As a father of four young children (ages four and under), it's difficult to keep up with rapid pace of change in the world. Between work, travel, making dinner, playing LEGOS with the boys, and making time to pray, it's just difficult to find the time to give everything some attention.
But I've found the demands of being a faithful father and husband quickly put new perspective on what demands my attention. While the news is clamoring about the next big event or headline, I find consolation in attending to the needs of those right in front of me. When my children ask me to play with them or "come and see" what they did today, I find that I'm making a bigger difference in the world doing that rather than worrying about how I perceive the world to be changing.
In youth ministry, it's easy to get riled up in keeping up with the latest trends and news. We struggle to find the latest YouTube video that everyone's talking about or the new place that young people are hanging out. It can move us into a place of doubt, insecurity, and fatigue. It's a rat race that provides little if any return in most cases.
In "Growing Young", the authors unravel common misconceptions about effective youth ministry. They affirm some of the most basic and profound experiences and values that congregations possess in growing their faith community and attracting young people and young families. They affirm the role of deepening meaningful relationships with different generations. The notions about a cool young person being the best fit for a youth minister are quickly dismantled. The authors provide insights and anecdotes about seemingly odd pairings of older caring adults making the most impact on some young people.
I believe that's the rapid change we need to see in our world today. A world that stops allowing the needs of the those before us to be silenced or overshadowed by the loud voices decrying the next "big thing." While I certainly value keeping abreast on current issues and being globally aware, it must not blind us to the more quiet and subtle needs that persist in our midst (and usually not making news headlines).