The “Last Supper” Before Summer


By Danny Kwon

As I was writing this blog post, I was reminded that June 14 (yesterday, assuming you’re reading this on June 15) is also our last meeting of the school year for the youth pastor’s network I belong to in my area. It is a great group of youth pastors, from different churches, denominations, and youth group sizes. In addition, there is a range of ages and years of experience in youth ministry in our group of youth workers. I love how we share ideas, have fellowship, and each month, one person hosts and is in charge of leading a sort of “case study” in youth ministry, which we use to discuss and pray for each other about our ministry situations and personal lives as leaders.

For this last meeting, we all decided that instead of meeting at someone’s church, we would go out to breakfast together. In our emails back and forth, we all started to call it, the “last supper” before our crazy summer schedules hit. Most of the youth groups in our network will be doing summer mission trips, numerous activities, and camps. We all bonded in our emails over this idea, that this was like a “last supper,” before our “suffering” and “death” hits us this summer. As I reflected on this underlying theme the last few days, I was planning to share with two thoughts our group as we meet for breakfast.

First, don’t forget to enjoy your summer youth activities despite how crazy it may be. I have a new, younger intern in our youth ministry. As a veteran youth worker (and parent of teenagers), I am so fixated on all the details: communicating with parents, making sure our church leadership is continually informed, making sure vans are confirmed for rental, packing lists, etc. But when I see him “not” sweat all the details, but instead, enjoying time with the students, excited for the trips and camps, looking forward to building relationships with students, and looking forward to long van rides, I am reminded that yes, there is a reason why my fellow youth workers in our network, and perhaps you, feel like it there is going to be a lot of “suffering” this summer.  We may feel some dread before the crush of it all. But my first year intern reminded me again why I am about to embark on such a crazy summer. We all do this because we love students; we do this to build relationships with them, so they can love Jesus more, and we still need to be excited that God uses these trips and camps for great purposes. I think I have forgotten that in “sweating” all the details. And I am learning from my first year youth ministry intern again why I do what I do.

Second, I would say to my young intern, it doesn’t mean we “SHOULD NOT” NOT, sweat details. I would remind myself, him, and us all, that these details are important. As youth workers, we do have this very important responsibility: that some parent is letting us take THEIR teenagers, for a day or week or whatever, and not only watch over them, but to care for them. They have released their own offspring to us, so we do have to make sure that details are covered, so we can serve and love our teenagers well. Yes, when the details are seen as part of the great “suffering” and “death” of the summer we are about to embark on, they become hindrances. But seeing that they can be used purposefully and vitally, to love our teenagers well, they take on new meaning.

I would like to encourage my fellow youth workers, sisters and brothers, newbies and veterans, to have a great youth ministry summer. In addition, remember that after the last supper, there was death, but there was also a resurrection. The hope always for us is that God is using our summers and us all to work in the lives of students, to bring the hope of the resurrection to the lives of our students.