8 reasons you should get your kids & youth involved with camp

I grew up going to camp, camping with my family and then working at camps. When I think back to summers they are filled with memories of campfire songs, canoe tipping adventures, leadership lessons learned on a long hike up a mountain, swatting blackflies and deep conversations as the last embers from a fire burned out.

Here are 8 reasons to get your kids & youth involved with camp – whether you are a parent, youth leader, pastor or someone that wants to invest wisely in the next generation.

1. Camp gets personal – Camp allows an opportunity for a kid’s faith to become their own, as they are away from their parents, home church and usual environment. They are encouraged to listen for and respond to God in fresh ways for themselves.

2. Camp is a confidence builder – At camp you are thrown into trying new activities encouraged to use your gifts and skills in new ways. Without parents and siblings there, kids have to figure it out for themselves and dig deep to find their own inner strength. Kids receive lots of support and encouragement from staff as they try out their independence in new ways.

3. Camp is a memory creator – Stories and experiences from camp stick. Talk to anyone that went to camp as a kid and they will still have stories to tell and lessons to shared from camp.

4. Camp invites simplicity – In today’s complex world camp is a great get away. It allows the space and environment for kids/youth to reconnect with creation, with others, and with God.

5. Camp provides role models – Camp staff are amazing people for kids to look up to as they see faith lived out within the day-to-day community of camp.

6. Camp promotes community – Camp is an accelerated bonding experience. I’ve seen so many kids arrive on the first day of camp unsure, shy, feeling like they don’t know any one and then by the end of the camp they have a best friend(s) for life. Parents/leaders we need to find ways to help these kids/youth continue these connections after camp and have community all year long with others who are exploring Jesus.

7. Camps rock at leadership development – Camps are always identifying kids, youth and young adult who can be leaders. They give these young leaders amazing training from a young age, give them real practice in trying out their leadership skills and mentor them along the way. Camps are exceptional incubators for leadership development.

8. Camps are an amazing deal – Seriously, they provide: food, cabins, programming, activities (amazing ones) and spiritual influence every day. Camps do a lot with our money.

Next week I’m speaking at one our camps and I can’t wait to be back at camp!
In Atlantic Canada there are 14 CABC camps spread around our four provinces. You can find the list of camps with a link to each of their websites HERE.
There are lots of other great camps too.

Ok, as a bonus for those of you who have read to the very end of this blog, I will let one of my camp stories out of the bag. I have ended up with a few nicknames over the years, one is “Bulldozer.” This nickname emerged after a camp retreat with some youth. Some of our girls invented a new camp game. You know the slippery, pee proof mattresses they tend to have at camps? They are really slippery, especially on laminate click flooring! The invented game was to run the first part of the hallway with the mattress in your hands and then to jump onto the mattress seeing how far down the hallway you could slide. The person to make the mattress go the furthest would be the winner. Now, I have a competitive streak that I know I have to keep in check. With the youth spurring me on, I lined up to take my turn intent on getting the record for the farthest mattress slide. The youth were all watching, their faces peeking out of the dorm rooms that lined the hallway. I gave it my all, starting my sprint down the hallway. Just then one of our sweet youth, who happens to be of small stature, stepped out into the hallway. Here is where the version of the story differ. I recall sticking my arm out to protect the youth from a head-on collision with me. The youths’ recollection is me pushing the youth out of the way, so nothing would get in the way of my mattress run. In either version the youth went flying backwards, landing on her back. Thankful she was ok, no injuries. From that moment forward the youth started calling me “Bulldozer.” For the record, I did not win the mattress slide competition. I did learn important lessons that day about letting youth invent games & lead, about the strength of my competitive nature and about humility each time I’m called “Bulldozer.”

Create your own memories and nicknames – get to camp!

-Renée (a.k.a. Bulldozer) @r_embree #1neighbourhood

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Who is praying bold, tenacious prayers for you? For youth?

I know I am who I am because of the prayers of others.
I know I am where I am because of the prayers of others.

One person, in particular, has been praying bold, tenacious prayers for me since they first met me about 19 years ago, before I was following Jesus. Rich led an on-campus ministry at the University I attended. His prayers have followed me all my days, as he continues to pray for me through the good times and the challenging times. When I felt like nothing and my life looked more like a pile of rubble and uncertainty – Rich prayed God’s best into me. When leadership, ministry, and God’s shalom was but a pipe dream for me, he prayed.

When I was searching for faith. He prayed.
When my doubts overwhelmed my faith. He prayed.
When I flunked an exam and thought my life was over. He prayed.
When relationships ended. He prayed.
When areas of my life still had a ways to go to line-up with the ways of Christ. He prayed.
When I didn’t know what my future would hold. He prayed.
When I ended up leading a ministry, with zero training. He prayed.
When I had decisions to make. He prayed.
When I have led events. He prayed.
When I have preached. He prayed.
When I did nothing. He prayed.
When I hit valleys. He prayed.
When I discovered mountain tops. He prayed.

I mean it when I say, I have no doubt that I am the person I am today because of Rich’s prayers and the prayers of other faithful people. It is overwhelming when we think of all the people who have prayed for us through the years – grandparents, parents, Aunts, Uncles, friends, mentors, leaders, siblings, spouses, kids…
It is overwhelming when I think of the faith Rich (and others) had in those prayers, when I didn’t have the faith to believe the things they were praying – about God or about myself.
They believed it and prayed it before it was seen. That’s faith. That’s tenacious.

Who prays for you? Prays the deep, bold, tenacious, faith prayers for you? Especially when you can’t pray them for yourself.
Who are you praying for?
Who is praying for our youth?

Youth need someone who will pray bold, tenacious prayers for them.
This Sunday is the National Day of Prayer for Youth. (http://www.prayforyouth.ca/)
Join in praying bold prayers for our youth.

Here are some ways to incorporate praying for youth into your rhythms:
• Get a picture of the youth group from your church and put it on your kitchen table. Every time you say grace pray for the youth group too.
• Weekly walk the perimeter of your local school, praying.
• Ask if the youth leader in your church would get permission to give you the picture and some background information about one youth they know. Pray for them regularly.
• Scan the news for where youth are mentioned (in good ways and in difficult ways). Pray for them.
• Find out the names of either the youth leaders, coaches or teachers in your area. Pray for these people who form our youth.
• Get a Q-card and write out a bold prayer for a youth you know. Pray it regularly. If it is appropriate, give a copy of the prayer to the youth.
• Notice the teenagers in your day – working at the check out, cleaning your table, biking by, waiting outside the school, on the bus… Say a silent prayer of blessing for the teenager, as you pass by.
• If you have a youth in your home or a youth you are close to – ask them regularly “What’s the most important thing I can be praying for you right now?” and pray for them on the spot.
• Ask a local Christian camp what their prayers requests are. Write them down and pray for them. Camps minister to many children, teens and families throughout the year.
• Encourage your church to pray for youth. Start a prayer wall or build a prayer labyrinth at your church/youth group. To create a prayer labyrinth, take rope or candles and make a labyrinth design on the floor. Every so often in the labyrinth put cards with prayer requests. Participants pick up a card and pray for what is on the card as they walk the labyrinth. When they are done that card, they pick up a new card.

This Sunday join in the national day of prayer for youth. More ideas for incorporating this into a Sunday morning and a youth group lesson can be found at: http://www.prayforyouth.ca/

Let’s pray bold, tenacious prayers for our youth!
Who will name you 19 years for now and say to you “I am who I am because of your prayers.”

-Renée
@r_embree
#1neighbourhood

National Day of Prayer for Youth (HD)

Who will create the new hoverboards and flying cars for the church?

As I’m writing this it is October 21st, 2015, back to the future day. If the 1989 movie Back to the Future II were based on true events, Doc Brown would have landed his time machine amongst hoverboards and flying cars today. I remember the movie well. I always wanted a hoverboard. I haven’t got to try one yet. Lots of predictions can be made about the future, but the only thing we know for sure is it will be different.
When we think about the future of the Church, it will be different.
See, the now is inadequate for the future.
Because the now is tailored to the now (or to 50 years ago in some churches. I wish I was joking.)
Each generation has to figure out how to best live out the Gospel and show and tell the Gospel, in their context, in their culture, in their generation.
The Gospel doesn’t change, the core of doctrine doesn’t change, but the church’s methods, language, approaches, needed services…changes with what works and the neighbourhoods where God has placed you.

back-to-the-future-day

The question is, who is going to lead us into the future?
Who creates the new hoverboards and flying cars for the church?
Who is going to make sure we don’t get stuck in 1989 or 2015?
The young.
To the young, we need you! Lead us!
Our imaginations are getting thin, lead us with your best imaginations into the future.
Our creativity is getting old, lead us with new creativity.
It’s not just any young that will lead us to the hoverboards and flying cars or whatever is needed for the church of the future. It is the young that are willing to risk and do the sorts of things in the list below.

This past weekend I was privileged to be at the Inspire Justice Conference in Halifax, NS (#IJC15). I’ve been chewing on one phrase ever since. “It is the task of youth think beyond your elders and leaders.”-Rick Tobias. When Rick Tobias speaks I listen. He has a heart after God and continues to live his life in partnership with the poor and marginalized in our society. He continues to give his best towards helping break the cycle of multi-generational poverty.

Here’s a piece of what Rick said, that I’m probably misquoting slightly.
“To the young, think past your elders and leaders. It is the task of youth to think past and see beyond your leaders.”
“Youth, move us to justice and inclusion. Dream, innovate and create the new.”
“Youth are saying ‘enough already telling us to care for the poor, tell us how to change stuff.’”
He continued to call the young to “rise up, don’t wait for permission, just do it. Live out your purpose.”

As I chew on this, here’s what keeps coming back to my mind.
WE NEED THIS.
We need you, young, to push us.
We need you, young, to not let us stay where we are.
We need you, young, to do the new.
We need you, young, to lead us into the future.

Church now will not be Church 25 years from now. It shouldn’t be. Now is inadequate for the future.
Young, call us into being the Church we need to be. Young, call us into the Church of the future.

So to those who are young and young at heart. (Feel free to define “young” however you like.)
Please think beyond us. Dream new dreams for the Church, for the Kingdom of God.
Below is what it will take for the Church to actually become different. This is what it’ll take for the young to go beyond current day leaders.
Repeating and building on what Rick said, here is a list to the young who are willing to lead beyond the now.

To the young…
1. Take courage to experiment. As Rick said, there is no blueprint, invent the new, invent the way.
2. Question. We need your questions. Question us, your leaders, the Church, the way “things are always done”. Let your voice be heard. Often the best way to let your voice be heard is to ask really good questions.
3. Listen to the voice of the outsider, those who feel forgotten, left-out, outside of your “camp”. Especially listen to those who oppose you and learn from them.
4. Be fiercely committed to the Gospel, but be very agile in how you live out the Gospel in different neighbourhoods.
5. Be fiercely committed to justice, including and embracing those who have been treat unjustly. Correct whatever allows injustices to continue. To quote Rick again “Compassion responds to need. Justice asks why those needs exist in the first place.” Both are needed.
6. Stay close to Jesus. This path will not be easy.
7. Just do it. Do what needs to be done to follow Jesus and His heart for justice in our world. Do not wait for permission from the older folks. Do not wait for the older folks to figure out. You, just do it. Live out your purpose.

To the older (not old, just older)…
1. Let the young lead.
2. Let the young experiment.
3. Let the young ask questions, even the ones that make you feel uncomfortable.
4. Release the young from unnecessary systems, rules, and traditions that are holding them back from fresh expressions of justice, faith, and showing and telling the Gospel.
5. Serve alongside the young, be the hands and feet of Jesus together. Join their cause.
6. Mentor the young, not as guardians of traditions, but as ignitors of God’s Spirit work. Help them develop a deep, robust faith, rooted in their relationship with Jesus.
7. Be the biggest cheerleader of the young. Support them and their efforts to live out their faith.

Let me say it again, we need our youth to lead us beyond.
Lead us, we pray.

Young, lead us into the Church we need to be – the Church that shows the Gospel, the Church that tells the Good News, the Church that heals brokenness, the Church that corrects faulty systems that keep people down and trapped, the Church that brings peace, that Church that lives Jesus and points to Jesus.
The Church that is Jesus in the neighbourhoods where we live, study, work and play.

-Renée @r_embree

Interview with Pierrette (Christian teen)

Today we have a guest interview with my friend Pierrette Janes. Pierrette is 16 years old. She is transitioning from Harbourview High School in Saint John to Leo Hayes High School in Frederiction as she enters grade 11 this September.
She’s posting to help leaders get a better understanding of what it is like to be a teenager today, and in particular a teenager that is trying to follow Christ.

1. When did you become a follower of Jesus?
My mother grew up in a family that went to church quite often, so after she had me it was quite easy for her to continue with her beliefs and bring me to church every weekend. But her beliefs weren’t always mine. In fact, for the longest time I denied going to church because it was the easiest thing to do. At that point in my life I hadn’t really found God yet, I believed in him more like a little kid believes in Santa Claus. He was something we spoke about, but he wasn’t really there.
In grade six a friend invited me to a youth group which I began to regularly attend just because they had both good food and fun games. But as a couple of the years went by I grew closer to many of the leaders and more of the youth and found myself excitingly signing up for the Halifax Tidal Impact.
I’ve gone on two missions trips throughout my life, the trip to Halifax, NS and a mission trip to New York City, but surprisingly the trip to Halifax both challenged and changed me the most. Since the work we were doing was so close to home and were much like to conditions in my home city it helped me to notice how much God really does help people and also changed the way I looked at being helpful in my own community. That was the week I decided to trust in God and begin my journey with him, he’s been by my side ever since.

2. What’s it like being a Christian in your school?
I have been very fortunate to have been given friends in my life who are very accepting of my religion. Some of them have said at times that they don’t like going to church, or they don’t seem to think Christianity is their thing, but they’re very accepting of it being mine. Perhaps that’s why I like them so much.
I know at many schools some Christian youth do struggle with their faith because of peer pressure, but in my couple years at Harbourview High School (which I am unfortunately moving away from this year) I’ve seemed to have found everyone to be quite reasonable and understanding.
Mind you there have been times when I guess you could say that people have made jokes because I am someone of faith. Often just teenagers apologizing for swearing or making jokes about me always being at church, but at the end of the day it’s all harmless and not something that I’ve found difficulty with.

3. What’s it like being a Christian teen in the world today?
Being a Christian teen today has both its awesome moments and some real struggles. We live in a culture today that is slowly becoming more and more accepting of others, meaning as many churches modernize it’s easier for us as a church to “treat others the way we would want to be treated.” Something that for a while was often forgotten by the church.
But when many people lean one way, accepting everyone for who they are, there are still churches who lean the other way. These churches and groups of people are what youth see on social media today. They see groups of people who hate on others and protest “in God’s name.” This only makes it harder to be a Christian teen because whether you’re on the internet or in real life these images are often tied to some people’s idea of being someone of faith. This can make it hard to read posts about Christians on say a social media, website like Tumblr or hard to meet new people not of faith.
Technology is great in so many ways, but it can also be so bad. Youth today are just a click away from opening links to pornography, blogs about eating disorders, suicide and articles about why not to follow God. It can be hard for any youth, not just Christian youth, to stay away from these sites and pages because it’s so easy for them to just pop up while scrolling through the internet. Reading things about this can encourage teens to take similar actions and can slowly pull them farther and farther away from their walk with God if they don’t find someone to talk about it. It’s so important, and I can’t stress this enough, for youth to have at least one strong youth leader or adult in their church who they know they can trust and talk to about anything. Many youth, I’ve seen it in the churches I have been a part of, do not feel like they have that person. This not only allows them to pull back, but can make them feel unwanted and unappreciated to the point where they no longer attend church and/or youth group.

4. What’s a few things you wish youth leaders understood about teenagers today?
Every teenager is different. Every youth group struggles with different things. So it’s hard to give generalized advice. But it’s important to keep in mind that youth are at a fragile and vulnerable age. We are under a lot of stress and are trying to make so many decisions about the future that we can often fall into a routine that doesn’t necessarily focus on God and we need someone to pull us back. But at the same time, we like independence and don’t want to feel like we are being restrained by the people and rules in our lives. Leaders, when dealing with teenagers, need to focus on listening, understanding and giving advice that doesn’t make the youth feel as though they are being pressured to act a certain way.

5. What’s a few things you wish youth leaders understood about being a Christian as a teenager today?
I might be a bit biased when I say this because I’ve only ever really gone to one youth group, but teenagers have a tenancy to find the people they are comfortable with and stick with them. This can cause youth groups to be very cliquey, and gives off an unwelcoming feeling to people trying to enter. Many churches struggle with this as a whole and I think it’s something that youth leaders need to think about and discuss more. I went to the same youth group for five years and still did not always feel welcome because I had not grown up with some of the youth and didn’t share the same childhood memories in the church as they did. It is something I’ve struggled with for many years and something that had begun to pull me away from that youth group.
I know that not all youth groups have this issue, but I’ve met kids through Tidal Impact, Springforth and other youth events that have admitted to having the same problem. Leaders need to be aware of this issue and help us all feel like we belong and are part of the group.

6. What’s the most important thing(s) youth leaders can pray for teenagers today?
Youth leaders can pray that teenagers find their place, whether they are at school or at church, and that hopefully they feel as though they have someone to rely on throughout all the decision-making and tough times that come with being this age.
It can be hard to understand teenagers and what they are feeling/going through, but I promise that if you’re really trying to make a difference you’ve probably already turned a youth’s life around and made their day a little bit better.

———————————————————————————————

Thank you so much Pierrette for your insight!
You are helping us be better youth leaders. Leaders, I’m taking notes! Hope you are too.
-Renée @r_embree

What is the role of children and youth in the renewal of the Church?

Yesterday, I had the privilege of hosting a panel that was asking the question, what role do children and youth play in the renewal of our churches.  It will become available online and I’ll add the link. It was part of the Simpson Lectures on church renewal. I recommend you listen to the various sessions.

We know God has often used the voice of youth to call God’s people to greater faithfulness.

  •  Jeremiah – called at a young age to speak and do drama to communicate God’s message
  •  Daniel – standing strong against a cultural tide
  •  Mary – willing to be God’s servant even when she and others didn’t understand
  •  Samuel – listened to and obeyed God’s voice, even when it could upset the adults
  •  David – standing up to the giants that stand in the way, when they adults were too afraid

God has often used youth. Do we hear their voice calling us to greater faithfulness today? God often uses the courage of children and youth when the adult are too scared to do anything or try anything new!

What is this generation of children and youth saying to the church? I sense a great willingness in our leaders to listen. Our leaders are saying, I want to listen to the children and youth, but how? Where do I start?

Here are some themes that kept surfacing in the panel yesterday:

  1. This generation is saying “show me” – share your stories and engage in your community. This generation especially wants to see a faith that goes beyond words and inner convictions to overflowing in our lives and actions. They want to see if faith makes a real difference in how we treat people, in how we help our community, in how we help the brokenness in our world, in what we do at the hockey rink, in what we do at the grocery story, in what we do at work… Share your stories of how God is alive and at work in you and around you today. Look beyond the walls of your church and invite youth and children to serve your community together with you.
  1. Don’t underestimate the power of the small – Children and youth notice the little things. God’s Kingdom is like a mustard seed. Start with what you have. You have 2 kids that come on Sunday morning? Great start there! You have 3 youth that want to hang-out and talk about Jesus and life over hot chocolate? Great – you’ve got a youth group! Start there. Don’t underestimate the power of showing God’s care and love to the few. Be consistent and invest in relationship with them. Authentic relationships are greatly valued by this generation. Some great ideas were shared on small things that can encourage children/youth in a big way: sending a postcard in the good, old snail mail, remembering their interests and taking an interest in them, listening well, telling great children’s story, being ready for them on Sunday and praying for them by name.
  1. Partnerships – We need each other. Children and youth need the voice and example of multiple Christian adults in their lives. Foster partnerships between home and church, parents and leaders, youth ministry and your wider church, church and community. No one is an island. As we seek to see this generation grow in their faith, these partnership have lasting influence on the lives of children and youth. It takes a community to raise a child. Invite parents into what is happening for children and youth in your church. Communicate with them what is being taught and shared. Invite seniors and adult into the youth group – to mentor youth, to share in a snack or meal and to learn from one another. Invite children and youth into the wider life of the church – to sever, to lead, and to share their stories of seeing God at work. Find many and various ways for partnerships across the generations and with the community.

How else do we fan into flame renewal in our churches, by engaging children and youth?

And what might out children’s and youth’s ministries be teaching the church? “Indeed, youth ministry’s great potential may life in its ability to reimagine the church on behalf of the wider Christian community, a church in which God has called young people to play an irrepressible and irreplaceable part.” (In “The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry” By: Andrew Root & Kenda Creasy Dean p 35ff)

What experiments are happening in your youth and children ministries? What can the wider church learn from those experiments? What new ways of doing church are emerging from our children, youth and young adults?

Here are some of the new things being tried, that I overheard in the buzz of the Simpson week on church renewal. These things started as things being done in the children or youth ministry and then the “big” church decided to give it a try.

  • Interactive sermons, where people are invited to ask questions via text message or tweeting
  • Inviting drama and dance onto the stage to bring God’s Word to life in a new way
  • Sunday school for the whole family, where children, youth and parents learn together from God’s work and how to apply it in their home during the week
  • Small Groups that intentionally include all ages, kids are welcomed!
  • Small Groups that purposefully take place in coffee shops, gyms and restaurants
  • Churches that split-up and meet in homes on Sunday morning instead of in one building
  • Churches that occasionally change their Sunday morning to be a day when everyone shows up in work clothes instead and takes the church outside the walls of the building and servers their community together
  • Allowing volunteers different options to invest their time, energy and gifts. (e.g. Giving one month to a theme topic in the children’s ministry, serving once a month on a rotation, having a partner to trade on and off with in their ministry, being allowed to check-out a ministry before they commit to serve there etc.)
  • Inviting youth and children to use their gifts in the wider church. This can take all kinds of forms – making videos, creating slides, youth leading a devotional or sermon, organizing a service project for the church, create a backdrop for a sermon series etc.
  • Letting people submit their “tough questions” and then setting up a panel to tackle the questions
  • Sunday mornings that are set-up with the atmosphere of a coffee house
  • Interactive and responsive worship opportunities – e.g. writing your name on a cross, participate in painting a picture during worship, writing a note to God, throwing a stone into a water bucket, worship stations…
  • Intentionally partnering with a community organization and being a consistent army of volunteers with that organization

What ways are you reimagining church?

Want to develop people as leaders? Throw them out of the boat.

Want to develop students (or anyone) as leaders? Throw them out of the boat.

I had the privilege of being in a church on the weekend where the service was led by children and youth. My heart was overflowing as I was led in worshipping Jesus by those much younger than me. They sang the songs with such gusto, they read Scripture with authority, and put their whole selves into acting and storytelling.

Jesus gave real authority to His followers. When the disciples tried to stop the children from coming to him (Mark 10:14-16), he got mad and in fact said they are an example about how to receive the Kingdom, we need to be more like the children, not less like them.
Children are leading the way to the Kingdom.

Our children, youth and young adults need to be given real authority.

Jesus gave real authority to His followers:
• He sent them out two by two, giving them authority over evil, authority to preach, authority to invite people into the Kingdom, authority to heal the sick, authority to call people to repentance, authority to call more workers for the Kingdom (e.g. Mark 6:6-13, Luke 10:1-9)
• Jesus told them, whoever listens to you, also listens to me, whoever reject you is really rejecting me (e.g. Luke 10:16)
• Jesus told them, what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and what you loose on earth with be loosed in heaven (Mt 16:19)
• Jesus stated those who believe in Him will do even greater things than He did when He walked this earth (John 14:12)
• And Jesus gave His followers the authority to make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19-20)

Now that’s real authority. Real trust.

And you and I are afraid to let someone make the coffee because they might not make it “right”?
We’re afraid to let someone be in charge of small groups because they might mess it up?
We’re afraid to let someone be in charge of service opportunities for families because they might do it differently than us?
We’re afraid to let someone try something new because they/we might look bad? It might fail?

Give people real authority.
This is how we learn best.

Know how my Dad got us kids swimming? He’d row the boat out to the middle of the river, and say “jump out”.
We often learn the most, when we are thrown in.

I take comfort in the fact that Jesus was a carpenter. I’m guessing he had a few sore thumbs and deep cuts. And I’m guessing only His Mom loved the first chair He made. And His Heavenly Father loved it too, because He was being faithful. He was learning by trial and error, growing in skill and wisdom. Some of you have experienced my errors as I’ve tried new things and learned, sometimes painfully slowly, by trial and error. Let others jump out of the boat and learn by trial and error too.

Watch what happens when you put a middle schooler in charge of a group of their peers in a small group! They learn pretty fast how to get their group talking and praying. They start asking you how to deal with the “squirrels” in the conversation and what to do with the deep questions.

Watch what happens when you say to the high schooler, “You’re in charge of park ministry for the whole summer.”

Watch what happens when you invite them to lead a devotion.

Watch what happens when you put them in charge of an aspect of the mission tour or the whole entire mission tour altogether.

Watch what happens when you say to the young adult, “You’re going to mobilize other young adults to serve our city/town.”

Watch what happens when you trust people with the same authority Jesus gives to them.

Watch what happens when you ask, “What kingdom dream is God putting on your heart?” And then say “Let’s follow that!”

It’ll be messy, but it’ll be worth it!

Now, don’t leave them all alone. Throw them a life jacket and pull them back into the boat regularly, to debrief with them, tune their skills, reflect on what God is teaching them, give them feedback and give them lots of encouragement.

Who do you need to talk to and say “jump out here”?

 

-Renée @r_embree