Friday, September 28, 2007

A conversation

One thing I have really enjoyed and have been thankful for while being the minister of students at my church, is the opportunity to be with and learn from some fascinating people from different walks of life.

This morning I had breakfast with a good friend of mine Bruce. He often invites me, but it ends up being a little less often then I would prefer. Bruce is a man that is incredibly intelligent and wise in both what's happening in the world as well as spiritual matters. Many times we meet he shares stories including his days as chaplain at USC and mentor to many others. Most of the time, I sit there trying to keep up intellectually, having to repeatedly ask him to explain something to help me understand. Bruce continues to challenge my thinking on ministry and reminds me to keep it about the main thing. Additionally, he reminds me to keep thinking about it, and cautions me about falling into ministry that just becomes routine that I don't need to think about. Bruce has challenged me to read "The Passion of the Western Mind" by Richard Tarnas. This book gives some history to how western society has come to have the world view that we do, verses other societies. Knowing Bruce, it will take a lot to digest this book and so I will probably blog about it from time to time as a way to help me process this stuff.

I'm also thankful about our teams of adults that spend time guiding our students and hanging out with them. As I reflect over the last few days as well as where I'm going in ministry, I feel as though schedule wise, I'm starting to get a little space where I can think theologically, and strategically again about what we're doing here, instead of being so busy planning things that I never have a chance to just sit and think. I'm so thankful for the commitments of our leaders to not only develop a quality program, but their commitment to just spend time coming alongside our teens spending time with them and letting them know that they are each created and loved by God. The longer I do this, the more I realize how little I'm able to do on my own strength, but rather its God through me, and even more so, God through our leaders that have a passion to do what they're doing.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Back in the game...

The school year is beginning to settle into a normal pace, and a few of you have asked me if I plan to keep up my blog. The answer is yes!

What's on my mind recently:
Our church is doing a fall emphasis of family, and so I've begun to think about, what does it mean to be in authentic community with others. Of course we have biblical examples in Acts, but in our world of intense schedules, and busyness, is it possible to have authentic community, and what does it look like?

Secondarily, how do we help teenagers develop authentic community that centers around a relationship with Christ? In two of our ministries, I see two opposites that have developed. One group that has developed a great deal of community both with leaders and students, and the other where authentic community once existed and has been lost for a time (although recently I'm thankful to be able to watch some community redevelop with some of our students).

One quick story to share that still has me thinking about what God might be doing: This past weekend we were at Summit Lake, our annual Northstar association high school retreat. It was an incredible retreat all around. But one thing that has stuck with me this week as I reflect back on it: Some of our students were wrestling with the social justice issues. That's to say we had a lot of great discussion about how they as a group of teenagers can begin to think beyond themselves and begin to help others both locally and globally. It gave me a lot of joy seeing these students wrestle with this issue, AND start to take some leadership in doing something about it, not just wait for someone else to do it. This is a memory that will stick with me for a long time.