For many of us in youth ministry, we’re gearing up for summer activities at this point. School will be out soon in the Midwest and there’s lots that happens during the summer as we seek to keep our youth engaged and do those activities that are not possible during the school year. Maybe the students will not all be there at regular youth group time but there are those mission trips, etc., etc.
It’s pretty busy at youTheology as well. We have our Pan-Methodist Pilgrimage coming up from June 4-12, Closing and Reunion weekend from June 25-27, and Orientation for our new group from August 5-8 + . . . . At this time, I’m drawn to Mark Yaconelli’s work. That’s because it’s easy to get so caught up in the busyness that goes with our activities that God can get left behind. We can be busy for God without God.
Of course, Yaconelli’s work is relevant at all times and he provides a way for us to be attentive to God and each other continually. However, for this season, I’ll share some words from page 25 of his book, Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus.
Contemplative youth ministry honors the desire to listen as well as teach in our interactions with kids. It grounds our ministries in prayer as well as evangelism—in silence as well as acts of justice. Contemplative youth ministry is about refusing to be so busy that you overlook God in your ministry. It’s about remembering that Jesus goes before and beside us.
Yaconelli outlines a balance in the day to day over against our tendency to polarize. While contemplative youth ministry is geared toward students becoming aware of and in tune with the Triune God’s presence and God at work in and around them, it really begins with us, doesn’t it? And so, in contemplative youth ministry, we are helped to pause, breathe, and encounter the Triune God more deeply, before we go full steam ahead.
When do you most need to pause?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor