Monday, March 30, 2009

Lessons from the Youth

Last night was the last "Takeover" night where the two girls that serve as chairs of our youth ministry take over youth group with minimal input from me.  In fact, as they wanted to surprise me with aspects of last night, I pretty much trusted them and didn't see an outline or have any of my offers of help accepted.

They did a superb job.  At one point they took my breath away with a reading they composed of several different Bible stories relating to water and storms.  The music they chose for the background, the impeccable pacing (Forensic coach moment of pride), and creativity was astounding.  My pride in them was as equal as my deep humility.  I know I could not have done what they did.  But I was so proud of them.

As I look back on it, with a good night's sleep behind me and a bowl of oatmeal in front of me, I have the leisure to observe many things.  First, the growth these girls demonstrated.  Over the past three years I have seen them grow into these accomplished leaders.  Second, that this is really one of the main points of youth ministry - to enable the youth to own their faith and be able to share it with others in an effective manner.  Using everything from umbrellas to wonderful music choices these girls spoke the many languages of their peers in order to have a conversation with the youth.   And third, it was truly a reminder that another main goal of ministry is to ensure that it is not dependent on me.  

To close, here's one verse the girls pulled for the night from a book you may have overlooked.

In hurricane and tempest is his path, and clouds are the dust at his feet
~Nahum 1.3b

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Plague and Lent

Cheery title, yes?

Well, I had several ideas for what I imagined to be spectacular posts.  Then...the plague.  Two Sundays ago I started feeling quite tired and out of it.  By Wednesday my head was congested. By Thursday I had no voice and was coughing up a storm with chest congestion.  Friday and Saturday were, well, disgusting.  Finally this past Sunday I started to feel better.  Still congested a bit and have a lingering cough today, but with the warm weather and sunshine it is good to be on the mend.  Of course, I think I've exhausted my dog who was quite content sleeping 23 1/2 hours each day last week.  Now that I'm better and spring has hit, I took her on her first long walk yesterday.  She slept later than me and is now sleeping soundly again.

Much as I could carry on about my pup.  The novelty is still there.  Please, any of you considering a pet - get one from a rescue.  Now that my Bob Barker moment is done, I'll carry on.

I want to pitch a resource I'm using with the young adult ministry.  It is one of those that not only has it led to a great series with the group, but I've found to be fruitful for myself.  It is Praying All Ways by Caroljean Willie, SC, Ph. D.  The group has found it to be enjoyable and challenging.  The basic concept is that if there are multiple intelligences, then couldn't that be applied to prayer?  After offering a simple self-evaluation to see where your preferred prayer 'intelligences' lie, there are chapters on each of the different intelligences.  We started with math and logic.  The engineers in the group felt quite at home with this one.   It was interesting to see how the more artistic individuals dealt with this.  In turn, last week when we did the linguistic intelligence, the more logic minded individuals were a bit intimidated by the prospect of writing poetry.  However, the book is prepared in a very practical manner with prompts, guides, and examples.  Even the most hesitant individual found the ability to create some lovely poems and reflections.  Tomorrow we will do a session on the artistic intelligence.  One individual is quite excited for the opportunity to use crayons and markers.

On a personal side, this series and the resource in particular have helped me.  Lent is a time where there is more to do at work.  Not only for the season itself, but the looming retreats in April and the summer service trip are creating additional administrative work.  To realize that despite, or perhaps because of, all this I need to ensure I still personally fully enter into Lent is a challenge.  The book has offered me new ways to not just talk to God about my litany of intentions or frustrations, but to quiet my voice and seek new ways to listen to God and the world around me.  

If you are interested in the book, it is published by Harcourt.  It is one of their titles for adults.