Saturday, May 27, 2006

Contemplative youth/everyone ministry (part 1)

It actually took me a few days to recover from attending the Contemplative Youth Ministry conference/retreat with Mark Yaconelli! I think I dialed down so much I couldn't get my purpose-drivenness back. You gotta know that is a good thing. I couldn't make myself read Purpose Driven Life, for real, but I do look forward to reading Yaconelli's new book from cover to cover. I loved what he had to say about basis of ministry and found it to be not just about youth, but about the entire church and mission of all of us who believe in the Jesus way. Because the focus of ministry is on God, and seeking to respond to God, the contemplative practices translate into a loving kind of ministry and being present to each individual, regardless of age. I like what he wrote in my book, "Jenny, may this book be a reminder that you have all you need." I believe he is referring to having love for God and love for youth/others-- and listening to God for what is needed within every context. He says:
When you take people who regularly spend time in the public square (meeting kids, ministering to families, interacting with the culture) and then slow them down, invite them to listen in prayer and silence...something breaks open. It seems to me that the Jesus-life breaks forth in us when we're in that tension between prayer and service, solitude on the mountain and chaos in the streets.
In a contemplative approach to ministry everything begins in prayer and discernment. All of our actions come out of listening to the Spirit and then following what you hear. My experience is that when we listen in prayer we're not drawn into isolation but rather our eyes are opened to the way in which God is weaving us together in community with people we previously considered "different" or "other." Real contemplation, real prayer and listening to the Spirit of Jesus leads to authentic action, action that isn't about our own ego or need to prove ourselves, action that is rooted and grounded in love.


Blogger Susan said...

Jenny, I can't keep up with you. You are interested in everything!

I remember being a "yout" and how everything was amplified - SO very important and life changing! BIG! I'm interested in hearing about your thoughts in this area.

I would think though, that maybe youths are still thinking about how everything works in relation to themselves. Maybe. No generalizations - only remembering me. In college, my professor said, "what is the center of the universe?" No one gave the answer he was looking for, but then he supplied it "You. Everything you see, experience, you place it in perspective to you." It was true. It was all about the ego at that time. Unfortunately, NOT "authentic action, action that isn't about our own ego or need to prove ourselves, action that is rooted and grounded in love."

So the question is, how to get from A and stay at B, for 'youts' and for us old folks too!

9:09 PM  

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