One thing I am convinced of is that the church needs to be working towards more truly open source styles of resourcing for ministry. Some will disagree, saying that is unsustainable, and that you have to pay people in order to get the best work. That might be true if the church was bound to operate only out of free-market principles, but it isn’t (or shouldn’t?).
Now, some places say they offer free resources, but you have to register for their website, they only offer samples of resources you can then buy, or they have plain useless, low-quality stuff. Luther Seminary is not one of those places. They offer lots of free resources for people and churches with no strings attached. There are two which stand out as the creme de la creme of church resources:
- WorkingPreacher.org – This is an amazing resource for preachers who use the lectionary to preach their sermons. They have commentary on every lectionary passage every week by top-notch scholars. They have an audio podcast with reflections on the week’s texts. There are short video snippets of insights for honing the craft of preaching. There are articles that help preachers integrate theology with culture through cultural commentary. All of these resources are made available every week, for absolutely free.
- EntertheBible.org – Another high quality resource with absolutely free resources to aid in Bible study. You know how you go to those websites that offer “free Bible study tools” and only use public domain publications that are old and out of date (think Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, etc.)? Yeah, this isn’t one of those sites. Instead, they have new articles written by current professors on almost every single book of the Bible, different time periods during the biblical era, commentary on certain passages, new articles on biblical people and places, and more. Of course, if you want to sign up for an account, you can. An account will allow you to keep track of your notes on passages, track your learning, and follow study paths that have been created for the site. This is a truly top-notch resource for Bible study.
I’m highly impressed with the quality of resources that are available on these websites. Not only the quality, but also the quantity. There is loads of information available on these two sites.
My question is, when will we get something like this for youth ministry? I would love to see a free one-stop website with:
- Youth-oriented lessons available in one place for every book of the Bible
- Topical lessons, too
- Resource articles for dealing with different teen crisis issues
- Small group training materials
- Video illustrations for different topics
- Worship ideas for youth ministry
- Ways to incorporate the church calendar into youth ministry
- Tips and tricks for administration and planning
Come on Luther Seminary (and donors), let’s see something of equal quality available specifically for youth ministry.
I think I have the know-how to at least get some of the stuff above on the web in one place, but it wouldn’t be as high-tech, easily searchable, and user-friendly as the two sites above. To do it right will take a bit of money and some commitment from youth workers.
Can it happen?