Friday, June 22, 2007

What a Ride

I didn’t know if I was going to post today.
Last night was the last regular youth meeting for the year – and for me like the last one I will lead as a vocational pastor. It wasn’t much really.
We got together at Wiens’ house a ½ mile north of town. These are people I respect for their compassion, and servant hearts.
We played bomb the burning – cool little game where teams build fires and try to put the other teams fire out using water balloons. Donovan got injured. Donovan always gets injured. If anyone is gonna get injured Donovan is going to be the one. Donovan got hit with shrapnel from the fire when it got bombed. He’s okay. Sometimes the injuries seem bigger at the time.
We roasted marshmallows. And then we booked it out to the dugout to watch the boys try to water ski behind the quad using their downhill snow skis. – YES!
We played soccer in the dusk which quickly turned into a tackle – tuna-fish-human-blanket wrestling match. I did a somersault over Brad Irwin’s back – NOT ‘cause I wanted to…
Then we packed up.
Garry my long time friend (and by the way the only volunteer staff who has been with me from day one here at this church) called the remaining kids together to recognize that this was my last youth. I was bawling just as I am now writing this. The kids were sniffling – even the guys I think. Garry prayed and well I cried.
I came home and sat on the porch for a long time.
Staying in this community will mean that I will be able to stay connected to these kids hopefully. Things will change. My heart and I think even my soul has dwelled in the shoes of youth minister. And I know philosophically that I will still be a youth minister (and who knows maybe someday again I will get paid to do it for a church) but this place, this time, these kids, this community will shift for me – and if you’ll excuse me for saying so for them as well. It’s not that I am so arrogant as to believe that I am some pivotal ingredient in the life of the community/church. Its that I know that these kids will have to deal with the instability of a new guy/girl coming in to do the work I did. Some of them will not connect some will connect better but the change and uncertainty might leave some kids falling through the cracks.
I have loved what I do! I know I will miss it. I am looking forward to what lies ahead.
Mike Yaconelli (died some years ago) and the rest of the crew over at YS have been like surrogate brothers to me. So when I came across this link to a compilation of some of Mike’s thoughts on Mark O.’s blog – I found that it sorta sums up what I have been trying to live like these last 15+ years in vocational youth ministry.

As Mike says so well, “What a Ride!”

13 comments:

YootguyMark said...

What a ride! Well, Dale as someone who has worked with, under, beside, whatever just plain watched you I cried too. I cried reading and now I cry writing. Man this is gonna change Coaldale and the love the kids recieve. Thanks Dale for everything! Your leadreship, mentorship, love, care, genuine desire to see kids know Christ. Dale you are my friends and I am honored to have worked as closely as I have for the past 6 years. I have learned much and if I can love half as much as you...! Thanks Dale!

jerlight said...

Dale, thank-you. You're vision for youth ministry, not just in your town but in all of Southern Alberta (remember "More than a Song" or whatever it was called...) has encouraged and inspired me and means a lot to me. Cling to Jesus - a fitting challenge for all of us. Thanks. PS - thanks for sharing the ride with us all throught the blog. I can't wait to see what's next.

Gil said...

You've done well Dale. I don't think you can fully understand the influence you've had (not only among the youth but others as well). I'm proud of you.

Ryan said...

Coaldale owes a debt of gratitude to you Dale - not just the church, but the whole community. You've modeled humble leadership so well, and you've dealt graciously with some difficult situations. I'm really proud to call you a friend. I know this is really difficult now, but I think that good things are in store for you in the path you've chosen.

Paul Morgun said...

From everything i know of you Dale and hear about! you should be very proud!!!! Good work man, I am anticipating your hiring in the gospel church in Hepburn so we can start forest fires together ;)

Outgoing... said...

thanks for all the kind words everyone

Anonymous said...

Dale, let me ditto what everyone else has said. As a parent who's kids are just coming into "youth age", I am saddened that we didn't start reproducing just a little sooner... haha just joking. Really though, you have been influential in SO MANY lives in the community and in the church, you are an amazing man of God and we look forward to living life along side you and your fantastic family as you start the next chapter.

Ken and Lois said...

Dale, We are proud to say that we have been blessed to have had our kids in your youth group. We admire your passion for both the community kids and our church youth, and can see the positive influence you have on them. We want to bless you in your future endeavors and hope to stay in touch regardless of where the Lord leads you and your family.

Outgoing... said...

wow very humbling to read all this

roverT said...

Can't say I can comment on your ministry to Coaldale...although I really like that Vicky Berg girl, she had some contact with you, right?

Just wanted to wish you well as this part ends, and as you make a new normal.

Outgoing... said...

thanks trev
I'll let you know what that looks like

Garth said...

Dale - my first comment on your blog here - all the best in your future studies/adventures. I know your bro Mo well & Pat somewhat as well - and would've met you at Abundant Springs but we had our third child and I wasn't able to make it out. Anywhoos - just wanted to say kudos to you - we think unbelievably similar on so many issues and wish you God's best in the future.

Garth Friesen

Outgoing... said...

thanks garth