All kinds of events happen in youth ministry and each has its own "buzz." Last weekend, I was at the WOW event of the United Methodist Church's Missouri Annual Conference. There is a particular kind of "buzz" that is present when a couple thousand students of all ages and their youth workers gather to worship, learn, meet new people, and generally have fun. I was there with youTheology's booth. Each year I enjoy seeing meeting the other "vendors." Some of us are regulars. This time, I took three things away from the weekend:
Energy and excitement. Those young people were moving around the booths, attending the sessions, and doing just about everything with energy and excitement. They were, for the most part, interested in what was happening around them. The organizers also were well energized with lots of enthusiasm.
Insecurity. In the midst of it all, I was reminded that the tween and teen years are often an insecure time as one seeks to find oneself. I could see some of that. A little shyness, a little uncertainty, but still the courage to mingle and find a place, even if it meant staying with the home group.
Commitment. It takes a lot of commitment on the part of adults who work with youth to take on the responsibility of taking students on an overnight trip. And yes, it takes a great deal of commitment to sleep on church floors. The Missouri Conference Council on Youth Ministries, adults and students, are dedicated. It is no small task to plan and execute an event of that magnitude.
Love. There was lots of love in evidence in the youth, the adults, the organizers, the presenters, and so on. There were many reminders of God's love.
Energy, excitement, commitment, and love are ingredients that will contribute to the growth and wellness of our youth ministries when we keep them rooted in the love of God in Christ Jesus, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in and through us.
Loving God, Loving Neighbor