How do we companion youth as they dance with life's big questions around identity, agency, belonging, integrity and healing?
"Follow the Sound of the Genuine"

When I visited my niblings who are 13 and 8 years old this weekend, there was hardly a quiet moment. But, for one slight second at the dinner table right after the clink of a fork, silence prevailed. And as quickly as it arrived, it was filled. I turned to my niece and said "What do you think would happen if we were all silent for 30 seconds?" after she shrugged I asked "What do you think we’d notice?" All 8 of us tried it – then we talked about what we noticed in the absence of noise.

Do you do that? Get real still and silent and notice? One of my favorite sessions to sit in on at Summer Seminary is the discernment session where high school aged youth reflect on their values and what they want to do with their one, precious life. Inevitably, no matter who the facilitator is from year to year, students spend a good chunk of time in silence. Not grasping to hear some magical call, but being quiet enough that the still, small voice within can make themselves known.

In a baccalaureate address from 1980 Howard Thurman calls this practice listening for "The Sound of the Genuine."

A vital part of youth ministry is companioning young people as they dance with life’s big questions:

- "Who am I?" (identity)
- "What am I capable of?" (agency)
- "Where do I fit?" (belonging)
- "How do I match my beliefs and actions?" (integrity)
- "How do I deal with brokenness?" (healing).

Here are some companioning resources for discernment.
Parker J. Palmer explains Clearness Committees - small groups of people who form a community around a focus person and use honest, open questions to help the focus person discern more clearly their own inner truth.
This session describes formal leadership roles and different leadership styles, explores when they may be applicable and gives participants the opportunity to practice embodying different leadership styles.
Youth Ministry Revival: Registration is open for All Are Called, March 1-3 in Bethesda, MD.
Summer Seminary:
Registration is open for SumSem at Iliff, July 23-29 ing Denver, CO.
Thrive: Registration opens next month for Thrive Youth, July 17-21 in Minneapolis, MN..
General Assembly:
Watch this helpful video series for youth group trip organizers to get ready to bring your youth (group) to GA!

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