Looking Up – The Young and Young at Heart

Delane Clark   -  

Dear Hope Church,

Midsummer 2021, out of the blue, our Connections Coordinator Anna Otto called me to ask if I would help lead a Life Group directed at serving young adults (20-somethings, more or less). I say “out of the blue” because I had not yet met her at all and, at that point, had only met her mother Rosalyn once or twice (I asked her if she was as tall as her mom. Anna’s taller.). Anyway, she and her mom had noticed a what-should-have-been-obvious-to-all gap in the ministry of Hope Church. That is, there was no focused outreach to young adults.

Instead of simply shrugging her shoulders and moving on, Anna got to work imagining, planning, organizing, recruiting (more on this below), advertising, and bringing to life what has become a vital Hope Church ministry. It began formally that September of 2021 and has run on “Otto pilot” (couldn’t resist) ever since. While we’re currently taking a summer break, our first, we typically meet the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, from 6:00 PM until about 8:30 PM or so, at the Otto’s home, almost literally a stone’s throw from the church. We gather for a sit-down home-cooked meal first (the star of the show as far as I’m concerned), followed by a Bible study led by, well, me. We end with a short time of prayer.

I’ve been heartened to witness the community that has developed among these young people, not all of whom attend Hope (although, as a result, several have begun attending, with some even joining). Friendships now exist among people who only a year or two ago were not even aware of each other, friends who check in with each other, go to a movie or restaurant together, laugh and cry together. To be sure, as young people, life invariably leads some of them away to new adventures elsewhere. Parting is sad, as ever, but for a season, at least, they were joined with like-minded people, people who share a common devotion to, or at least interest in, our Lord, Jesus Christ. It’s beautiful.

So how did I get involved, that is, recruited? When Anna first called me, I was flattered, I confess. But I was also more than a bit surprised. Since we had never met, I asked her whether she knew that I was 64 years old (now 67)? While she didn’t know the exact number, she was aware that I was no spring chicken. She persisted nonetheless and, finally, I relented. I’m so glad I did. I’m now familiar with a demographic of our church that I simply would not have been otherwise. Moreover, interrelating to these young men and women has been nothing less than a tonic to this old man’s soul. I recommend, if you have the opportunity, to drink deeply yourself.

Meanwhile, if you now know of a 20-something, more or less, who’s interested in Christian community, send them our way. If nothing else, they’ll enjoy a great dinner.

Delane Clark