Friday, April 19, 2013

Church Search- Church Without Teenagers?

Every time I see Josh Garrels, I walk away with something new in my spirit, some way that my soul was challenged, filled, or usually full to bursting. Annie and I saw him and Mason Jar Music Sunday at the Athenaeum Theater, which is a lovely venue and reminds me of the Goodman Theater in Waukegan. Half of the show, a feature-length film- The Sea and In Between, ended with a call to enter into other's passions and gifts, and therefore enter into each other's joy. What a beautiful, godly call to community.

That seems like a gap in my life. Am I entering into the joy of those around me? Am I sharing myself in the way that I ought to be? What are my passions and am I sharing them?

I am passionate about teenagers and about youth ministry. I am currently without an outlet for those passions, and I feel like small pieces of myself are withering. I ache to walk with adolescents as they discover their thoughts about God, truth, themselves, community, and spiritual reality. I have been volunteering for over ten years and this is the longest stretch I have gone without being actively involved in some form of youth ministry. Here is the kicker- there are 2, count them, 2 adolescents in the church I have been attending. 

Can I really contribute to this body? Since some very deep parts of myself are enlivened in youth ministry, does that mean that I won't be able to fully contribute by listening deeply to others? And what about sharing my joy? Will I really be alive and awake and bringing all of who I am to this particular church? Am I able to give all of who I am when so many parts of me already feel atrophied? 

Do I leave what I am building to start the searching part over, looking for a church where I can get involved in their youth ministry?  The thought of going back to the searching process is heartbreaking; it was so grueling and hollow. Are there other ways to bring more of who I am? Is there a challenge in this for me? A growth edge? How long might that take and what does that mean in the interim? I can't know what is next and it has already been a process to get here, How much longer do I want to be a volunteer without helping to form and change the way they are doing youth ministry? And how long do I wait? 

Sigh. If I am not actively involved in youth ministry I fear I am walking away from part of my calling and functional design. That seems like a loss not only for me, but for whatever it is that the Lord is going to do with this seed that falls to the ground and dies. So if I need to walk out my calling, where does this particular church body fit in? I really like this church and there is something alive, and good, and nurturing  and challenging here. 

But can I enter in, really enter in?

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