I’m heading back home from a trip to Connecticut and New York. I Saturday night and today (Sunday) with Richard Griffiths and his band of “Misfits” at Bronx Bethany Nazarene. They were great hosts to me and extended the best hospitality to me. As always, I had a great time just talking youth ministry with Richie. He is an amazingly naturally great youth pastor. He organically knows many things that took me years to figure out. He is great at branding his ministry which is hyper important (and effective) in his context, has a growing concept of ministering to systems (and not just kids), and is a master at knowing the right question to ask to people at the right time. It was evident that God’s Spirit is at work in Richie, his church and his ministry.
I had the privilege of doing the teaching time during their youth service on Saturday night. I taught from the story of Zaccheus in Luke 19. I talked about what it meant to be a tax collector in that time and part of the reason that Zaccheus was in a tree and not just butting to the head of the crowd. Then I talked about Jesus and kingdom that he was bringing, a kingdom that bursts through barriers that are created for us and that we create, to love us and welcome us.
This morning I got to worship with them. Although I had to duck out after over 2 hours of service to catch my flight, I enjoyed it very much (sorry Rev. Benji, nothing personal on your preaching). It was impressive to me the intentionality they had in discipling people, educating them in theology and doctrine and prayer. These things came up in every kind of conversation there, informal and formal. Clearly Rev. Dr. Vassel is busy!
Saturday morning was a Discipleship summit in Rockville, CT. We had a great time in our youth leaders workshop talking about the struggles and victories in discipling students today. It was refreshing to hear people’s passion for connecting with students in relationships and integrating them into the whole of the church. Praise God for people who truly care for students!!
While I have to honestly say that I’m pretty sick of travel, this was a great trip! I was so encouraged by my time with people!