Serves as President of Youthfront, a Youth Ministry organization. Youthfront works to bring youth into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ by creating environments where spiritual transformation occurs, by working with those who are involved in the spiritual formation of youth and by providing church-assisting events. Youthfront provides programs, services, resources and training. Mike is als
The following video features Mike Phelps, Director of Early Manuscripts Electronic Library. I'm working with Mike and others to create a Laboratory at MOTB where scholars all over the world can do the amazing work of discovery, restoration and learning about ancient manuscripts, scrolls, pamplimpsests (a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain) and other important work.
What makes a youth ministry sustainable? How do you stay on the road to success? In the world of youth ministry, there are a handful of constant factors that thrive over the long haul. Our upcoming Youth Ministry Training seminar, Foundations of Sustainable Youth Ministry, introduces these factors and offers a strategic design for instilling these foundational patterns into the fabric of any youth ministry, regardless of its model.
Join us April 11 as special guest Mark DeVries shares his expertise in youth ministry. Mark has trained youth workers across the US and and around the world, working with a wide variety of denominations. Mark is the author of a number of books, including Sustainable Youth Ministry. Register today!
My friend, Jeff Johnson, recorded this based on a prayer attributed to Columba of Iona. I've had the privilege of taking a pilgrimage to the remarkable little island and "thin place" of Iona. This video was shot at Columba’s Bay, Iona, Scotland.
Today is International Women’s Day. Below is a prayer written for women around the world by Deborah Hirt and brought to my attention by Christine Sine.
She thinks about all woman who deal with marginalization at many levels. She especially focuses on women who face physical dangers and she weaves her thoughts among the Prayer of Saint Francis.
Lord, make me an instrument of peace:
Bless all women who daily strive to bring peace to their communities, their homes and their hearts. Give them strength to continue to turn swords into plowshares.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love:
We pray for all women who face prejudice, inequality and gender disparities. Help us see and face the discrimination against women in all the many forms it may take.
Where there is injury, pardon:
Comfort all women who suffer from the pain of war, violence, and abuse. Help them to become instruments of their own reconciliation and peace.
Where there is division, unity:
Forgive all women and men who let differences breed hate and discrimination. Let your example of valuing all of creation help us to see that we are equal partners in the stewardship of your world.
Where there is darkness, light; where there is untruth, truth:
Comfort all women who struggle in the darkness of abuse, poverty, and loneliness. May we stand with them in light to acknowledge their suffering and strive to remove the burdens of shame or embarrassment.
Where there is doubt, true faith:
We pray for all women who live in fear of their husbands, fathers, and forces that control their lives. Help them to be empowered to be their true selves through your everlasting love and faith.
Where there is despair, hope:
We pray for all women who live in the despair of poverty, violence, trafficking, slavery, and abuse. May the light of your love bring them hope.
Where there is sadness, new joy:
Help us to see the strength and goodness in all women and men.
Transform our hearts to celebrate the love and grace of all people.
And may we be blessed with the courage of St. Clare of Assisi to follow our own path of love for you and all sisters and brothers.
"Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." Romans 12:2
I had been contemplating and praying what my focus would be during Lent and this verse solidified my thoughts. I want to "Put On" faithful and consistent "Fixed Hour Prayer" during Lent. I want to "Put Off" contempt toward the "other."
The current realities in our cultural environment is pregnant with "contempt." I find myself constantly getting angry watching the news. I find myself getting upset when it feels like Christians have allowed their agenda to be co-opted by partisan politics. I believe there are so many great people and committed Christians who hold positions across the political spectrums but we don't know how to understand the other and therefore we don't feel we are understood. Followers of Jesus should confound both political parties with a different way of interacting in our world. I need to sit at the feet of Jesus and allow Christ to overcome my contempt for those who think differently than I do. This doesn't mean I don't have strong positions but it does mean that I don't allow the propaganda machines of this world to control my emotions and the way I interact with those who see the world differently than I do.
Mark has trained youth workers across the United States and Canada, as well as in Russia, Uganda, South Africa, Ecuador, Trinidad, Nicaragua, and Northern Ireland, working with a wide variety of denominations. He has taught courses or been a guest lecturer at a number of colleges and seminaries. Mark is the author of a number of books, including Sustainable Youth Ministry (IVP, 2008). Mark serves as the chairman of the board for the Center for Youth Ministry Training, a two-year residential, masters-level, youth ministry training program based in Nashville. He also serves on the Alumni Board for Princeton Theological Seminary.
In the world of youth ministry, there are a handful of constant factors that thrive over the long haul. This seminar introduces participants to those factors and offers a strategic design for instilling these foundational patterns into the fabric of any youth ministry, regardless of its model.
“Congratulations on reaching this milestone of 75 years of ministry!
Before I started typing this, I reviewed the history of Youthfront on your website. I’m trying to imagine the world as it was when Youthfront was started 75 years ago. I’m imagining a country in the midst of a global conflict, the “victory gardens” and rationing that represented living sacrificially so more resources could go to winning that war.
So much has changed! So much hasn’t! Spiritually, we use different language, but the need for each generation of youth to hear and understand the gospel is paramount. Technology is vastly different, but still provides tools to communicate the truth and serve the kingdom. God’s people still need to be sacrificial stewards of what has been entrusted to them.
I’ve marveled at what I know of Youthfront’s story: how your ministry has adjusted to the language of each generation, has used the best tools available, and has sacrificed to advance the gospel within your sphere of influence. I’ve marveled at the courage you’ve shown to launch new things…make changes…and even set aside things that may have been keeping you from maximum impact.
I am so grateful for how you’ve consistently listened closely to the Holy Spirit, putting a high value on serving the Church – and churches. I’m deeply grateful for how you stepped up to not only lead a bunch of local networks east and west of the state line, but opened your doors and staff to host national gatherings for the Network. “Challenge 2000” and “Building 21st Century Networks” served and trained those who want to reach the campus and network coordinators at a strategic time.
You’ve been an amazing friend and partner, impacting the growth of the kingdom nationwide with us. Thank you for your model of excellence in servant leadership. We look forward to continuing that partnership until we get the job done.”
Doug Clark, National Field Director, National Network of Youth Ministries
Congratulations to Youthfront on 75 years! I’ve only known of Youthfront’s ministry for the last 15 of those years. While this a relatively short time, quickly Youthfront has become in my mind the premier youth ministry organization in the world. I first came to know Youthfront through Mike King, watching him lead countless youth workers into a whole new way of understanding ministry, themselves, and God. Mike was one of the first to bring American youth ministry to much deeper spiritual wells, inviting Protestants to recover practices and a vision of the Christian life stretching back to the early church. I was so deeply impressed because not only did Mike personally write and teach about these practices, but more he took his whole organization into them, building a community that prays (daily) together. I believe Youthfront has been one of most important organizations in all of American youth ministry. The utter integrity of all the whole talented team is evident, and their unique way of practicing a Christocentric spirituality is intoxicating.
In the last three years, I’ve been blessed with seeing deeper into Youthfront, moving behind their youth worker training and into their camp ministry. The last few summers my own children have been driven 13 hours (round trip) to participate in Youthfront camp. My wife and I make the time investment, passing countless camps on the way down I-35, because we trust Youthfront’s wisdom in ministry and rich lived theology. Over these few summers not only have I been happy with the love, commitment, and theological depth my children been exposed to, but my kids have come to love Youthfront camp, claiming that it is best camp experience they’ve ever had and the highlight of their summers (even year!).
As a theologian, I’m deeply thankful to Youthfront. To have an organization I can point to as a group living out of a significant theological imagination is so heartening. But even more so, I’m thankful to Youthfront as a parent for all the love, commitment, and proclamation of the gospel they’ve both spoken and embodied to my children—for that I know no words other than, “Thank you! And here’s to 75 more years! Praise be to God!”
Dr. Andrew Root, Professor and Chair of Youth and Family Ministry, Luther Theological Seminary
“Congratulations, Youthfront, for 75 amazing years. It’s been inspiring to see the depth and width of Youthfront’s national impact grow over the years. At the top of the long list of what I appreciate about the Youthfront team is their tireless pursuit of Jesus, as well as how skillfully they invite the rest of us to do the same.”
Kara Powell, PhD; Executive Director, Fuller Youth Institute; Faculty, Fuller Theological Seminary
Happy 75th Anniversary!
Youthfront has played an important role in my life and in the establishment and growth of the National Network of Youth Ministries. Personally, my uncle, Dr. Herb Tyler, served alongside Dr. Al Metsker in the early days of Kansas City Youth For Christ and went on to be the director of Hawaii Youth for Christ. He was an encouraging example, whose love of ministry and young people spurred me on, even since my childhood.
In the Network’s formative years, Youthfront stood out as model of what we wanted to see in a city — churches working together, the parachurch serving the church, youth workers being ministered to and campuses being targeted. As we partnered with you in the early days, you became one of the first organizations to allow a staff member, Roy Bilyeu, to invest significant time to provide regional leadership for the Network, impacting churches and cities, even outside of your home base.
I want to take the opportunity of Youthfront’s 75th anniversary to express my personal appreciation for all you have done for youth, youth ministry andnetworking. I greatly value and respect your innovation in ministry, your selfless willingness to strengthen others who share your calling and your clear commitment to Christ and Christ alone.
May God give you divine insight as you look back on the key milestones and lessons of the past 75 years. May they serve as a platform, in the coming days, for all that Jesus wants you to be and to do ”until He comes.”
Paul Fleishmann, President Emeritus, National Network of Youth Ministries