It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With all due respect to Andy Williams, summer is the best time of the year, at least for me. I’m almost surprised that the radio stations haven’t started playing Christmas songs yet – it is June after all.
OK, so my schedule does get a little crazy during the summer, but it’s still my favorite time. I know that I’m in the right place when I get to say to myself – “they actually pay me to do this?” (PLEASE keep paying me – we have three mouths to feed).
I get to go to PASSPORTkids!, a four-day long discipleship camp for 3rd-5th graders. I get to see their joy in their play. I get to experience the worship of God through our children’s leadership. I get to watch children make room at their tables at lunch so everybody has a place at the table. Don’t tell me our children are “the future of the church” and not the present of the church.
I get to go with our youth to Asheville, NC for a mission trip. Every year, I have them reflect on the week by answering some specific questions – where did you see God or what do you want your church to know about our trip? Several of the responses want you to know that they make a difference while having fun, and that the trip is not all about just having fun. Don’t tell me that teenagers aren’t a vital part of helping God’s kingdom to be made real here on earth.
I get to hang out with over 100 children at our Vacation Bible School. I get to watch children sing with joy some of the songs of our faith. I get to watch them live out their faith as they give money offerings each day. I get to listen to them repeat the stories of our faith. I get to dance with them. Don’t tell me that children have nothing to teach us about God and our faith.
I get to go to Unidiversity, a discipleship camp for teenagers. I get to listen to our youth every night, talking about how they experienced God. I get to worship with our youth as they sing songs about God’s goodness and learn more about their journey as Jesus’ disciples. I get to experience the times that their lives are changed by the One who calls us Beloved. Don’t tell me that teenagers aren’t working to become better disciples of Jesus.
Have you ever known something in which you had to expend so much energy and yet you feel so energized and full of life? I pray that you do. If not, I invite you to find something that is life-giving to you and make it a part of the rhythm of your life. If you’re still having trouble, I invite you to come hang out with me on one of these trips. You’ll need to prepare yourself to receive a healthy dose of God’s presence.