One toy that has not changed a bit is the hula hoop. There’s nothing you can do to innovate it. It’s simply a round circle of plastic that comes in various colors. Pretty basic, and it has never changed.
When I was a kid, everyone had a hula hoop in the neighborhood. Occasionally we would gather all the kids together on the block and have a contest to see who could hula the longest to be the hula hoop champion. I must confess: I was not very good at it and never won the championship. It always seemed to be the girl from down the street who was in dance class and could just go on forever without any effort. But hey, it brought everyone together for lots of fun and laughter. Oh yeah, and it was “groovy” and we wore bell bottoms.
Another circle that hasn’t changed is the circle of relationships that we all need surrounding us in our walk of faith, even in the forever changing landscape of ministry. If your faith is central to your life, I’ll bet you could sit down right now and write down the names of 5 people who have influenced your faith. After all, it’s how God chooses to show up in our lives – through the hearts of others. When we are encircled by a supportive, faith-filled circle we tend to stick around in the church and our faith tends to become the central compass of our lives. During the last few years of working with a youth group, I had them interview each other, and one of the questions was to have them make a list of people in their circle. There was always a marked difference in the youth who had several on that list and the ones who had one or two.
So leaders of churches, do these two things:
- Write down the names of at least 5 people who have nurtured your faith over the years. Then write them each a hand written letter thanking them. Even if they are no longer living, you can still write the letter. It can be transformational.
- Begin to cultivate circles of faith nurturing relationships in the lives of the young. Start with what they do have. Ask them. Then explore with them how you can grow that circle. (also, see yesterday’s post)
So don’t worry about having the coordination to be a hula hoop champion. How about championing circles of relationships?
~ Tom Schwolert