We can finally breathe. This last week, Ben’s really hustling hard. With our preacher on a much-deserved vacation, the last week of summer with the kids, and youth sabbath today, he’s been pulling double duty every day. He preached 2 sermons this morning on John Wesley’s 3 rules to live by: do no harm, do all the good you can, fall in love with God every day, and I think the congregation (grown ups and youth alike) could relate to a simple message like that.
The kids had fun all week long swimming, eating, playing football and soccer… But we sometimes wonder how much spiritual growth is really happening, if they just come for fun. As the group keeps growing and growing, we feel encouraged that great things are happening for our church, but man! It’s becoming tougher and tougher to keep things focused during UMYF worship. We’d love to believe that they go home at night and lay in bed contemplating what those 3 simple rules mean for them as individuals, what they can do to improve the world around them… But sometimes, we know they just come to see their friends.
Tonight Ben wanted to get to the heart of that — he asked them to write down the real reason they come to church (for several, it was the right reason, for others, it was mostly for fun), then he talked to them about the reasons we meet together. We’re like a fire of hot coals, the more coals you add, the hotter the fire becomes. When you take one coal away, it stays warm for a while but it inevitably fizzles out without the other coals. Without the group, it’s harder to grow closer to God, to become the spiritually mature adults the church’s future depends on. Surprisingly, they were silent (hard to believe with a group of 17 junior high boys), hanging on his words. I could see the truth of it registering, because they didn’t pay their phones any attention. Working with youth is frustrating and rewarding and funny and sweet. I know how much Ben’s work matters, and I can’t wait to see what kind of adults these kids become.