I just started reading Rob Bell’s latest book How to be Here. If you’ve noticed by my past posts, I am reading more than usual. That’s because on Friday I will submit my Master’s thesis to Wesley Theological Seminary. Over the past five years I have not had the time or energy to read anything that was outside of my seminary course load. During the academic year I was busy reading systematic theology books and Old Testament commentaries while during the summer months I was reading books about spiritual formation for youth ministry and missional theology. I haven’t had much free time to read anything so now that the light is at the end of the tunnel I am reading what I want to read.
Rob’s latest book has been critiqued by some as being a motivational book with a sprinkling of Christian theology. While I am only halfway through the book, I can tell you that the criticism falls short. Yes, the theology is light but Rob isn’t known for writing deep theological gems that are going to shake the way the world views Christ. Instead, in this book, Rob is inviting the readers to go on a journey where they not only gain spiritual insight but are also motivated to break through whatever in their life is holding them back from flourishing in this life in a way that God wants them to.
This book is perfect for youth ministry.
I know Rob Bell comes with “Rob Bell, Love Wins” baggage but seriously, this book is perfect for youth ministry. And because youth ministry is where I spend most of my time these days the book is perfect for me.
“Not _______ enough.
Not smart enough,
Not talented enough,
Not disciplined enough,
Not educated enough,
Not beautiful, thin, popular, or hardworking enough”.
Everyday the students I work with judge their self-worth by what they are not enough of. With constant standardized testing students are reminded more often than they should be that sometimes they don’t measure up equally to one another. Which according to Rob, isn’t interesting!!
All of our shortcomings, all of the things others are better at than we are, and all of the things we haven’t done or won’t do mean nothing in the eyes of God. Throughout the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament God is calling people not who are of the religious or social elite but rather people who were the least likely of suspects: Noah, Abraham, David, Peter, Judas, Saul. In each of these instances there was probably someone else standing close by who would have been more qualified to work on behalf of God but God had other plans.
In his book, Rob uses the example of Jesus calling Peter to lead the church. Peter had denied know who Christ was in the final hours leading up to the crucifixion. He denied knowing Christ not once but three times! But when Christ calls Peter, Peter immediately looks to someone else: “what about him?” Peter the denier couldn’t believe that Jesus was calling him.
God isn’t interested in what we can’t do. God can work with people who aren’t loyal or good looking (look at Jason) or even Bible scholars. God can work with anyone, empowering them to literally transform the world. This is a message students in your youth ministry need to hear more and more. I sent a text message out to my students last Sunday saying: “Who you aren’t isn’t interesting.” Many of them had never been told that what they couldn’t do or were unable to do wasn’t a big deal.
I’d love to share the lesson I developed based off this chapter of the book. All you need to do is subscribe in the “Subscribe Here” box on the top right of this page and I will get the lesson sent out to you!