Today there is a slight drizzle of rain outside my window, the temperature is in the 50s, just cold and wet enough to give a person the excuse to stay indoors wearing slippers and pondering some of the larger things of life.
This weekend I was privileged to take some Lipscomb students to Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention where we got exposed to some great ideas for youth ministry as well as personal spiritual development. The highlight for me was Donald Miller calling us to live lives that are stories worth telling as well as living. Miller contends that our lives (and faiths) have been HIGHJACKED by the tiny, insignificant stories that dominate our culture.
- small stories like a Roomba vacuum cleaner that promises life fulfillment as it meanders throughout your living room floor.
- tiny stories like a dish washing soap that will fill your soul with joy and happiness as the bubbles miraculously scrub away grease and grime for you.
- insignificant stories like a Volvo that will provide your life with meaning and purpose through its 47 air bags protecting you from harm’s way at every turn.
These stories have convinced us that God and His OMNIPOTENT grace and OVERWHELMING mercy aren’t relevant or accessible in our lives. That these porduct can give us the experiences and relationship that give meaning to our lives when in reality they will only hollow out our souls leaving us empty shells.
So the call and the challenge for us in youth ministry is to provide our students with that story, that metanarrative the provides purpose, meaning, and HOPE that provides CONFLICT and the INCITING INCIDENTS that get us off our suburban butts and into the lives of those who Jesus calls us to serve and reach out to: the orphaned, the homeless, the widowed, the disenfranchised.
This is a STORY that can incite REVOLUTION in an adolescent who is trying to find purpose and meaning in fashion, music, video games, movies, drugs, cutting, sex, gossip, or any other false god that they have let write their story.
This is a STORY that can motivate this generation of students to live with and without FEAR. With a reverent fear of an omnipotent God that calls us to be salt and light in this world balanced without a fear of living a life without meaning and purpose in order to distribute grace and mercy to lonely and invisible in their worlds.
This is a STORY that will allow teens to IGNORE the naysayers and creatively DISCOVER how to eradicate hunger, malaria, poverty, apathy in their world.
God, may we live big lives with big stories as you are a big God.