So I Got an email today that was like many of the calls and letters I have received over the years from youth workers telling me how much the National Youth Workers Convention means to them and how much they love it. I love getting those emails, call and letters. This email expressed a common theme and that was that this person didn’t feel they could continue in youth ministry without the convention. I have heard this time and time again. This sentiment along with others like those saying they were ready to quit when they arrived at the convention and how their vision and calling were restored there come in all the time. Why does this happen? How does this happen? How can such a short period of time have such a profound impact? I’ve come to believe that for many people that place has become home. A healthy home is a place where we feel understood. Where we feel safe, where we are affirmed and valued. A home is a place where people get us, get who we are and what we are about. It’s from our “home” that we venture out into the world.
We all have a home as in the house where we live and that place may or may not be a home in the way I just described. For the people where that place is less than they desire, those people need to find a “second home”. Their primary home may be god but it is just not enough to sustain them in this crazy demanding world. For most Christians their local church or ministry becomes their “second home”. It may be the church as a whole or it may be a subset of the church. Maybe it’s a home group, accountability group, a ministry or mission team but it has become “home” to them. But for folks who lead churches and ministry it often doesn’t work that way. At church or in their ministry they often feel judged, misunderstood and disconnected. So where do they find their “second home”? I think that is where the National Youth Workers Convention and other events, gatherings and experiences come into play. Here is what I have heard people say about our convention: “we circle the date on our calendar and count the days still we will be renewed and refreshed”, “only 4 more months till someone will tell us we are doing a good job”, “only 3 months till we are told that what we do really matters and that we are making a difference”, “only 2 months till someone will tell us that all our sacrifices are worth It”,” Only a month till our calling gets affirmed”, “Only two weeks till I will be with people who get me. “Only one more week then I will be with my type of people”, “At last I’m with people who know that this is a real job”. When I hear these statements I hear people who are longing for a “second home”.
If you are in ministry or even if you are not most of us need to find a “second home” to survive. We must all find place where we are loved and valued for who you are not for how well we perform at our jobs. We all need a place where we can relax emotionally, spiritually and relationally, a place where we don’t have to be “on”. It’s out of a healthy home that we flourish and for some of us that means finding the right “Second home”. House hunting is not easy but after all as Dorothy taught us, there is no place like home, even a “Second home”.