From a post last Monday, “What those boys and girls want is to be a part of your life in God for a few days.” The abbot admonished Henri Nouwen with these words when he was frustrated for being uninterrupted on his spiritual retreat.
The words have stayed with me all week.
Yesterday was the first bike ride that’s part of a new recreation program in our middle school ministry.
We have a large ministry, a great youth staff, tons of leaders, but only one student signed up. My knee-jerk, as one who has painfully endured a few one-on-one events in my youth ministry lifetime, knows better to let these things fly when there isn’t any interest. However, this week, after reading Nouwen and being watered by his words, felt I should do this bike ride. Even if it turned out that it was just me, another leader, and Jeffie.
When I showed up at the trail head I saw an 8th grade student that I hadn’t seen in awhile. I thought to myself, “cool”, a chance to reconnect with a really great guy in our ministry. Then came Kyle with his crazy and adventurous dad Mark. Then Austin and his dad Roddy (also super cool with amazing gifts) pulls in.
It turned out that Kyle and Mark had brought their GPS tools and geocaching treasures for us to hunt, find, and trade. We rode bikes. We had fun. We saw glimpses of God in nature (and when something miraculously kept me from wiping out some serious bikers because I was looking at a “cool tree trunk”).
Biking ministry isn’t something that brought in the numbers but it brought in the fringe and helped us to share our lives together. The small moments of discipleship that come in seeing something so cool that only God could have created it are underrated and I’m thankful for a word that encouraged me to think differently.