We (me and my wife) are hugely enjoying ‘Once Upon A Time’, it’s a mash up tv series with just about every fairy tale character you could imagine. The episode we have just watched had a character from Never Land (Hook) meeting a character from Wonder Land (The Queen of Hearts) and, I got to thinking about those two words – ‘never’ and ‘wonder’. What kind of landscape does our youth work take place in? What motivates us to ‘do what we do’.
Never Land. Maybe we are working in a place where our young people are frequently told ‘never’. You could never do it, never change, never finish school, never amount to anything. Maybe we do what we do because we will not accept that. We cannot believe it could be true. We work in Never Land, but we refuse to believe it is the only place our young people will grow up. Or, maybe, and this takes some honesty – we are – on the quiet – a ‘never’ youth worker, we can’t quite believe things can change – even as we try to do it, we find it hard to have conviction. Maybe we have been told ourselves, you will never change these young people, you can’t make a difference – maybe you should be doing something else.
Don’t accept that!
Wonder Land. Maybe our young people live here. Anything could happen, they are full of wonder, hope and expectation. Opportunities, possibilities, life is full and exciting. Everything just works out! You have your dream job, are constantly encouraged by all that God is doing, parents of the young people you work with run up and high five you in the street!
Maybe most of us (and our young people) live somewhere in between. It’s not ‘never’ its ‘maybe’ or, rather than everything being full of wonder its ‘pretty good’.
The challenge in youth ministry is to see the landscape we inhabit as God sees it, see the young people we work with trough his eyes. To take the occasional ‘never’ the regular ‘maybes’ and the rare moments of ‘wonder’ and, EVERY time, in all circumstances and – however the Land lies – see God at work.