I took the month of July off, this month of July in fact. Last year was so full and exhausting that I knew by last August that I was going to need a span of time away from church so that I could keep on keepin' on in this beautiful ministry to and with children and youth. So we worked ahead to get summer all set, and leave me out of it!
Yeah, so I'm going in to work this Sunday, of course! But I'm happy to, it's a good plan.
And this thought of being an "Expecting Congregation" really has me. The idea came to me during Bill Sinkford's charge to the youth at the Synergy Service at GA. The thought that I want to go beyond being a welcoming congregation. (small "w" here), I want to be an expecting congregation. "Of course you're welcome here, we're EXPECTING you! Come on in!" Not an us welcoming you kind of thing, but the feeling that you already belong, we have the things around us that you need to feel safe, to feel at home, to feel that warm soft belonging feeling. (http://chalicespark.blogspot.com/search/label/Expecting%20Congregation)
It's a little funny, because I get this vision of our whole congregation being pregnant! But hey, that's really what I MEAN!! We're pregnant with the birth of this beloved community and its profound potential to transform our society! Expecting.
"Expecting Congregation" for youth though; what is that? And expecting congregation for children; how do we do this?
For youth I'm trying to set the expectation that youth are a part of all the workings of our church. Youth lay leaders, youth running the pod cast, youth greeters, youth on all the various committees--youth teaching classes in the Quest adult education ministry. Youth leading Multi Gen worship! Youth in covenant groups!
But they still need their youth group. And they're so busy. We expect so much of a plain old 16 year-old these days. I don't want to add pressure, just opportunities. And of course, I'm not the boss of anyone, these church leaders are going do what they think is right even with my expectations set at "expecting".
Ooo, that's kind of a bummer. Reality.
But I can bring my bushel of seeds of expecting and at least start planting.
Who needs a month off? I just needed a spiritual reflection month, oh yeah, and that amazing trip to bake me a while in Florida at GA!
Still to think on; children and their adults.