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!”