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Culture
Leneita Fix

Leneita has been involved in youth or family ministry for over 24 years serving in rural, suburban and urban settings, camps, small and large churches and non-profits. She has authored or co-authored several youth ministry books, including Everybody’s Urban Understanding the Survival Mode of the Next Generation among others. Leneita is the ministry and training coordinator for BowDown Church, co-founded a coaching and training organization called Frontline Urban Resources (everybodysurban.org) and lives with her amazing husband John and four children in Florida.

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I just sat in my car caught up in the radio program. The soothing voice was discussing how us parents seem to have our kids in too many activities. “Are parents taking time to just be and get to know their kids?” the person behind the voice wanted to know. The speaker made a statement I have heard many times, “We aren’t created to be human “doers.” We are human “beings.” He went on to press that culture dictates how much we push our kids to do. Are we teaching them to be?

Listening I thought how often I have felt guilty that I don’t allow my own kids to do more. Good friends of mine have “well-rounded” children who are involved in athletics, music lessons, the school play and chess club. In contrast, my kiddos only are allowed to engage in one activity per “season.” With three kids at the same stage in life (6th, 7th & 8th grade currently), we can just about manage the one thing for each of them. The speaker was pushing us parents to allow our kids to be involved in less for the sake of time together and building purposeful relationship.

It got me thinking about youth ministry and how I can have a tendency to run things. I fill the calendar with lots of activities. They are well meaning, and I try hard to be planned and purposeful. We have outreaches, retreats, and missions trips.There are special guest speakers, and creative ways to interact. Admittedly if I pull off a great talk, then it feels great.

After hearing the radio show I started wondering if I like activities because I can sit on the sidelines and cheer someone on while not engaging.

Am I really afraid of relational ministry?

Do I like activities because they are detailed and definitive?

Relationships are sticky. They are an ongoing process. When you get to know someone more deeply they share fears, frustrations, doubts, joys, sorrows, and expectations with you. We realize we can’t “fix” or “save” or “heal” people, we can simply show them love, grace and Christ. If I have a ministry that truly has a relational focus, what would it do?

I am wondering if sometimes the way I set up my ministry actually adds to the culture of creating a “doer” and I am not supporting the family to learn to BE.

BE still and know He is God.

BE present in the moment.

BE a servant, and follower and someone who is with Jesus wherever He goes.

Now let’s not move to an extreme where we have no activities. Sometimes hands on learning is the best method to meeting a student. It’s more about focusing away from me the leader and what I am teaching, to the student, their family, and what they are learning.

I’m wrestling with this idea that I maybe need to create more space to allow us all to do just that–wrestle, with the hard stuff, and expect Jesus to show up and direct my leaders to do the same.

Could or should we create an integrated culture that helps us all just be?

What do you think?

12 COMMENTS

  • Claire Smith says:

    You’ve hit on an important point. Thank you. We’re training young people to wear busyness as a badge of honor and they’re in danger of early burnout. What a gift it would be if we could teach and model reflection times and times of being still in God’s presence.

  • Claire Smith says:

    You’ve hit on an important point. Thank you. We’re training young people to wear busyness as a badge of honor and they’re in danger of early burnout. What a gift it would be if we could teach and model reflection times and times of being still in God’s presence.

  • alisa copeland says:

    this actually hit me last week wtih my preteens. i realized i get nervous so i talk and teach and plan activities but barely know all the girls names. i adore them but not on a deep enough level. i included just a sharing time and it was great. i plan to still teach and do but incorporate more sharing time. time to get to know one another that is not organized.

    • Leneita Fix Leneita Fix says:

      Sharing time is wonderful! It’s so easy to gloss over this and just “get” to the stuff to do. I can so easily miss the importance of just sharing.

  • alisa copeland says:

    this actually hit me last week wtih my preteens. i realized i get nervous so i talk and teach and plan activities but barely know all the girls names. i adore them but not on a deep enough level. i included just a sharing time and it was great. i plan to still teach and do but incorporate more sharing time. time to get to know one another that is not organized.

    • Leneita Fix Leneita Fix says:

      Sharing time is wonderful! It’s so easy to gloss over this and just “get” to the stuff to do. I can so easily miss the importance of just sharing.

  • Dan says:

    Is there a reason the picture is of someone seemingly playing beer pong?

    • Leneita Fix Leneita Fix says:

      Dan- I thought of it more of a minute to win it game- since there was no beer involved in the picture. Nice catch though :)

  • Dan says:

    Is there a reason the picture is of someone seemingly playing beer pong?

    • Leneita Fix Leneita Fix says:

      Dan- I thought of it more of a minute to win it game- since there was no beer involved in the picture. Nice catch though :)

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