Monday, August 13, 2007

    Slowing Down

    This summer has been incredibly busy. Every week has involved mission trips, summer camps, vacation Bible school, or some other church activity. I’m certainly beginning to understand why there is such a high burnout rate among youth ministers. I think many of us have the desire to offer, and participate, in as many activities as possible. We want our youth to come together, create community, do service projects, and grow in faith and spirituality. We want our camp programs to be large and have life-changing experiences. We want to be able to say that the summer was full of great events. And, I have to say, for the most part, that I enjoy all of these various activities. This Sunday we have our annual Back to School Bash where twelve other churches from across the city of Columbia will join us for fun, food, and fellowship. There will be all sorts of games (from bungee runs and dunking booths to water slides and bashing a car) and worship.

    But what would happen if the summer wasn’t so busy? What would happen if during the summer we did an intentional forty day prayer journey with our youth? What would happen if we just came together and sat in silence? What if we conveyed the message that summertime is to be a Sabbath: A time to reflect on God’s presence in our lives. What if we held a one week camp that focused on contemplative spirituality and spent the entire time in prayer, silence, and worship?


    katie day said...

    or maybe the better question is...what if our school years looked like that? jesus calls us to live radically different lives, so what if, when everything else in our students' lives cranks into high gear, youth group became a quiet intentional time of rest and silence? it's something i'm playing with for my group.
    i enjoy reading your blog, by the way - i get it on bloglines, so i rarely stop lurking to comment - thanks for your thoughts!

    Jacob said...

    Hi Katie,

    I think you're definitely right. Rest and silence are easily overlooked, if not totally ignored, in our society. If you decide to take a slower/more contemplative path with your youth, I would love to hear your experiences.



    Randy said...

    we take some such slow-down time weekly with our youth sponsors by gathering 45 minutes before the youth arrive so we might light a candle, take breath, site in silence, share what has been happening in our lives, pray together and only then talk about what is on for that night or the weeks ahead and then go to gather w/ the kids - the sponsors find it very refreshing and enter into their time with the kids in a different frame than if we did not take such time

    Hough said...

    So you would have a week long camp for 3 students whose parents made them come? I like the idea, but who would show up for silence?