“My mission in life? It may be as simple as inviting everyone to light a candle!”
COMING AUG 13th, 2013 – 54 CANDLE TIMES Experiences! @
As high school Peer Ministry Leaders sit on the floor, light a candle, turn down the lights, and talk about faith and life, other youth show up in droves. We hear our youth share heartfelt prayers, which we attribute to their experience of real life people in their PMLs, who model faith practices. Kids are hungry for places they can connect, where the masks can come off, and a culture of trust is valued, where they connect with people who take time to be aware of God in their midst.
I light a candle early in the morning. This is my way of taking time to be aware of God’s constant love and grace. I call it candle time.
I think candle time first grew out of all those camping and canoeing trips with kids from church. You light a campfire and people sit and talk about anything and everything all night long. The campfire is a mystically honest, safe place. The dividing walls seem to come down, the trust rises, and people share life and faith.
I then discovered that even seventh grade guys, laying on their bellies in a dark room around a candle would talk about anything and everything. (Assuming the candle sat in deep container to keep us from sticking our fingers in the wax!)
I finally learned to light a candle with my own family, shutting off the lights, the computer, the TV and everything else that had an off switch. We would announce to my two boys, “It is candle time,” to which they would always reply, “If we have to, let’s do this quick.” Some nights it was quick. Other nights, we were sitting there for an hour or more, in the dark, talking about life, talking about faith. This is now one of my most prized memories of family.
Candle time is now a regular Peer Ministry Leadership experience. We learn faith from people who model and mentor it. Youth shape the faith of other youth. We call it positive peer pressure. We teach it in training for PEER MINISTRY LEADERSHIP. We also teach it as we train people to use GRACE PLACE, a structure for youth ministry evenings, where youth lead many of the elements.