I don’t think anyone means any harm when they ask youth pastors what they do.
“Like, what do you REALLY do, for a real job, you know…
during the day?”
I think people are mostly curious.
It’s funny when teenagers and kids ask this question because they genuinely want to know what you do with the other 38 hours of your work week. If two of them are spent with us, then what do you do for the rest of the time? I LOVE getting to tell them what I do. I always enjoyed days when kids would career shadow our ministry team.
They have no idea how much praying, planning, meeting, deciding, dreaming, doing, working, connecting, fixing, breaking, wishing, begging, testing, engineering, developing, collaborating, messaging, practicing, balancing, delegating, and communicating is actually being done in a day. It’s fun to watch them discover it for themselves.
- I like to show them how much math is a part of my job (budgeting, measuring).
- I like to show them how much communication is a part of my job. (messaging, emailing, leading meetings, speaking in front of groups, writing)
- I like to show them how much I use history and science to tell stories.
- I like to show them how a ministry degree really helped me and I like to show them ways I keep learning.
- I like to show them how important it is to listen and to ask for help.
- I like to show them that it’s ok go run with a wild idea and believe that you can succeed.
- I like to show them my fails and how we worked together to correct them (if we could) or heal from them (if we couldn’t).
Lately, I’ve heard this question more than I ever have. I guess people want to know.
“Brooklyn, I’m so happy for you. How are things now that you don’t work every day at your church? What exactly is it you are doing now?”
Again, it’s genuine care and more curiosity.
And I love getting to share what it is that I do.
Since most of my friends are still asking. I thought I’d share what I do with you too.
I began new adventure as the justice advocate for The Church of the Nazarene four months ago.
I am proud of our denomination for doing such a brave thing. They decided to do something that hasn’t been done before. They decided to encourage their compassionate arm reach out to their youth ministry arm to strengthen discipleship and personal ministry in the body of Christ. What an amazing move on their part!
When they asked me to help. I was humbled and honored that they would affirm this role and my part in it. Since I began in ministry I grew into what I think of as signature ministry tools that grew out of passions for contemplative/ spiritual formation, justice advocacy, and sustainable youth ministry.
Today, I get to use all of these tools together to do something incredibly significant in the life of the Church–work to engage teenagers in compassionate living. I love Jesus, get to be a wife and a mother, while serving the global church to build the church. It still seems too good to be true.
My focus is building the Church and helping young people reach their potential in Jesus.
So what does this look like at my desk and in my travels? What am I doing now?
(my sister is still asking so don’t feel bad if you’re still asking too)
Here are some of the specifics of what my ministry looks like today.
- My job is to build partnerships with local churches and youth ministries around issues of global poverty and justice. This includes churches in every region of the world. My goals are not U.S. centric- they are globally focused. I serve the global mission of the church to build the church through people who are loved, knit together, and motivated by the love of Christ.
- I am focusing on developing educational resources, training, and events rooted in contemplative activism. I get to work with an incredible team of people at Nazarene Compassionate Ministries and Nazarene Youth International. The expertise and passion flowing from the leaders I’m meeting is amazing. I’m honored to get to walk beside and learn from them. You’ll be the first to know when we are ready to get these resources into your hands– I’m 99.9% sure you’ll have some really good stuff in your inbox mid-summer 2015! (Holla!)
- I continue speaking as a way to educate and engage youth in issues surrounding global poverty, as well as promoting discipleship in the Church of the Nazarene and in the Church at large.
- I work together with partnering organizations. Friendships are holy collaborations that extend our abilities to love the world and the people in it. I believe that the church and the family go together–that Christian spirituality and compassionate living can happen at any stage of life and that we should pay attention to how we can work together and how we can support each other.
- I dedicate time to learning more and speaking more about middle school ministry, crisis care, spiritual formation, justice advocacy, life-span development, relational reconciliation, writing, and sustainable youth ministry. It’s the stuff that’s in my bones. I can’t get it out. It’s why I really love working with Orange–they encourage us leaders to get the good stuff out and use what we find to build bridges between families and the church. Love it.
- I also listen to a lot of podcasts while driving to the airport 1) Because there are some really good ones out there and 2) I really did want to know about the culinary history of spam (the canned meat). I’m telling you, life is too short to let valuable knowledge die on the internet.
I’m sure this list will This is my 14th year working in my dream job and every year “what I do” changes a little.
What doesn’t change is why.
My life has been changed by Jesus Christ–the love that came from his life is worth all my life has to give.
What do you do?
Why do you do it?
If someone is wondering about it, take the time to tell them. Your story is one that others needs to hear.