A little shift in perspective, and suddenly...

On my way out the door to go look for kids the other day, I realized that I'd forgotten to pick a book off my shelf to bring to Starbucks, and asked my program director if she had anything I hadn't read (or loaned her my copy of). She grabbed Mark Yaconelli's "Contemplative Youth Ministry" which I'd been meaning to get into.

Mark makes the point that the rarest gift teenagers have is an adult presence who truly listens to them, and those words jumped out at me. I like to teach, and talk, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to always have something useful and Godly to say to my students when I see them.

But this morning I decided to go about things a little differently; I went in determined to listen. And before the main service, I'd had four good conversations, two of them with students I haven't seen in a while.

A lot of my summer has been devoted to writing programming and lesson plans for this coming year, and that attitude bled over into the way I related to kids. So reading Mark's words brought me back to the place God had prepared for me today.


Anonymous said...

A great reminder. A couple of years back I did my Masters Dissertation on 'Why Young People Leave the Church' and the overwhelming conclusion was that they lacked a significant relationship with a caring adult.

Many young people used words like 'boring' - even those that didn't leave! The difference was that those who stayed had an adult to walk them through the 'boring' times.

Nigel Lane

Isaac, The Rookie said...

That's been the conclusion in most of the studies that have come out on the topic too; it's such a basic need for kids, and yet so many churches still don't quite see the implication, that we need to invest more in training mentors and walking with students (I had the chance to help one of my HSers with homework last night; we didn't make much progress, but it was the presence that mattered) and worry less about "keeping up" with what's cool at that moment.