NYWC Austin: Day 3

Rollie Martinson, one of youth ministry's (as we know it today) pioneers, spoke to us this morning at the general session. He had good and challenging words about creating disciples and avoiding the youth minister's cult of personality, and on the overarching problem facing all of our churches today; a way of thinking (and practicing) called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Watch this space for more posts on that.

I sat and listened, and thought about something even bigger.

Rollie Martinson was a mentor for my high school youth minister, a guy named Daren. Daren is the reason I'm a youth minister today; something about his life drew me in until I walked into his office one day and said, "I want to do what you do." He took me alongside him and helped me learn what he did, even coached me through my first job interview with a parish.

Daren was a big fan of Rollie, so in a lot of ways Rollie has affected my ministry path all along.

And today he encouraged and challenged me, and all of us here, the way he encouraged and challenged Daren, the way Daren encouraged and challenged me. It's a very neat circle to find myself in.

None of us are truly doing ministry alone. We are part of a continuum that began when "youth ministers" were parents and priests, following God and listening to the prophets. We're walking in step with those folks today, in a sort of apostolic succession that comes from all these generations of ministers sharing God's love and power.

I've been sitting and trying to add another sentence to that, and nothing fits. Thank you, God, for Rollie and Daren and Jim (and Jim and Jim) and all these guys I'm sitting with right now, because we carry an ancient honor from You.

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