by Chris Abel, Youth Director

ABEL-CHRIS-97If you haven’t heard by now, my last day at Trinity will be May 11. After three years of hard work, I’ll be graduating from seminary and moving to St. Louis to be an associate minister. So as this chapter in my life comes to a close, I thought I would reflect on why I love working with your teenagers.

In a place like McLean there are all sorts of powerful and influential people. And while sometimes we treat these people differently, at the core they’re still just people who had childhoods and insecurities and obstacles to overcome. So when Sunday night comes around and I get to spend 90 minutes playing, eating, and talking with our teens, I like to pretend I’ve gone back in time and I get the chance to nudge future leaders in the right direction. Every single one of these students will continue to age and grow and learn. They’ll become adults and leaders themselves. But for now, they’re still figuring out who they are and who they will become.

This vulnerable stage in life is vital for kids who may have access to this much privilege. They will be tempted and lured in ways that are unique to an area with so much power, influence, and wealth. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, and it means tremendous good can come from these students. But with that potential is equal potential for, well, not-good. Youth Group isn’t just about fun and games. It’s about formation.

So why is this the topic of my last Spire article? Simply put, while youth leaders come and go, you stay. And what you model for our young people will shape their formation. When you give, they’re watching. When you help, they’re watching. When you take your faith seriously, they’re watching. When you show love and kindness, they’re watching; but remember, they’re also watching all the other times, too.

As my time of influence comes to an end, I have no doubts that you will continue to show our students what it means to choose God and others over ourselves. God bless, thank you for all your kindness, and I will miss you! Let me know when you’re in St. Louis. 🙂


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Trinity United Methodist Church is located in McLean, VA. Our weekly worship services are on Sundays at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. and on Wednesdays at noon. Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m. for children and adults. Children up to 6th grade are also invited to Children's Education during the 10:30 service. Adult Bible Study also occurs on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Please visit our website for more information.

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