Friday, August 19, 2016

My Summer as Interim

I stepped into the role of Interim Director of High Ministry not fully understanding the journey it would become. I had two months to plan and create a program for high school students to encounter Jesus during their week at camp. I was excited to watch dreams and ideas come to fruition. I was looking forward to spending weeks with youth pastors and counselors who had become friends over the last four summers. I hired a staff who desired to love counselors and campers in very real ways. I was expectantly waiting for God to move in major ways.

I was completely unprepared for the ways I would be stretched and challenged. I had a staff of 16 who all had different stories and expectations for the summer. There were a wide variety of youth pastors who all had different expectations of what they wanted out of their week at camp. On occasion, they had harsh critiques for me or simply said they could tell I was a gap filler. I had to quickly find the balance between friend and leader. I was forced into tough conversations with staff about expectations and fighting for each other. I sat with youth pastors as they struggled with campers and shared their heartbreaks as students got sent home. My heart and mind were exhausted and raw at the end of every week.

In the midst of all the chaos, I was reminded every week of my role as a gap filler. The seemingly innocent questions from youth pastors or counselors about my journey to the interim position and why I was not a fit for the full time position. It felt like daggers being thrust into open wounds every week. I was open to the questions and explained my posture of open handedness as I continued to seek God in a season of being told no.

I was surprised by the beautiful ways God showed up. I was surrounded by a staff who loved each other well through the long nights and hard conversations. My staff pushed and challenged me to rest amidst the chaos. They learned quickly that I would not settle for easy, one-word answers. Youth pastors gave words of encouragement as they loaded on buses and packed up vans at the end of the week. They allowed me to see the their hearts for ministry, and the fight they engaged in for their students on a daily basis. Speakers pushed me to lean into the gifts I was given to run a programed camp as they spoke truth from the stage that I needed to hear.

Beautifully chaotic. Those two words perfectly describe this summer. It was a gift to walk alongside staff and counselors as we pointed students to Jesus. I walk away from this summer with empty hands knowing I left it all on the table. I sit with open hands as I allow God to lead me in this next season. 

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