Thursday, September 25, 2008

What's been rolling around in my head

So many things having been rolling around in my head lately, as they always have. I'm glad I have this blog to get some of them out of it.

The past few months i've been trying to figure out a more specific calling on my life(from God of course). I know that i'm being called to youth ministry, but in what permanent aspect, I don't exactly know. Ever since I became a youth minister i've been being pulled in every direction imaginable from relational youth ministry to programmatic youth ministry to visional youth ministry to prophetic youth ministry. Okay, maybe not so much the last one but you know what I mean.

At a point very on I realized through other youth ministers and my inablitity to create is that youth ministry should not be revolved around programs. Duh, right? Well, apparently not to the outside world. The kids in my youth group are so entangled in busyness that it's amazing that any of them can do all of it. Between band practice, soccer practice, clubs(which usually number 3-4), youth group, school, their jobs, etc. they have so many programs going on in their life, creating a programmatic youth ministry would just bog them down even further and make that whisper of God in their lives ever so harder to hear.

I recently finished Mark Yaconelli's book "Contemplative Youth Ministry" which in lamen's terms teaches us as youth leaders to learn how to just "be" with youth and teach them how to just "be" with God in the hecticity of their lives. Forget the idea of "doing" youth ministry and making things happen in it. That's not our job as youth leaders. Tonight I happened upon Mark Riddle's blog and was amazed at how much it related to what i've been thinking about lately.

This post of Mark's really got me thinking. I know at this point in my youth ministry calling (about 1 year in) i'm at a point where I can take one of many roads. I can jump full steam into making programs for youth, which will most likely impress my church vestry and get me a quick bump up to full time status and a nice pay raise to go along with it(God knows I need it). It'll be hard and extremely time consuming, but it's possible. Or, I can do something even harder, and not. I could just learn to "be" with the youth whenever the time permits. I could go to their soccer games, their band gigs, their school functions, their club meetings, just to help out and be their for them. That's what relational youth ministry is and that's what I find that i'm good at. It's in those circumstances that I can teach these kids to listen to God's whisper even when the distractions of life seem to be so much louder, because I won't be contributing to the distractions, i'll be asking them which ones I can take off their hands.

After I ran into Mark Riddle's blog post I ran into this one. It's a guest post by Brock Morgan on the Youth Specialties blog. In it he talks about how after 18 years as a youth minister he's come to a crossroads that have enabled him to just be with youth. This is after 18 years of coming up with trying to inspire kids to become Christians through endless programs that only burnt him out. I don't want to wait 18 years to come to those crossroads.

These thoughts aren't done, but I can't think of anything else right now so I guess i'll just leave it at that for now.

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