By Steven Scheid
Within Scouting ministry, we seek to prepare youth for the challenges they may face. But, we also prepare them to avoid challenges. A good example is the principle of “Staying Found”, a few rules to help keep you from getting lost.
- Always have a buddy with you. We use this principle for youth and adults. There is a safety in being together. We can pick each other up, be the voice of reason, and stand as witness together. Jesus sent his disciples out by twos. Later he would specifically tell the disciples, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)
- Know where you are. Before we take a trip, we learn of the area. With the vast amount of knowledge at a finger’s swipe away there is really no excuse for not learning ahead of time. Use maps, guides and history. In the church, we look at this unique time and wonder if we will survive. I believe the most delicate challenge for survival was in Acts 15. The Council at Jerusalem was a fledgling movement that was under serious threat from disagreement within. There was a great and honest dispute, but God resolved the issue. Even if there is not a detailed map of what lies ahead there is a way to know. The maker of it all will guide.
- Look back! The irony of moving forward is we think we know where we have been. But as we go forward we seldom realize the rock, tree, or stream look different from the other side. We must stop regularly and look back. We need to know the other side of where we came from. We may travel that way again and need markers to direct our path.
- Keep together. This rule seems easy enough. Don’t let your group drift too far apart. If something happens at the back of the pack, the group must be able to communicate with the front of the pack. Otherwise, the situation can become dire quickly. It may take all of us together to respond to an emergency. The best way to keep together is to let the slowest person lead. This is not easy but necessary for safety. Stop and gather the entire group at all crossings and forks.
- Communicate. If you need to leave the group, clearly communicate where you are going and when you will be back. Often the case of different paths is less about the path and more about sharing enough to know how we can come together again.
I pray for the church. I pray for Boy Scout and Girl Scout leaders everywhere. I pray for Big Brothers and Big Sisters. I pray for leaders in Camp Fire. But most of all I pray that we will teach children and youth to be the church.
Steven Scheid, director of the Center for Scouting Ministries
General Commission on UM Men