Cheerleaders, Shepherds and Cowboys

With Bishop Mark Hagemoen
With Bishop Mark Hagemoen

This post also appears on Canadian Youth Worker.

This past Sunday, I was blessed to travel to Yellowknife for the episcopal ordination of my friend and mentor Mark Hagemoen as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Mackenzie – Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories.  It was a whirlwind of a day as we flew out on a chartered plane from Vancouver at 7am and arrived back by 9:30pm Sunday evening.

During the homily at Mass, Bishop Mark’s predecessor in the diocese gifted him with a set of poms poms.  The visual of the very masculine Bishop Mark waving the pom poms was quite humourous, but the point was clear:  Bishop Mark is to be a cheerleader for his diocese and for all of the people in it (priests, religious, ministry leaders, and lay people).

As youth workers, youth ministry coordinators, and youth pastors, we are called to be cheerleaders for our youth ministry volunteers.  Our job is to give confidence to our volunteers that God is working in them and through them.  We are their cheerleaders, affirmers, encouragers, and advocates.

Remember, these are ordinary people in the hands of a most extraordinary God.

So ask yourself:  are you a shepherd or a cowboy?

A cowboy gets behind his cattle and drives them relentlessly with a whip.

Whereas a shepherd goes in front of his sheep and says, “Follow me.”