Monday, May 18, 2015

A new gig

I haven’t yet mentioned on here that I have myself a new gig.

Here writes the new ‘youth minister’ at my church. The title feels a little grandiose though, as I have really only gone up a few age groups in helping out in Sunday School, but it was an actual position that they were advertising, and now it is me. I didn’t actually apply for the job, basically because I didn’t think I had it in me to manage teenagers. I have done adult bible studies and kids, but teenagers are that world of their own in between. But then I was asked if I would have a go, so I met with the Rector and Curate (I think that’s what we officially call these people here) and decided to accept the challenge.

The truth is, I was mildly terrified before my first attempt, because teenagers are generally quite terrifying, but then I felt a whole lot better about it afterwards. They are actually a really nice group of kids, and the keenest Christians in the group are probably the two oldest boys in Year 11, who are very helpful and an absolute gift. So, for the last two weeks I have had a sixteen teenagers in the room and done my best. It’s a bit of trial and error while I work it out. I am using some material from Tim Hawkins in Sydney on the Sermon on the Mount, because this all happened quite suddenly and I need to find the pitch of the kids before I even think about making up my own stuff.  They have varying levels of gospel and bible understanding, but for the most part are private school kids of intelligent and accomplished parents, so they have general smarts and don’t need simplistic material. I happened to have Don Carson’s book on the Sermon on the Mount already, so I throw that in where it fits.

I’m quite surprised at the whole arrangement myself, and wonder at times if God knows what he’s doing with this idea, and puzzle over how life plays out, but I felt compelled to step out of my sphere of what’s comfortable and at least try. The curious part of it all is that I threw up as my prayer point in a bible study one week the fact that I was thinking of giving up my freelance editing work, because it is driving me slowly bonkers, and saying that I was thinking through what else I could do with my time etc, then the following week I get the phone call asking me if I’d consider this. So, what could I say? And it’s not like I am doing the youth work for money, but the fact that they are paying me for it enables me to let go of the freelance work without feeling like I might regret it financially. And I feel like it’s a much more meaningful use of my time.

So now suddenly I find myself delving into the mysterious world of how to do youth ministry. The job specification is for four hours a week, which includes the preparation and the Sunday morning, but I would like to do other things with them too – it’s just a matter of figuring out what and how to do it logistically.

Then this weekend I am actually going to a clergy spouse conference. I was asked if I wanted to go anyway and ‘youth workers’ are within the gambit of the event. So, how strange has my life become? I hardly know this person. But I am looking forward to what the future might hold in it all.


Jessica said...

How exciting! I've found a similar thing, being in a new context leads to interesting possibilities. I'm not the piano girl anymore, I'm doing more of the welcoming and evangelism stuff.

Ali said...

Ah thanks! And that's great you've moved into other spheres too. (Sometimes I wonder if I'm going about all this the right way, by primarily doing certain ministries because I was asked to, but I guess that's as good a prompting as any, and sometimes others think you can do something that you don't really think you can do yourself.)

Gordon Cheng said...

Hey that is great news Ali! I pray that God will give you much grace, wisdom and strength and equip you to equip these junior saints for their Christian walk.

Ali said...

Thanks Gordon! And all prayers much needed and gratefully received.

pete said...

I think you will make a great Youth Pastor. With your interest in theology and reading and literature, you will bring some depth to their faith. You can always google fun things or games or exercises to do with youth too. I was not some private school kid as I grew up in terrible family and housing conditions but in my teen years a friend invited me to his church youth group and they had a rad youth pastor who was so accepting of me. I came in with my eye liner and mascara (I was a bit of an androgynous teen)and my socialist t-shirts etc but I was never judged. I was journeyed. The youth pastor had a profound impact on my life. Even though you may think you lack skills or experience, don't under estimate the power of your presence, your ear or your acceptance and love of youth.

Ali said...

Thanks Pete. Unfortunately we don't have as much time on a Sunday morning as an evening youth group, for just hanging out and building relationships etc, but I will see what I can do.