By Silvi Pirn

The world is changing and a summer like no other is here. What should we do if what we planned is not possible? What should we do if what we want to do is off-limits?

What should we do?

Our world or even common sense might tell us to adapt. We humans are pretty good at adapting. But is that what God is telling us?

John the Baptist knew the world was changing. He called people to a life-giving baptism. His baptisms went viral and soon all kinds of influencers lined up to get in on one.  John was not amused and called them out for their hypocrisy, knowing they were just there to make an appearance…

The crowds asked him, “What then should we do?”  He answered, “Whoever has two shirts must share with the one who has none, and whoever has food must do the same.” —Luke 3:10–11

John goes on to tell tax collectors to be fair and soldiers to be just and humble.

Isn’t this what God is telling us today?

Don’t just do it for the ‘gram or share a hashtag. Give what you have. Be fair, just, and humble.

Sounds easy enough, but it starts with knowing what we have to give in the first place.

Last night, at our monthly Theology on Tap meeting, we answered this question:

What are some of the things you think you have to give?

Young adults are notoriously short of financial resources, but they have plenty to give: time, attention, love, compassion, connections, help, support, effort, knowledge. We all have those things to give—and during a summer when so many plans have been cancelled, we all seem to have more time to devote to serving others. I would even go out on a limb and say many of us have a bit more money to give, too.

With this in mind, Youth Ministry is working to bring this church family the following:

“Summer of Service: More Than a Hashtag” Challenge

Claire Revord and I are putting together this Challenge for all of us for the next three months. We know that many of you are already serving and giving in so many ways, but we will invite you to participate in a bingo-board of activities that might help you discover new ways to give what you have.

  • The Challenge details will be revealed next week, but briefly, the Challenge is made up of 20+ ways anyone in our church family or community can serve, including:
    • Simple at-home things to do alone
    • Things to do with friends or family
    • Local service projects to join with a group of KUC youth and leaders
    • Opportunities to make small donations.
      • A great example: Kenilworth Union’s outreach agency, Humble Design, has a campaign for 1,000 people to give just $5 per month—that will fit in anyone’s budget!

In addition to the challenge, and still on the theme of “Summer of Service,” Kenilworth Union’s Youth Ministry has modified plans for the IMPACT mission trips this year. We had intended to serve in the Bahamas until COVID-19 hit. After prayer and discernment and lots of dead ends, we are planning to lead youth who registered for mission trip program on local “trips” to the Chicago suburbs of Harvey and Dolton and the Uptown and Edgewater communities in the city. IMPACT will serve neighbors close to home but who live in completely different worlds. God-willing and if travel restrictions are loosened, we may even be able to take a group of just-graduated seniors to the Bahamas, where lives were turned upside down during Hurricane Dorian last fall.

I am excited to see how God calls each of us the give what we have and live out God’s call to do more than just share a hashtag.

Get ready for a summer like no other!