Working with Teens Part II

by Charlotte Long, Director of Youth Ministry

In last month's newsletter, I gave a run-down of my feelings on how I believe God works through our teenagers and how God can be speaking through them in any moment. And if I say I can't hear God - well then, that's my problem.

Teenagers are in this lovely unknowing place; their hearts are always vulnerable and always trying to be strong at the same time. And when tended to, these hearts can be such sweet soil in which God can plant Himself. And so there comes this duality that is very similar to Mission Work, I think. That we as adults show up to work with children or teenagers, because we think we have something to offer; just as we show up in Guatamala, or Missouri or Kentucky, thinking we are there to fix, to save. And too often, God has brought us to these places, to these people, so that WE might encounter the Divine Mystery - not the other way around.

In this way, I want to address something I hear far too often when I try and scrounge up volunteers or chaperones for working with our High School Youth Group. It is always along the lines of, "I have nothing to offer a teenager." Or, "I have no idea how to work with youth." And if you feel strongly about that, then alright - I'll leave you alone. BUT. If you have ever felt called to meet our teenagers, travel with them out of our Chicago-comfort-zone and serve, who is to say that this call is not God, egging you on? I encourage you to not let the feeling that you have nothing to offer stop you from checking out the CHC Youth Group. These kids are an absolute blessing to be around, as well as being funny and smart and thoughtful to boot. Most likely, we (you and I) are called to work with them not because we have something to give, but because there is something there God wants us to receive.

So, without further ado: if you are even a bit interested in chaperoning our High School Youth Group to Kentucky this June (14th - 21st), email me back AS SOON AS POSSIBLE at . Even if you're not sure, I'd be happy to send along information about Appalachian Service Project, the home re-building we'll be doing there, the structure of the week, etc. While we are always looking for even vaguely "handy" adults for this work trips, all levels of skill are encouraged to contact me!

If that's too large a time commitment for you, email me anyway! The High School meets every Sunday night from 6pm - 8pm and we're always looking for an extra adult leader.

And, you do not have to be a parent of a teen! In fact, I strongly encourage non-parents to consider this calling. Being surrounded by Christian adults outside of my family was an extremely important part of becoming who I wanted to be. I know I already put it in last month's newsletter, but it's too good to leave out:

"Teenagers who do not go to church are adored by God, but they don't get to meet some of the people who love God back."

from Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott