I haven’t been to camp in a long time, but as I write this I have the privilege of listening to our youth having a blast at Unidiversity. Over the last couple of days, I’ve gotten to worship alongside them, to race them on a bouncy obstacle course, to laugh at their jokes, to listen in as they process what they are learning about God, and to get to know them better. We have such great youth. And we have such great kids off at their own camp at Passport this week too.
As I’ve been enjoying chaperoning for a couple of days, I’ve been thinking about the adults that were involved in the youth program I came up through—the ones who chaperoned the trips and the ones who showed up week in and week out to love on us crazy kids. Mr. Bill, who could somehow make our automatic 15-passenger van feel like it was manual in need of some clutch work. Mrs. Barbara, who had everything organized and had a spare of anything that someone might forget to pack. Mr. Thomas, whose calm, quiet soul could bring peace to any moment. Mrs. Diane, who could prep any food necessary. All of these and so many more made a huge impact on me, not because they were my youth minister but because they showed up, loved me as I was, listened when I needed to talk, offered kind wisdom, and kept pointing me to Jesus.
I’m writing, not just to reflect on this week with our youth nor to reminisce about 25 years ago, but to let you know we need some of you to step up and be those adults that make a difference in the lives of our youth by showing up, by loving them, and by pointing them to Jesus. Outside of Sunday School and chaperones for trips, we only have one regular adult volunteer and one occasional adult volunteer for Wednesday and Sunday night programming. That’s not enough. Its not enough as we hit a point where youth need to be split into High School and Middle School groups. And its certainly not enough when we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that one of the most vital things in a youth’s development is having a couple of adults outside of their own parents whom they know love them and have their back no matter what. So, yes, we need our parents involved, but we also need non-parents involved because often a youth needs a trusted adult outside of the family to process certain things with.
Will you be praying alongside me for the right volunteers to come forward and talk with Sarah about getting involved? Will you be praying if you are one of those that God might be calling to step into this vital role in our church and in the lives of our youth?
Grace and Peace,