Institute: The Clique Where Everyone is In (1 of 5)

I spent last week at a youth camp,¬†Institute 2010: God’s All Stars, which is a ministry of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry of the Kansas East Annual Conference. This post is part of a series reflecting on the week and making applications for the local church.

On the first day, I realized that Institute is a clique. There are insider language, traditions, games, jokes and expectations. My first response was negative, do high school students really need another clique? As the week continued I realized a significant difference in the clique that is Institute and others which exist in the world:

Institute is a clique where everyone is in.

If you are present at the camp, you are in. You can be part of the exclusive group, learn the traditions, language, games, jokes and expectations. Everyone is accepted into the clique.

What about your local church? Is there there insiders and outsiders? How do the common words and practices of your local church seem to those who are new? Is everyone in?

6 Powerful Words

I have been praying for you.

These are powerful words.

One of my friends, Ryan, said them to me this week. He indicated that he had specifically been praying for me throughout the month of July.

July was a month of surprises and transitions for me, but I had been able to respond in ways that surprised others and even myself. I had attributed it to catching up and having some extra time in my schedule after the end of clinical pastoral education and vacation. This may be partially true, but I believe that my friend’s prayers were foundational to the goodness in the month of July.

Sometimes people ask, “What would be helpful for you?” My most common response is, “Pray for God’s will to be done in my life and that I might be about God’s work and let me know that you are praying.”

Thanks, Ryan.


I was confronted by one of the assumptions that I make about life and church recently when reading the comments from my post on what to do with your hands during worship. I made the assumption that words for singing would be on a screen and you would not have to hold a hymnal. For better or worse, here are some other assumptions that I have made about life as a leader in the church.

  • In worship, words can be projected.
  • Church staff will all have email addresses.
  • The pastor will have a direct phone line at the church.
  • Broadband internet access will be available at the church and the parsonage.
  • There will be some members in the congregation who will friend me on Facebook.

What do you think? What have I missed? Are these fair assumptions?