Nevertheless, my walk with Christ had some roadblocks. One of the key ones was a youth meeting when I asked a question, close to my heart. I do not recall the exact question, but I recall the reply. It was, “See the pastor”. I went to our pastor, who advised me that Satan put the question into my head. No one even attempted to answer it.
I went away to a Lutheran College, Muhlenberg College, in the Fall of 1965. I joined the Cross Country team and found myself more successful than I anticipated. I signed up for a class in Twentieth Century Protestantism. That class was one of the first foundations of my faith, not because of what it taught me but because of the questions it allowed me to ask.
I read a passage from theologian Karl Barth and in it I saw him ask the exact same question I had asked my Pastor several years earlier, while in High School. I said to myself that it was all right for me to ask questions if an esteemed theologian also asked the same question. My true faith journey began the moment I read that passage in Twentieth Century Protestantism. I came to find and define faith quite simply. Faith is “saying yes” to the Word of God.
I graduated in 1969 and visited a local Presbyterian Church. One Sunday after church, I asked the Pastor if they had a program for college age students. There seemed to be several young people in attendance during the service. He said that he was sorry that they did not but when I returned the next week, he called me over and said that the church did have the potential for such a program. I asked how many individuals would be in it and he said that we were starting small: “Just two – you and me”.
So began a journey in youth and young adult ministry for me. It is a journey that continues to this day.
It was a time of social uprising, of being drafted in the midst of the Vietnam War, another interesting story to share. But to stay to the point of my faith journey that group that began with just the pastor and me rose to a local Christian Coffeehouse that was attracting between 25 to 40 young people a night.
A year later (1974) I was hired as a case worker for the local Child Protective Services, a career that lasted for 42 years. I retired as the Director of the Adult Protective Services in the same agency in 2016.
Time marched forward and in all my years of youth ministry, involving three local churches as sponsors, I have never made even one penny for my endeavors.
I have attempted to live my learned definition of faith – “Say yes to the Word of God”.
In 1985 The second of my Young Adult Coffeehouse ministries closed its doors but, by then, I was a single parent of two boys, age, two and five. I signed them up for Cub Scouts and, when a new leader was needed, I offered to take that role on in 1987.
In 1994, with my new boys in fifth and eighth grade, our new pastor called a meeting of parents of the young people in the church. “We need a new youth leader”, he said, and all eyes looked my direction. I asked if I could have the old Coffeehouse room back and was told “yes”. We converted it into a youth room and the new youth group began Easter Sunday 1994. With the exception of some time off in the summer that Coffeehouse turned Youth Room became a meeting place for junior and senior high school students every Sunday night for twenty years.
I self-published my first book, “Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings” through Xulon Press in 2006. The book contains 355 pages of activities including guidance as to actions for youth workers to take if they learn of abuse or neglect situations their youth may be facing. This book, with little advertising except for my website, has sold close to 2,000 copies.
My second book, “The Chest of visions: Secrets of Caperston” is the first of a triad of short novels. It was self-published in 2012, also through Xulon Press. It has sold approximately 500 copies. The book was written for the purpose of creating a teaching tool for youth workers and we have successfully used it in our youth programs. I have been surprised by the number of adults, who have advised that they truly loved the book.
The positive reviews the book has received encouraged me to move forward with the completion of book two and three of the series. The second in the series: The Chest of Visions: New Pathways ‘cross Broken Highways, which was published in September 2020.
He expressed interest in picking up book one of the series and so a new edition of book one, The Chest of Visions: Secrets of Caperston was completed and is 30 percent longer. It was also published in September 2020.
I remain active in a local church as a leader in the Mission Committee, the designated leader of the church’s Men in Faith Group and a confirmation class teacher. At present there are not enough young people of age to begin a new youth program .
I have maintained three websites over the years, with the current one being https://lessonsforchristianyouth.com.
I am truly blessed and, although retired, I am as busy as ever with church work, keeping up the website and writing. I believe that we are living in challenging times for the world as a whole, but these times also provide an opportunity for Christians to re-evaluate their commitment to the message of Jesus Christ.
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