Don’t Diss the Deacons

I contend that since the United Methodist Church has only been ordaining Deacons as equals to Elders since 1996, we still don’t recognize them as equal.

I was proven right this morning. My wife spoke with a young person who expressed a call to ministry with special needs persons. This young person added having been encouraged “to just go ahead and become an Elder.”

The Order of Deacons, though, is about, among other things, service and specialization. Sounds like a good fit to me.

Report from Annual Conference Day 1

The first full day of Annual Conference was mostly delightful.  We were blessed to receive more than 3 hours of teaching by Adam Hamilton. We also elected Ethan Gregory, a 19 year old, to our General Conference delegation.  Ethan is currently a student at SMU and a summer intern at Arborlawn UMC.

Ethan’s election is significant because before yesterday the CTC had never elected anyone under 35 to represent us at General Conference.

I’ve not always been on the “elect younger people” bandwagon, but I am all there now. I used to be concerned that electing younger people would mean a disconnection with history and tradition and the wisdom that comes from years of experience.

As I age, though, and continue to work with younger people, I have come to realize that if we maintain and nurture relationships with younger people, they are not likely to shun us (older people), but rather will seek our input and wisdom.

It is, like all ministry, all about relationship.

Pick your battles

On this first day of business sessions of the Central Texas Annual Conference, I am blogging about youth ministry.

A few days ago I had the opportunity to brag on one of our kids to his grandmother. This kid has grown remarkably in his three years here, and is a valuable and dynamic part of our Praise Band. I shared this with his grandmother.

She beamed proudly, thanked me, and then asked, “Can you get him to cut his hair?”

“No,” I replied, without hesitation. “That’s really not a battle I care to fight.”

Kids who come into our care have seen a wide variety of care and lack thereof.  Several at our graduation last week told of growing up hearing the adults in their life tell them they would never make it. Now, proudly, here they were, high school graduates.  Many of them the first ever in their family to accomplish this.

Honestly, anytime I hear an adult do any serious grumbling over adolescent hair I stand amazed.  I really thought we got that all hammered out in the 1970s.  The funny (funny as in sad) thing about this is the adult who are grousing NOW about teen’s hair were very likely the ones pushing the coif-envelope in their youth – in the 1970s.

Well, pick your battles with today’s youth.  If you want to even further alienate them, ignore their accomplishments and focus on what you think is wrong with them.

Did you like when your parents did that to you?

I wonder what lessons I can draw from this that will be relevant for me today at Annual Conference….