Having just finished up a fantastic week at ALIVE Festival with youth from Epiphany Lutheran (and Grace Lutheran, Fremont!), I’m now in Massachusetts for what may very well be “the twelve best days of summer.” Now, I make this bold, superlative statement, with a couple of disclaimers: these are not “the twelve best days…” because I am away from my husband, or because I’m away from my youth and church family at Epiphany, or anything else of that sort. Actually, the two things that would make the next twelve days even better would be sharing this experience with Scott and with some of the youth from Epiphany (maybe next year, right?).
Nevertheless, these days will, very likely, be “the best twelve days of summer.” Why? Because I get to spend the next twelve days serving in ministry with friends (and some soon-to-be friends) who will end up being more like family than just friends, through the ministry of Spoke Folk on this summer’s first tour, beginning in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
This trip marks my fifth tour with Spoke Folk (previous tours have been California 2005, Ohio 2008, Michigan 2009, and Indiana 2010), which is, in a nutshell:
“a 12-day biking and musical ministry tour for up to 30 participants (15-20 years old) and 10 adult counselors (21 and above). All these people are from different states all over the country. Each of the tours bikes during the day and shares an evening concert/worship service with each host congregation. Spoke Folk is very passionate about sharing and living the Gospel through biking, music and community.”
That description is the one that comes straight off of the Spoke Folk website. And even though it does a pretty good job of describing a little bit of what we do on Spoke Folk, it barely scratches the surface of the impact the experience will have on the lives of those participating and those who we meet in churches and along the road.
Today, as counselors (and some participants) begin to arrive at our home church, most of us will start out as complete strangers. Over the course of the next 12 days, something mysterious and miraculous will happen: 27 complete strangers will become a family. 27 complete strangers will experience Christ. 27 complete strangers will leave Massachusetts changed and empowered for ministry. Young people will be transformed into leaders. Adults will have their eyes opened to the incredible potential for ministry inside every young person.
We’ll laugh together. We’ll cry together. We’ll experience pain together (that happens when you’re biking 30-60+ miles per day). We’ll experience joy together. We’ll be challenged. We’ll minister to people in churches. We’ll have significant conversations with random strangers along the road as we bike through the greater Boston area. We’ll become a team. We’ll become soul friends. We’ll become a family in Christ.
Even that only scratches the surface. Stay tuned for next week’s YM Tuesday Blog Post, where I’ll be giving a more detailed list of why it is that I love Spoke Folk so much–not only as a person, but as a youth minister. And why I can’t wait to share this ministry with a whole new group of Jesus-loving teens.