CONTEMPLATIVE YOUTH MINISTRY RETREAT


Monday, June 5, I took a day off and went on a mini-retreat to Mark Yaconelli’s Contemplative Youth Ministry. What follows is not so much a book review as a prayer flowing from that experience.

Before that, though, there is some important context. On Friday, June 2, during my morning lectio, I made a discovery and a decision:
Since the first day [of the 2 Timothy lectio] I have slipped into academic analysis rather than sacred reading… It is more important that my soul hear God’s voice that than my mind gather bits of knowledge. The knowledge will accompany the voice of God.
Saturday, June 3, was the first intentional effort. As I read and prayed 2 Timothy 1:12-14, some important notions surfaced:
There is something that happens when we are together with each other and with God. God’s Spirit within and among us, our spirits interweaving, we learn to be the people of God—we become the people of God. It is more being than doing. So, to do we must learn to be.

It amazes me that we are in real partnership with God. Somehow he links his work with our work. This means we are free to risk, free to stand, and free to act. So, why is it that we are so often we are afraid, as if our pride is ourselves and to damage it harms us?
Thus had the marinating begun.

Monday, June 5, I spent the day reading and praying. Today, Saturday, June 10, 2006, after reading through the week’s journal, I pray again:

God, I have spent so many hours gathering sundry bits of knowledge, only to dump a truckload that neither I nor my students are able to process. I feel like crabby Martha, slaving in the kitchen while Mary sits at your feet and does the one needful thing. Lord God, I long to be like Mary, to sit and rest and hear and be. (cym4)

I know that stopping-and-being and going-and-doing fit together. But I’ve gone-and-done for so long that I’ve forgotten what the balance feels like. Teach me to order my days, weeks, months, and years. (cym5)

God, a huge gap in ministry is the manner in which I bring the students before you in prayer. Too often it is haphazard—when the notion strikes—and solitary. I need crutches, for my prayer knees are weak. (cym6)

My preparation for and practice of Sunday Collegium and Tuesday Gathering have been too much about my own assumptions and expectations, and too little about seeing and hearing you and the students. The first step—begun this past week—is to wrap everything in prayer: my prep, prayer before Gathering, and practice (tomorrow). The next step is unknown. I know I can be okay with that because I know you. (cym7)

An important prayer for me is the examen after Gathering and Collegium: For what moment am I most grateful? For what moment am I least grateful? God, I ask you to help me be honest and brave—to be willing to speak the truth and act accordingly. (cym8)

This week I have begun to own up to an uncomfortable truth: I have played lone ranger. No more. I know—and I know you know—that ministry is properly done by a covenant community, a plurality of elders, if you will. My solo act begins to change. (cym9)

God, I confess that I am sick to death of the business—or any other man-centered—model of ministry. What a shock then to realize my own practice. Yac’s notion of the Circle of Trust (ritual, relating, receiving, ruminating, reflecting, responding, and returning; p167-170) offers a solution. Within my sphere it can be used. So, I own up, God. I take responsibility for the process within the college ministry. (cym10)

One of my deep desires for my students is that they might see your work in every aspect of life. Until now, though, I have not helped them see you in their dailies. (cym11)

You yourself are what we need for life. You are my life—our life. This is so whether I realize it or not and whether I act like it or not. Help me clearly communicate the theology that helps the students name their being with you—whatever that may be. (cym12)

God, what is left for me now is to listen, gather, and rest. I am willing, Lord, help my unwillingness. (cym13-14)


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“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” http://www.esv.org/

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post. This is by way of a trackback from http://isthistheway.typepad.com/my_weblog/2005/02/about_this_blog.html

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  2. Sorry, that link hould have been http://isthistheway.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/06/the_way_from_kn.html

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  3. You are welcome. This book stirred up a bunch of stuff. I have a lot to process and much to apply...it's only been a week and a half, but it's already been bumpy. I'll keep blogging on it (here and on MySpace) to keep myself honest and committed.

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