I got interviewed for a podcast, y'all!
Since its debut in the fall, I have listened to the Episcopal Youth Ministry in ATL podcast. It is produced by my colleagues in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. The podcast is for youth workers, and they have already covered a range of topics in a short amount of time. It's a great listen, no matter the episode!
Recording the conversation for this podcast was a fun and exciting way to spend an early morning at the Forma Conference in January. (The first question asked was if I am a morning person-- and yes, it's true-- I'm only a morning person when I need to be!) In my opinion, there's no better way to start a morning than with a conversation about practical theology at 8 AM before the start of a full day of conference-ing.
Our conversation centered around the research and writing that I did with my capstone project. I first led a session youth ministry and mountaintop experiences at the Episcopal Diocesan Youth Workers Gathering in September, and right after my presentation Easton (the producer) asked if I would record an episode about mountaintops, youth ministry, and how we create sacred spaces for young people to encounter God. It was a fun morning and I am grateful for the opportunity to share the work of my capstone project with not only the team from ATL, but also with the wider church.
A few highlights of our conversation:
You can listen to the entire podcast episode here or by searching for Episcopal Youth Ministry in ATL on Buzzsprout, iTunes, or Google. If you like this episode, consider subscribing to get future episodes--these guys produce content regularly, and it's all good!
What do you think about mountaintop experiences and youth ministry? Are they beneficial? Are they harmful? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
One of the hardest parts of working in my context is having to "expect the unexpected." (In other words, coming up with a new plan when things don't go the way you planned them.) As someone who likes to know what is happening and when, it is extremely frustrating when I make a schedule and then everything is turned upside down and what was planned doesn't end the way I think it should.
Case and point: last weekend the diocesan Youth Steering Committee met for an overnight retreat, mostly to get to know our team and begin planning our fall diocesan youth event. I had things mapped out: dinner, games, singing around a campfire, a Saturday morning hike to Ghost Town--and it was all going to be fun! We never really followed the schedule though... because, well, we moved into a different direction.
On Friday night our group began playing the board game "Betrayal at the House on the Hill." (Ironic because we were spending the night at Waycross' retreat house on Hickory Hill...) The way I would explain this game is that it is a cross between Clue and Dungeons and Dragons (if that's even possible.) It's not the kind of game that I would normally play, but everyone could play it, so we did.
I had never played this game before, but being the youth minister that I am, I agreed to try it out. What was going to be a couple of hours of board games turned into what consumed our time for most of the night-- and into the next morning. (Luckily, a thunderstorm hit in the morning, so we couldn't do our hike and could finish our game instead...)
Even though playing this game for the time we did wasn't on the "schedule," it was actually a good bonding experience for the group. We laughed, shared stories, and made memories over vampires chasing people around this haunted house (even my character became a vampire...) Even though we spent way more time than I had anticipated playing this game, the time we spent was worth it. Plus, it gave us something to do while the thunderstorm passed through!
I know that not every event I coordinate will go 100% "according to plan." God's reminder to me this weekend was that, even when ministry plans don't work out the way we want them to, the ministry still happens! God is still there and is revealed through every activity and relationship. I needed that reminder this weekend.
Victoria Hoppes is the Camp Director at Waycross Episcopal Camp and diocesan youth ministry coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis. Learn more about Victoria here.