about a year ago, we at ys had what we called our “reboot day” — a day-long off-site meeting for our whole staff, where we launched off the shore of who we’d been into the deep and rough waters of change. i recapped what’s happened in the last year here.
then, we sensed that we were at a critical spot a few weeks back — lots of great opportunity in our faces, and a general weariness of our staff. so we shut down for a week of sabbath (see here and here).
this morning we all came back. we met for 90 minutes — first sharing “what i did on my summer vacation”. it was wonderful to hear how people experienced rest. then, i talked about growing up. i believe one of the most absurd modern myths in america is that one’s high school years are the best years of her life. rubbish. the only adults i meet who believe this are sad and immature, and have never, really, grown up. like Uncle Rico. and, the reason life as a maturing adult can be so much better is because we (get the opportunity to) step more fully into our identity and calling.
it’s time for ys to do that. we’ve been a wonderfully adolescent organization for 35 years. 35 glorious years. this isn’t to take anything away from the impact of those years. and, this is not to suggest ys will become stodgy or grumpy or button-down. geez, i’m an adult, and i hope i’m not those things. but it’s time for us to step more fully into our identity and calling.
here’s what i’m suggesting as our identity and calling:
- To serve the church, though youth ministry.
To resource and train and encourage every youth worker on the planet. (w/ primary focus on the Americas)
To impact the lives of teenagers around the globe.
then, we spent some time talking about “the far shore” (remember, we’re in the middle of the waters of change). these are “the trees” i can see taking shape in the distance…
- Continue and strengthen our legacy of the best youth ministry training events (NYWC and CORE) and ministry resources (YS and Invert)
Run hard at our new values:
Systems that serve us (rather than the other way around)
Youth ministry change-agent
Deep satisfaction and sense of contribution for staff
Freedom with Accountability, leading to financial stability and new abilities to risk
New growth (we talked about “new growth” in the way of the green-stuff in forests)
Then we identified what will be required of us as staff in order to reach that vision:
Trust, curiosity (we’re going to step on each others’ toes)
Submission to mutual accountability
Prayer / God’s continued blessing
we all stood together and assumed a prayer posture (hands open, one foot forward) of “stepping into our identity”, and spent some time praying together.
it’s good to be back! i love these people, and i’m so excited about where we’re headed, together.