Youth ministry is finally gaining traction as a career, but you’d only know that if you were… well… in youth ministry. For decades it was seen as a stepping stone to being a “real pastor” or a haven for those kids that weren’t quite ready to let their own teenage experience end. And still, I’m often asked by people who work in the “real world” (and my in-laws) why I gave up a “real job” to hang out with teens. Here are the top three reasons I’m in youth ministry. Continue reading…
I love when pastors laugh together.
Yesterday after attending church we were able to spend some time meeting some of the leaders of the United Refugee and Host Churches. The meeting felt very familiar and similar to when I meet with church pastors back home. There is a camaraderie, a shared purpose and understanding, a sense that the other people in the room really “get it.” That brings freedom, comfort, and the ability to laugh.
We laughed a lot.
It was moving to watch these men, men who give so much of their lives to serving others as they endure true suffering, laugh together. Verses that talk about the joy of the Lord are referring to what we witnessed in the small corner room where we met. It also highlights the value of trips like this.
The pastors thanked us for coming to visit them because now we also “get it.” We can understand (as much as an outsider can) what they are experiencing. There is a type of love that comes less from just focusing on helping others and more from entering into someone else’s journey. The first can bring temporary relief, the second creates a more permanent bond.
Because we came to visit and experience and listen we are uniquely able to connect. We can pray more specifically. We can encouarage directly. And we can sit and laugh together.
I am leaving later this week for the Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya. Normally a trip like this includes raising a great deal of support. If you run in circles with a lot of ministry folk or Christian teenagers you are probably familiar with that letter. It turns out there just aren’t that many creative ways to say “please pray for me and/or send me money.” (Although Jon Acuff probably has the best take.) Continue reading…