As a pastor, I’ll admit that I sometimes don’t have all the answers. There are times when I will look like a deer caught in the headlights. This usually happens when someone asks an awesome, legitimate, and totally relevant question or makes such an insightful comment, that I feel completely inadequate to answer, model, or illustrate.
On Wednesday night, right before Thanksgiving, I was meeting with my Sunday School teachers and Education committee chair. We were discussing the curriculums being used, the experience of Sunday School so far, and our dreams for the future. As we started to dig deep and brainstorm a more holistic approach to youth ministry (i.e. looking at Youth Ministry from birth through college), a comment was made that I think is completely spot on: “What we’re trying to do is to show and experience what a relationship with Jesus Christ actually looks like.” I did not make this comment but when I heard it, it felt a bit like a dagger in the heart. Even though I’m a trained theologian, ordained, and with a Master of Divinity hanging on my wall, I don’t have an answer to this statement. I can’t give out a checklist for others to know what this looks like. I sometimes even think that I don’t even know, or fully experience, what this relationship is about. I sometimes feel, and experience, distance and the absence of God. I also think that is totally normal but, as a religious professional, it can be downright scary. I don’t always feel like I embody this relationship to even serve as a model to others, nor to the young people of the congregation. But I know that this is something to aim for – and I pray that the Holy Spirit will help us make this happen.