Before I begin, I want to say it’s good to be “back in the saddle” of this blog. I’ll get to the details of why I’ve let it sit for so long. I can only say I hope this blog is still on your reading list or that you still follow the Facebook page, or whatever means you use to have this content delivered.
I am a youth director in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. One thing I love about our conference is there are so many different opportunities for students to grow in their faith throughout the summer. We have our church camp that is done by the different districts of the annual conference and we also have two different missions “camps”, one for junior high and one for high school. BIG HOUSE is a four-day junior high missions program and UM ARMY is a six-day high school missions program. All of these programs are totally optional.
Some churches do all three of these as well as some other type of mission trip or retreat. The challenge with all this great stuff is scheduling it all. I have literally come home from one of these great events, spent one night in bed, packed, then left the next morning for another week-long event. Just this past week at our BIG HOUSE camp, one of the adults was getting home from BIG HOUSE Sunday morning, washing his clothes, then going to UM ARMY that same afternoon. I have come to call the fray of activity the “Summer Blitz”.
But this year as my yard continued to grow in my absence, and I spent my few days home playing catch-up on church stuff, continuing to do my hospice ministry, and doing Vacation Bible School in the evenings, I realized I did something completely different. I did not take my guitar to a single camp. Normally I look like a little youth ministry gypsy carrying around a guitar and a stuffed duffel bag from place to place throughout the summer. But this year, I did not.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to play. It wasn’t that I didn’t think my talent could be used to bless others. Honestly, I came to the realization that somewhere my guitar-toting was rooted in self-promotion. While I did want to bless others, it was also cool sitting around the cabin showing somebody what cool song intro I knew (notice I said “intro”…it’s never a full song to the casual guitar picker), or being asked to play for morning devotional. But not taking my guitar also allowed me to be more focused on what I was to be about at each camp or event. This was also difficult because I am a lefty guitar player. My guitars are built “backwards” and strung upside down from traditional instruments. So I can’t just go to a camp or event and pick up someone else’s axe and grind away. And you know what I learned? I never missed it.
I’m not saying I’ll never take a guitar to camp again. There have been times where I’ve been asked ahead of time to lead in devotionals or even lead worship at camp. But when we are all there, there are plenty of other guitar-dragging kids and adults who are often much better players than I am. Besides that, any adult without a guitar is a golden opportunity for a student to step up and play.
Is there anything that you do or have done that is not always done with a pure heart? How has God worked through that?