If, while trying to explain the Good News to a teenager, you say, "Mankind is sinful, but because of God's loves he offers salvation through Jesus Christ", don't be too disappointed if he or she doesn't seem overwhelmed with the "goodness" of that news.

photo by Janis Lanka, click to see more from JanisBut if you tell them a story about a father who does his best to love his child, who gives until it hurts... but that child laughs, takes off, blows the money and humiliates the father and family... and then after hitting rock bottom in a spring breakbeach resort turning tricks in exchange for food, money or a high, the kid wakes up one morning wondering, "what the *$#?! have i done to my life?"... calls home and his Dad says, "Is that you?! I've missed you so much. I've been trying to find you. I love you... please come home. All is forgiven...all is forgotten"…Now that has a chance of truly communicating something they long to hear.

On our web site for youth leaders we provide both training and resources, helping them mature in both their practice and understanding of ministry with teenagers. Most of the leaders who visit the site think of the gospel in the "propositional" terms of the 1st example. And when they try to communicate with teenagers they use those same statements of fact and are disappointed when students don't respond the amazing facts theyhave just explained to them.

illustration for the contestIn order to help leaders improve their ability to communicate, especially with postmodern youth, we are sponsoring a contest on the site - $300 dollars to best retelling of the parable of the prodigal son. Then we'll turn the winning story into a short-form animation for online and CD distribution.

The "justification" for the contest, a call for the church to bring back narrative as communication tool, is online at here. Who knows it might just remind you why the Christmas season, with all of its stories and senses, makes you feel so close to God.

N o r t h   o f   t h e   B o r d e r

If you can believe it, January 1st 2004 marks our 8th anniversary in Mexico. Along with the fireworks, we'll be celebrating with a 2 month home assignment… catching up with friends and hoping to convince people that what we're doing is still worth investing in. During December and January we'll be traveling out of Florence, SC -- where Tim's parents live -- hopefully seeing you if you live near the eastern seaboard. So don't be surprised if you walk into church and there we are.

Can't wait to see you!

tim and annette baumann gulick - sept 2003
Annette & Tim

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