This year’s theme is “The People.” Today we are exploring….
The People who use calendars
Felicia Fox is the Associate Pastor of Students & Families at First Baptist Mount Olive. She is a graduate of the M. Christopher White School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University. She enjoys helping young people see God in their everyday lives, painting, and playing with her three dogs.
I’m writing this blog with my calendar right beside me with the due date written in red. As I glance over I’m reminded of just how important my calendar is to me. I wouldn’t have a clue what I was supposed to be doing or who I was supposed to be meeting with if I ever lost it. As you read this I would image you feel the same way. For better or worse we are people of the calendar and we live in a world that is very much driven by what we write in our calendars. As a youth minister, I am reminded often of just how depended we all are on our calendars.
At every meeting I go to people always pull out their calendars to check before picking a date. I plan our summer camp dates in July for the next summer. I know the importance of getting on the calendars first. Every trip I take youth on I’m asked a million questions that relate to the schedule from my teenagers. We are people of the calendar and so are our teens.
A few years ago I took a group of youth and adults on a mission trip. We hadn’t been there an hour before I was asked for an itinerary. This request caught me off guard. Mission trips never really go according to plan. No matter how well planned out they are God always seems to change the plan. At least, that’s how the mission trips I have experienced have gone. We maybe people of the calendar but God often shows up in the unplanned events.
I think it is important that we teach our youth that God is a part of our whole lives and not just the moments we have planned for God. It’s important to have a well planned and intentional youth ministry but I wonder if we ever plan too much. I wonder if sometimes God isn’t just sitting back thinking, “Don’t worry about the schedule. I’ve got it all planned out for you.” I wonder if we miss God sometimes in our ministries because we are to focused on our plans or our calendars. We serve a God who showed up in a burning bush to Moses, a big fish for Jonah, and a bring light to Paul. God is in the business of showing up in unexpected places and at unexpected times.
I’m trying to help my youth expect the unexpected from God. I invite my youth to share a moment they have seen God at work in their own lives at each youth group meeting. It’s a way to help them be mindful that God is always working around us. I also always encourage questions and comments from my youth during lessons. Sometimes I am surprised at how God shows up at this time. A youth could be seeing something different or new in our passage that really reveals something no one else in the room had picked up on.
I’m not going to throw my calendar away. I’m still going to plan youth events and lessons but I’m going to be more intentional about leaving room for God to show up. I’m going to encourage my youth to be watching for and sharing the ways they see God at work around them. Let’s be people of God and not just our calendars.