I’m grateful that our teenagers have opportunities to lead. It is a tangible reminder that they are not just the future of the Church, but also an important part of the present of both River Road Church and the larger Church. Youth Sunday this past Sunday was one of those opportunities. Youth Sunday is not just a token opportunity for them to stand up and us adults feel good about their performance. Their leadership in worship, at least for me and from the hundreds of comments I’ve received, was their leading us in the worship of God, helping us to recognize God’s presence, and pointing us to God, not directing attention to themselves.
I’m grateful for their leadership. Each one who led in worship prepared well – they wrote their own litanies and prayers, they showed up for handbell and choir practice, they came early Sunday to learn how to pass offering plates, they spent time reading scripture and discerning how God was speaking to them. Thank you, teenagers. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your thoughtful preparation. Thank you for your presence as an important part of our community of faith.
One of the most meaningful parts of our worship preparation was the opportunities that our youth and some adults in our church had to gather together. A former seminary professor; our senior pastor; two moms of current youth; a couple who have helped chaperone a youth trip; a former youth minister; a mother of a toddler who, with her husband, has invested time and energy with our youth – they all joined us for a time of preparation. It wasn’t the adults telling the youth what to do. It wasn’t the adults telling the youth what to say so that their words would be more meaningful and have more depth for us mature, adult Christians. It was an opportunity for all ages to prepare, to discern God’s voice, and to listen to one another. Amen!
How are we creating opportunities for all folks to gather together, to build relationships, to share our faith stories, to laugh and cry together? Sure, we can all gather in one room and say that we have these opportunities, but how are we creating intentional opportunities for people of all generations to build meaningful relationships with one another? Looking forward to seeing what God has in store and how our teenagers might be pointing the way.