So the NYWC is off and running – this morning I attended a well-done seminary in Middle School Small Groups which gave me a lot to think about.  The seminars that I tend to get the most out of are not those that say “here’s how we do it” but rather those that stimulate me to think – and this one did.  The leader was the Jr. High Pastor @ Willow Creek so he’s approaching things from a much larger church context than I but it was still really well done.

This after Kenda Dean (of the other PTS) spoke and wow – I was impressed.  I knew Kenda would be good, but I didn’t expect her to be that good.  The one thing that Kenda was able to hit upon that I realized that I knew but couldn’t put words to or explain (hence, it was only by intution) was the role of the “pastor” not as mediator but as the one who points to where God is at work in the lives of our young people.  Kenda made a very compelling and scriptually supported argument that God speaks to our young people on frequencies that perhaps we adults, even those of us who are younger, can’t hear.  (She pointed to the mosquito ringtone as an object lesson – google it, it’s a ringtone that adults can’t hear but youth can and pointed to the story of Samuel and Eli for scriptual support)

I know that I’ve sat at our bible study on Monday night and thought to myslef “aw dang, wish I had thought of that” on a number of occassions.  It’s not just that they have good points (which isn’t a surprise) but they read different things in the text that aren’t even on my radar screen.   But, I remember a few occassions where someone I was working with knew something but couldn’t understand it and all I had to do was say “Well, maybe it’s God” or “Well, do you think God is trying to tell you something?”.  The task of ministry, says my mentor Andrew Purves, is to bear witness to what Christ is already doing in the lives of our people.  It’s a humbling realization but one that takes a tremendous weight off of those of us in ministry.

Needless to say, when the times come for me to do my PhD (… a long way in the future – I promise) I know who I want to study with.

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