Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Interview with Lars Rood, part II

Yesterday in part I of our interview, youth pastor and introvert Lars Rood mentioned "contemplative youth ministry," a broad and growing movement among youth ministries that is less interested in entertaining youth as it is in connecting them to God in their experience. Lars explained that this type of ministry reduces the emphasis on the personality of the youth pastor, which has often been towards the extroverted, charismatic type, and places the focus where it should be, on God. There is an influential book at the center of this movement, by the way, called Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus, by Mark Yaconelli.

Lars and I conclude our interview today with a question about introverted students in youth ministry and also about how to keep focus in ministry situations even when you're running on fumes, a question that many of you asked.

Adam: How do introverted students struggle in youth groups and how can people involved in youth ministry help them have a better community experience? 

Lars: Introverted students often struggle when they are put in situations that force them to quickly or unfairly out of their comfort zone.  As an introvert I will almost never instruct students to break into awkward groups or to begin sharing with someone they don’t know deep issues.  I am almost always opposed to calling anyone up to the front and will only take volunteers and never someone that everyone is “voting” to the front for a game or activity.  I also usually will want to include things that will make them feel safe and never put them on the spot to read, share, pray or have to get outside their zone too quickly.  On missions trips and camps I also try to create space for them to be alone and to have the time they need to recharge.  

Adam: A few of my readers have questions about how to persevere and stay "on" when they're in situations when they have run of out social energy. What do you do when you're running on fumes but you are still required to be with people? 

Lars: I tend to make sure that I am prepared for all situations so that I can manage my energy effectively.  For example if I know I’m going to be at a long event for an evening or if I have to preach in front of a big crowd I’ll prepare for it and almost always make sure that I have ample time after to recharge myself.  It’s a bit harder on camps, retreats and missions trips but I generally find that I can still find those times each day.  It can be hard when I feel like there are things going on that I should be involved in when I’m taking time to rest and relax but I’ve learned to try to push that guilt away because I know if I don’t take the time I will ultimately be useless to everyone.