sorry for the time delay, there, between my posts about day 1 and day 2 of the middle school ministry campference. day 3 was a blur of wrapping up the campference and traveling home, compounded by a laptop that died that morning. yesterday was a blur of sorting out said computer problems (which resulted in breaking down and getting a new laptop, in the end).
so, day 3!
after breakfast, we had our final round of breakout sessions, including a seminar by katie edwards on ‘developing volunteer leaders’ and a dialogue facilitated by brooklyn lindsey with the zippy-fun title of “brooklyn’s secret sauce: swapping recipes for what works”. springhill camp staff also led a learning experience called ‘freakin’ awesome games.’
in our final tribal gathering, we opened with an extended time of worship, punctuated by a sweet time of celebrating communion together. it was a deep blessing for me to see circles of middle school youth workers huddled up, praying together, arm-in-arm. we’d asked them to circle up and figure out how they wanted to experience communion together; but we hadn’t told them to spend time, arm-in-arm, praying together. so it was beautiful to see most of the circles lingering in that space and connection.
brooklyn read some final ‘camp mail’ letters (words of encouragement from senior pastors to middle school pastors attending the event), and we laughed our way through a hilarious game with nutty prizes. i woman with zero budget and zero salary (but who “works” full time) won a massive prize package from simply youth ministry, as well as a free registration to the symc — it was a beautiful moment. then, i spoke about what i called “eutychian middle school ministry.” i unpacked the story of paul and eutychus, from acts 20, suggesting that the first half of the story is a great example of bad middle school ministry:
- paul is focused on his lesson plan above all else
- paul likes the sound of his own voice too much
- paul buys into the banking model of spiritual formation
- eutychus is so relationally disconnected that on one notices his risk taking bahvior
and the second half of the story is an example of great middle school ministry:
- the community SEES eutychus
- paul gets awkward in order to connect
- they shared life, not just teaching
- they had an all-nighter! (’nuff said)
brook led everyone in a closing bit where they shouted out response completing the sentence prompt, “I believe…” beautiful and thoughtful and encouraging and hilarious statements poured forth about our identity, about the importance of middle school ministry, and about the impact of the weekend.
we shuffled off to lunch, and gave various hugs and handshakes and goodbyes.
i couldn’t be happier with how this event played out, in every way. and, reading through the evaluations, the positive response seems fairly unanimous. two or three months ago, i would have said i didn’t think we would repeat the event after this year. but now, with the 80 who attended almost begging for a repeat, and with my little soul so full of gratefulness and joy, i’m thinking we just might have to try it again next year. i have a few bridges to cross in figuring out if we can do that: but i sure hope and pray we can. stay tuned!