Extend the place of your tent

Extend the place of your tent

Morning tea devotion given today 28/05/10

There was a passage that was very, very special for Fusion  it is in Isaiah 54 and in some ways it sums up heart of what our job is in this village.

“Enlarge the place of your tent”… that is, the place where you live,  not your work place. Welcome people into your home.  “Stretch your tent curtains wide”, don’t hold back.

When I’m not doing well, I find it hard to see my family, let alone Marty, Dave and Liz…  Sitting in their house,  hearing shooting and a young bloke who was with us for 8 years, not with us now, because complete injustice.  It goes on, “Strengthens the stakes.”  Stakes drive down into the bedrock, strengthening the building.

The more we grow into places like South Africa and Jamaica, the more we know that we are going to need to be strong.  “You will spread out to right and left…settle desolate cities…do not fear disgrace…”

Our job this morning is to share exciting development with our youth work but the starting point for me is to talk about what the job actually is and that verse sums up it up.  What does it mean for me to have a big enough heart and to enlarge my tent, when so often everything within me wants to make my tent a little smaller and more manageable?

Over the course of the next weeks  we’ll get various people to explain various new and exciting developments in the youth work; and we will each get a little card for the frig with the youthwork phone number on it. What does it mean for us all to take responsibility for the youth in the village?

Wendy (Cleary) said when she went to clean up Thelma’s house she discovered a little Post Box – a place where young people who needed somebody to pray for them, could put their prayer points.  And a mum in the village shared a bit of the story of struggles with one of her family.  Thelma came up to her and said, ”I’ll pray for you. I want to know exactly what’s happening.” And every time she saw that mum she wanted to know how it was going. We want to share a new structure, but it isn’t the structure that matters.  We are working on that, but nobody put Thelma into a structure – nobody said, ‘this is what you’ve got to do’. She looked around and saw it.

For me, the story of Thelma’s is the story of our village at its best, a village where we are all opening our hearts for young people.  We’re hoping to introduce the idea of community chaplains and having some youth workers set aside to work with young people in the village who aren’t part of the youth program – to hear what they would love to see happen in the village and free them to go for it. On Monday afternoons at 4 pm there is a growing team .

We have intentionally not accepted new young people into the village until we’ve done more of this work.  I’d love to have a Thelma’s mailbox so that we don’t lose sight of the contribution she made in our community – what does it mean to keep it going? One of the distinctives between us and other youth organisations is we believe God can make a difference.    I just want to start to give you a taste by asking Anita to tell you some of the developments.

Anita:

This is very exciting because it means our village can give young people who want to make a go of things, a chance.  We’re bringing in a youth worker on duty – they will have a phone and be in the village – at any point there will always be someone in the village who can be contacted….

So if you see something really good that a young person is doing and think someone needs to know you can ring.  We will give you all a number you can have on your fridge  Youth workers will be on duty 24/7.

Each young person who comes into the village will have a case-worker who will set up a system, working out where the young person works, and lives and their host family – all the connections the young person has – they will meet up with the young person each week.  So if you want to ask a young person to do something, you check with the case workers first ‘cause they will know what fits.

And the youth workers will also have a support person for themselves, so they are not on their own.  There will be one youth worker on duty but it will be all of us working together.

Matt:  Bec has produced a remarkable power point about how the village works best…how every young person has at least 7 sets of eyes on them loving them, caring for them and making sure they are ok.

“It takes a village to raise a child”. The way we are moving broadens from a small group caring for young people to us all caring together.   And the question for me is, “What does it really mean to enlarge the place of my tent…so young people with all their complexities are welcomed in?…at same time as we have a heart big enough for Marty and the Academy and Francis…?”

I'd love to hear what you think...

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