community.  Being together with God meant that they developed a sense of being with God throughout their day – their day was “punctuated” with reminders that God was intimately interested in them, invited them to be in relationship with Him, and to be part of what he was up to in the world.

What does that look like in 21st Century New Zealand?  We obviously do not live in the same kind of monastic community, and our daily lives are spent all over the place.  This activity is possibly a way to try and replicate the same kind of habit forming, connecting with each other and with God.  It may be that by stopping, pausing, and engaging with God regularly every day, after a few months we will carry with us a more constant sense of awareness of Gods presence.

“Touch Pause engage” comes from the way rugby scrums used to be led – and doesn’t mean much at all except a novel way of thinking about how we connect with God.

Can we use 21st social media, in this case Twitter, to send out a “bell” 3 times a day (7am, 12 midday and 6pm) to remind us to “pause and engage” with God?  The reminder will have a suggested prayer, or questions.  The suggested process is once you “hear the bell” you down tools, pause (count to 5 silently), breathe deeply, and read the prayer.  At the same time others from our wider faith community will be doing the same thing. No rules apply, as we don’t want this to result in any sense of obligation, guilt or failure – they are not Kingdom expectations. You are simply invited to join or not.  The prayers will be simple and short like “God please lead me today.”

A woman I read said once, prayer is simply being aware of God.  You don’t have to do anything, or say anything specific, but pause and engage.  The one liner may prompt you to say something else to God, or more importantly listen to what God might be saying to you at that time. Just the simple activity of stopping and breathing deeply is beneficial for your soul.

Interested? Then set yourself up on Twitter and “Follow TPE” – instructions below.

Instructions to receive via Text Message (2degrees and SPARK customers)

  1. TEXT 8987 ‘follow kiwichurch1’

Instructions to receive via Twitter

  1. Go to twitter.com
  2. Sign up (or log in if already a twitter user)
  3. Search for Kiwichurch1 and select ‘follow’

 

 

Liturgy Of The Cell Phones

Kara Root has put together this awesome liturgy to use in youth group or youth services when collecting and returning devices.

RELEASING PHONES

We surrender our phones
To acknowledge that we are not as essential
as we would have ourselves believe.
And to recognise how essential we are
to this moment, this conversation, this process.

We put down our phones
to put down the false belief
that we can be more places than here,
doing more things than this.
And to commit to being fully present, here and now.

We turn off our phones
to turn to each other and to the moment at hand,
with full attention, creativity and welcome.
May we receive the gifts of full presence and essential connection.
May God meet us in this moment.

Amen

 (phones are shut down and surrendered eg basket passed around and phones placed in them)

 

RETRIEVING PHONES

We return from this moment, taking with us the gift of being fully present.
May we return with gratitude and perspective
to the tasks before us and the noise around us,
a little more willing to resist the urgency
and a little more able to receive the quiet gifts of each moment
where God is present alongside us.

Amen.

(Cell phones are retrieved)

 

Copyright Kara Root

Shared with permission.

Christmas message from Moderator

Christmas: Giving presents, being present

Greetings

As much as we know that Christmas is not about presents, we also know that somehow presents are still a really good part of Christmas celebrations. To have something handed to you that someone else has bought or made with you in mind, and having thought about what might bring you some joy is – let’s face it – just really nice. And that sense of being considered is multiplied if the gift is something appropriate, something you really like and something which has clearly been given some thought. And there, for me at least, lies the rub.

In spite of the rampant consumerism presents may reflect, in spite of the risk of being seen as a cheap expression of our consideration for those we give them to, and in spite of the way they so often betray the lowly and humble origins of Christmas – presents are still a great way to remind others that they are important to us.

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The Sound Fuse

View poster

The Sound Fuse summer camp is a clashing of faith, music and culture. It is designed to capture the feeling of a music festival, but with the “we’re in it together” focus of a missional task-force. It is a micro-microFestival. (That’s a new phrase.)

It is aimed at senior high-school students who want to make a difference in the world, who have a bent for creative expression, and who love (or are curious about) God. During this week together, we are looking to create those moments of deep connection where music + people + place all combine into something unique and meaningful… and we’ll be using the powerful creative capabilities of music and words to help lead us there. The questions we’re looking to answer is, how do I become the kind of person the world needs more of? and, how can I do that with style? 😉

Location: Tirohanga Camp, Dunedin, NZ

Dates: 17th-21st January, 2017

Cost: $350pp.

Age: 15+

Website: http://thesoundfuse.com/

Making social health available digitally

Because there’s a stigma to mental health/depression and getting help, there have been a number of kiwi mental health apps developed recently offering self-help for young people.

The data suggests people who go through the apps are more likely to seek personal help if they still need it, than those who haven’t used apps.

Some great apps include:

Aunty Dee

Aunty Dee is a free online tool for anyone who needs some help working through a problem or problems. It doesn’t matter what the problem is, you can use Aunty Dee to help you work it through.

Sparx

SPARX is a computer program that helps young people with mild to moderate depression. It can also help if you’re feeling anxious or stressed. It is aimed for 12-19 year olds, but that’s just a guide.

The Lowdown

Sometimes life’s ups and downs are more than just the usual ups and downs.
If you’re stuck feeling bad we’ll help you figure out if it could be anxiety or depression. Whatever’s going on you’ll find ideas and people who can help you get unstuck.

ABOUT PRAY FOR OUR PACIFIC

Pray for our Pacific is non-denominational and open to interpretation. Therefore each church community has an opportunity to Pray for our Pacific in whatever way best reflects their community and capacity. These are some examples:

  • Dedication of a prayer during your sabbath service.
  • Dedication of your church service to #PrayForOurPacific
  • Youth-lead #PrayForOurPacific activities
  • A #PrayForOurPacific prayer circle
  • Sharing stories from relevant scriptures with Sunday school children
  • Sharing local stories of climate impacts
  • Remembrance service dedicated to lives lost during climate change disasters
  • #PrayForOurPacific church rally which includes all of the above!

Your event can be as big or as small as you like. What is important is that your church owns your event and you know that you will be joined by our brothers and sisters throughout the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand. Possibly beyond!

It’s important that we as a people use our faith to empower ourselves and this movement. We aren’t looking to our faith as a way to solve the issue of climate change, but we are looking to our faith to find the strength to continue the fight to protect the planet that was gifted to us. Not a planet that we have dominion over, but a planet we are stewards of.

Alpha’s Global Invitation

This year Alpha’s going global with over 52 countries launching at the same time in
September, extended over 18 months. Through the campaign video and materials, Bear Grylls will challenge the perception of being a fearless outdoor adventurer by sharing an untold story of his inner adventure to faith.

Aotearoa

bearWith the help of Bear Grylls popularity, Alpha New Zealand is planning on running a significant advertising throughout the country. My understanding is, that Alpha aims to have 350 churches in our country start an Alpha course just after Easter in May 2017.  Alpha can’t make this happen, and needs churches to partner with them.

In September 2016 Alpha New Zealand will be holding “Invite the Nation“, 1 hour events, across New Zealand. With food, a talk and discussion Alpha wants to encourage cities and towns to come together to invite the nation.

Whangarei: 5th September 2016, 7pm, St Andrews Uniting Church
Auckland – North Shore: 6th September 2016, 7pm, Birkenhead Baptist Church
Auckland – Central: 7th September 2016, 12pm, Mt Albert Baptist Church
Auckland – East: 7th September 2016, 7pm, Elim Botany Downs
Hamilton: 9th September 2016, 12pm, Hamilton Central Baptist Church
Tauranga: 9th September 2016, 7pm, Bethlehem Baptist Church
Hawke’s Bay: 10th September 2016, 7pm, St John’s Presbyterian Church, Hastings
Palmerston North: 12th September 2016, 7pm, Salvation Army Palmerston North
Waitara / New Plymouth: 13th September 2016, 7pm, Knox Church Waitara
Wellington: 22nd September 2016, 7pm, Salvation Army Johnsonville
Nelson: 15th September 2016, 7pm, St Barnabas Anglican Church Stoke
Christchurch: 16th September 2016, Grace Vineyard City Campus
Dunedin: 19th September 2016, East Taieri Church
Gore: TBC

RSVP

At these meetings you will get access to resources to invite your community/your peers/your colleagues to explore faith. With one of the worlds most recognised TV stars as the face of the Invitation, there’s never been a better opportunity to invite people on Alpha.

Curriculum on World Religions

As Christian communities we do not need to be fearful of our young people learning about other world religions. Given the multicultural landscape our young people are growing up in, it is in fact helpful for our young people’s Christian faith to learn about their neighbours.

“But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to articulate a defense to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But respond with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3:15

Here are a few different options for you.

Curriculum

Christian Studies World Religions

Written by Dr Jennifer Macleod of Columba College, Dunedin. This curriculum is NCEA Achievement Standard: Religious studies 2.4. It explores what religion is and differing perspectives on it. It also covers the major world religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

World Religions

Loving Our Muslim Neighbours

Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota have put together a great little resource to help learn the basic tenets of Islam

Youth Curriculum

Self Learning Resources

BBC World Religions

This is a good website for finding out about each religion ­ it is not overly detailed, so it is a good place to start!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/

And it includes a really interesting Open Letter and Call from Muslim Religious Leaders

Religion Facts

This is another good introductory website.

http://www.religionfacts.com/

CrashCourse Youtube Channel

John Green has a series of great educational videos, including some religious understanding in the World History Section.

Quick tips on engaging with parents

Communicating regularly with parents is vital. Parents can be great advocates for your ministry in the church and in the wider community when they are on board. Here are some recommendations from our Engaging with Parents Policy:

  1. Create a brochure/Facebook page or website that clearly communicates:
    • The aims and values of your youth ministry
    • How parents can get in touch with you
    • Information on specific dates and times venues and activities that are on offer (see example)
  2. Contact parents whenever you are doing something new outside of the normal interaction that you have with them.
  3. If you drop off or pick up a student from their home take 2 or 3 minutes to check in with the parents.
  4. When young people are being picked up or dropped off at your venue ensure you have some key leaders in the car park who will introduce themselves to parents and give any helpful information necessary.
  5. Try and keep in contact with parents with a phone call at least once a term.

Love Reaches Out – Art Competition

Each year Kid Friendly (the children’s department of the Presbyterian Church) runs an art and writing competition, with over $900 worth of cool prizes to be won..The compeition has different age categories, ranging all the way up to Year 8. So this may be worth checking out if you have an intermediate youth ministry.

The Love Reaches Out art and writing competition winds up on Friday, 26 August 2016.

Download the competition poster and entry forms.