Same Beach Different Water

I've been in Michigan for almost 9 months now. We drove over to Lake Michigan to enjoy the beach. Happy to enjoy sun shining down on our faces, glistening blue water as far as the eye can see and warm sand in between our toes. For a moment it felt like we were back in San Diego. Briefly lost in thought and forgetting I was 2,237 miles away from home. Forgetting I can't walk next door to chat with my friend Erin. Feeling so at home on the beach that I am momentarily transported back to where I've lived my entire life. It's so normal for us to play in the sand and stop for ice cream on the way home. Family time at the beach is a natural part of our summer rhythm.  I REALLY love how "Southern California" Lake Michigan feels, even if only for a few months of the year.

 Same beach, but different water.

This got me thinking about churches and how similar yet distinctive we all are.  I've worked at a few churches. Spending most of my ministry years at 3 remarkably different ones.  A mid-size Presbyterian church, a large conservative Southern Baptist church, and a large progressive non-denominational one. Each church holding an undeniable love for Jesus, love for the Bible, and all with active youth ministries. Each with familiar winter camps, small groups, and the usual summer events everyone loves. Full summer calendars with outdoor movie nights, swim parties, and yummy s'more making at summer camp.

Similar yet a noticeably different ministry experience for me as I spent time working in each of these precious places. Two were ministry environments where women can preach, baptize and lean fully into their gifts, the other was more conservative and limiting in their view of women in ministry leadership. Same beach, different water. My advise for women in youth ministry is simply this, lean into the people and places allowing you to live out your calling, use your gifts [all of them] and aligns with your own theological framework regarding women in ministry. There is no shortage of youth ministry to be done and regardless of your "title" we are all on the same beach doing the same kind of things. Some of us simply prefer to swim in different water, because we want "in" on being all God created us to be whether it's from the sidelines or the front-lines  [I will leave figuring that part out up to you].


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