One Thousand Hours


One Thousand Hours

I must start with a caveat about the following article. The ideas I am sharing are simply thoughts to be pondered and reflected upon and not a commentary on any specific group or individual. 

I was listening to several podcasts this week while painting some walls in my home office. A few of which mentioned the recruitment of youth and young adults into extremist or terrorist cells, specifically Isis. The ideas and tactics they were sharing were hardly different than that of national gang recruitment. 

A study “Tackling terrorists’ recruitment of youth” by Jessica Trisko Darden delves into and communicates the recruitment systems used by extremist groups.

 The author speaks to the vulnerability that is taken advantage of when recruiting young individuals. These youth have several things in common; Vulnerability, loneliness, and marginalization from their immediate community.  These youth seek connection, community, and above most else, belonging, which they receive through connecting with these terrorist groups. 

The recruiters will often use several people to recruit one young person, which is never communicated and misrepresents that the youth is always connecting with the same person. Often over thousands of hours through chat rooms, calls, and emails. Trust and belonging are built over this time. Slowly and methodically. 

Without going too much further into the specifics of the scenario, I will say this. I have some experience working with youth who were gang involved. These individuals never saw it as a flawed system, not once. They felt more protected, cared for, and connected there than they ever had at home or in the community, which does not say much for their home life or experience within the community. They understood the surface dangers of it; they knew there were risks involved, but what “family” doesn’t have some give and take?

These are all human needs, all things God created us to need! We will all search for these life essentials until we find them.

The introspection came quickly after listening and digging into this idea. I am profoundly challenged by the thought of one thousand hours. This idea, one thousand hours, at its simplest, is the idea that 1000 hours will be spent with any given child or youth to ensure they feel safe, cared for, and protected. This type of intimate time spent then creates an indebted relationship that can quickly be taken advantage of. When was the last time I, or ministries, spent this kind of time connecting with an individual? 

Do we offer these individuals the same things? Do we offer the youth, community, protection, belonging, and judgment-free relationship in a Christ-centered and healthy environment? 

Many of these are rhetorical questions. I genuinely don’t have the answers to them. I know that evaluating how we share God’s love is crucial to reaching people. Understanding what they seek and the places it is found allows us, as Christians, to understand some of what they are going through. 

As we approach each other, understanding our humanity and collective brokenness allows us to connect, listen, and share life without the implications or expectations perpetuated by unhealthy or self-involved relationships—a challenge for all of us, only attainable through a vibrant and earnest relationship with God.

What Did They Expect?

What Did They Expect?

An Open Letter: The Block

Change is a word I have not long been a fan of. However, I have started to recognize the power in which this word holds. For much, or perhaps most of my life I have cringed at the word and the subsequent thoughts that came shortly after.

Change, for me, was often a lose-lose scenario, riddled with unwanted compromise and strife.

So, one can imagine the whirlwind of thoughts that have come and gone as quickly as the stock of toilet paper at your local supermarket. As the days have passed and the comfortability of the scenario has slowly grown, I have found myself considering a rather bold question. This question has seemingly made itself at home in my head, which to be honest, may bring some welcome company in this isolated time.

The question in all its varieties boils down to something along the lines of this:

“Is there a way that all of this change can be good?”

Viewing change as temporary, although comforting, somehow doesn’t seem like an entirely true statement. This question has, of course, led me down many rabbit trails of thought. These trails seem to diverge on a commonality; The innovation of ministry. In other words, can we approach ministry through a different perspective or lens to continue to fulfill our local and global mission?

I respectfully do not have the answer to this question. I do, however, have the curiosity to allow this thought to keep me awake and pondering as the isolated nights drift by. I continue to be intrigued by the opportunity and dare I say, change that could come about once the dust settles.

Thus, my final thought and my initial response. I continue to be interested in the way the children and families are coping with this scenario. As humans, resiliency has a huge impact on the way we respond to any sort of uncertainty.

Being the Program Director at Covenant Bay  Bible Camp allows me to work beyond my single vision and consider and discern for more than just myself. I miss the connection and community that Summer Camp allows for thousands if not millions of children and youth each summer.

The Block is an initiative that I believe in. The heart behind the idea is that we can connect, serve, and build a foundation of a community if we can consider this an opportunity for us. The Block is an online resource that allows the impact of camp to be experienced from wherever you may be.

The Block is inspired by the idea of a friend around the corner, assembly of a foundation, the strength of a pillar, and the connectedness in which we thrive.

The Block is empty without the people that make it vibrant!

Visit our Website to learn more or discover our current resources! Located under online resources, titled The Block.

An Honest Answer

God as Our Refuge