One Sunday an eighth grader accidentally pointed out that God had not called me to “do” youth ministry. In the first edition of this book, I told the story of thirteen-year-old Michelle who, week in and week out, asked me for prayer requests that she could lift up on my behalf. I was accustomed to asking teenagers, “How shall I pray for you this week?” but Michelle turned the tables and remained relentlessly faithful to her mission. Somehow, Michelle had gotten the message that she had a flock to tend as well, and her flock included me.
It dawned on me that what Michelle had responded to, out of our array of youth activities, was the simple question of a pastor, not an elaborate program of a youth leader. So I began to try pastoring youth instead of “doing” youth ministry—a shift in my self-understanding that proved to be as disorienting as it was freeing.
—Kenda Creasy Dean, Ron Foster, & Megan Dewald, The Godbearing Life, Revised Edition (Upper Room Books, 2023)
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Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
—Galatians 6:2 (NIV
Prayer for the Week
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low by thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
—A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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