I have a system.
It began as an idea for when the youth director was out sick. I thought I would use my enjoyment in photo-documentation to show Director what went on while he was away. When he came back, I just didn’t stop taking photos. It has been fun to look back at all that has happened.
The system is to take photos during the big group time and then “attendance shots” in the smaller groups. I visit the 7th/8th grade class first, the 9th/10th next and the 11th/12th/Else [Team Epic] last. This way, I get to devote the rest of my attention to Team Epic, of which I am a member/co-leader.
On a recent Sunday, when I went to the 9/10 class I was…not very politely asked by a leader to leave and come back later. So…I walked out. I finished my rounds with Team Epic and stayed there. I did not go back to the 9/10.
After some time to reflect, I should have taken the photo of the 9/10.
I don’t mean that I should have bent to the will of the other leader and gone back to take the photo. At that very moment of being asked to leave, I should have explained that I would not come back to take the photo.
Perhaps the leader wanted to prepare and have a photo of their Christmas party, or whatever they were about to set up? Who knows? The photos are not meant to be “picture perfect,” everyone posing nicely and smiling at the camara. I pop in, the class carries on as usual, I snap a shot of them doing what they do, and some students uselessly try to avoid having their face in the shot. Intentionally, the results are candid shots.
I should have said that it was then or not at all for the 9/10 shot as I have my own class to attend to.
The photos are not for me. They are not for the leaders. The photos are what I can give to all those involved in the youth department [and are on Facebook, apparently, for now]. I do this voluntarily.
However, not taking the photo was wrong as it disregards the students in that class who showed up. To the students in the 9/10 class, I apologize.
Accepting my role as a leader now, I think I shall use this experience to remind myself that what I do with the youth department is all for God and the youth and not for my own fulfillment or public image. I do not have to be perfect, to do everything right as a leader. Whatever I may plan for the youth does not have to go smoothly.
I have to follow God’s calling. I have to show up. I have to give what I can to/for the students.
Mahalo for reading.
Some of the candids: