Hello blog followers and friends!
It’s been a while since I’ve had time to come up with a blog (not for a shortage of topics, mostly a shortage of time). However, I was glad to meet with my friend and professor, Paul Metzger this morning at the Multnomah University coffee shop. He took a video of me explaining my time in the New Wine, New Wineskins program and how it has impacted my ministry with City Life through Youth For Christ. Check out the video and if you’re inclined, please feel free to write a note of encouragement for me or send a donation for our program by going to www.yfcpdx.org/donate and putting “City Life ministry” in the comment/note section. Have a great day!
The “M” Word”
Extraterrestrials, “Generation Wuss”, and narcissistic…just a few ways the media describes Millennials (typically defined as people born 1980-2000). Just this morning I heard a lecture from a local politician on “those Millennials”, our social media, and how we need to be “figured out.” The common experience of constantly hearing that message in meetings, lunches, and news articles is what I imagine zoo animals feel about the people who point, bang on the glass of their cages, and leave without paying too many compliments. The oldest of the Millennials are in their mid-30’s, the youngest are late teenagers. The generalizations, stereotypes, and misconceptions commonly preached to us by those normally in positions of authority or significance are frankly insulting.
When you talk about how I need to understand the importance of time management you disregard that I have held multiple positions at once while attending grad school and doing community work. Does emotional sensitivity play into my production or desire to work? Yes, because from the over 1,000 Facebook friends and Twitter followers (that I rarely hear from very personally) I want to know there are people physically there that care about me (or at least let me share connection about issues impacting my work) especially if I’m investing my time and energy to further a cause or company. And one more thing: for those of us Millennials in the working world, we want to be creative, supportive, and forward-thinking. Harness that creativity and allow it some space to design programs, ideas, and strategies because that communicates you believe we are capable of contributing positively to the workplace.
Lastly, please imagine all the ways that you don’t like to be lumped and labeled…we are just the same! The solution to understanding “Millennials” is very individualistic because we all come with our quirks and fears due to life experiences, culture, personality, and upbringing. While I admit that Millennials do have flaws (just like every generation) it is important to build relationships by listening and sharing your story because believe it or not, some of us like to understand where you’re coming from too!
Check out this helpful infographic from Washington Post “Millennials: Coming of Age” for a good analysis of statistics and patterns of Millennials.
Hey friends, I know it’s been a while, but I just wanted to share with you all of the amazing things God is doing recently.
First, and most exciting, I got married on June 20th to Rachel! She is so wonderful and amazing. I’m so blessed to call her my wife! It was a beautiful wedding. I could not have asked God for a more wonderful person to marry and enjoy. We had fun with our family and friends that came and celebrated with us. Then we went to Napa for our honeymoon to enjoy time away from all the busyness of life.
I am continuing to raise support for Youth For Christ to start in September at Grant High School here in Portland. I have raised 38% of the needed support. Every week I send out a prayer and ministry update. If you would like to join the list please send me your name and email to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can add you. If you would like to learn how to become a supporter you can also email me and we can set up a time to get together and talk about the exciting ministry opportunity to share Jesus with students. We are going to summer camp in August!
This last weekend we went to the Washington coast to visit my family and celebrate Independence Day. We certainly love the beach and are thankful for family and friends we got to see. We are also continually praying for God to move in our nation so that people will know his grace and truth.
I hope you have had a great summer so far!
As I am working towards raising support to become a full-time youth missionary with Youth For Christ I am experiencing a lot of growing pains with the Lord and having patience in the time it is taking to raise support. In the four months since I have been raising money I have earned about 20% of my total ministry costs (my ministry budget is $42,000). Since building relationships with teenagers takes time, it will be very important for me to take the time to care and support the kids in the community I will be working with in Northeast Portland. I will do this through being a helping hand at Grant High School, running YFC club and Bible studies during different evenings of the week, and partnering with local churches and organizations to show the love of Christ in word and deed. Currently, I work a full-time job and it is difficult not being able to completely focus on the mission field that I believe the Lord is calling me to: teenagers in Portland. My goal is to be fully supported and begin working at Grant High School this September. It is a very ambitious goal, but I know with the support of my friends that it is attainable. Every little bit counts (anything from $5-$100) as a monthly or one-time gift. If you would like I can send you a support letter if you send me your address at my email: email@example.com – or you can donate online at yfcpdx.org/donate and use your credit card.
I know that you are all very caring people so please help me have the time to take to care and share the love of Jesus to the students and families of Grant High School!
I know it’s been a while since I have posted on the blog but I wanted to let you know what I’ve been up to. First off, I’ve started working in social work with adults with disabilities while I raise support to begin working with teenagers here in Portland through Youth For Christ (YFC). Add that on top of wedding planning with Rachel (we’re getting married June 20th!) and I feel like I have 3 jobs right now! Of course I have joys and fears about all of them, but I am so thankful for how it has stretched out my faith and love for God. I am reminded everyday that God has made us image-bearers with the capacity to show love, kindness, creativity, and celebrate! I am also reminded of the frailty, darkness, and brokenness of our sin-filled world. It makes me remember that I need to shine my light for Jesus wherever I go.
My overall plan is to begin working with YFC at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year full-time in the Grant High School area of Northeast Portland to do campus outreach and partnership work within the community to provide resources and relationships to students and families. I believe the mission of YFC resonates with God’s calling in my life so wonderfully. This month I was featured in their newsletter. Here is the link: http://www.yfcpdx.org/why_youth_for_christ
In order to meet this goal I need 106 more people to support me at least $30 per month. Here are a few ways that you could help me meet my goal:
1. Support me with $30 per month (do it with a friend, a church small group, or as an individual).
2. Host an informational event about YFC and invite your friends to hear about our ministry.
3. Help connect us with your church to share about the outreach I will be doing here in Portland.
Please feel free to contact me through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find me on Twitter at @AndrewKruse3 or @reachingyouth
This week I get the opportunity to share a message from Matthew 28 to a youth group full of high schoolers and middle schoolers who are, like many students their age, trying to understand difficult areas of life and faith. One of those aspects is sharing faith with friends. I am excited because I’m not simply going to give them the “answers” or the best methods. I am going to encourage them to try being Christ-like examples in the way they talk, act, and think towards others. I get to share an important part of God’s story, Jesus’ great commission, as well as share how God has impacted my story with “GO”-ing and can impact their story as they are “GO”-ing as well.
Now at this point you might ask, “Where are you going Andrew?” Well I have written this blog to inform you! Currently I am raising support to begin ministering to students in inner Northeast Portland with Youth For Christ. I am so excited for this opportunity. Here is a video to explain part of what I’m doing:
My goal so that I can begin ministering to students in this area could be met if 117 people gave a tax-deductible gift of $30 per month (or you could support me with a group of people in your neighborhood or church).
You see, we all have a responsibility to “GO” for Christ- into our workplaces, schools, and really any interaction with another human being made in the image of God. Nobody is perfect at this, but if you choose to partner with me I hope that we can build a relationship of prayer and encouragement together and in our communities to lift Jesus up higher! If you are interested in this opportunity please contact me at email@example.com so that I can get you on my prayer and support team list. Thank you so much!
Hey everyone I hope that 2015 has been good so far! I know I have enjoyed it! I just wanted to update you and let you know that I am starting a Tumblr account titled “Everyday Ad-Missions” as a way to keep you all updated about the story that God is unraveling in my life with Rachel and the ministry opportunities I have with Youth For Christ in Portland.
The way I came up with the blog title “Everyday Ad-Missions” is thinking about how everyday God gives us opportunities to act on our awareness of his presence and be a part of his mission to proclaim and demonstrate the beauty and wonder that is the kingdom of God as believers in Christ. This blog is to be more of a journal and collection of experiences rather than a website focused on ministry practice, book reviews, and forms of cultural engagement like Reaching Youth is. I will continue using this blog for those purposes, so please continue to read when there are new posts available.
One of my New Years resolutions is to become a better story teller and share them in a way that is honest, positive, and real. The reason that I want to do this is because as I have learned in this last year, community development starts with collecting stories. Those stories can be the base of unleashing dreams, hope, and passion so that people can use innovative and creative in the ways that they build relationships, work towards the common good, and share the joys and pains that we all share as human-beings. I hope by sharing my stories more often and more intentionally that you can know how to pray for me and ways for you to continue your encouragement and support in my life. Thank you for taking the time to read, and feel free to subscribe or favorite my Tumblr!
My brother Bryce and I at Powell’s Books on New Years Day!
The amount of reading that I did in 2014 is not equal to the amount of books and articles that I actually enjoyed. So please forgive me that the list is so short, but I am going to try to work towards reading more books and articles that hopefully give me insight and reflection into areas of theology, ministry, and cultural engagement (and hopefully provide reviews) so that you can learn along with me!
Christ and Culture by H. Richard Niebuhr
Hollywood Worldview by Brian Godawa
The Son Who Chases the Father by Joshua Zarzana
Christian Survival Kits in a Post-Christendom Society Part 1
and Part 2
by Paul Louis Metzger (Patheos)
Being A Christian Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Should by Preston Sprinkle (Relevant Magazine
Every year I try to pick some of my favorite blogs I wrote. I also encourage you to take time to click on one to read that you think sounds interesting. The themes that I felt increasingly compelled by this year were Justice, Evangelism, Worship, the issue of Fatherlessness and the role of Father-figures, and Ministry Leadership. Please leave comments and let me know what your thoughts are on these blogs!
My Dad and I at The Justice Conference 2014- sharing Jesus and justice.
The Justice Conference 2014 Day 1 review
Fatherlessness and the role of Father-figures
Yesterday on my Facebook page I shared this status:
Have you ever read MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail? I read in his own words a call and rebuke of white Christian people/pastors who agree the injustice is wrong and do nothing, or worse- they deny injustice has happened. In 40 years from now I don’t want to be remembered for inaction when solidarity, reconciliation, and systemic change were needed. Please join me in praying for how to sensitively and redemptively think, speak, and act in these pivotal moments that our nation needs to deal with. #wearepreciousinhissight #blacklivesmatter #reconciliation #justicematters
I truly believe that the gospel has relevance and power when we as the body of Christ unite together to impact the world for Christ through how we treat and allow treatment of others. We have to stop using the vocabulary of “those people there”…we are they, they are us- all human, all made in God’s image, and all precious to the Lord.
There is something wrong with our justice system when it does not function the way it should, when people with power and influence practice it inappropriately, and when people with power and influence choose not to exercise any voice and action to possibly bring about changes. I have never experienced the realities that many African-American peers and neighbors have, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. I have sat and listened to African-Americans as they share the fears and frustrations they have felt and experienced. I want to keep lifting up our African-American brothers and sisters in Christ and learn how to be a part of a constructive process to bring systemic change, while impacting hearts with the love, grace, truth, and reconciling power that Jesus Christ has given us a ministry of.
Jesus cares about every life and the impact of injustice in our nation and in the world. I am thankful that he asks us to embody his desires for justice and redemptive solutions now as much as possible and that he promises perfection as part of his future kingdom he will bring on earth. Live in the tension, embrace the other, and bring the hope you have found in Christ to life through your words and actions.
(One big side note: if you haven’t read “Letter From Birmingham Jail” here is a link where you can read it…https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/letter-birmingham-jail)
Here is the beginning of my newest article that was recently published at Shared Justice:
“In a seminary course on World Religion last summer, I was assigned to write about organizing a community development project with a group or person who professed a different faith than mine. In many ways this experience positively shaped my motivations for building relationships, advocating for, and working with people of other faiths in my neighborhood. I want to explain why and how this type of cultural engagement is a crucial piece for all Christians to invest their time in.”
Want to see the rest of this article?
Click on the link:
My good friend, Joshua Zarzana, just published his first book entitled, “The Son Who Chases the Father.” Let me begin by telling you what I love about this book. I’ll choose three points because there are so many things that I could say about the content and character behind this book.
First, I love how honest Josh is in this book about himself, his family, and his continuing need for being a son who chases after his heavenly Father. He makes it clear that his story doesn’t end with all smiles and happiness, but that it ends with more hope and more joy than it began with. The bad and good examples of his Father and men around him have done a lot to shape his spiritual, relational, and emotional development as a man. Josh’s desire throughout the book is to motivate men to become the child of God that we are called to be and an example to younger men to follow after God. He doesn’t take the role of expert on these issues, rather he takes the role as a fellow traveler and pastoral messenger.
Second, he combines the topics of value/faith development, family systems, and biblical wisdom to develop theological principles such as God’s love, confessing our sins, and the changing power of grace through narrative. The writer’s craft that Josh uses to weave and connect with the audience to reflect on their own life is inspiring, thought-provoking, and well done. I finished every chapter excited for the next one. The challenge at the end of the book to chase after God purposefully and to be a positive influence for the faith development of others was good. He writes, “So this is where my book ends, and where you choose how the rest of your book will go. I hope that both of our final chapters of life will end up in the same place, in the Father’s loving embrace.”
Third, is the timeliness of this book. I believe that challenging cultural mores and norms about what definitions of “family” are is an important topic. Families without a mother or a father is not what God desires for children. He wants whole families. Issues like divorce, fatherlessness, and family stability are all things that pastors and Christian leaders need to be passionate about giving a gracious and biblical response to. If you go to the website for the book (chasethefather.com) you can click on devotions, leave comments, and watch videos.
I really think that every man and Christian leader should read this book to ignite more of a passion for being transformed by Christ and sharing life together to see others grow in the grace and truth of the gospel!