Advent is about waiting. Anticipating. Expecting. Preparing. Hoping.
This sounds a lot like youth ministry to me.
We wait for youth to commit their lives to Jesus. We wait for them to arrive so we can start our youth gatherings. We wait for their parents to come pick them up at the end of our events.
We anticipate the arrival of youth at our gatherings with our eyes fixated on the door. We anticipate their confusion or their silence when we are preparing small group discussions. We anticipate their excitement when we announce the dates of retreats and rallies.
We expect the youth to behave when they are at Church. We expect that more youth will come out to social events than teaching nights. We expect that Father will ask us “So how many people came to youth ministry last night?”
We prepare prayer services, social justice excursions, and skits. We prepare snacks to serve the youth either before, during, or after the gathering. We prepare them to be able to share their testimonies with a world that so desperately needs to hear them.
We hope that we are making a difference in the youths’ lives. We hope that they make good decisions especially in the face of temptation. We hope that their homes are stable and that their friends are good.
Most of all, we love them where they are at and we lead them to an encounter with Jesus Christ.
Just as Christ entered the world to love and encounter us.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:16)
Ask someone what he might be doing for Lent, and you’ll likely get responses along the lines of: “I’m giving up Facebook” or “I’m giving up eating chocolate.”
Granted, these may be noble notions on their own, but people – young and old – often get too caught up in what they might be “giving up” for Lent instead of why they are doing it.
Continue reading Making the Most out of Lent
My much-anticipated catch-up session with a youth minister got off to an auspicious start this evening. Upon entering my favorite Japanese restaurant, I told the owner that I would need a table for two. As one of the waiters led me to a table, a woman who I didn’t know entered the restaurant immediately after me. Somehow, the waiter thought that the woman was with me (my wife wouldn’t have been too happy) and somehow the woman remarkably didn’t see me sit in the booth first. Once she sat down she finally looked at me across the table. Slightly embarrassed, she gasped “Oh sorry…I thought that he was seating ME.” She quickly made her way to another table as I tried to stifle my laughter.
An honest mistake to be sure. And in retrospect I don’t blame her for wanting to sit with me. Kidding. Sort of. But not really.
But her innocent presumption got me thinking of the many times we make presumptions in youth ministry. And as in this case, they often turn out wrong.
Read the rest of this blog on Project YM.
Yesterday I participated in a retreat at Rosemary Heights with some of my work colleagues from the Archdiocese of Vancouver. Before leaving my house in the morning, I texted some of my closest friends asking them if there was anything or anyone they wanted me to pray for.
I was affirmed and surprised by their prayer requests (I’ve slightly edited some of them to protect privacy):
- My heart
- My sister in the Philippines
- The health and happiness of our newborn
- Me as I recently broke up with my fiancee
- The youth ministry coordinator
- That we will be blessed with children
- Good work-life balance
- That my dad finds a purpose that makes him happy
- My aunt having surgery tomorrow
- My mom’s 70th birthday
- My aunt who is ill
- My dad and how he fits into my life
- Peace in my heart
- My relationship with my boyfriend
- A healthy granddaughter
- Dissertation, move, and travel mercies
- Vocation, family, and ministry
- Me, my wife, and my family
- That we can sell our house
- A safe trip for my in laws
- My upcoming trip overseas
- Health of my relatives
- Ministry inspiration and vision
- My sister’s job transition
- My friend who is struggling
- My friend how just went through dialysis
- Wisdom, clarity, and discernment and for God to open doors where He desires
- My friend having struggles in her marriage
- Safe labour for my wife
- Our newborn daughter
Continue reading It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask – The Power of a Prayer Request
Here are Kayla’s reflections upon receiving Jesus for the first time on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at St. Paul Parish in Richmond.
Music is “Abide With Me” by Matt Maher off his album “Saints and Sinners”.