Journal

Contemplative Life

Life as Adventure…or Nothing

 

Friends, Coracle’s youth ministry program, SLAQ (Servant Leader Quest, based out of the Shenandoah Valley), has two exciting upcoming opportunities we’d like to share with you. First, Join us online or in-person for a major milestone in the SLAQ journey as we host our first ever SLAQ Community Banquet. A semi-formal evening with everything from playful skits, to capstone presentations and vision regarding what is next for the future of SLAQ. Learn more & register here!

We are also inviting High School aged youth, and their mentors, to join us on a real-Life Faith Adventure June 23rd-29th. Check out the intro video here and learn more here!

Here’s a little backstory of SLAQ:

In the Spring of 2020 as schools, clubs, camps and churches closed their doors, it seemed that life was quickly becoming more virtual, and not only in the digital sense of the term. As mandates for “social isolation” promised to only to amplify the youth mental health crises and an epidemic of loneliness already plaguing Gen Z, many of us wrestled with how to expose the next generation to the fullness of life, despite these significant challenges.

During that season, when we were all spending a lot more time at home, our family implemented a Wednesday night “bio flick movie night” (imagine my children’s excitement!). One of the first movies we watched was about Helen Keller, called The Miracle Worker. I had at that time the average vague notion about the life of Helen Keller before watching that movie. But in learning more about her life I came across her famous quote “life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing at all.” I knew then and there that whatever hardships the pandemic was going to throw at us, it wasn’t anything more challenging than the lifetime of utter silence, and complete darkness that Keller had experienced in her life. And yet, rather than seeing herself as a tragic victim of life, she referred to it as an adventure

Also notice, more than a mere truism, Keller’s quote is in fact an ultimatum; “either life is an adventure… or it is nothing”. And as such it is profoundly honest. Life is hard, really bad things happen, oftentimes it seems like the good guys are going to lose, and the bad guys are gonna get away with the loot (or of course, much worse). It is easier simply to believe that all our toil under the sun is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 2:17-26). And yet, within the redemptive story arc, isn’t that always the way things always look in every adventure?

Helen Keller is also quoted as having said the only thing worse than being blind is having sight, but no vision. Blind though she was, she had vision enough to see the challenges in her life as a part of a grand and unfolding story: a sacred adventure.

And so a group of families, and a few young adults began to envision together a discipleship process that would invite the next generation to see apprenticeship to Jesus, and his way of serving leadership, as the ultimate adventure.

Since that time SLAQ’s mission has been to raise up diverse cohorts of serving leaders in the way of Jesus through real-Life: Adventure, Service & Wisdom.

Practically speaking, since the summer of 2020 SLAQ has guided over 25 youth to engage in collectively over 11,000 hrs of screen free, socially engaged outdoor adventure miles, 1,200 hrs of community service, and over 1,100 intergenerational wisdom conversations. And that does not include the dozens of middle school aged immigrant and refugee youth, who have participated in our Adventure Club outreach program.

Our latest adventure was a week long service trip to serve alongside at-risk youth in Bogota Colombia through a beautiful ministry called Viva Youth.

 

While there SLAQ youth joined alongside the Primos y Primas (At-risk Colombian youth that Viva Youth serves) to host a two day vacation Bible school for a local orphanage in Bogota during Holy Week. The experience was honestly transformative. For an in depth reflection regarding the experience check out the testimony written up by one of our SLAQ seniors in our April SLAQ Newsletter.

Where the adventure leads us, no one knows, that is the whole idea. What we are learning though is that when given the choice to understand life’s hardships as either meaningless, or a part of a redemptive adventure, only one of those leads to the experience of Jesus’ promised “life to the full” (John 10:10). And that promise of Jesus’s is the bedrock of our vision for spiritual formation for the next generation.

One more thing!

SLAQ is taking applications for our 12 month Serving Leader Internship in partnership with tranSend. Check out our Serving Leadership web page for more info.

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