2010 Youth Ministry Graduates

Edgar, Karyna, Areli, and Chaire will graduate tomorrow with their degree in youth ministry from the Mexican Baptist Theological Seminary. This is our largest graduating class, and it has been a pleasure to be their professor. I know that God has great things for each one of them, and I am excited to see how He uses them to impact young people all over Latin America.

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The Parable of the Fishless Fishermen

Here’s a little parable we looked at in class last week. I really liked it. So, what do you make of it? How does it speak to you and your situation?

“Parable of the Fishless Fishermen”

There was a group called The Fisherman’s Fellowship. They were surrounded by streams and lakes full of hungry fish. They met regularly to discuss the call to fish, the abundance of fish, and the thrill of catching fish. They got excited about fishing!

Someone suggested that they needed a philosophy of fishing, so they carefully defined and redefined fishing, and the purpose of fishing. They developed fishing strategies and tactics. Then they realized that they had been going at it backwards. They had approached fishing from the point of view of the fisherman, and not from the point of view of the fish. How do fish view the world? How does the fisherman appear to the fish? What do fish eat, and when? These are all good things to know. So they began research studies, and attended conferences on fishing. Some traveled to far away places to study different kinds of fish, with different habits. Some got PhD’s in fishology. But no one had yet gone fishing.

So a committee was formed to send out fisherman. As prospective fishing places outnumbered fisherman, the committee needed to determine priorities. A priority list of fishing places was posted on bulletin boards in all of the fellowship halls. But still, no one was fishing. Asurvey was launched, to find out why. Most did not answer the survey, but from those that did, it was discovered that some felt called to study fish, a few, to furnish fishing equipment, and several to go around encouraging the fishermen. What with meetings, conferences, and seminars, they just simply didn’t have time to fish.

Now, Jake was a newcomer to the Fisherman’s Fellowship. After one stirring meeting of the Fellowship, he went fishing and caught a large fish. At the next meeting, he told his story, and he was honored for his catch. He was told that he had a special “gift of fishing.” He was then scheduled to speak at all the Fellowship chapters and tell how he did it.

With all the speaking invitations and his election to the board of directors of the Fisherman’s Fellowship, Jake no longer has time to go fishing. But soon he began to feel restless and empty. He longed to feel the tug on the line once again. So he cut the speaking, he resigned from the board, and he said to a friend, “Let’s go fishing.” They did, just the two of them, and they caught fish. The members of the Fisherman’s Fellowship were many, the fish were plentiful, but the fishers were few!

(Photo by: Lucas Jans on flickr)

Columbia Biblical Seminary

I’m in Columbia, South Carolina, for two weeks taking a few Seminary classes at Columbia Biblical Seminary. We just finished up “Doing Theology in Context”, and Monday I’ll be beginning “Missional Leadership.”

These two classes are part of my Master’s degree courseload, and I’m enjoying them. Class from 8 am until 5 pm is pretty heavy, though.

Please pray for me to finish well this week. Thanks!

Nine Books in Six Weeks

I'm taking two summer intensive courses at Columbia Seminary. One is on Missional Leadership (I have to read 1200 pages pre-class), and the other one is called, "Doing Theology Contextually." Here is my PRE-course reading list. I started last week. Let's see if I can finish them in time. I also have to write a report on each book, but that is not a very big assignment. Oh, did I mention I'm finishing up another online class this month, too? And they don't call this full time.

Doing Theology Contextually (June 7)


Strange Virtues: Ethics in a Multicultural World (http://amzn.to/d43XJv)
Jacob and the Prodigal: How Jesus Retold Israel's Story (http://amzn.to/aFam8h)
Models of Contextual Theology (http://amzn.to/cpoScR)
Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on the Culture (http://amzn.to/cDJll7)

Missional Leadership (June 14)
Church 3.0: Upgrades for the Future of the Church – 304 pages – FINISHED last week (http://amzn.to/bUVWYg)
Off Road Disciplines: Spiritual Adventures of Missional Leaders – 240 pages – FINISHED May 9 (http://amzn.to/cgQxYR)
Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading – 252 pages (http://amzn.to/bpvBhj)
The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church – 176 pages (http://amzn.to/cjCuvs)
The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church – 304 pages (http://amzn.to/9sOanq)

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Ministry Happenings – First Quarter 2010

After last week’s whirlwind trip (I’ll write more about that later), we finally got around to turning in an overdue report to Youth Ministry International for the first quarter of 2010, which gives an overview of our ministry activity.

Here are some of the things that were accomplished in the first quarter of 2010, either by our family or a part of our YMI team in Latin America:

  • Met with a pastor in Cuernavaca about youth ministry training in his city, taught his youth group, and preached in his church (watch the video)
  • Taught an evangelism conference to a youth group in Toluca, Mexico
  • Participated in 2 city-wide youth leaders conferences in downtown Mexico City
  • Preached at a local church youth camp for Spring Break
  • We’ve published 38 articles on
  • Received over 4800 visits and more than 11,000 pageviews on our ministry website. We receive emails from people all over Latin America asking for training because of the articles, resources, etc, that we put on the site.
  • Participated in a regional youth leaders conference in Cuba, teaching 2 training sessions and preaching in the opening service
  • Taught Contemporary Communication at the Bachelor’s level in Mexico
  • Taught Professional Orientation to Youth Ministry at the Bachelor’s level in Mexico
  • Taught Contemporary Communication at the Diploma level in Mexico
  • Taught Troubled Youth class at the Diploma level in Mexico
  • Taught a mentoring class in a local church (based on material used in Youth Discipleship)
  • Taught an informal YM philosophy workshop in Sonora at a regional camp
  • Taught an informal YM workshop in Toluca to youth leaders

We are excited to be a part of what God is doing in Latin America. Who knows what the next quarter holds!!!

Graduation in Santiago

Last Saturday night I had the chance to be at the first graduation of youth ministry students from the Baptist Seminary in Santiago, Cuba. There were 19 graduates overall.

This class was one of the first graduating classes taught entirely by national professors trained by Youth Ministry International over a period of 3 years.

There’s a lot more to say about this, but for now, I’m just going to post the photo.

19 of the Second Generation Graduates

The House is Finished!

We’ve officially moved into our new house! The renovation is finally done, and we are here. We still have a few little things to move in, but basically this weekend we finished the moving. Check out the video to see how the house turned out, and thanks for your support!