Song Of The Moment : EZ
Pete Yorn

Only save,
try to find another way,
I’m taking what I gave to you again.
Some new day I could understand your face,
you could even hold my hand if you would like to.

It came up unexpected,
I had to follow through
and it’s hard when you were working like you do.
It was easy when you were younger,
you can put it back together,
it was there if you ever wanted it
but you closed the door and said goodbye for good.

So this is a mistake,
try to find a better way,
you were never fond of anything I said.
Can we begin again?
Save it for another friend,
I was happy in my life I won’t pretend.

Every time you were expecting to reach out and forgive this,
I was hardened by the look upon your face,
it was easy when you were younger,
you can put it back together,
it was there if you ever wanted it,
but you closed the door and said goodbye for good,
for good…
you were easy

Youth Ministry In 50 Years
Marko was interviewed for a Christianity Today 50th Anniversary edition, focussing on the next 50 years in a range of ministry areas. Being from NZ, a couple of cultural things need to be considered in my response…

1. We’re early adapters.
It’s true – we are amongst the top five countries in the world for testing and releasing new products, technologies and ideas. Consequently, we can adopt new ideas, practices, ideaologies and theologies really quickly, adapting our ministries to fit. This does not however, mean that we are accurately depicting practices and theologies that are developing and being used in other parts of the world, within other cultural contexts. In other words – yes we are early adapters, but we love adopting other people’s two year olds (see more on that thesis later!) rather than doing the hard yards of genuine cultural, biblical and soul searching exegesis. This means sometimes the way it looks it not actually the way it is.

2. I’m young, boisterous, strong-minded.
This response to both the article and Marko’s comments, and marko’s Comments will undoubtedly slide into my dreamtime landscape of possibilities and idealism. I’m youthful. Forgive me. No really, forgive me.

3. I’m also a part time youth worker in a large-ish NZ Baptist church. NZ Baptists are unique. Large Baptist churches in NZ are few and far between, so these views may not necessarily reflect anything more than observations in my immediate local NZ shores.

In the next 50 years it’s my general feeling that we’ll…

… reclaim “youth ministry” from lone eagles, resulting in a stronger emphasis on family involvement and broader church integration.

… we’ll have gone through an uncomfortable love affair with “emerging church” resulting in the implementation and celebration of ‘creativity’ and increased acceptance of wider spiritual practices.

… we’ll have come through the other side of that relationship, regretting rapid adaption of ‘ideas’ and the absence of well thought out theological application of what God is shaping and moving in this particular time period within the church.

… youth workers who have celebrated longevity here will wrestle with how to grow wider as well as deeper in regards to growing and developing leadership, training resources and a sense of local, regional and national identity

… as a result of those three developments, youth ministry in NZ will begin to be shaken at the core. This will probably result in shifts away from fulltime youth workers into parttime church / parttime work positions or entirely volunteer run youth ministries within church.

… there will still be (2015) a wide divergence between church based and community based youth works, resulting in ongoing conflict and discussion about the role of mission and parachurch youth ministry organisations, probably resulting in more parachurch training becoming available, resourced by church and community based youth workers.

… the debate will still be raging over large scale Christian youth events and their effectiveness vs. local relationship-based youth ministry within a church. There will be a few of the middleaged youth workers around who will be pointing the way towards a ‘both/and’ environment.

… my hope and prayer is that we will be more focussed on the kind of young adults we are raising. we’ll be taking responsibility within church based ministries, that we too play a vital role in the development of young adult culture, especially when they’ve been raised within the church. it’s not just a matter of the “devils music”.

… in an ideal world we would have school based youth workers in 80% of state schools. in the reality of our constantly secularising political environment it seems more likely that churches will have to find innovative ways of ‘serving’ the community. this will actually be a positive thing as it will encourage the development of a very Acts-styled faith practice .. where the love of the disciples won the people over.

… we’ll take responsibility for a constant flow of opportunity, grace and encouragement, shaping youth leaders and workers around their passions and gifts, enabling them to grow in areas of strength and supporting them through weaknesses.

…………………….. I could go on and on and on.

Some comments on the article (now buried in the depths of the CT website)..

I was overall disappointed with it’s brevity, it’s flippancy and it’s lack of engagement with some of the obvious deeper issues and conversation pieces. I would have rather sat 6-7 of those people in a room with some real wholesome food, a whiteboard, some crayons and paper, some big ideas and a tape recorder.

In regards to the comments being left all over the web – I’m just fascinated by the diversity and yet the similarity of some of what God is doing and shaping in this place.

Watoto Childrens Choir
Sunday was an incredible day. Simon my business partner leaves soon to take the media trip to Tanzania to visit the New Life project that the Hope Foundation is supporting. So to spend a day watching the Watoto Childrens Choir from a very similar project in Uganda was preparatory, moving and changing.

It’s one thing to read, listen and have an understanding of the exceptional suffering that AIDS orphans and HIV/AIDS affected families in Africa are enduring. It’s when you hear the hope and the sorrow coexisting in the voice of a 13 year old girl who has the vocabulary, faith and understanding to be able to tell you..

“For a long time, when I was in the midst of the suffering, I thought God had forgotten me, that He had forgotten all of us. I would cry and pray everyday ‘God why do you not help me, why do you not do something for me’.”

… no 13 year old girl should be able to explain suffering and hopelessness the way that she was able to.

All I wanted to do was hold and touch and whisper God’s affection to children that were once broken. Even though all over Africa it is plain to see that God is doing work that all carries the fingerprints of His mercy on it – I’m so
aware that it can’t remove the sorrow from their experience.

I felt white and rich, and it was the dirtiest I’ve ever felt.

EZ
In comparison – my suffering is obselete. My friend came home, and in my excitement over seeing them come home, even for a short time – I forgot who they are, and what they are like. Cornered like a cat – I’ve not seen him since the first weekend he was back. I so desperately want to believe in him – in all that God has and could do in someone with so much potential and life force. Day by day – I’m trying to stay consistent – that Love and Faithfulness to anyone …. would never leave me. There is a sense within me, that perhaps I can let go of this one.

Mum says that there is a season for friendship and for letting it go. I think that maybe the time is coming – not for letting go – but for not having to hold on. I still love the storm. I love the vitality of it. I love the way I can laugh in the midst of it all. I love the passion I have to see him succeed, not because of anything it means for me – but everything it could mean for the rest of the world.

My prayer is that the wind fills his sails. Wherever he’s going.

It came up unexpected,
I had to follow through
and it’s hard when you were working like you do.
It was easy when you were younger,
you can put it back together,
it was there if you ever wanted it
but you closed the door and said goodbye for good.

What do you think?