Last weekend Hillsong came to Boston University. Many, many college students went to
see them sing along. The very next day we took a much smaller group of students to serve and learn alongside one of our neighborhood partnerships.
Quick aside: I don’t have anything against a large worship gathering/concert. I’ve been to see David Crowder several times. It’s a lot of fun to sing really loudly in a crowd of thousands.
But, I couldn’t help be struck by the contrast. Getting up early on Saturday morning is harder than going to a concert on Friday night. Interacting with grade school kids who are hyper and say anything that comes into their minds is more difficult and requires more energy than standing in a room with a thousand of your peers. Listening to people who have lived in Boston’s inner city for 4 decades is not as cool as hipster led worship/rock. Spending an hour and half in a quiet reflection is more unnerving than “Oceans” at 120 decibels.
I’m not trying to bash Hillsong. I am trying to honor the choice made by those students who came along to serve on Saturday.
Jesus said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed.” Friday was awesome, I’m sure, but Saturday was mustard seed stuff.
What I get concerned about is the chasing of experiences. It’s way easier and cooler to chase experiences, to run after the next big thing, than it is to settle down, make roots, and seek the peace of the city.
Our event on Saturday was not designed to accommodate the numbers that went and saw Hillsong, but what if 1000 students dedicated themselves to seeking the peace of the city? What if 1000 stayed in Boston after they graduated to pursue God’s mission right here in this place?
That seed might become a tree.
One of the beautiful stories of the summer is unfolding in the Dorchester neighborhood through one of our key neighborhood partners. The Quincy Street crew pulled off a great summer Drama Camp program last year (they did a performance of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”), but they have taken it to a whole other level this time around. They wrote grants (and received them), they hired neighborhood youth to be Jr Counselors, and they recruited Sojourn students to be interns and volunteers.
This summer the campers are writing their own play, which is very cool. In addition, they are learning all kinds of amazing skills, new games, positive ways to interact and help each other, and getting to see some sites via Friday Field Trips. I love everything about this, but I especially love watching our (college) students invest in this program and this neighborhood. Most of the students volunteering or interning have experience in theater or music and it’s beautiful to see them using their skills and training to bless these kids. I attended the Drama Camp Open House last night and was blown away by what they all have accomplished over the last few weeks. Check out the pics:
Today completes a three-week tour of books written by friends and acquaintances. We finish with Jon Huckins’ Thin Places. Here are four things I appreciated about this book:
- Jon and the Neiucommunities tribe pay careful attention to their context. They listen and respond, rather than impose.
- They believe that an integrated lifestyle is possible. This is probably my favorite part of the book. Sojourn sometimes takes some flack (externally and internally) for trying to do three things well (mission, church, justice)…some look at that and say, if you want to be a truly great non-profit only do one. It is important to have “integration heroes” and so this book was inspiring from that standpoint.
- They are all about leadership development. I love this emphasis and I will steal some of these ideas for my leadership development!
- The heartbeat of this book is for the neighborhood, and that is something I feel I need to recapture, so thanks for challenging me to more present in this place that I call home!