Lesson #2 from Disneyland: Shared Experiences

Kara Powell | Sep 8, 2011

So last week, our family enjoyed a day at Disneyland. And lucky for us, so much of the world was back in school that we didn’t have very long lines after rides. So we went on ride after ride after ride. We went on Thunder Mountain four times in a row!

After every ride, as we were walking toward the exit, we would turn to each other and say, “Wasn’t that great?” “I loved the part when we went down fast.” “Did you see the rattle snakes?” And often, “That was awesome.”

What was interesting was that we had all done the ride together. We had all experienced the same thing. And yet what we wanted—and really needed—to do was share about it afterwards.

I’m participating in a Theological Forum in a few weeks at the upcoming National Youth Workers Convention. One of the questions the panel is supposed to address is the role of youth ministry. So I’ve been thinking about that, and spending some time reflecting on how so much of youth ministry is making space. Making space for God to work. Making space for teenagers and adults to respond.

As our family kept re-living our rides together verbally, I thought about how much of youth ministry is like that. We give kids the chance to re-live what they have experienced. Whether that’s their day at school, their fight with their step-mom, or the short-term mission trip they took this past summer.

Debriefing events is important. Talking about them with others is part of how they become real to us.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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