At the beginning of the month, I had the pleasure of traveling with three of my fellow Iowa youth leaders to the LinK (Leaders in Koinonia) event at the national offices of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland. Now, for someone who spends at least two days a week traveling, this hardly seemed like a fun or restful getaway to me. Honestly, it was just one more appointment on my calendar to which I didn’t give much thought.
Something unexpected happened at the event with about 65 other adult leaders of youth from across the UCC. I had no official responsibilities. I didn’t have to lead worship or a workshop, which is quite unusual for me. Having those responsibilities taken away, I was able to relax, enjoy worship, learn from program presenters and get to know new colleagues.
I admit that I was surprised that this happened. I felt myself be inspired by the creativity of fellow youth leaders and energized to go out and try new things. Though we discussed the challenging realities of doing youth ministry at this time, I felt some of my usual cynicism melt away.
This event reminded me how important it is to set this time aside for communing with friends and colleagues. If I take some time and free myself of those “leadership” responsibilities, I can begin to see things anew and feel rested and more willing to take on the next big thing.
The Greek word, Koinonia means an intimate connection, friendship and fellowship. It was used often to describe relationships between people in the early church. Inherent in that definition, I suspect, is when people are gathered, God is also present. God has an amazing way of transforming us when we take a moment to sit back, relax and let things happen. This makes me think that perhaps this is the point of all ministry — to open space that makes it easier for people to sit back and experience the presence of God.
So, I encourage you to find that time to open space for God to work. Maybe that takes place by taking a long walk in the morning or by attending a retreat or workshop. I’m sure you’ll be amazed by the results.