The Camden County Episcopal Youth Group met yesterday at the Williams home for a pool party. The group is made up of youth from Christ Episcopal Church in Saint Marys and King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland.We had a nice mix of people from both churches yesterday. We swam, ate pizza and played games including Who Am I? I Am Chicken. The last is one I devised and created cards for where everyone has to pick either a Who Am I? card in which you answer a question that reveals something about you (two examples: If you could design heaven any way you want, what would it be like? or Tell about your earliest memory) or a I Am Chicken card which challenges you to do something silly (two examples: Hop on one foot while singing the Star Spangled Banner or Gargle while singing a song). On the second round you do the type of card you avoided the first time.
The teens put up pretty well with my dumb games like this. But what always matters most in youth group work is hang time. Just being with the teens and getting them together. Whatever is accomplished in a youth group comes out of the teens genuinely liking and trusting each other and liking and trusting the leaders, and that in turn comes more from hanging out together than anything.
This is probably true in all areas of ministry. A retired bishop who taught theology at my seminary says, "The incarnation is not virtual reality." Jesus really came in the flesh and ministry happens when people get together. Small groups at the church formed for any purpose can become places of ministry as people get to know one another, whether they first got together to prepare the altar for worship or to have a Bible Study. There is no shortcut for getting together, getting to know one another, and then seeing what happens. Ministry occurs naturally this way, rather than being forced.
A web page is great and a blog can be interactive, but if you are not getting as much out of your church as you want to, try more hang time with folks from church in a small group of any kind. Amazing things can happen.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church