in my days of working at summer camp, i learned an important lesson: ministry happens in the side conversations.
i’ve never been a firm believer in traditional evangelism techniques (read: alter calls), especially with youth and young adults. in fact, they make me quite nervous and uncomfortable. i tend to see them as emotional, “mountaintop” experiences that happen every once in a while but aren’t life changing. i believe that the best opportunities for ministry come when you are least expecting it.
take this past sunday for example. it was our end of the year celebration for our youth group, and we were eating pizza and getting ready to play a game. when suddenly someone brings up how the end of the world/rapture didn’t happen on may 21. out of the blue, a young girl brings this up in the midst of a conversation about american idol and middle names.
ministry happens in the side conversations.
we continued on to talk about it, hearing about how the middle school sunday school class discussed it that morning. they told me how their friends and kids at their school were freaking out, and how many of their friends are not christians.
i proceeded to let them talk, not interjecting. listening carefully to their curious minds trying to understand what all of this meant. i then, in a moment of quiet began to explain how there are different views of the end times (sidenote: i had to explain what the rapture was…that was a funny conversation…”beam me up, scotty” was used in that one…) and how some people believe that christians will disappear, and others believe that jesus’ vision of the kin-dom will be restored here on earth. they quite liked that idea of how justice, compassion, love, mercy, kindness, and all good things will rule over evil.
we laughed about the idea of being beamed up. and then how some of them thought if the rapture happened, we’d all be naked because material possessions won’t be there. and then? we continued eating our pizza, drinking arnold palmer (drink of choice for my youth group) and playing the ninja game and the zoo game. i can only hope that in those few moments, they were enlightened and learned something about false prophesy, and god’s kin-dom come.
ministry happens in the side conversations and in the unplanned moments. i’m sure of it.