Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Youth Sunday

Sitting in the beautiful sunshine of the Arizona desert seems the perfect place for me to reflect on this past Sunday. This week I am on retreat with some of my dearest colleagues, other pastors in their first five years of ministry. The program is called Bethany Fellowships, and it gives me life again and again in ministry. We have already done a couple of church visits, and spent time checking in with each other, today we are participating in 24 hours of silence. This is our time to be still, as we rarely are at home and to know that we are in God's presence.

This past Sunday, we had Youth Sunday, an annual service where the youth lead every part of our worship service. The service turned out truly amazing this year and I can tell you that God once again brought order and life out of chaos. The chaos comes in that we had been planning Youth Sunday for a couple of months now, on Wednesdays and Sundays, but we still have lots of practicing that needed to be done last Wednesday night. In the middle of our practice time, one of our kids had to be taken to the emergency room (turns out she had a panic attack, and had several more in the days following). That emergency immediately ended our rehearsal. With our skit not ready to go, and other details still left a little fuzzy, the leaders and I talked on the ER waiting room about what we would do. We decided to hold off on our skit, and ask a few of our youth to speak during the "message" time of our service. We also decided that three of us would speak breifly and brag a lot about the amazing faith of our young people. Well, we did and they did and it was amazing. I was so grateful that our congregation got to hear the faith stories of three of our brave young people. Our congregation was so blessed by them. We were also blessed by their prayers, and singing and children's sermons.

As I said on Sunday, our youth are not the future of the church- they are the NOW of the church. Their faith is teaching us volumes and giving us hope. Of course we owe all of this, all that we are to our God. Our theme for the day was 2 Samuel 22: 2-4, " "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
from violent men you save me.

I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies."

We decorated the sanctuary with rocks, and hung paper that looked like a rock wall from the lectern and pulpit and around the sanctuary. We also had posters that said, "God is my rock, " and "God is my refuge," and "God is my strong tower." We had the children hand out rocks on which we had written, "God rocks!" And we played some of the Contemporary Christian songs that my youth group loves. Once again, God blessed us deeply with the Holy Spirit, leading and guiding our worship. I am so lucky to get to do this job, and to get to be "youth minister" to a group of amazing young people.

1 comment:

Stacy said...

You are so right that the youth of our church are the NOW of the church and we should never lose that focus.