Project Preposterous - Not Your Typical Bible Study
Online ministry guru David Dorn, who is in his final year of earning his M.Div at Asbury Theological Seminary, loves to throw Biblical challenges like this out via social media channels. Since 2009, Dorn has actively engaged in online ministry with www.thepursuitblog.com and hundreds of YouTube video blogs that help make religion more relevant.
Jerry Pennington, TAC Director of Transformation is teaming up with Dorn to launch Project Preposterous -- an online, interactive, video Bible Study geared toward teens in the Texas Annual Conference.
“What Jesus calls us to do is pretty PREPOSTEROUS when you think about it,” notes Dorn, “but it is in the PREPOSTEROUS that we find LIFE.” As Developer and Producer of Project PREPOSTEROUS, he will take a command or promise of Jesus each week, talk about it and how it relates to a students’ life today and encourage them to record a video diary of their discipleship experience. Additionally, teens will be encouraged to share their experiences and testimonies on their own Facebook and Twitter accounts, allowing their friends to see how Jesus is working in their lives.
In June, David Dorn will interact with teens attending the Annual Conference, and will present the program details to church leaders, clergy and parents in attendance, in preparation for the official launch of the first “video lesson” on June 15. Video blogs will be posted weekly beginning with Biblical concepts from the book of Matthew.
According to Pennington, “Project PREPOSTEROUS will also offer what we are calling Wisdom
Gatherings once a quarter for participating churches and individuals that want to be a part of a live chat and share session. I am particularly proud of the fact that David has been designated as a YouTube partner, which means he meets a high standard of providing engaging content to a consistently expanding audience.”
Pennington acknowledges that Project PREPOSTEROUS is an experimental adventure. He notes, “As Congregational Excellence Director Don Waddleton always says, sometimes we build the airplane as we fly it, so we are anxious to get started and evaluate and adjust as we go along.”
Why senior pastors are excited about this program
· This provides Biblically-based interaction using the tools of a teen’s culture.
· For larger churches, it makes a great supplement and serves as a point of connection with other Christians during the week. For smaller churches, it can function as small group material or actually serve as the main teaching activity for youth groups or small groups. Churches can use the discussion questions to equip a parent or volunteer to facilitate.
“The Preposterous Project opens up a whole new world of opportunity to get youth connected with Christ and one another. It moves us from the church building into the world they are in most of the time – Internet, Facebook, YouTube, etc. In East Texas, most of our churches can’t afford a youth director, but they could find a way to support and facilitate the Preposterous Project. We will be seeking a college student or adult to facilitate the Project in small churches – maybe even gathering the youth of several small congregations together. I am hoping the Conference will find a way to make the material available in Spanish so we can use it with a group of Spanish speaking youth in our community. What a great way to connect with young people – even more, to intentionally connect them to Christ and the challenges of Christian discipleship.”
Rev. Cindy Doran, East District Youth Coordinator and Pastor of Keltys UMC in Lufkin
Why youth pastors and parents are excited about this program
· As something fresh utilizing new media, it is designed to engage students, regardless of the size of the church or existing program
· A youth program could be built around PREPOSTEROUS or the material could serve merely as an enrichment piece
· For teens who come across it on the web, this will be a gateway to Christ and the church.
“Youth directors know their kids are on the internet around the clock and this type of web based ministry will even reach students watching on their own at home around the globe. It is also an excellent evangelistic tool that makes it easier for them to share Christ with others. The viral ministry is the key to our future because it is quite transparent and relevant and opens conversations.”
Jay Neff, Youth Pastor, Jasper First UMC
“Our PREPOSTEROUS videos will be designed in the same vein as other YouTube videos which often gain millions of views per episode when they go viral,” notes Dorn. “Our hope and prayer is that a good percentage of viewers are from unchurched teens from all walks of life across the globe.”
Q: What churches are involved in the pilot program?
A. Several churches of various sizes are being recruited to give an extra layer of
feedback in the early stages, as we continue to build this around what teens need. The weekly videos will be accompanied by a set of group discussion questions . Churches interested in being “feedback churches” can send an email to PreposterousProject@gmail.com.
Q. Where will PREPOSTEROUS materials be posted?
Q: What safety nets will be put in place?
A. Youth pastors or facilitators (and even parents) can sign up to receive an ‘alert’ when the weekly video goes on line. Videos and discussions will encourage teens and teach them how to protect themselves from cyberbullying. Videos will be reviewed before posting, comments will be closely monitored, and any violators will be blocked.
Learn More: www.PreposterousProject.org