Thrive in change. Defy the trend.

Evidence of spring

by | Mar 2, 2010 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

The snow may not have melted here in Iowa, but I see some evidence that spring is near.

I travel to churches throughout the Iowa Conference UCC. I spend most of that time talking with the adult leaders who run Christian education and youth programs. Our conversations tend to focus on the struggles – the lack of time and other resources they have for their ministries.

Because they are immersed in the day-to-day difficulties of running these programs, they don’t see what I see.

These are lay people, often parents, who are so determined that children have a place in church that they resurrect Sunday School and youth groups and plan summer mission trips and local service projects. They give up vacation and free time, and probably sleep, to make sure that lessons are planned, supplies are purchased and snacks are prepared.

These people are not often pastors or paid staff. They are regular people who want to make sure that young people learn to live a life of faith. I’m in awe of their efforts, which happen between full-time jobs, parenting and a variety of other personal and professional obligations.

Although it is often a slow process, these people are successful. They see Sunday school numbers rise from two or three young people to 30. Over time, they begin to hear young people recite back to them something from a lesson they taught. They receive hugs from children as they enter the sanctuary for Sunday worship. They watch these children grow and become teenagers and young adults grounded in their faith.

Why do they do this? The simple answer is because they love God and the church and they want to see that exist for future generations. A leadership team at Immanuel Reformed UCC in Klemme, Iowa articulated a slightly more profound reason this weekend during a workshop I was leading: “Our calling is to pass on a welcoming and open-minded faith through love, words and example so that each generation can make it their own.”

Pretty amazing, huh?

For all you youth leaders out there, I want to say this: Thank you, thank you, thank you for the ways you serve our church and young people each and every day. You are amazing creations of God who are living out your call to serve the church in ways that often go unnoticed. But, I notice you. You help remind me that “spring” is right around the corner.

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