Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Shifting the Environment

Since coming to Arizona, I inherited an entire ministry

I inherited a youth staff, junior high students, and a culture of youth ministry. I also inherited an office, a storage closet, and a youth room. While many of those things are healthy and awesome--I love my youth staff and our students--the things I inherited were just...not...me. I have made drastic changes to my office in order to make it feel more like my own, like adding a couch and chairs and getting rid of a giant desk. We recently cleared out the storage closet, throwing away tons of random stuff that has piled up over the years in order to make way for new games and youth ministry tools.

But today was the big one: we are remodeling our youth room. While I have wanted to redo the room ever since I arrived, we have had to push it back. But last week, a fire marshal informed us that many of the things in the youth room--mainly the stage, the sound area, and the large bleachers--all violated fire code. So today, we fixed the problem: there is no longer a stage and bleachers in our youth room! Mark, the interns, Tony the admin pastor, and myself spent the entire day hammering, drilling, sawing, and hauling away big piles of wood and carpet.

I like the shift in environment. An environment communicates a great deal about the person or people who live in that environment. I had to ask, what does our youth room communicate to the people who enter it? What are the values of the people who utilize this environment? Honestly, our former environment fostered distraction, isolation, and consumerism: students were easily distracted and isolated with the bleachers, and the room's layout allowed for little group interaction.

We seeking to shift the environment to reflect the values we hold. Instead of distraction, we want to foster spiritual depth. Instead of isolation, we strive for community. Instead of passive consumerism, we encourage passionate engagement. We hope to create a youth room that communicates those values. 

Environments communicate. We want the environment at The Well to live up to its name!


  1. You're my hero...couldn't have put it better myself. Down with bleachers!!! (No offense to you awesome people who built them and loved them.) It's funny how things that are meant for good can turn bad, seems like the bleachers became that, a cool idea, that looked good, but ended up creating a second group within our group - the normal kids, and the kids who sit in the bleachers! For that reason I say again, "DOWN WITH THE BLEACHERS!"

  2. Ha ha! It's funny you say that because as I recall when I was a youth intern, I brought the bleacher idea from what I had seen in another church. I promise it really was a good idea to begin with, but I totally concur that it made two different groups - the bleacher one being, shall we say, a little more naughty =) Can't wait to see all the exciting changes - We are so BLESSED at RMCC to have the Mayward and Staples as a part of our team. GO YOUTH DEPARTMENT! (Is that good enough even though I'm not a cheerleader Candace? =) )

  3. For a second there, after reading this post's title, I thought you were going to talk about environmentalism or global warming or something. Phew. This was much more good to hear.

    P.S. Recycle. =P