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Harbor of Hope

Staff Blog - Harbor's [Motley] Crew

Harbor's [Motley] Crew

Posted by Amy Chaney on

And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scrolland break its seals and open itFor you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for Godfrom every tribe and language and people and nation.And you have caused them to becomea Kingdom of priests for our God.And they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9

From every tribe and language and people and nation. The Kingdom of God is diverse. It is not made up solely of people who look, sound, and act like us. It is a perfectly varied grouping of souls united, in many cases, only in their unearned salvation in Christ.

When I reflect on this, I can’t help but fondly think of our student ministry, which I often refer to as our motley crew. I think about how diverse and fabulously chaotic we are every time we gather in a room to worship and pursue Christ, and my heart is moved by the ways in which our young community members reflect the desires of God in the ways they love and show up for each other in unexpected ways.

Our students come from dozens of towns in two different states. They attend over 20 different schools of all different kinds. They come from different socioeconomic situations. They come with different faith backgrounds. They come from all kinds of different families. They come with different stories, different interests and different hurts. And they all come here. Every weekend, we gather together as a group of people who would probably not ever find ourselves among each other in any other setting. We are unlikely friends, and yet we, students and leaders, keep showing up every week to praise God and dig deeper into our relationships with Christ and with each other…but why?

I don’t have to convince anyone that being a teenager is harder than it’s ever been before. The pressures and stresses on today’s young people are incredibly heavy, and the social dynamics that they navigate on a daily basis in school, online, and at home are complex. Our world has made building friendships treacherous for them, so much that even the task of bringing them together in a room - in person - is not a small one. In many ways, we have the decks stacked against us as a ministry; we are asking people who do most of their communication with their thumbs, and who have been taught by culture to measure love with likes and follows to show up at church, sit on a couch, and share a piece of their soul with people with whom they share almost no common interests, all so that they might grow closer to God.

I know that this can be a tall order for our teenagers, to disconnect from their regular world and connect to God and His Kingdom, but they do it because it is in this motley crew of diverse and unlikely friends that they can discover who and whose they are. We recently discussed John 15:4-5 and what it means to really be connected to the vine, what it means to remain in Christ and bear fruit, only we modernized this metaphor a little bit and likened the fruit Jesus discusses to our phones - these amazing, powerful devices that are awesome until their battery life is over and they need to reconnect to power in order to return to function. We discovered that we are the same, we are amazing, powerful creations that need to be connected to power in order to function. We need to be connected to God and to each other in His name to reach out potential. We need our group, no matter how messy we get.

No group of teenagers (or adults!) can avoid being messy, and we certainly are. But we come together every week on purpose because we know that when we connect to God on purpose we are given purpose within His Kingdom, His own motley crew of every tribe and language and people and nation.