Sunday, August 10, 2008

Church Chat

I'm not 100% sure how it happened. Maybe my defenses were down after this vacation. Maybe my hormones were out of control. Maybe I was suffering from some vague, baseless guilt over past failure.

I don't know how it happened, but I somehow or another volunteered to work on redeveloping my congregation's youth program.

Sigh. I swore I wouldn't do youth ministry again. I had been burned one too many times. My congregation in Pittsburgh decided that I could handle the whole youth program completely on my own, with no support from anyone. You all know about my experiences at the CCC.

And I was totally off the hook. I had already said that I would teach the 5th and 6th grade Sunday school class (all 3 of them). Then the council president (who is also handling the Christian Formation committee because...well...let's just say that you can't escape congregational politics no matter where you are) started reading the names of our post-confirmation students. There were about 8 of them, all currently active and regularly attending. And then she said that she didn't know if she would be able to find someone to teach them, and they might have to go into the adult class (where the youngest regular is about 50).

And then I heard myself saying, "You know...I have more experience with older kids than I do with younger. Why don't I take the high school class?" I'm still not sure exactly how those words came out of my mouth.

Oh, but it gets better. I was driving home from the movies (Swing Vote - not bad, but not great either...though I do have to say that Kevin Costner has found his niche with playing trailer trash-types). And I started wondering if the Sunday school class I said I would teach was part of a larger youth ministry of if it just stood by itself. So when I got home, I e-mailed the council president and asked her, and without really thinking about it, I told her that if a program didn't exist, I would be willing to help organize or ressurect one.

Yeah...nothing exists. The reality is that we have been in a transition phase for a whole lot longer than the 8 months or so ago that the pastor announced his retirement. Youth ministry got lost in the shuffle. And yes, that makes me sad. We already have so few young people, I don't want to see us lose the ones we have. And I really do remember what it felt like as a teenager to think that I didn't have a place in the Church (captial intentional). I hate it when anyone feels like that.

So, yes, I am doing youth ministry again. It can only be the Holy Spirit, because I don't think I would have made this choice on my own.

It's funny that the first reading today was about Elijah looking for God, and not finding Him in the wind or earthquake, but in the silence (in the NRSV version...the NAB says "tiny whispering sound" and the KJV says "still, small voice", which is one fo the few instances I prefer that translation). I wonder if being invited to speak to the youth group from the church where I used to teach - and the fact that I accepted, which I didn't think I would do - was just preparing me for this.

In a completely unrelated thought, Michael Phelps has an incredible body. God does really, really good work.

1 comment:

LutherPunk said...

The Spirit makes us do some crazy stuff...considering how you have been treated in ministry, I am surprised you go to church at all, much less that you remain active in church.

I had something semi-profound to say but my dog is informing me that it is time to go out...if it comes back to me, I'll post it..