In 2006, the world was introduced to that delightful little tune from “High School Musical” that reminds us that “We’re all in this together…” (You’re welcome. That will be lingering in your head for the rest of the day.)
As you prepare for your ASP experience this summer, keep that in mind. You were called to be part of this ministry. The staff members who will facilitate your time before and during your time on-site with ASP were called to that time and place. The other groups you will meet during your time with ASP were similarly called. The families you will serve have a unique calling in your ongoing faith journey. We serve one God who calls us into a variety of ministries that work toward common purposes. We’re all in this together, and we are united in wanting a spiritually transformative experience.
There are 3 P’s to help us get there.
We start with PRAYER…lots of prayer.
- For the families we will serve that they will know the hope of Christ through the work we’re called to do.
- For those who will serve with us that we will develop connections and relationships that are based on support and mutual encouragement.
- For the staff members who will coordinate the work that we do that they will experience wisdom, patience, and compassion while they form connections with volunteers and families within their communities
- For ourselves that we will be open to new experiences, new relationships, and
- new opportunities to learn, grow, and share the love of Christ with others
PREPARING for our trip is equally important to making this a positive life-changing experience.
Our call to ministry with ASP is the call to live in community. We’re all in this together, right? Your trip’s weather, food, housing, showers…these things will affect all of us differently. Sharing space with friends you’ve only just met may be intimidating. It can also be a source of joy and service as we discover those things we have in common and share our own spiritual gifts of hospitality, cooperation, and encouragement. You can start the conversations about how to live in community by using the “Campfires and Covenants” Pre-Trip Session materials.
For some, this will be a first experience of poverty in the United States. Part of serving with compassion and sensitivity requires awareness of the biases and stereotypes that we carry with us. One way of starting this conversation is the “Who Are They?” Pre-Trip Session on the ASP website. ASP affirms that each person is a Child of God imbued with dignity and worth. We expect all members of our ministry team—staff and volunteers alike—to keep this in mind with every person they encounter. Only when we see the humanity of all can we seek to improve systems that remove their dignity.
Thirdly, it’s important that we PROCESS our time with ASP as a group after returning home. What did we just do? What did we learn about ourselves and our God? How were we empowered to serve in new and important ways? What did we learn about other people? How have we been changed? What did we learn about being “together” in ministry as a group and with others outside our group?
How do we continue to serve and change the world right where we are? This single week can develop into a lifestyle of service. We need to affirm the gifts God has provided and our ability to use those gifts to cultivate change.
God’s call frequently invites us into situations we may have never imagined, but we celebrate that God is already living in that future and is waiting for us. That’s the excitement of living faithfully. We trust in God’s presence and power in all things, and we seek God’s guidance as we prepare for our adventure…together.
God’s abundant blessings as you get ready!
Dean Smith, ASP Director of Spiritual Programs