I just finished reading J.D. Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye for about the 6th time in my 47 years of life. This time I read it because our Youth Sunday school class decided to join up with one of the Adult Classes for the summer and they wanted to read a book together. The Adult Class is called “Page Turners” and that is what they do, read books and discuss the spiritual implications.
When I answered the call on my life to do Youthwork I had no idea that I would end up reading classic literature as part of the journey. I find myself doing that more and more as each year goes by. If you want to dive deep into Family Systems Theory try thinking through Holden Caulfield’s Family.
Youth + Adults (reading a book and discussing) = VERY COOL
I spent the majority of my summer hosting Youth Mission Teams at www.C2KDallas.org where I am the evening cook each night for the teams among other things. Hospitality is a major feature of the mission of C2K because we believe we are always entertaining angels even when we are unaware of it. I saw the Image of God in so many Youth as they served and had fun together. I saw so many faithful Youthworkers who are pouring out their lives for the sake of Young People. It always makes me want to be a better Youthworker.
I also was able to go with my own Youth Group to south Texas on a mission trip working with www.JuntosServimos.org (which means “together we serve”). For this Youth Group it was their first mission trip as we are in the midst of rebuilding the Youth Ministry from the ground up. It renewed my spirit and my faith to watch the relationships build as we went to the margins. Not only the relationship of Youth Group members with each other but also as they each built their capacity to see and to serve those of God’s people they would never meet unless they went out in mission together.
Now, as I reflect in mid-August, I realize that I am a different person than the one who started the summer. My faith has grown. My understanding of what God is doing in the world has expanded. My relational skills have been sharpened to help me see past quick judgmental attitudes on my part.
Mostly I am thankful that God is still calling me to Youthwork! My vocational call to work with Young People has never seemed stronger. I know that some of my friends are entering August wondering if they are still called to Youthwork. Maybe the summer did not go as planned. Maybe the church did not care for them in radical ways. Maybe their faith is in a valley. Let me also share that I have had those kinds of August struggles as well. As great as this summer was for me, I certainly have had my share of not so great summers. “Hang in there” sometimes felt like shallow advice given to me in those times. What I do know is that I am glad I choose to “hang in there” anyway and through the grace of God I still feel called to this Holy work.
So, how about you? What was your summer like? How was your vocational call strengthened? Or, are you thinking God is maybe calling you out of Youthwork? You see we need each other to process these questions no matter where we are or how we feel. If you don’t have a local network to process with, lets start chatting here. The whole Youthworker team is here for YOU.
So, how did you spend YOUR summer vocation?
Peace and Grace,
Charles W. Harrison