This year, our youth ministry is focusing on the idea of welcome – how do we welcome each other, visitors, strangers, those who are outcastes. I want our teenagers to know that RRCB will always be a place of safety –physical, spiritual, and emotional safety. It’s hopefully a place where they can share their laughter and their tears without fear of rejection.
Adolescence is difficult for many reasons – teenagers are trying on different hats and learning to become their own person. The importance of one’s peer groups play a huge role in helping to create a teen’s identity – for good or ill. Teens won’t tell you this (at least not right now), but parents and trusted adults – you play a HUGE role as well.
As we think about the welcome that Jesus offered, Christine Pohl helps us understand that, “[Jesus] opened up the possibility that, in every setting, his followers might see an opportunity for offering hospitality to those ordinarily overlooked or undervalued.” I believe in the Church (Church universal, not our particular church per se), teenagers are overlooked and undervalued. Many churches subscribe to the “One-eared Mickey Mouse Model” – the church is a big circle (the face) and the youth ministry is one of Mickey’s ears, tangential to the church but not a part of the church.
Teenagers are vital to the ministry of RRCB. Do they know this? How do we show them beyond just using our words? I hope we’ll continue to think and pray about this, and then act on it. Looking forward to our ministry together.