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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Young people, faith and life

This summer I had the pleasure of spending 6 long days with 9 high school young people and a co-leader who was willing to lose sleep and join in the energy and excitement of being a young person again and sleeping on air mattresses a few hours every night, but who was also willing to share her own life experiences while listening closely and with respect to the lives and stories of the youth. It's the best week of the year for me, something I look forward to every year. Spending the week serving different communities in the North-eastern part of North America with young people who are eager to make a difference in other peoples' communities and lives and who want to make the world a little better place to be, even if just a little bit. This week of serving and worship reminds me that one of the reasons we are here is to serve others because this is how we serve Jesus best. After all, faith without works is dead, as well as that deep truth that what we do for others, we also are doing for Jesus himself. 
I'm often asked by people, "What is the meaning of life," and "Why am I here?" This week with the young people every year reminds me that life is about the simple things; about caring about others and helping where we can, about friendships and connecting with others, and about sharing why we follow Jesus. Faith is not just what we believe, it is also how and why we live the way we do. There is a joy and enthusiasm in our young people for life that many of us adults can benefit from, this is why I love being a pastor and being able to spend that week with our youth; every year I probably learn more from them than they do from me!
This week has also changed the way I am a pastor. It has taught me that ministry is more about time together with people than doing programs, that the Bible and faith and our relationship with God is about everyday ordinary things and not complex theological and doctrinal systems. I need to learn and know theology and doctrine, but the goal is to be able to teach it in normal language in a way that shapes how we live and understand our day to day lives as followers of Jesus. 
Thank you to all the young people and my co-leader for another wonderful week and helping me to stay close to God and become more and more the person God has created me to be. 

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