Posted in Grace, Ministry, youth

Look who showed up at the resource center!

When I walked into the Resource Center today I ran right into our church’s youth group. Working the intake desk were Alexandra, Abby, Grace, Nooch, McKelvey and Michael. In the backroom, where staples were sorted, bagged and distributed were Adam and Addison, Jake and Nick, Anna and Cole, Tess and Mackinzie, and Joshua. They had already been trained by our coordinator, Trish, were supervised by youth leaders Rob and Liv, and were assisted by some great parents: Dina, Beth, and Kelly. (I hope I didn’t forget anyone — please forgive me if I did.)

resource ctr

Some of the shelves were on the verge of empty, but there was enough food to send everyone home with a good week’s worth of non-perishables and bread. In our little corner of the post-hurricane world, I know it meant a lot to the clients.

I had stopped by to take a few pictures and encourage them in their ministry. I am so proud of their efforts to serve the congregation and community. Youth in ministry is a much better moniker than youth ministry. They are not the future of our church. They are the church right now.

I wonder if they understand the impact of their efforts? I know them all and I don’t think any of them have ever come home from school to an empty pantry or refrigerator. They may have lamented, “There’s nothing to eat!” But not because there wasn’t any food — just no Doritos or Oreos. Some of them had just gotten power restored. Others had helped clean up debris from yards this past week. All brought joy, laughter, and youthful energy with them. And for that I am thankful. It’s contagious, not just for me, but for the parents and clients, too.

When I was ten, twelve, or sixteen, I didn’t have a grasp on how much need there is in this world. Sometimes you can see it; they are sitting by the side of the road. Sometimes you can’t; they are sitting next to you in school. They don’t let on that the free lunch they get is their only meal that day. Or that they are living with a grandparent.

On the other hand, they also don’t judge. If someone comes in for food, they just need some food. Period. No thoughts of, “Why don’t they get a job?” or “They don’t look that hungry.” Just an eagerness to share what they have with someone else.

I always learn a lot from young people. That’s why I like hanging around them.

The Resource Center in Bunnell (1510 Old Moody Blvd.) is open during the week as well as Saturdays, providing food for Flagler County residents. Call 386.437.7373 for more information. 


Posted in Ministry

“How do I know which bathroom to use?”

bathThe semi-official topic of our youth group discussion tonight was “How do I know what bathroom to use?” This seems to be the topic everyone is talking about, at least in all the media and social media outlets. I was genuinely curious about how our youth’s experience and how they might answer that question.

I asked how many actually knew someone at school who identified as a gender different from their physiology. One thought they knew someone, but they weren’t positive and hadn’t asked. Another knew a young man who came to school in lipstick and high heels. My followup question was, “How are those students treated?” The answer: “No one really pays that much attention.”

I learned much in preparation for our discussion today from a paper from the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations on that topic. I learned a lot from our youth tonight, too, as we talked about what the Bible had to say about gender, natural law, God’s revelation and grace.

Though the Bible clearly reveals God’s plan for male and female, a fallen human nature reveals many variations that stray far from that plan. Regardless of your sin, you need to hear the law, your sin, the Gospel and God’s love. We so much want to judge and condemn others. God so much wants us to love each other. The tension is agonizing. Welcome to Christianity!

Our group tonight consisted of two high school seniors, one college freshman, a high school junior and an eighth-grader. I’m a baby-boomer who’s catching a glimpse of retirement out there on the horizon. We are learning so much from each other. My generation has our panties in a knot about the whole issue, boycotting businesses and straightening out the world. They are all about loving the unlovable like Jesus.

They give me great hope.