What Difference Are We Making?
by Tracy Wood

NOTE: Below you'll find an entry that was recently posted to the Ignition blog, which is hosted by the I Am Ignition project, focusing on the involvement of young adults in Oregon Conference churches. Learn more by visiting http://iamignition.com.

So there they were -- five young adults spending a sunny, warm spring Sabbath afternoon indoors -- learning how to be earliteen Sabbath school leaders. Amazing! Absolutely AMAZING!

“So how many of you have children in earliteen Sabbath school?” I knew the answer – but just had to hear it vocalized to my wondering ears. With puzzled looks to a “dumb question” they all shook their heads, “No, we don’t have kids.” “Why have you spent the last two hours at this junior-earliteen Sabbath school workshop?” Each of them had a similar answer – “We need help learning how to work with the age group. “We need ideas, and resources, and support, and….” I listened attentively as each of the five young adults explained their need in their own words. I didn’t want to miss a word or an expression or a nuance.

In amazement I listened as each one shared what they had learned from the afternoon of Sabbath School leader training. Their notepads were full of notes, sketches, and ideas -- treasures they had grasped and gleaned throughout the presentations of the day. They shared their “take-away treasures” -- what they would remember from the day’s experiences and conversations.

Finally I couldn’t keep the burning question inside me any longer. It came out with pure honesty -- and I had to know the answer. “So why are you here? How is it that in a church that has an active young adult Sabbath School group, you are spending your time and energy with earliteens?” The answer came back in unison as they all looked at each other with sparkling eyes, “It's Pastor Shirley! She's the one that has invited us to do this. She has helped us see and believe that we can offer these kids connection and encouragement since we are closer to their ages then their parents -- and besides, we remember what it was like to be that age. We know that we can have a powerfully positive influence on them.”

“Wow!” “Amen!” “Right On!” I couldn’t keep the perma-grin off my face. Now Pastor Shirley couldn’t keep silent any longer. She had been watching and listening in the background. And here she came walking toward us with a big grin and eyes watering. As she hugged these young adults, with a glistening tear on her cheek, she admitted that they were an inspiration to her.

As I was packing up to leave the church, I heard the five young adults, along with Pastor Shirley, in their earliteen room making great plans and brainstorming together their next steps in ministry! So my question is, “Where will I be next Sabbath? What will you be doing? What difference will we be making?"