Skip to main content

The Leaders of the Church

Abiding Hope's High School Youth
When I walked into the sanctuary of Abiding Hope in Littleton, the first thing I saw was 50 smiling teenagers at the front, ready to lead worship. I knew that I was attending the Teen-Lead service, but I was blown away by the passion and confidence of the kids. Each student had role in the worship service, whether it was being a part of the many skits they did, being a part of the music, or being in the liturgical dances that they performed to praise God. Everybody had a chance to share their gifts with the congregation.
To quote a part of the service, “We must trust that God is going to work on us, and we’ll break through the obstacles we face for the sake of life.” The message the youth conveyed is that we have to break through the hard things in life that would lead us away from God, or the false expectations/masks we put on ourselves that separate us from God in order to truly experience our life and our relationship with God.

However, that’s not always easy. One of my favorite parts of the worship was when one of the youth boldly said, “The New Testament is scary.” When I think of scary, or things I don’t really want to delve into because it intimidates me, I usually think of the Old Testament and of the God that destroys entire cities, or wages wars. I don’t really think of Jesus in the New Testament.

But, when the youth explained it, it made perfect sense. The skit that followed was the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. The youth pointed out that Jesus calls Lazarus by name. He doesn’t just say, “hey you” or “dead guy.” He calls him Lazarus. In the same way, Jesus calls us by name to do hard and challenging things, and we are changed and transformed by those things. That is scary.

One of the most powerful things of the service was that these kids didn’t just talk the talk, they walked the walk. The whole service was centered around being your authentic self that God created you to be, even when that was hard and scary. One of the final skits of the service was a skit where the youth talked about the “cards” that we’re dealt in our life. They spoke about how some of the cards we love, and some of the cards we wish we could get rid of, or cover up with one of our more “desirable” cards (it’s a metaphor you see). But, we don’t have a choice in the cards we’re dealt, and it’s up to us to find a way to use and appreciate all of our cards for the glory of God.

As they spoke, the youth were holding large cards they had made in front of them, but we couldn’t see what they were. In a moment of beautiful vulnerability, the youth turned over their cards to reveal what was written on the other side. Each was a statement about themselves that they were afraid to share, a part of themselves that they try to hide, or don’t talk about. But, as they said, we must tear away our masks, own all the cards we are dealt, and continue forward as a community in order to truly live, and allow others to live as well.

The service ended with communion, the meal for all, which the youth served. After the vulnerability and the truth that the youth of the congregation spoke to us, we were given the greatest gift in the universe (that’s communion) by the youth. When I received communion, both of the teens serving looked me in the eye and confidently proclaimed “The body of Christ, given for you” and “The blood of Christ, shed for you.” They knew that the meal they were serving me was important, and worthy of celebration. How powerful.

Seeing youth owning their power in such a poignant way was beautiful and inspiring. As 1 Peter 4:12 says, “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” There is a lot we can learn from the youth of the church, and the youth of Abiding Hope showed that wonderfully.

- Kaari the Intern


Popular posts from this blog

Living for our Neighbors

As someone who was raised outside of the Lutheran Church, I’ve been amazed by the impact that Lutheran communities have had in my young adult life.From attending Luther College, to participating in a service year with Urban Servant Corps, to interning with Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp, to now creating church-to-community partnerships through Lutheran Family Services, God has presented me with incredible opportunities through the Church and the ELCA.
As we reflect on and celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation this year, I’ve had the opportunity to think deeply about the impacts that Christianity, Lutheranism, and the ELCA have had not only in my life, but in the world in which we live.Luther’s nailing of the 95 theses and the Reformation they sparked brought turmoil, change, and hope to a religiously, politically, and socially diverse Europe.
In these last 500 years many things have changed, but our churches continue to live and serve in the midst of turmoil, change, and hope …

Called Forth To Serve

This week, we hear from Pastor Doug Hill, Abiding Hope Church in Littleton about why he serves with and supports Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains. 
In his final address to the disciples prior to his arrest and crucifixion, Jesus asserts, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40) This “last will and testament” of Jesus reveals his heart and calls us to be as passionate for “the least” as he is. Jesus understood that when we build relationships with and serve “the least”, not only are they blessed, but we also are blessed. Nothing fills us more than when we love and serve others. Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains takes Jesus’ words seriously as we seek to “walk with the vulnerable through services that heal, strengthen, and provide hope.” As members of the ELCA Rocky Mountain Synod, we are each called to participate in the important and necessary work of LFSRM.

As a board member, I have h…

Congregational Development Training at Bethany Lutheran

Last week,(August 22-27) Bethany Lutheran Church in Cherry Hills Village, CO, served as a Church-wide learning center for over 300 registered to attend the ELCA Congregational Development Training Conference. This semiannual event is usually housed in a hotel, but Bethany opened its doors for this training that included several firsts.

There were an historic number of Mission Developer and leadership training “tracks” that included:
·African National New Start ministries ·Asian Ministries, New Starts—a first ·Churches starting Churches track ·Homeless and Justice ministries ·Latino/Latina ministries: REDIL (Ecumenical Network of Latino/Latina Church Development including ELCA, Episcopal, UCC and PCUSA leaders) ·Multicultural Urban New Starts ·Postmodern New Starts ·Prison Congregations of America ·Recovery Ministries—another first!

The training included a cohort from congregational leaders and Pastor Redevelopers in Redevelopment ministries from around the ELCA.

On Friday, August 25, the…