I’ve been active with different youth groups for nearly 8 years now and I recognize how often this rings true; when we (leaders as well as student) gather together on Sunday mornings and/or Wednesday nights we usually come because something bigger than ourselves occurs in our togetherness. Some students come to connect with others, some students come to connect with God and some are able to do both, but regardless of the reasons why we come it comes down to community.
Community is about having a common interest and perhaps even a common goal, that we’re “here” to do something, to be someone, to connect…I kinda like this word connect, in fact religion comes from the words to AND connect and essentially this connectedness I see in the youth ministry is a religion, and not that it’s a bad thing, but this religion helps us to connect with God and essentially one another.
I also recognize in this youth ministry setting we’re intentional at shying away from the trivial day-to-day blasé questions; truth to what we’re going through, truth to what we’ve been through comes through trust. Trust is essential to this community, because if we think whenever we open our mouths what we say won’t be respected or listened to, if we think our baggage will become the fodder for someone’s gossip, we won’t be real/authentic, we won’t share out of authenticity and vulnerability and we won’t have (you guessed it) community.
Oh sure, you can connect with others and keep it “safe” keep it on the shallow end of the pool, but this can only last for so long because it gets tiresome jumping through the same hoops week in and week out.
Comm(unity) can lead to trust, trust to transparency and transparency on to authenticity. In the latter stages one can say without a shadow of a doubt that I do not have it all together, I do not have all the answers and sometimes I doubt myself and what I truly believe…and you know what? That’s where I am now in life, and it doesn’t come from being flippant but coming from a place where if I’m going to help cultivate honesty and comm(unity) in others it begins with me, it begins with me being transparent and I find transparency begets transparency.
More to come on this subject of comm(unity),