How Will They Remember Us? Leaving a Legacy of Hope, Joy, Peace, and Trust in Youth Ministry

Youth Specialties
August 3rd, 2016

We’re excited to have Aqueelah Ligonde as one of our NYWC speakers. This blog post is a great start to the conversations she’ll be navigating in her seminars Healthy Youth Worker: The Balancing Act, and Storytelling and Spiritual Formation: A New Kind of Parable. Check out more information HERE.

May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace, as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:13)

Hope. Joy. Peace. Trust.

These are all words we really see, rarely say, rarely, and rarely believe. In this world of greed, noise, selfishness, and distrust these divine words seem to have no place. But, as Christian leaders, we know better. We know that the words hope, joy, peace, and trust are more than words they are our foundation. They hold power beyond what we could ever imagine. Our faith stands on the shoulders of hope, joy, peace, and trust. This is what God shows us in the stories of Hannah and David. This is what Jesus spoke about in his parables. This is what the Church was built on as the disciples preached the Gospel to anyone who would listen (and to many who would not listen).

As a new generation of disciples, have we forgotten the power of hope, joy, peace, and trust? Have we convinced ourselves, and our children, that these things do not exist in this crazy, messed up world? Honestly, sometimes, it feels that way. It feels like the Church has gotten stuck inside the little box of what the world has been feeding us. It feels like we have just been preaching about these things and we have stopped living them. We have stopped sharing them. We have stopped seeing them. We say, “This world is hopeless”. We stay awake at night thinking about how there is no peace…no trust in our systems. But, take a closer look…

Look at the officer whose face pops up on Facebook that dances with kids in the street and brings them popsicles on hot days…joy. Listen to the voices of countless young people sharing their stories and using their gifts to start non-profits in their own communities…hope. Feel the presence of the Holy when you walk into room full of children reading in school libraries…peace. Watch, in moments of despair, the helping hands that reach out to those who are different from them…trust.

These are not simply words. They are calls to action.

Hope! Joy! Peace! Trust! We have been called by God to live like we serve a God of hope. We have been created to be agents of joy. We are on this earth, at this time, to share God’s peace. We are the symbols of trust.

We are the examples, the proof, the hands, the voices of change for this world and the Church. We have the choice to grumble about the world we live in or give future generations something to remember.

Will they remember us as a people who simply posted on Facebook, but didn’t teach our children respect?

Will they remember us as fighters, but for the wrong cause? Will they remember us as complainers with no compassion? Will they remember us as people who knew better but refused to be better? Will they remember us as the generation who talked a big game, but created more chaos? Will they remember us a people who loved God, but loved God from a distance? Will we be remembered as a people who cried, but didn’t cry out?

How will the future know what hope is if we let it die?

How do we keep hope from slipping away? We remember that it is Christ who gives hope and gives it graciously. It is Christ alone where this hope is cherished, nurtured, found, and shared. It is Christ that brings us back to home, back to compassion, back to community, back to family, back strength, back to light, back to love, back to peace, back to joy, back fullness, back to hope, back to joy, back to peace, back to trust.

It is Christ who holds us up and keeps us together.

In the darkest hour, in the deepest despair, in the empty and in the dark…it is the light of Jesus Christ that keeps our feet on solid ground.

So, Church, where are we!?

Where are we going? Will we stay stuck in the box or will we risk it all and live out the call to go back to our foundation? Our children are crying out for us to do something different. Our children are literally dying on the street corners for us to move from talk to action. Our children need a Church, that will arise! Rise up in the hope, the joy, the peace, and the trust of God to go further and deeper and harder for generations to come. How will they remember us?

aqueelahAqueelah Ligonde is an enthusiastic speaker, preacher and leader with a passion for today’s youth, and young adult women. She has worked with organizations such as: Princeton Seminary Institute For Youth Ministry, Youth Specialties, DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative, and YouthWorks. She serves on the Boards of Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Retreat Center and GenOn/Logos Ministries. She is presently serving in three ministry areas: Staff Consultant with Ministry Architects, Site Coordinator for the Young Adult Volunteer Program of New York City (Presbyterian Church USA), and Field Staff for Racial Ethnic Young Women (Presbyterian Church USA). For over a decade, she served as the Associate Pastor of Youth and Families at the First PresbyterianChurch in Jamaica, Queens, NY.
Youth Specialties

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.