I’ve been reading a book called Contemplative Youth Ministry and the chapter I just finished was all about being present. By this the book communicates that we see students, not as we want them to be, or even how they want to be seen, but how they really are, the way Jesus would see them. We listen to them, their joys, sorrows, pains, losses, and victories! We are present with compassion in their lives, we are the Jesus in their lives. I don’t mean that we are Jesus, their savior, but we are the person Jesus would be to them, a person full of love, that sees, hears, and is compassionate to them. I often show up to youth night and just watch the clock to make sure that we start on time, and then it’s listen to me spew Biblical truths on you. And there is nothing wrong with sharing Biblical truth, that is why we do what we do, so that students will grow in their knowledge of who God is to them, and that their relationship with Him would deepen, but I miss seeing my students, I mean really seeing them, and I more often then not miss hearing them on a youth night, and my wife would be the first to say I lack compassion sometimes.
What would happen if Youth Ministries peeled back the programs, games, and organized time, and just let students be students, and be present, honest, open, and loving adults in their lives? How would that look? Would it bomb? Would it be a smashing success? Would lives be changed? Or would students (or adults) run for the doors?