OK, now here's the post:
I LOVE Summer, except for the extreme SC heat. I'm kind of a cold weather dude. All this blubber doesn't bode well in 100 degrees 100% humidity, but i do LOVE SUMMER. We get to spend more time with students doing fun and exciting things. Sure, we have "planned" activities and programs, but it's doing life together that makes the biggest difference with me. I learn just as much from the students about culture, struggles, media and trends as they learn about walking with God from us. I started in student ministry in June of 1991 and 19 years later, I am finding out new ways students relate to God and each other. Here's some things I'm LOVING right now.
The resurgence of accountability, transparency, and biblical community.
I've seen a group of college students reach out to graduating seniors with the desire to disciple them in first century church dynamics. They eat meals together, hang out, play ultimate frisbee, feed the homeless, share the gospel conversationally with others, ALL TOGETHER. With this comes a new desire to understand God through His word and through worship.
Excitement about serving.
We hosted a World Changers project last week at our church. Students during their first week out of school came at 5AM, yes 5AM to help cook, serve and clean up breakfast for 120 student missionaries. Many of them came back everyday at 5PM to help with dinner then joined the missionaries for worship.
Boldness in the Gospel
Students are sharing conversationally with their friends about God and his perfect plan. They are attempting to put God at the beginning of the discussion instead of the end. Throw out all the canned presentations. This re-awakening of desire in KNOWING God through His word and through worship is playing out in everyday conversations face to face, via text, email, facebook, twitter, you name it.
SAME OL' SAME OL'
We are still seeing drama and pettiness in many younger students. Materialism is leading the charge and worldly media has a generation by the throat. Young girls are looking for affection they miss from their fathers and change bff's like underwear. Young guys are trying to carve six packs and build biceps so they can show their lilly white chests every chance they get. Their conversation about girls, parents and freedom are far from Godly.
The older shall lead the younger. Two associational leaders were talking with me the other day about ministry and the downfall of our culture when one of my high school students interrupted us. He asked if I needed help with a middle school movie night. He asked what time I needed him and if he needed to bring anything. It was unsolicited and would have been unsuspected, but so many of our students are moving and impacting the culture towards Godliness. He and 7 others came to the middle school event and played games, fed and watched a movie with younger ones. They were highly esteemed and many seeds were planted.
Eight years ago, we came to our current church with a desire for true biblical community. It's been a long time coming and we are barely scratching the surface, but this young generation is leading the way. I only hope the rest of the folks, younger and OLDER will follow their example.