Maybe youth ministry is your spiritual discipline. It’s not just a place where you serve, it’s a place where you’re transformed, healed, and made new. Can you see it that way? Try interacting with young people as if they are instrumental to your own freedom and healing.
I hate accepting hospitality, it’s probably not a normal thing, infact someone’s probably booking me into a psychotherapist as I type, but it’s one of those things that I deal with on a day to day basis. I love offering hospitality, so much that it’ll often send me broke when I have friends over because I want to offer good food, great drinks, outstanding tea… I spend ages cleaning the house, something that I’m not usually too anal about, I’ll even alphabetise my cd collection, I want everything to be great for the guest(s).
Yet, when it comes to accepting it I’m hopeless, which is pretty weird considering that a large portion of my role is visiting people in cafes, houses, work places, churches, almost everything I do in my ministering involves giving or receiving hospitality, and that becomes a hard thing for someone who is hopeless at receiving it.
I’ve often felt that I’m in youth ministry because it stretches me, sometimes more than it seems to stretch the young people that I’m ministering with,
Mark’s book highlights this point, that while we as ministers, pastors, youth workers may think that this calling is all about us working with those who are younger it’s much bigger than that, it’s not all about us teaching the “other.” Instead a contemplative youth ministry is about entering into a relationship whereby both myself and the other are open to change, to receiving from one another, it’s about providing a space where God is able to change us both.
I think this is one of the major failings of youth ministry, so often we think that we have to be the expert, the one in control, the one who always knows the answers, and I see this in the faces of those who are now entering into youth ministry, and it’s stressful, so stressful to think that we must know everything.
And a contemplative approach to youth ministry allows us to face up to that, to pray about it, to share it, to own up to it and to release it…
Maybe the reason God has drawn us into youth ministry isn’t because we have something to offer, but because there is something we need to receive?