This week at HS camp, our students will be challenged to be “Consumed”. In a time when so many things pull us in so many different directions, the idea of being consumed by any one thing may seem a little off. Aren’t we supposed to strive for ‘balance’ so we don’t suffer ‘burn-out’?
You can read a lot of modern thought about achieving balance in your life. Certainly there are areas of life where a proper balance is important. But can we really have a spiritual balance? Or a balance of spiritual life and physical life?
I think the answer is “No”.
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Jesus doesn’t present a balanced picture here (in Matthew 10:37-39). It sounds like all or nothing to me.
Too many Christians have concerned themselves with the prim and the proper and the well ordered life at the expense of being consumed by the mission of Christ. When you’re on a mission, everything must succumb to the import of that mission (or you’re not really ‘on’ that mission are you?). Our students are being called to pick up their crosses and follow an imbalanced, all consuming Way. In doing so, they will find life and take that life with them everywhere they go!
The well balanced man has never changed the world but one who is consumed will set it ablaze.
“Anyone who thinks transformation always shows up carrying fireworks hasn’t paid much attention to caterpillars and butterflies. Give me a deep, heartfelt transformation anytime; it grows wings and flies.” – Audrey Ferris quote stolen from a promo from Group Publishing
Youth ministry is all about transformation. It’s about students being transformed by the living, breathing Word and Spirit of God into living, breathing letters of His love for His lost. It’s about selfish kids being transformed into generous sharers of God’s compassion. It’s about gifted students being transformed into humble servants.
Next week, I’ll be at camp with a group of students who are being transformed. After that, I’ll be at another camp with another group that is caught up in this transformational process. A few weeks ago, I was CIY with our high school students as they moved toward further transformation.
During these intense weeks, you can be sure, that tears will be shed, decisions made and shared, walls torn down, and emotional floodwaters raised. But that is not the transformation. Those moments often mark important points on the transformational journey, but they are not the transformation itself.
The true transformation that is needed in student ministry only occurs as students learn to live their lives in more Christ-like ways. They’ll come back from conference and camp excited… but the transformation is still in process. And much of what they’ll become depends on you. They will imitate the example you set, so be sure that you are being transformed into a model of humanity that is worth emulating – one like Jesus.
This theme of unity has come up a number of time for me the past month or so. From this post to one of the days at CIY to another couple items in the past few days. Interestingly, I’ve been asked to speak at camp on the topic of unity as well. (Funny how God prepares us for things if we’re paying attention!)
A couple days ago, I found this short story by Clint Heacock called A Castle for the Ages on Relevent’s website. It’s a good metaphor (don’t try to push too far, though – any good metaphor breaks down eventually) for a lot of what’s going on in the church today. You should go there and read the article.
You should also check out the blog of Tony Myles (Don’t Call Me Veronica), specifically this post about a recent trip to speak and listen at an Emergent gathering. A lot of interesting thoughts there, but what struck me most were his observations of how people from differening points of view would approach each other in dialogue.
A great picture of unity in the church:
All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possissions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts… -Acts 2:44-46
Some thoughts from Paul:
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. -Ephesians 4:1-3
What Did He Say???
Never seen anything quite like this at this level of any sport. What a way to go out…
I’ve been gone for a while, but here’s a little bit of what’s been going on…
I took a bunch of students to the desert mountains of Colorado…
for a little bit of this…
And some of this…
But mostly for this. CIY Summer Conference is always great, but this year was especially beneficial for our ministry. Our youth really pulled together through the week. The time to reflect on the book of Ephesians was awesome and impacting. Now, we must follow through on the commitments we’ve all made to each other and to God.
(There’s way more to write about the trip, but it’ll have to wait for another day…)