February 20, 2009

Christian Youth Workers

Jesus didn’t do any service projects in Nazareth. He didn’t evangelize, either. He wasn’t teaching or preaching. He wasn’t doing any of the things many expect to see serious minded young Christians engaging themselves in, these days. It’s not that those things were wrong, or somehow beneath him (or us). But apparently, they weren't necessary, either.

When his time came, Jesus did mighty works. But they didn't happen all the time. Healings and teachings and miracles, preaching and feeding and outreach, prayer and retreating and resting, even discipleship - all the Lord did, He did on his own internal clock. By the natural outpouring of his own devotion to his Father. By the intersection of God's spirit within him with whatever providence or circumstance happened to bring his way at any particular time.

Jesus Christ was about his father's business at age 12, in Jerusalem. That lasted three days. But I believe the next 22 years - when Jesus did "nothing" in Nazareth - were also his Father's business. I wish more folks leading the christian youth of america were telling them this is an option. Aspects of time - growing, seasons, development, patience, and years upon years of literally waiting on God - these do not easily leap from the margins of most study bibles.

When we fail to see time in the scriptures, we uproot events from reality. It all seems to happen at once, so why shouldn't it be that way, now? Maybe the elders of mainstream christendom are just glad to see kids kept busy, staying out of trouble, serving the Lord with such vigor. And maybe they're blind to the burnout it causes. I don't know. But this I do know...

We need a stronger sense of time and place when reading the New Testament.

4 comments:

Chris said...

I was excited to read this post, and especially...

All the Lord did, He did on his own internal clock. By the natural outpouring of his own devotion to his Father. By the intersection of God's spirit within him with whatever providence or circumstance happened to bring his way at any particular time.

Amen! This reminded me strongly of something Paul Young (author of The Shack) said at the 2008 House Church Coference in Dallas. I wasn't there but I have the DVD set.

It would be too wordy to expand on this in a comment, so I think I'll post about it on my own blog and then comment here again a few days from now.

Bill said...

Thanks, Chris. I don't have the DVD set, but I was there for Paul's second message. So either I stole a thought without realizing it or else great minds think alike, eh?

Looking forward to your link and post.

Mike Morrell said...

I think the best youth ministry these days is trying to set the kiddos on an internal clock of their own, a rhythm of work and rest. See, f'r instance, the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project.

I've been beating this drum for a few years now - activists need regular time to be contemplative, and listen to Papa's voice; mystics/inward types need to get out a little and use some of their beatific peace & divine love in the world that God so loves.

Bill said...

You and your drums. ;)

Thanks for the comment, Mike. Good thoughts.

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