Welcome to "My Space"
|Heading out on the church tour|
Over the last 5 weeks I’ve been fortunate enough to come alongside my coworker Amy on a church tour that she has organized for our teens. A lot of these teens are people we have known and worked with for years now and, as a result, have a good depth of relationship. However, most aren’t comfortable enough to go to church on their own due to fear of being rejected because of their identity, cases of social anxiety, or just being a bit too rough around the edges. So, of course, we are happy to come alongside to help give them a glimpse of different churches and denominations and create opportunities to talk about those differences - what some believe versus others, and why there are so many. Cool, right? This leads to tons of awesome conversation points with young people where this is all new to them. I love this stuff!
However, that hasn’t been my favourite part. My favourite part about this tour has been loading up our mini van that was donated to YU Langley and filling it with Kirstie, Roland, and the rest of “our kids” on Sunday mornings.
So often as youth workers we go out to where youth are, into ‘their space’ and on their terms. We go to their schools and where they are hanging out around the city. At the Hangar on Wednesday nights, we work hard to create ‘our space’ that we can share. A space to grow and incubate a holistic healthy life. But doing this church tour alongside Kirstie and Roland, I feel like I get to invite them into ‘my space’. I get to include them into my family and welcome them in. And what an awesome experience. I take such joy in watching them interact with my son and caring for him as one of them, seeing one of the young women talk to Kirstie, giving her a chance to look up to someone who is a picture of love and care (my rose-coloured eyes may speak into that one), where that doesn’t get shown in her day to day- it’s amazing. While waiting for lunch after church one day I overheared:
“I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a happy family”
“[They] remind me of my parents, except without all the yelling”
It really is a privilege and an honour to give them this gift of what normal can look like. Keeping all discretion, I was able to give Kirstie a glimpse into some of the things these young people have experienced and are experiencing- and she couldn’t believe it. So a Sunday morning with the family is exactly the type of normal consistency needed.
This New Year has been an awesome season of ministry so far. This experience these last few weeks has only been one highlight of many cool moments.
Thank you for journeying with me!
- Jon Pue