Do you ever have those moments where your past, present, and future all collide at once?
This week I totally had that.
This month our youth ministry team, David, Robert, and I, have had some great opportunities to not only travel, but travel and learn about ministry. Earlier this month, we and our Contemporary Worship Pastor, Nathan Carden, went to the largest United Methodist Church in the States, Church of the Resurrection in Kansas, for a conference. They have around 20,000 members, and enormous building, and great ministers. We got to hear one of my favorite authors, Adam Hamilton, speak, who just so happens to be the Senior Pastor there. Also, we got to spend time in break out sessions learning more about student ministry in “big church.”
This week, we went to my old church, Highland Park United Methodist Church, for a small conference. HPUMC is in the heart of Dallas, TX on SMU’s campus and has 15,000 members. It was a great opportunity for us to meet with around 30 other youth ministers who have youth ministries around the same size as ours. We had a lot of “round table” discussion, laughter, worship, and of course in true youth minister form, coffee.
Both conferences provided affirmation, information, and encouragement. I am so blessed to be in a place where we are supported and encouraged to go to events like these.
The trip to Dallas this week was truly worlds colliding for me. There I was in the place where I first got a start in full time youth ministry, with the team that I am so happily blessed to be on, learning about ways to better our youth ministry for the future. So bizarre. I ran into old colleagues. I for once in my life knew how to get somewhere. Also, I got to have coffee with my best friend from High School as well as a friend from Huntsville, AL who has since moved to DFW.
I look back, and I know that at the time that I left Dallas almost 4 years ago, I really didn’t want to leave. However, now, I can see how God was preparing me. I work right now at a church that is similar to HPUMC in many ways. Everything from our structure of the building, our rich traditions, position in relation to schools, our relationships with families, our contemporary nature in youth that still is grounded in Methodism… I can go on and on. That job prepared me for where I am now. Isn’t it funny how you can look back at a situation and see God’s fingerprints everywhere? If only we could get a little hint when things don’t make sense…but then we would probably never believe God if He did let us in on that stuff! Anyway, I have to wonder if I would be where I am now if I had not of had that experience in Dallas. At the same time, I see that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to continue learning from other youth ministers in that setting if I wasn’t faithful to the call to come to Trinity. Obedience is key.
As I walked through the airport with my two goofy but awesome (yes, I used David’s word), partners in ministry, I couldn’t help but be thankful for them. I also couldn’t help but be thankful for the time I spent in Texas, the place I am and the people I get to work with now, as well as to be a part of where God is leading us in student ministry for the future at Trinity!
So, I say all that to say. Dallas was awesome. Good to visit again. But, there’s no place like home… and Homewood. 🙂