“Jesus’ divine and human natures are in relationship; they are not boards glued together but are the two natures in relationship in one person. This makes the relationship of persons through Jesus the place of God’s presence. Relationships in ministry are so significant not for what they get us but because they become the concrete yet mysterious place where the divine and human come together.”
Andrew Root, The Relational Pastor [Downers Grove, IL InterVarsity Press, 2007] p. 161
As an assignment for grad school, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on this passage from Andrew Root’s, The Relational Pastor. When I stepped into this role in 2014, one of our seniors asked to meet with me. He had been an incredibly active part of the youth group, and was sad that his youth minister was leaving. But, he felt very called to make sure I knew as much as I could about the group, what he had gotten value from, and what he hoped for the future, beyond him graduating. Even though I had been volunteering with this group for awhile, his conversation and meeting with me really opened my eyes to how very relational this group was. This group felt called to care for one another, and in turn that made them feel called to care for the community and world around them.
I am well aware that I am changed and will continue to be changed and challenged by the youth I serve, and am in relationship with. This is such an incredible blessing, and it my responsibility and joy to recognize that and share it. As long as I recognize it, it opens me up to receive from them, and from God. It is not my job to “bring them to Christ” or tick off certain attendance requirements. It is my job to make sure each and every youth who comes to our church knows that they are loved, they are heard, they are seen, they are cared for. It is my job to love them as my neighbor, because this is how God loves us.
I tell you all of this not because I want you to hear my story, but because I want to hear yours. Where are you in relationship in this congregation? Is your relationship allowing God’s presence to transform not just you, but also the church? How might the mindset of being open to not just receiving, but giving, help you build your relationship with this church? As we continue in our stewardship month, I hope you are able to take some time to reflect on your relationship with United Christian Church. I hope you find yourself joyfully receiving and giving, and feeling the embrace of God’s love.
Meghan Trout, Youth Ministries Coordinator