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What should we teach in Spain?

On New Year’s Day, Karen and I will fly to India to launch the T squad. It’s a long flight that will have us touching down in Paris and Oman. And on the way back, we’ll stop off in Mijas, Spain for several days to teach at the G42 Leadership School.   I’m not a big believer in classroom …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
On New Year’s Day, Karen and I will fly to India to launch the T squad. It’s a long flight that will have us touching down in Paris and Oman. And on the way back, we’ll stop off in Mijas, Spain for several days to teach at the G42 Leadership School.
I’m not a big believer in classroom teaching without application; my experience is that people retain about 10% of most classroom teaching over the long-term and that without attaching the teaching to life experience, nothing changes. So whatever I “teach,” it needs to come across in a way that it sticks. I look at the way Jesus taught and try to replicate that.
When I was last there, I engaged the students in a lot of different activities and dialogue. We hiked up a mountain and listened to the Lord there and journaled. We went to a coffee shop with a great view and I told some faith stories. We walked to a park overlooking the ocean and took videos of the students talking about their dreams. We went to the Wine Museum and sat around a table for two hours praying for spiritual healing.
I believe that God wants to release his children to pursue the dreams he’s given them. So often I spend time delving into what sorts of issues may prevent people from pursuing their dreams. 
As I’ve prayed about what to teach, all I get so far is the idea that young people have never been taught how to fail (that is to fail redemptively) and that this keeps them from committing to their dreams. So, maybe we should help them learn to how to take more risks and learn that failure is a normal part of life?
I don’t know. I got up early this morning and thought I’d ask anybody out there who has an idea about what 20-somethings need for help. I’m soliciting your advice here.

Comments (21)

  • Obedience is better than sacrifice, God doesn’t want our sacrifices, time, talents or treasures, He wants a relationship with us, all of us, intimacy. Obedience comes out of a relationship with our heavenly Father. Only in that relationship can we hear what the father is speaking to us and out of that, like Jesus, can we be apart of ministry. Obedience, even when it does not make sense.

    Cost of discipleship…everything. If we are really to follow Jesus, it will cost us everything, our hope and dreams for His. Dying daily for His will in our lives. The cost is great, but the reward is greater.

    Incarnational ministry. We, the Bride, are the hands and feet of Jesus, so go and love as He loves.

    My thoughts…
    Lord bless you guys as you go.

  • hmmmm…

    risk taking – if there’s one thing I wish I have for my life, I wish I’d done more of that through the years – & I’ve done a lot of that, but I did safe risk taking (is that a mutually exclusive term? safe risk taking? LOL)

    the 20somethings I know seem to need people to say to them “you can do this” & “you’ve got what it takes to be or do this.” Their parents doen’t seem to say this to them. Maybe you could reinforce that they are capable of whatever they feel God may be calling them to be or do. why else would He call them?

    I think the freedom to fail is a good idea. But how about instead of calling it failure, talk about sometimes what we & the world interpret as success or failure may not be what it is.

    I’m sure the friends of John the Baptist felt he’d failed when he lost his head.
    Same goes for…
    St Paul’s friends,
    Eric Littel’s friends (he’s the Scottish runner in Chariot’s of Fire – missionary to China, killed by the Japanese during WWII)
    The friends of the five missionaries killed in the Amazon – End of the Spear guys.

    And the greatest life lessons have not come in my life through the successes in my life – it’s come when I’ve failed.

    of course, you could always have me come talk about risk-taking at 60! LOL

    what about a risk taking activity be that during the day they have to share themselves & their life with God with someone during the day? This isn’t the deer hunter kind of witnessing we all hate. (shooting a testimony at whatever moves) This is sharing our lives in a natural way.

    One thing I’ve done every once in a while is alert my crowd that we’re gonna have Q&A – no question is off limits, no one’s gonna laugh at you. Then just field questions about life, God, calling, discipleship, sex, living in the world, or whatever they wanna ask. They can ask them live & in color, or they can write them down on paper & turn them in.

    It’s interesting that 20somethings have lots of questions and no one to ask them to.

    anyway, these are just thoughts off the top of my head

  • I second obedience. In our “instant Christian” way of life, it is easier to look for the experience to lead us into deeper communion with the Lord rather than put the effort into the hard work of commitment. Most of the time experience does not come until we learn to obey. It is hardest to remain committed when nothing is happening, but it is at those times that obedience is most important.

    I also second failure. The Christian life is marred by failure, but it is how we respond to our failures that is important. Faith in Christ and allowing that faith to raise us to our feet again and again, while we seek the change that needs to happen in us, and possibly our methods, to bring success and greater glory to God.

  • I like your thoughts Seth. It is true that nothing is a failure if you consider it a lesson learned and begin again.

    Risk is essential and I believe the impetus is “love” and the art of learning to love well. Our false perceptions about love seem to short circuit all efforts towards a vision.

    It seems that disillusionment is the tool that teaches this generation instead of believing in the power of love for it bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    Love never fails – May God birth belief in us that is rooted in the truth of His love and not our “feelings”.

  • Thanks, Joy, Matt, Dan & Rozy for giving me some stuff to chew on. Learning risk and obedience. How to do that in a school environment?

    I welcome other ideas any of you readers may have.

  • Perhaps everyone spends some time in listening prayer for – what does God want me to risk/obey today? Then go out and do it. Every step of obedience begets more trust from God to us. If we want God to give us great things to accomplish in His Kingdom, we must hear and obey Him in the small things.

    If there is anything that has been seared on my heart, it’s that God works EVERYTHING for my good – my sins, my failures, hard circumstances that I did not expect, other people’s sins or hurts against me, things I thought i heard from the Lord but maybe didn’t get quite right. Everything. In that environment -if you really believe it – obedience doesn’t seem so risky.

  • Hi Seth,
    I think you’re on the right track with the “learning to fail, redemptively” theme. What I see in this 20-something generation is a strong desire to spend their lives for something – so I don’t see that this generation (esp those already in the G42 or WR programs) necessarily need to be exhorted to take risks or be obedient. That comes naturally to them. Ironically what this generation needs is an exhortation to be consistent in their commitments, to not bite off more than they can chew, and to seek first not cool international personal experiences but rather get planted somewhere. This generation is a fireball of enthusiasm and energy for missions but pastoring them is like trying to ride the Saturn V moon rocket haha. You have a bully pulpit Seth and I know that whatever topic you choose will be life-giving to them.

    Dios te bendiga y saludos desde México.


  • Hrrmmmm….

    1. Intimacy and Obedience – gotta have a tight relationship with God to see/hear what He is doing/showing you, then have the obedience to go do it. You gotta keep this going to stay in flow with Him over time. I’ve seen people (and done it myself), where they get a vision or instruction from God, but stop seeking His input on it over time, and then run off on a tangent with it. A great way to start this is listening prayer – ask God for what to do each day, then do what He says. This practice can set your mind to always seek Him, by default. This intimacy also brings a peace that pervades every aspect of life, so you’re confident to take life head on.

    2. Freedom to try – people are afraid of failing. There is a big stigma attached to it. This society has this unbalanced Type A mentality where you gotta compete and succeed at everything. You then become risk-adverse in fear of failing, and so many never try to do anything. The best way to overcome this is to consciously recognize this fear and see how false it is. Failure is a part of life. It’s called trial and error. Maybe we can stop calling failure “failure”, and call it trial and error. And honestly, even if you “fail” horribly, it’s not the end of the world. What’s failure to being a slave to human trafficking? Or hunger, or poverty? And God will never let us “fail” and remain there. With God, “failures” are just the dips in between our successes, where we learn from our mistakes and outgrow our flaws.

    3. Let go of expectations – not everyone has the same path and timeline, so people need to REALLY understand this and not feel wrong or inadequate if their life’s pacing is different than others. Not everyone will start their career/life passions at the same time. Gotta let go of expectations on what success looks like, and redefine what success means to them. They must understand what God has meant for them and go with that, which comes having from an intimate relationship with Him. Only God’s opinion is the one that matters.

  • Yes, obedience, I agree. My only addition would be to follow Jesus’ admonition in John 15, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Jn 15:5

    Our life’s work is to stay connected to the Source from whom all blessings flow. But how do we do this? Sit at His feet daily, don’t forsake gathering with other believers, pray all the time, read Scripture, listen to worship songs and sing along, care for widows and orphans, love each other, walk in the Spirit.

    All of these are the fruit of abiding in Jesus, but how do you teach this without people going after the fruit and not the Source?

  • Profound concepts of the Christian faith!

    But I would like to add another perhaps not so “deep” in overall life long issues…but at the age of 50 I see being so important.

    The gift and art of hospitality…learning to give other a message about their value…It’s not about perfection or impressing but rather comfort and care. Opening up our home and lives to whom God would bring to us. Using our homes, food, the table as a tool for outreach.

    The art of being a lifegiving woman (Eve’s name means lifegiver), walking in grace and confidence in our roles as nurturers. Helping women to stop comparing themselves (homes, children, marriages)to others but embrace the commitment to learn and be intentional about the process. Be a life long learner…be teachable and use our homes (yes and even good cooking) as a message…that says I see you…I have planned for you…you matter to me…and most importantly God.

    It’s not just about information, but transformation of how we see our homes and lives

    It’s not “entertaining” . . . but providing a comfortable setting for people to enjoy and learn from one another.

    Not showing off . . . but sharing life, embracing hospitality as a message you give other people about their value.

    Not kitchen theatrics . . . but kitchen-based connection, using food as a catalyst for community.

    Not dinner parties and open houses . . . but mealtime communion and openhearted living.

    Not house beautiful . . . but rejoicing in the beauty of shared meals and fellowship in a welcoming setting.

    Not doing something unusual for “company,” but creating an everyday lifestyle that provides welcome to family, friends, strangers . . . and yourself.

    And it’s not just for those with gorgeous homes, professional cooking skills, support staff on call, or special gifts. It’s for anyone who wants to invite community to come to them.

  • I think the best way to teach things like risk and obedience within the classroom is to just provide and discuss the Scriptural support for it, maybe look into some writings from other Godly men as further inspiration. I think anything we teach about any subject should eventually be tied up in an explanation of the Gospel. There are many Christians who do not have a clear understanding of the Gospel and therefore cannot explain it well. If we can see how everything we do is related to Jesus’ work on the cross, the cross will become bigger to us and more apart of our ministry.

    If the students have a clear understanding of the foundation behind their actions, the actions will make a lot more sense and serve as support knowledge that they can fall back on when times get tough or confusing in the field.

    One thing my evangelism professor did at school, was to tell us to go out and share our faith with people and then turn in a short paper for each experience we had. It made us think about what just happened, what we did, and how we could improve.

  • I think this is the best way to learn.
    my roommate and I are signing up for G42 when she graduates and I finish nursing school. 🙂

    although I’m a little afraid to be taught to fail…

  • My good buddy Michael Bondi and his wife, Denise are going to G42 in January. Please pray not only for God’s provision, but also that the Lord will use Seth, Karen and others to impart vision to the Bondis and the other students there!

  • Really, I think most of our inaction is due to fear. We either stop pursuing what God has for us because we’re afraid of change or because we’re afraid of failure. I’d go to the heart of the issue – fear.

    Another way to talk about this is how to work thru what Steven Pressfield calls “The Resistance” (the idea that whenever you pursue something significant, you’re resisted).

  • I’d second Jeff’s above comment. I was sitting here trying to figure out what I wish I had been taught sooner. At 25 I look around and see a need to release fear.

    Release the fear that following God, and really following him, might set you apart from the crowd.
    Release the fear that standing up for what you believe in might not be “politically correct” or socially acceptable.
    Release the fear that you may and probably will be laughed at if you truly follow your (hopefully God’s) dreams.
    Release the fear that you may not need to follow the same course of the crowd going to college getting a good job and putting money in the bank to have a successful life.
    Release the fear of trying something and failing, falling flat on your butt and having to pick up and start over.
    Release the fear that it may be more about the journey and lessons learned along the way than actually accomplishing something.

    I know that when I’ve honestly asked the question, God has revealed fears to me that I didn’t consciously realize existed. Sometimes that can be scary in and of itself, finding out what you’re afraid of and then laying it at the altar.

  • Seth, you have so many good counselors here-I especially like Suzanne & Jeff’s comments above. Fear…of giving our best shot and being wrong or of being disappointed by God (and then what do you do?) I’ll keep praying.

  • st. mark of the Cross

    Teaching the 20 somethings about real Christianity, and that there is no generation gap in the Bible. that’s it! Agape dear friend…st. mark & Family

  • Dear Daddy Seth,
    In Sunday Service I shared this wonderful messgae and 12 people accepted to Lord Jesus Christ as their personal saviour.Jn 15:5
    Yes, obedience, I agree.Dear Daddy Seth and Mama Karen we will be praying for your all misision work.May God use you mighty power for His glory during your time in Spain.You are coming n India and we do hope in 2011 may God will open the doors for Pakistan.
    God bless you.
    Emmanuel Sadiq.

  • Hey Seth,

    An idea taken from Bethel in Redding CA, Bill Johnson’s church. They do a “treasure hunt”, I think they call it. They get together, spend some time in prayer and worship and ask the Lord where do you want us to minister tonight? The Lord seems to give each person a bit of info and they GO where the Lord is leading according to what He has revealed to each one, like a puzzle. This has led them to all kinds of places to minister in various ways. They do this regularly.

    Experiential, in a school setting, then GO and DO as the Lord leads. Very risky:)

  • Thanks Seth. You model the answer to your question and I won’t add to the interesting comments here. Trust your heart and the incredible stories garnered from what AIM has become. Much love…

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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