Community in Action July 20, 2020

Last Saturday I mentioned the book Delighted written by three youth leaders all graduates of seminary, all on the “Joy and Adolescent Faith and Flourishing  Advisory Board,” and all PhD candidates in Practical Theology. I mention their education not to suggest they have all the answers for Youth Leaders, but rather to acknowledge their commitment to ask questions and explore what are the best practices to serve the youth.

    They not only study best practices for youth ministry, they have sought to live best practices. They continue to confer with leading scholars in youth ministry, as well as listen to adolescents as they talk about their journeys of faith.

    They have found that most adolescents need fidelity, transcendence, and intimacy or in in other words steadfastness, ecstasy, and communion. Adolescents are energized by passion, excitement, and joy. We also can define these three areas as friendship, celebration, and vulnerability. These are some of the ways youth connect with each other and with God.

    The main quest of these authors is to find ways not only to connect with the youth, but to find ways for the youth to experience joy in the church community.

    Way too often the church lays out rules for adolescents as to how they should act, react, and attend church, where perhaps they need to have more opportunities to grow in curiosity or wonder, connection or friendship, and celebration or joy.

    Joan and I just arrived here at Pinecrest today. We are in the midst of unpacking and setting up the cabin for the week. We are excited about the days ahead of hiking, learning, and reflecting. We know that doing things are an important part of our life, but so is resting, refreshment, being replenished.

    I hope this week we will be able to just relax and take in what God has to share with us. I hope this week you will have time to experience God’s presence and peace. I hope that you too will sense a spark of joy in your relationship with God and with each other.

    We all need to hear again of God’s love for us (Romans 8:38-39), God’s love for others (John 17:20-23), and God’s love for the church, our community of faith (John 17:25-26). Let us all take in this week what God has to offer us, knowing that God’s desire is for us to experience his grace, his redemption, and his joy.

    Praying for you,

    Pastor Randy

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