Looking back over 2012, it's been quite the year.
The year I wrote my first book.
The year my daughter was born.
The year I moved to a new country.
One of my personal core values is to live a great story. As a chapter in my story, the past 365 days have been an epic adventure. It's also been a year of writing plenty of blog posts to record that adventure. This blog has been an output for my musings, memories, rants, and reviews. Here are ten of the top posts from this past year:
6 Practices for Youth Ministry on a High School Campus. I shared my experience and insights about engaging with local high school campuses, now both in Arizona and British Columbia.
Keep the Towel - Overcoming Discouragement in Ministry. Everyone experiences discouragement sometimes, particularly in ministry. Here are some reminders to keep going when I want to throw in the towel.
Parental Admonishment - 5 Things I Wish I Could Say To Parents. Sometimes there are things that need to be said, but no adequate context for saying them. This is about as much of a rant as you'll find on this blog.
Following Jesus - Blog Series on Discipleship. I asked some great ministry friends to define the word "discipleship" and share what they believe is the biggest barrier to discipleship in our churches. The diversity and wisdom in their answers is worth a read.
Works of Art - How God Invites us to Create. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God's handiwork; the NLT says that we are God's masterpiece. We are the images of God, a very work of divine art. Yet we aren't stationary pieces placed in a museum. The verse continues: he has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. We're both the created and creators.
On Moderation, or Why I'm an Extreme Non-Extremist. My conservative friends often consider me their liberal compatriot, while my liberal friends wonder about my conservative leanings. Moderation may be perceived as being indecisive or ambivalent, but I rather view it as being discerning, living with a posture of open hands.
Just A Joke - Four Reasons to End Pranking in Youth Ministry. I got a variety of responses from this post, which shares my reasons for creating a "no pranking" environment in my ministry. Some think pranking is hilarious and beneficial; others agreed that pranks are typically more damaging than uplifting. My favorite response: the idea of anti-pranks, making plans to subversively bless others.
Moonrise Kingdom. This blog has been a great outlet for movie reviews. While the addition of my daughter meant that I didn't view as many movies in 2012 as I'd like, Wes Anderson's latest film will likely be on the top of my year-end list of favorite films.
Top Youth Ministry Movies: Part 3. I love movies. I also love youth ministry. This is part 3 of an ongoing list of great films that offer youth ministry insight into youth culture, the adolescent journey, faith development, and discipleship. One of the most visited posts on The Mayward Blog is this list of movies you can show at youth group.
Leading Up: The Story of a Book. This is the story behind Leading Up, the process of a dream becoming a reality.
You can subscribe to The Mayward Blog here. Thanks for reading, let's hope that 2013 is another great story!