A dirtythirtyone birthday highlight: getting the title of the song my friend Nathan wrote and performed for my ordination (check out my Facebook page for the video).
Getting this tattoo with Nate wasn’t just m about marking time, but rather symbolizes a relationship that changed my life for the better.
When I started Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ as a seminary intern (later becoming the youth and young adult pastor, then associate, and now solo pastor), Nate would always be quick to remind me that HE ran things when it came to youth group because 1) he had been there longer and 2) he had experienced a lot of hurt and disappointment from church when they sold the gym to the theater so they could store props (rather than investing in a space that many of the youth, for generations had considered safe space).
Mistakes were made and bridges needed to be rebuilt. Nate taught me to follow the youths’ lead. He taught me about accompaniment, sharing power and the power of youth leadership. (See Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry by Andrew Root).
I’ve known Natr for almost 7 years now. We’ve collaborated on many projects including – youth service trips, worship, preaching, poetry, music – and he even came to BOTH of my ordination services (FL and IL) and played this song “little things.” (Go to my facebook to check it out!)
This song kept me alive that summer while pastoring alone, supporting a familiar that had just lost a daughter to a fire. Two kids in two different hospitals, both with 3rd degree burns on 75% of their bodies; the list goes on and on.
So lemme skip to the end. Two years later (but seven in total), Nate I’m honored to call you my brother. This tattoo is a reminder that we family now. Love you brah!