Each morning of IYC we spent time in worship together, inviting the Spirit to be with us throughout our day. We were led in some thoughts on a specific topic, each day one of the major themes (Scripture, Team, Spiritual Formation, Service). On the morning of "Spiritual Formation", the One Thing (summary) was:
"Jesus Christ calls His followers to proactively seek growth in our relationship with God. Through spiritual discipline and the power of the Holy Spirit we claim victory over sin rather than simply try to manage it."
Doug Ranck led us through some important points, like discovering what "walls" we may hit along the way. Asking the important question/s, like "How is it with your soul?". The warning signs of an unhealthy spiritual walk, including lack of prayer life, unrealistic expectations/goals, or viewing the disciplines as a mechanical prescription.
From "The Godbearing Life" by Kendra Creasy-Dean and Ron Foster, we were reminded that:
1. Christian practices require active participation.
2. Christian practices do something to us.
3. The practices involve other people who do faith with us.
4. Christian life practices are the continuation of an ancient tradition.
5. Christian practices call for a standard of excellence.
We then were send off on our "solo" time, assigned the task of creating a "heart monitor style" chart. To map out the events in our life, from birth until now, containing both highs and lows that have impacted us, especially in our spiritual journey.
One of the greatest moments for me from all week, was when we gathered as a small group (just our youth group), and shared these time lines. Not only to hear events from the lives around me, but also to see our teens being willing to share things they hadn't before with each other. To give access to painful, and joyful times in what has led them to this place.
But also, the fact that in more than a couple of those time lines, some had written the high of "coming to Moundford Youth". How it impacted them. Why they came back. Why they come. How God has, and is using the ministry that is happening here.
I confess to my wife, and to some others...I enjoy doing the dishes and the laundry on occasion. Because I can start them, work on them, and finish them. When they're put away in the cupboard, or when I push the "Start" button on the dishwasher....I have a sense of accomplishment. So many times in youth ministry, I love, and I work, and I "do/be"....but I can't step back and say "there, that has been completed." So affirmation of a ministry's effectiveness can sometimes be elusive.
But in that moment....I definitely felt God's affirmation....He is at work here, lives are being ministered to, developed, and disciples are growing toward Him. We are part of His Kingdom coming...and that feels good. :)
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