Hi Everyone, it’s been a while since I posted anything if you follow youthworktalk regularly. I do apologize for my lack of words in recent weeks.
I have unofficially been taking the end of the summer to spend some extra time with the family and get used to being a dad to number two (Addie, born on July 7th – I was afraid this Englishman would have to deal with one of his kids being born on that rebellious day, also know as July 4th – just kidding).
In addition to having a newborn in the Bell household, it has been a challenging season in many other ways. It has been good to be at home and take time to catch up and rest up at times. However, here we are well into September and the Fall is truly underway with a yearly tradition for me and some friends:
Every year, the pastors from our church are invited out for a free day of golf that is put on by a local funeral home as a way to support pastors and give them a fun day as the Fall gets kicked off. In fact, one of the directors from the funeral home attends our church and always allows us an extra couple of players to join us from our church. It’s always a fun day filled with lots of bad golf shots and constant pranks. It’s always a ‘scramble’ game, so we never really take it too seriously… especially since we’re not that good… We affectionately call this golf outing ‘The Undertaker Open’
So, last Monday two sets of foursomes from our church headed out for a great day of golf… First the pastors and the then another four from our leadership team at church… These guys had been playing pranks on us all day long… It was great to get them back by unstrapping their golf bags from their carts and watching them fall off the back of the cart at the 14th tee!!! We celebrated, high fived, did some embarrassing celebration dance and took our tee shots quickly… they were following closely behind us… In our haste, our best shot ended up on the left side of the fairway behind a tree that had roots sticking up all over the place. Not the best place for a second shot… But a ‘safer’ place behind a tree from the guys who kept yelling “FORE” as they pretended to hit golf balls our way… It was my turn to swing… this is where it gets blurry…
It was a long shot from a hard piece of ground with lots of tree roots close to my ball. I knew I had to hit the ball with great accuracy and great power. All day I had been making some good shots and I was confident I could get my team ‘out of the woods’… or so I thought… I came through the ball with as much swing and power as I could and in a split second…. BAM, CRACK, OUCH!!! The ball left my club, hit a tree root three feet in front of me and came back and hit me straight in the mouth… or more accurately… in the teeth. I instantly felt one tooth break off and blood started to pour… Time slowed down and and my pastor friends around were talking in deep slow voices… I ended up at urgent care and the dentist and I was so bummed that I missed the wonderful free lunch!
The damage in the end was painful, but I count myself blessed that the golf ball didn’t do more damage. I ended up losing a tooth, a ‘hole’ in my face where another tooth came through, and some teeth that needed realigning. I got stitched up, and some minor dental surgery. At the end of the day, I am British, and I guess it’s ok to have some bad teeth isn’t it?
So, where is the youth ministry in this post you might ask? Well, here you go:
Following my injury, I have been out of action for a good part of this week and unable to do my normal youth ministry schedule. However, I have witnessed countless emails and received a number of phone calls from incredible youth leaders who are carrying the ministry as I recover. As soon as they heard the news, they stepped into action and saw to it that all the major components of what we do are covered. Here’s what I have learned this week:
1) Friendship is Key: I have great friends who I get to do ministry with.
2) Investing is Key: Investing in leaders and student leaders is imperative. Not only do they do a great job at what they do, they feel ownership and excitement.
3) Step Back to Let Others Lead: It’s important to get this youth ministry to a place where leaders lead and the youth pastor can connect authentically with students. For our large group program my two goal is to be able to connect authentically with as many students as I can, and to give transformational messages. These two things only happen when I have taken time to invest, equip and empower leaders to lead the programs we have created. Being forced out of the details of the program this week was a good test for everyone. It shows how important it is for me to intentionally create opportunities for my leaders to step forward to do what they do best?
Hope your Fall is having a great start and I encourage you to move your golf balls away from tree roots when you have a shot to play…