Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Foundations


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I settled into my new ministry at Springfield Friends Meeting in October of 1986 with high hopes that God had something amazing in store for us there.  Despite the excitement, and the inspiration of the Rees family, I was looking at a somewhat harsh reality.  First, there was the reality of my new job description.  I was so excited to get re-involved in a youth ministry that I hadn't really taken time to think about all of the other aspects of this job.  Basically, to sum up, I was responsible for everything that Max wasn't responsible for!  This included overseeing the Family Life Committee and the Christian Education Committee, which meant adult, youth and children's Sunday School, as well as Vacation Bible School and the Wednesday Afternoon Fellowship for kindergarten through 5th grade.  I would also be the preacher on those extremely rare occasions when Max was on vacation, and I would do some hospital visiting when needed.  All of this was just fine with me except for one thing- I had never done any of it before!  This was going to be a challenge, because those things were now my job...my PASSION was youth ministry, connecting teenagers to Jesus and to each other.


The youth ministry (students in grades 6-12) at the time had something of a depressed feel to it. My predecessor, Wallace Sills, had been there a number of years and was beloved by many of the students he had left behind.  Some of the families and students had actually gone with him.  He had been gone a few months by the time I arrived, and so nothing much had been going on for youth, and the energy levels were very low.  There was a core group I was excited about and that I knew I needed to win over quickly if I was to have any chance of getting off to a running start.  As with any group of students, there were key players, and I identified a few of them quickly (The picture above is one of my all-time favorites; there was a unique chemistry between those three!).  Todd Farlow (pictured, right), Amy Simmons (pictured, middle), Robin Simmons and Traci Whitaker were all sophomores and had all been very active with Wallace. I could feel a bit of resistance from them upon my arrival. This is quite natural, and I began to build relationships with them immediately, which helped in bringing back many of the others who were in "wait and see" mode.  The other person I immediately connected with was on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Ken Hill (pictured, left) was a senior who had never really connected with Wallace; truth be known, Ken didn't like him.  Ken was our only senior that year, a football player and wrestler, and he showed up my first Sunday for youth group and stayed with us all year.  Ken provided leadership we desperately needed, and as time went by became a close friend to Marilyn and me.  Throw in Jamie Robinson, Danny McCorquodale and a very young Jon Moran, Jennifer Wood and a few others and we had the makings of an exceptional youth ministry.  It would take some time.  It would take lots of prayer.  And in the end, it would take a blizzard...and not one from Dairy Queen!  But that's tomorrow's story...

1 comment:

  1. Early on in my time at Springfield we used to go to a gym sometimes and play basketball. Was that at Allen Jay or where?

    ReplyDelete

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