Caleb’s comment to a group of middle and high school students last night. It was funny, as I think a few of them might have taken him seriously had he not clarified. Our goal is to update more often about what’s going on in ministry up here – how Coldwater and youth ministry are working together, what we’ve been up to, that sort of thing. The last two weeks, we’ve had a small group (girls sub-state volleyball games have been on Wed nights and they’re doing really well!) and it’s been such a great opportunity to get to know those students- many of them junior highers – better. Our goal was to work on group development using tools we learned this summer from Coldwater experiential education training. Last week we did a string of initiatives – basically, creative challenges that stress things like trust, problem solving, group unity – where students can learn by doing, by walking through a mini or trial experience. It was so awesome – apparently junior high students pay MUCH better attention when they’re actively involved in learning. Duh. We heard some honest comments: “I’d much rather do this by myself.” “We get held back by those who aren’t as good at this.” “If I don’t get to talk, I don’t want to do anything.” “You really have to listen.” These sparked great discussion about the PURPOSE of relying on one another, the difficulties, and why it’s so important (and hard!) in the church to learn how to develop community..i.e. it doesn’t just happen.
One of Caleb’s biggest passions is church unity – learning how to break down denominational, economic, cultural, etc. barriers not to make everyone’s theology or culture the same, but to learn how to discuss with respect, how to work as the body, and to focus on what we agree on as Christians- the Gospel and learning to live it, to know God through Christ, through the Spirit. It’s been so wonderful to have opportunities here through Coldwater connections to work with other churches and their youth groups. Instead of fighting over where the students are going or why they’re not at our church, let’s come together and learn what it looks like to live out Ephesians 4 (read it.). We don’t do it every week. But when we do, it’s so beautiful. Last night, we got together with the Lutheran church youth group (again, it was a small group) and did an activity that went really well! We told the group to split themselves into two groups (which ended up being junior highers in one, high school students in the other..interesting) and choose a puzzle. Then we told them to finish the puzzles with the group (never race each other, see who gets done first, etc…but that was their immediate reaction). The catch was, each group had two puzzle pieces from the other group’s puzzle – neither team could finish without realizing that they NEEDED the other group. We heard great comments here, too. “Protect the puzzle!” “They stole our pieces!” “They’re not done yet – they’re the losers!” What a great metaphor for how churches often respond to one another! There was such a great talk afterward about the body, about bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2), about how to live as the body and not just talk about it. SO great!! Hence, Caleb’s comment about the wall breaking. Right as Pastor Dave walked downstairs.