It’s hot in the youth room because the air conditioner doesn’t flow in here and I forgot to place my order for a Vornado. Still, my lure of donut holes and Honeycrisp apples helped bring over half of the group to church this June Sunday morning, which surprised me. I asked them what they were doing for the next few weeks. Eventually, the conversation turned to goals.
Some of them hadn’t thought about setting a goal for the summer. At least one person had: she had three clear goals, and one was social. She wanted to spend more time with her friends, so she’d invited a couple of friends over to her house that afternoon. “Last summer, I didn’t really see many of my friends, so I decided I wanted to change that.” Wow.
This ninth grader thought about something she wanted to change, she came up with a way to begin and she acted on it. Not coincidentally, she’s the only one who brought a friend to church on bring-a-friend Sunday a few weeks ago. She’s really pushing herself, and she set a high bar the group. The two older kids shared their goal before she shared hers, and after she did, they wanted more from themselves.
They took turns sharing at least one goal. Practice more violin. Play basketball for two hours each day. Spend more time with my brothers. Earn my orange belt. Choreograph a piece. Then, from across the room, Spencer shouts, “Hey Ms. Miriam, what’s your goal?”
“Training for a half marathon.” As I explained how long that is and why I want to do it, someone went up to the whiteboard and wrote 5K, 10K in the activities section. Now we have a group goal to train this summer for a late summer team 5K. We rekindled our Hike & Pray program complete with food and formation after our walks. I couldn’t have planned this.
The Holy Spirit is working in and through my beautiful children. We just finished our first year with the Way of Love, and even though some of them still call it “that way thing,” it’s become part of our shared experience together to ground all of our conversations in one or more of the seven practices.
Why was I surprised to see so many show up for youth group? My kids don’t plan to take the summer off from their goals or their church. I’m grateful to be wherever two or three or more of them are gathered. Jesus will be there, too.