Recently, one of the high school graduates from our youth ministry hit “the youth ministry wall.” I think this wall sneaks up on our students. She is/was incredibly invested in our youth ministry and in the lives of the 0ther students and youth workers. She expressed a call into vocational ministry in the summer of 2009 and ever since God has been doing these really cool things in the lives of others because of her ministry. Needless to say seeing her bless 0thers is one of the highlights of my 11 years of ministry.
The way she related to the youth ministry came to an end pretty suddenly though. She hit a “wall” in the way I think about it. One morning at a summer camp you could see it in her eyes. She transitioned from the youth ministry into a desire for more of God and a deeper faith. It was like she just realized the rhythm she was living suddenly skipped a beat. It was reflecting on that rhythm that made me realize how closely we need to pay attention to each other.
I called her when we returned home and asked her about it and she told me a short story of how things changed and I was able to assure her that it is a part of moving towards something new and different. It was also then that I realized she needed some tools to go deeper in her walk with God.
I’ve started reviewing “Sacred Time” to possibly help her begin taking steps towards something more than where we are at in our youth ministry. I’m very interested in this book because the reader is encouraged to explore a “new rhythm” of life in the context of community. Part of me wonders though if this will take her deep enough but maybe it is a good place to start?
Another possibility I’m exploring is the “Divine Hours” by Phyllis Tickle. This looks wonderful as I’ve been reading through but seems daunting even for myself though I will wade into it in the fall. I’ve thought about starting it and asking for some folks to join me in this endeavor to make it more accessible.
The point of this post ultimately is that we need to be listening to the rhythms of those we disciple. If we are not in a rhythm centered around God we may miss the opportunity to speak into someone else’s life and invite them deeper into God’s story. What would it look like to focus a youth ministry around listening for God’s leading in our church members lives? Would a church go for this type of ministry? This ministry would appear to be more spiritual direction than event driven. What would it look like to sustain both worlds?
Lastly, does anyone have a book recommendation for me in regards to formation that would be good for my friend? She has “said here I am Lord, send me” and the church desperately needs more folks like her joining in the Story.