Today marks my first week of sabbatical and the gratitude has not stopped flowing from my heart! It has been a gift to step away from the usual day-to-day, decompress from the past six or so stressful months, and spend some time focusing on something new. But really, my focus isn’t so new. It’s what I do for a living, but this focus will be filtered through a new lens. That lens will be provided through interviews with a variety of people and creating a podcast with one of my closest friends and colleagues. I cannot wait to meet people where they are and hear what’s important to them.
Though I don’t really “hit the road” until this Saturday, I did take a quick trip to Luther Heights Bible Camp to help with staff training. It was not only wonderful to be in beautiful Stanley, but also energizing to be surrounded by young adults with such a heart from the great outdoors, kids, and God! Every time I am at Luther Heights, I can’t help but remember my summer as a camp counselor at El Camino Pines in Frazier Park, CA. I learned a lot that summer and that experience has played an important role in my life as I have considered my call to ministry and in my 15 years serving as a full time youth minister. I know that for many of these counselors, their time over this summer will play a similar role as they discern their vocation and continue to live into their gifts.
This was my second summer leading the staff through a discussion of meeting campers where they are, not just according to their age, but according to where they are developmentally. There are reasons we lead five year olds through a bible story differently than we do when working with middle school students. It is always good to take some time to think through the purpose of what we are doing and how we can ensure that purpose comes across through the lessons we lead, in a way that makes the most sense for the ages we are connecting with. While our training session together was short, I hope it gave them a good place to begin thinking through not just what they are doing with their campers, but how they will learn and experience it together.
The training session went well, but I have to be honest and share with you that it wasn’t the highlight of my time at Luther Heights. The first highlight came from the interviews I was able to conduct. Though I did not have the opportunity to interview as many staff and counselors as I would have liked to, I did end up with three thoughtful, interesting, and vibrant interviews from three very different people. And though they represented ages from eleven to mid-twenties, I was struck by the commonalities that organically wove through each conversation. If this is how my interviews are beginning, I cannot wait to see what I end up with at the end of the month!
My second highlight was simply the opportunity to watch a young adult, previously from my youth group, effortlessly leading from his gifts with the easy joy that always seems to accompany someone who is thriving in their element. I am so honored that I have had the opportunity to walk with so many people over the course of their life, even more so, when I have the opportunity to know them as adults and see the ways they grow into the person they were always meant to be. This is a privilege I will never take for granted.
All in all, my first week of sabbatical has been serving its purpose well. My prayer request today is for safe travels and efficient packing. I will continue posting pictures and reflections here at my blog. Feel free to leave comments and questions at the posts and I will reply!be