Contributor – Bryant Johnson, Lead Consultant with Ministry Architects

What Does It Mean?

In 1543, a book that would forever change the world was published. That book was De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres). This would be outline a new model for our world. This new model would project that the sun was at the center of the known universe, not the earth. This theory was proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus.

Then around 1600 the first telescope (or looker as some called it) was invented. Lenses had been grinded and shaped for many years prior so that others could wear glasses. Galileo would continue his work to discover the true nature of the universe, further supporting Copernicus’ original theory. For this work to continue the telescope had to be improved. It would be nearly a hundred years later for telescope to evolve to use reflection rather than refraction.

That was quite a different world four hundred years ago, than the one we live in now. Hours, days, and years would be spent discovering facts. Sometimes, it would take hundreds of years to discover the facts.

I wonder, when Copernicus first had a hunch that the sun might be at the center of our solar system, did he have ever ask “What does this mean for me? What does it mean for us?” Would he have taken the time to consider how the tides, seasons, weather changes, and even migration patterns are connected to the way in which our solar system works?

Yet, today we take those facts for granted. And hundreds of years after first proposing that the sun is the center of the known universe, we are able to reflect what it means for us.

We no longer spend years, days, or hours developing or discovering the facts. Thanks to the internet, we can usually discover them in a matter of minutes. Facts, information, and content of any kind are readily available.

Some of the youth I work with often have their cell phones out or they are easily within reach at any given moment. They have the facts of the world at their fingertips. A few in my group will even look up stories, dates, and people as we go through our lessons.

In ministry, this provides us with an opportunity unlike any other before it. We have the privilege to spend more time helping young people to discover what scripture means for them.

What does it mean for me? What does it mean for you? What does it mean for us?

Answering these questions has the potential for life changing transformation for young people in the church today.

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Bryant Johnson began working in youth ministry in 1997 and is currently serving at Harrison United Methodist Church in Pineville, NC. He has been worship speaker for summer camps, taught seminars for youth workers, and written curriculum for the Florida United Methodist Camping programs.

Bryant graduated from Florida Southern College with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology.

In his free time Bryant enjoys all things technology, exercise, and good movies. He and his wife, Tonya, live in Charlotte, NC.