Transforming Engagement: the Podcast

Youth & Campus Ministry Burnout with Kurt Rietema | Podcast Season 05, Episode 07

 

Kurt Rietema joins us with over 14 years of experience leading missional journeys for Youthfront, an almost 80-year-old youth ministry organization, that focuses on camps, youth worker training, and community development.

Kurt shares his personal journey, including his time living in Mexico and to his current neighborhood in Kansas City with a high percentage of undocumented immigrants. His work involves youth social entrepreneurship, immigration advocacy, and housing/lending partnerships for immigrants.

The discussion dives into the challenges of living in the same neighborhood where ministry is conducted, and navigating the complex and often enmeshed relationships that can contribute to burnout or experiencing vicarious trauma.

The episode addresses establishing boundaries to protect well-being without being too rigid and the necessity of playing the long game in ministry by incorporating sabbaticals. 

Kurt also shares more about his recent book, To Mend the World, co-authored with Jason Lief. The book challenges traditional models of youth ministry, emphasizing that old paradigms are no longer effective. Kurt discusses the limitations of conventional approaches, such as Wednesday night youth gatherings, and highlights the need for a shift towards more strategic and sustained mission work. The book seeks to elevate the understanding of mission, advocating for its incorporation into everyday life and promoting engagement in God’s redemptive work in the world. 

Each week, we ask our guest to highlight an organization doing good work. Kurt shares the work being done by Abara Borderland Connections, an organization seeking narrative, systemic, and personal change through Border Encounter Experiences for groups across the country.

About our guest:

Kurt Rietema has been leading missional journeys both domestically and internationally for Youthfront for more than 14 years. His work in Kansas City includes youth social entrepreneurship, immigration advocacy, and creating just housing and lending partnerships for immigrants. You can connect with Kurt on X at @kurtrietema 

 

Episode Transcript

Rose: Hi, everyone. Today we’re excited to welcome Kurt Rietema to Transforming Engagement: the Podcast. Kurt has been leading missional journeys both domestically and internationally for Youthfront for more than 14 years. His work in Kansas City includes youth, social entrepreneurship, immigration, advocacy, and creating just housing and lending partnerships for immigrants. Welcome, Kurt.

Kurt: Thank you. Glad to be here with you today.

Rose: Yeah, we’re thrilled to have you. So why don’t we start by you just telling us a little bit about your own story. How’d you begin working with youth and how has that evolved?

Kurt: I began working with youth as an undergrad at Iowa State University. I was helping out at a youth group there and was thrust into leading a small group of high school boys, and it was one of those things that I wasn’t necessarily prepared for, but I was grateful for the opportunity to be placed into that and to be able to lead young people, I think definitely helped my own growth and my own spiritual walk. So that was initially how I began to do that, and that eventually started leading some of the sessions and going on some mission trips with them and stuff.

Rose: I hear this over and over again that I was thrust in or I got an ask, I had no idea what I was doing, and here I was working with middle school kids, high school boys, girls. So yeah. That’s awesome. How has it evolved for you and what are you doing now?

Kurt: It evolved for me. Part of my story was after I graduated college and even during college, I was working for Youthfront in Kansas City just in one of our camps. And then we had started a partnership with a church in Mexico and many churches in Kansas City we’re doing some short-term mission trips, and we were creating some long-term partnerships that were there. And so my wife and I went down there and lived in a small village outside of Monterey, Mexico in Pesquería Nuevo León, and we continued to do youth ministry there just informally with the kids that were gathered around us. And then that developed further as we brought on some more staff and there was an afterschool program and some youth ministry. Then we moved back to The States into Kansas City into a neighborhood called Argentine, which is a mostly Latino neighborhood, high percentage of immigrants, undocumented immigrants. And we took kind of a parish style model of our ministry there of just saying, what does it look like to see God’s Shalom come here on 35th Street? And youth were always at the focus of that as well, as well as other ventures in Christian community development. And part of my particular work has been in youth social entrepreneurship as a way of doing youth ministry,

Rose: Which we’re going to talk about in a few minutes because I find that fascinating really. But can you just tell us a little bit about what is Youthfront?

Kurt: Youthfront is an almost 80 year old youth ministry organization. So originally it started off in parallel with The Youth for Christ around the country. So we were named as Kansas City Youth for Christ, even though we didn’t have any institutional affiliation at that time and are known mostly for some of our camps. We have a couple thousand kids that are coming through our camps every summer. So we do that, we do some youth worker training, and then my particular focus is with Youthfront Neighborhood that that particular focus is still our work outside of Monterey, Mexico and then also in our own neighborhood.

Rose: Okay. Well, this whole season is on youth and campus ministry burnout. Since you are sort of in that world, you work with youth, you have been a youth leader yourself, have you ever come close to burnout or have you ever experienced burnout?

Kurt: Yeah, some of the times in which I’ve experienced burnout, I hadn’t gotten to a place where it was so acutely critical that I had to make drastic major changes. Thank goodness I was proximate to it a lot. And those places in which I experienced burnout were it was when there was simply too much. And part of it is we have a unique place in which we’re living in the same neighborhood in which we’re doing ministry, and there’s so much enmeshment and layers of relationships that happen. And those have been the places where I have experienced some burnout that way. And also, so maybe a particular kind of burnout that I’ve had to deal with is the proximity to other people who have experienced a lot of trauma and generational trauma as well. 

Rose: Mmhmm.

Kurt: And so part of it is walking in solidarity with them and shouldering some of their pain along with them, which is both a gift. And I’m blessed to be able to have the capacity to do it that I’m not dealing with a lot of my own trauma and baggage in the past. But yeah.

Rose: It’s interesting because at The Center in our resilience programming and offerings that we have, we actually talk about vicarious trauma that ministers people in helping professions are, it might not be their own trauma, but as you just said, you’re experiencing, you’re hearing it, you’re with people in crisis. And oftentimes we have discovered my own story that leaders don’t recognize that’s happening to them. So how have you been preventative around not going into an acute place of burnout in your own story?

Kurt: I think some would say that I’m not terribly good at boundaries, that there can be some places which I let some people go a little bit too far and can walk over me. And yet I feel a real need to hold the ministry part of ministry that we’re not making this into a provider-client kind of relationship, that we are in a sense neighbors that are walking together and that we are fellow humans walking into there. So I do want to be careful in the way in which we talk about boundaries sometimes because sometimes I think that we can put up too hard and fast boundaries in that way.

Rose: Sometimes we create walls out of fear rather than porous, sort of like a screen door that you can actually open, you can see through and that sort of thing. So what would you say to our listeners who are either youth campus ministries or people that supervise them, what would you say to them about watching for the signs of burnout and what are some preventative measures that you have seen work or be successful in the work that you do?

Kurt: Yeah, one thing that I think about, the first thing that came to my mind is not having to have an inflated ego or thinking so highly of oneself that if it’s not for you, then nothing else will get done. I think we really have to have a long game in all of the work that we do and recognizing that we play one part, that we’re writing paragraphs and chapters and verses in these ongoing stories of others’ lives and even in the ministries and institutions that we might be a part of. And so if we recognize that and we recognize that we’re not saviors in that sense, but we are servants that come in for a time in people’s lives, but that is certainly one way to avoid burnout.

Rose: So good. I love hearing you say that. And what comes to my mind as you’re talking about that is the practice of Sabbath, the reason that a Sabbath day where you take 24 hours or Sabbath moments or half a day, whatever the Sabbath practice, because in my mind, Sabbath means I can step away from this and trust that the Lord will hold it. It doesn’t rise and fall on me, which is why I think that practice is so important, especially in today’s ministry world. So good. 

Kurt: To even go beyond that. I would say the practice of sabbaticals have also been incredibly important. We had an opportunity to take a sabbatical and it was a two month sabbatical. It was very generous in terms of some places less than in others. But my wife and I decided to take our kids out of school. They were middle school and elementary school at the time, and it was in January of 2020. And so it was right before the pandemic, which couldn’t have been better timed in some ways. It was a beautiful time for us to step away, and we took the kids to where my wife and I lived in Mexico, we took them further into Mexico to Mexico City where some of our neighbor’s family lived who were unable to visit their family because of their documentation status, and then continued to travel around down all the way to the border with Guatemala and spent two wonderful months down there. And that was a time that it was great for refreshing with my family, refreshing as we look forward, but then also organizationally, I think it was huge for us as we came back. Truly, we came back the week when everything was shutting down and we came back ready to go and our children were very excited to go back to school and were like, oh, I’m so sorry. You want to see your friends, but we’re not there yet. But organizationally, the rest of our organization really depended upon me and our team and the fresh insights and things that I can’t attribute to anything else than taking some of that time away to be ready to step into this and to provide leadership in ways which others weren’t quite prepared to lead.

Rose: No kidding. I mean, what an amazing timing for you to be able to come back refreshed and ready to go when everybody else was already so tired and then had to take on all that meant, so awesome.

Kurt: So I mean, that would be one thing for listeners. If you have a sabbatical policy in place, I mean, certainly that’s something that should be considered. And if it’s not in place, I think that there’s some well-documented evidence out there of how this truly benefits not only the ministers themselves, but also the churches and institutions that they’re working for.

Rose: I so agree with you. I mean, so many of the traditions of Christianity have not incorporated sabbaticals for ministers. And I know for me it was life-changing. I mean, I was so close to burnout in my pastoral ministry when I was granted a three month sabbatical it  made all the difference. So great practice for listeners, especially if you are a part of a denomination to look into that type of policy. So yeah, I totally agree. Well, listen, we’re recording this season prior, of course, to release in the fall and in a few days you’re having a book released. And so I would love for you to talk about this book. Why don’t you tell us all about it?

Kurt: Yeah, it’s really exciting. My co-author and I, Jason Leif, he is a professor of practical theology at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. He and I were scheming a couple of years ago. Jason has authored several books and he’s like, we really ought to do something on youth ministry and social entrepreneurship, knowing that that was a lot of the focus of my work in our neighborhood. And so we have a book To Mend the World: A New Vision for Youth Ministry”. And this book is combining some of Jason’s work as a practical theologian and some of his research, seeing the trends that have been happening in youth ministry and also my work on the ground dealing with youth in a very different kind of context as where many youth ministers might be practicing. The context of my neighborhood, again, is working class, many immigrants and kids that are coming from mostly no kind of church background. And what does it look like for us to walk alongside them and for them to be ushered into? In one sense, I love it because it’s so great that kids don’t have any kind of preconceptions of what Christianity, what church is even about. So we don’t have to deconstruct a whole lot of that in order to build and create a compelling faith that they can believe in.

Rose: Well, I would love to hear more. One of the quotes that I read about the book, the old models of ministry are no longer working. Tell us more about that.

Kurt: Yeah, I think that there are traditional kinds of youth ministry that when I think about this, there’s often this ideal that if we are gathering together as a youth group on a Wednesday night, we’ve got compelling preaching and engaging music and worship, and you’ve got a group of people that are consistently gathered there together that this is it. This is when we’ve really arrived and that it means there. And kind of this idea of that, okay, now once we’ve got some stability and we’ve got a core group of youth, then maybe we might consider what it looks like to go on mission together. I think even that understanding of what it looks like to go on mission together, there’s a fairly thin toolbox that I think that youth pastors, youth ministers really have to draw on with that. There are all the traditional things that can be going on a mission trip, doing a service project, helping out and volunteering, doing all this stuff, which is all great. But one thing I think about that is so many of those are random acts of kindness. They’re sporadic. They happen every now and then. Most of them are dealing with symptoms and also dealing with the individual good. And I think what we’re trying to do and how social enterprise can do into this is how do we elevate that understanding of mission that it can be incorporated into the every day that we are inviting youth to join into God’s redemptive work in the world, wherever they’re at and wherever liberation and healing is coming about. So in one sense, I think that some of this project is just saying, how can we move a mission from being random to being something that could be more strategic from something that’s sporadic, to something that sustained from symptoms to systems and maybe from the individual good to the common good. And that’s not to say that we’re trying to burden young people or burden youth pastors with something more, but I just wonder, are the things that we’re doing and we’re considering as mission, are they muscular enough, robust enough in order to stand up to some of the brokenness that young people are encountering in their world around them today? And can we invite them into way of thinking and really looking at the challenges that they see around them and say,  “you know, if we really wanted to move the needle on some of these burdens that are weighing down upon us, how might we go about doing that? How might we do that? How might we be as organized as the systems of death that are around them are organized? How can we organize ourselves in some different way?” And to name that in saying that this is a good and holy part of what God’s mission is in the world, and it is just as valid a way of doing youth ministry than saying, “Hey, look at this big group that we have gathered here together. Now we’re really doing it.”

Rose: It sounds to me as you described this such an important kind of pivot as a new model in order to really bring formation to young people for the longevity of being followers of Jesus. Because how many times do we hear, and this isn’t to disown anything because everything,

Kurt: Exactly.

Rose: Everything has been, it’s a part of its time and things evolve and they change, the world changes. Are you familiar with James Chong’s generational work? Are you familiar with his work? No, I’m not. So he actually, I think he’s like a vice president of InterVarsity now, but he did his whole doctoral work around the gospel for generations. And he came up with, his question was “What was the central gospel question that must be answered for each generation?” And so for boomers it was: what is true? For Gen Xs, what is real? For millennials, What is good? And now this new generation, he’s saying the gospel question is what is beautiful? So what you are describing, because he pictures this broken world, so what does it mean? Young people are looking at this brokenness and they’re looking for that question, well, where is beauty? How do we bring beauty? And so I think what you’re describing is that very thing that it’s not dissing anything else that’s going on, but we’re sort of in this new time, and I say post 2020, we’re sort of in a new world. It exacerbated all of the changes that were going on. So I really love this because what you are talking about is a lifetime of formation for young people that hopefully will be their trajectory.

Kurt: And I think to go along with that, some of Jamie Smith’s work on desire, and Augustinian Desire

Rose: Oh, yes. 

Kurt: Plays into what we’re doing as well because what we’ll sometimes say with young people in our neighborhood is they’re going to fail miserably at any kind of biblical knowledge quizzes that we might have. They’re probably going to laugh at you if you’re going to be playing some of the contemporary Christian music latest thing. They’re just not going to know what you’re going to be talking about. But when we talk about what is it that you desire, what is the kind of world that we long for and aim for? And then how do we shape our practices and habits towards that future and towards that telos? That’s where I think that our kids are truly Christian, a deep kind of sense. I’m going to give you an example. Some of… one project that one of our kids wanted to work on was a pool. They’re like, we live in a city of 150,000 and part of a larger metropolitan city that has a couple of million. And in our city there is one pool that is more than 60 years old. And at first we were kind of like, well, of course you want a pool in our neighborhood. But then we looked at it and it’s like, this actually is a justice kind of issue. We looked at all of the houses that work for sale with a neighborhood pool or a backyard pool on Zillow, and it was amazing to see this donut that we were living inside and all these red dots with these houses for sale.

And we’re like, wow, our neighborhood has effectively been redlined from public swimming pools and investment that’s there. And we found that this has a deep history of racial exclusion that was built into our laws and into the projects and practices that are there. And as we were reflecting on some of that, it’s like, oh man, some of the very people that were writing some of those exclusionary covenants were the same kind of people that could be going to church and could be going to Sunday school and learning all of this stuff, but their desire for a different world was one in which people that didn’t look like them were excluded from it. And so when we talk about our young people’s desire for even to have a pool, it’s a desire to be a part of the fullness of God’s kingdom. And just to say the abundance of God’s creation that is out there and saying, we want to have a part of that, we are longing for that. And so I think that that’s one part of Christian formation that is deeply involved in what we’re doing is what are we longing for?

Rose: I love that. Something that comes to mind is a lot of times when we get into talking about social entrepreneurship and just the very beautiful story you just described, there’s some parts of the Christian tradition that would say, oh, that’s progressive.

 Kurt: That’s right. 

Rose: We need to get saves. Our job is to get souls saved. What do you say to that? What would your response be to that?

Kurt: I would say, I would say that it’s all a part of God’s work and we can’t be making some of those dichotomies that are there. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and broke the power of the sin and the sinful structures that are there in the world and rose from the grave and created a new possibility in the world and created new possibilities of liberation. And even some of Willie Jennings’ work on the book of Acts is some of the most beautiful things that I’ve ever seen, and the creation of one new humanity out of that and reversing the effects of Babel and on Pentecost drawing together a new group of people that were there and drawing together people that were so different from that they could never even possibly believe that this was possible and that God’s spirit was at work in it and the Council of Jerusalem coming together and just saying, yeah, I guess, yeah, I can’t deny that something is going on here and in order to say this is just about our souls and the eternal destiny of where we’re going to be going. It’s like, sure, but it’s so much more than that and has so many more cosmic implications for that. So we talk about that with our young people of just saying, this isn’t just about us going to heaven when we die. Look at Revelation chapter one, chapter 21, and see what the direction is. It isn’t people going to live with God. It’s God dwelling on earth, the new Jerusalem descending down out of heaven and coming to reside here. So it’s that marriage of heaven and earth. So anything that we’re doing now is just a preparation for that. And so it’s that participation, what NT Wright calls this inaugurated eschatology as well as we’re beginning that kind of life now longing and waiting for that day when there’s that marriage of heaven and earth.

Rose: No, I love that so much. You’re still speaking our language because it’s the gospel at some point. I mean, we probably could get into that, but we don’t have enough time. What was reduced to say this prayer and now you’re saved and you will go to heaven rather than fullness of the gospel as you just said, wait, we’re on this trajectory and in the midst of this trajectory before all things are made right, they’re being made as we go. As we join with the work of what God is doing on this earth, we’re invited to join with this work that is more than just praying the prayer. It’s overturning all of the evil structures. And so there’s a description of the book that says, “young people and emerging adults are shaped more by the dominant culture than the practices of Christian community.” Can you say a little bit about that? What does that mean? I mean, I have some guesses, but…

Kurt: I do talk about this in the book a little bit. It was about two years ago I was having a minor parental crisis because we live and raise our kids in a neighborhood that would, many people would be considered not great. Our schools are some of the lowest in the state of Kansas, and yet we see amazing teachers and administrators doing a beautiful job there. But I was having a minor parental crisis because we had our son, Leo, who was just a part of the city rec league in Wyandot County, and it’s terrible, right? The league is terribly run. If we could just get a decent schedule, I would kill for a decent schedule. But one day I was sitting on these crumbling concrete post-war bleachers looking through this rusted fence with the vines growing up and seeing all of our kids out there. And I just caught a glimpse of something that was truly beautiful when I looked out onto the field, and I want to contrast that to the weekend prior to that. The weekend prior to that, I was walking through the parking lot of Sporting KC, our local MLS Professional Soccer league fields that they had created this huge 16 field mega complex and watching all of these youth leagues that were just impeccably coached and doing all these amazing drills. And I just felt this anxiety welling up in me of like, oh my goodness, I saw this deep contrast between what was happening. And Leo and his teammates, we were literally on the other side of the parking lot on the sloping grass field, and they were moving about the field with all the kind of a Ouija board just moving around. And I was like, am I screwing my kid up? What am I doing? And just that kind of anxiety of just like, oh, I need to be offering my kid the best I got to be doing this. And then I was back out on those bleachers looking at my kids, and I see Somali soccer moms in hijabs and Salvadorian moms and a Nepali coach and all of these kids from a dozen different ethnicities and languages that were coming about moving about on the field and just having fun. And I just thought of the quote from Irenaeus of the glory of God as a human being fully alive. And it got me to that question of what are sports for? What is education for which ultimately gets us back to that question about what is a human life for? So this is getting back to, I think that quote that you just shared about the book is how are we being so shaped by these dominant narratives about what a human life is for, what sports are, for, what education, for what work is for, and we allow that in order to define how we need to act. And this does get back to, I think what we were talking about with Jamie Smith and desires. What are we longing for and how does that shape our habits, our patterns and our behaviors? And when we sit back, there’s also another beautiful piece. Courtney Martin on the On Being blog wrote a piece that she was saying, stop answering other people’s questions. And part of it was just saying, we feel that in order to be accepted and define belonging in our cultures is we have to ask the questions that the dominant culture is. We have to answer the questions that the dominant culture is asking and just saying, this is what it’s for. And I think that that just idea of just saying, no, we need to stop doing that and just saying, what are our questions? What makes Christianity uniquely weird? And just say, let’s embrace the weirdness of that. Keep it weird and say by following that and answering those questions, we find that beauty, we find that goodness, we find that truth and recognize just saying, I want, this is good. I can say better in some sense because I talked to a parent who was at this Kansas City League that she was from out of town and just saying, I’m spending $700 to have my daughter come here and to participate in this tournament. And she’s like, we’ve got five of these a year, and that’s not even within. And she’s like, I just asked myself, what are we doing this for? Yes. And so those are some ways in which I think that we allow ourselves to be shaped by the dominant culture and not defining what that looks like.

Rose: Yes, a hundred percent agree. Another thought about the story you just shared that came to me when you described the contrast, and especially who was playing at each field, and when you described the field with Somalians and different cultures, different ethnicities. When you describe that to me that says, that’s practicing the gospel of peace because we live in such a time in the context we’re in right now in the us. I mean, we hear all this dehumanizing, all the othering, all of them we’re afraid of difference. So when you describe all of these cultures coming together, even in not the best of environments, but they’re playing together, they’re learning together. To me, that’s practicing the gospel of peace and it’s beautiful. And to me that is a pushback on the dominant culture. And so I just really think that is very beautiful. So as you think about this episode or this series on burnout in youth and campus ministers, I would just love to hear more of your thoughts about how can youth pastors, youth leaders, campus ministries really start thinking about the way they’re leading and ministering in order to have some longevity and sustainability in their ministry.

Kurt: I think in some ways, maybe this does relate back to the question that we asked before, and who are we defining? How are we defining success and who are we looking towards as our models for ministry? I think we can say without hesitation as we see this reckoning in the evangelical church, especially over the last two years, whether we’re looking at Mars Hill or whether you’re looking at Hillsong or whether you’re looking at the SBC, this continues to grow, right? And there is still such a cult of celebrity that is especially captivating, especially to young pastors and young youth ministers and saying, we’ve got to be careful of who we’re following because I think that cult of celebrity ultimately will reveal itself that the emperor has no clothes in some sense that way. And so who are those people in our lives that we can look to that have demonstrated with integrity of character, that have demonstrated in perseverance over the long haul, that have seen some of those ups and downs that you’re kind of like, I could do that. I could live that way. Because there’s even a person in my life who’s been a pretty influential figure, and I’m not going to say who it is, but this person, I was visiting them with a group of others and their adult children happened to be in town that day as well. And it gave me another perspective that on them as leaders and the leader that I had in mind was so committed to ministry, ostensibly and so committed to their mission in the world, that I think that they sacrificed the wellbeing of their kids and family along the way. And I could see the damage and some of the trauma that it did in them. And I was like, I want to make sure that I don’t replicate this as well. You know, having a book out,  I believe that this will sell dozens, dozens of copies and joking and saying, but I think that that was always part of it, of me as a leaders, like, oh yeah, someday I want to write a book. And it’s like, this hasn’t changed much in me and I don’t think this is going to change my life, and I’ll be happy if anybody else other than my mom reads it. But are we following the kind of people that it’s like they’re showing me a sustainable kind of way, and they’re not going to be in the spotlight. They’re not going to sell any of the books. They might have some beautiful gospel stories that they’re sharing along the way, but what kind of people are we following? I think that that would be one real big piece of advice on burnout is what are those people doing and how are the people closest to them do they respond? Because I think at this point, my kids and my wife would just say, oh, this is a beautiful thing. I wouldn’t want to change my life and give this up for anything else. I say that I also want to not romanticize too much where we live because we are so blessed by our neighbors. It is so rich. But there’s hard stuff too. I mean, I’m dealing with three people, three close friends who could lose their house to attack sale, and those are people in good situations. I had to call the police on gunshots this morning, and we had arson in a building that our ministry was dealing with. I fixing broken van windows today from somebody that stole our van. So that is all there and

That’s all real. So I don’t want to romanticize any of that, but also, this is a good life. This is a good life, and we’re going to define our good life in some of these ways that are going to just look a little bit different.

Rose: I’m so convinced that local neighborhood parish ministry, just the type of work you all are doing, and I just know that’s starting. I mean, I work with young people. That’s what they want to do. You know what I’m saying? I think young people today, I mean we call them cynical, but it’s because they’re rejecting what you’re calling the celebrity. I don’t need to do that. I don’t want to be a pastor of a mega church. I want to move into a neighborhood and know my neighbors and see what the spirit’s up to in that neighborhood and joining with what God is doing. And you’re right. Some of that where people will be called to will be hard, but beautiful, beautiful work. So I love that story and I love what you’re doing. And so as we come in for a close, one of the things that we’re so grateful that you would spend this time with us, and we want to end by giving you space to do a shout out to an organization that you see doing good work because we want to donate to them. And then in our show notes, we’ll list it and we’ll encourage our listeners to donate as well.

Kurt: Yeah, that’s great. My heart, living in an immigrant neighborhood and having gone down to the border several times dealing with refugees and asylum seekers, our heart is so bound up with that. Another organization that honestly, I don’t have any personal affiliation with, that I haven’t never done anything with, but I’ve always loved them from afar and I’ve supported some of their work is Abara Borderland Connections, and they work along the US Mexico border in El Paso and are just doing such good work. In my own work with Youthfront Neighborhood is like, how are we tearing down those dividing walls of hostility that are between us in that Ephesians two kind of way, and making those connections and coming face to face with people who are so different from us and encountering their humanity, and then not just encountering their humanity, but also giving them tangible ways to help and relief. I just love all of that work, and Abara would be one organization that I would love to see some other people’s support as well.

Rose: Oh, I’m so grateful. That touches my heart because I care about that so much. So thank you so much, Kurt. Thank you for the time that you spent with us and I mean, bless your work and you guys make sure that you reach out and look forward toMend the World: A New Vision For Youth Ministry. Do it. I’m sure it will. Bless us. I can’t wait to get it and read it. So thank you.

Kurt: Thanks so much, Rose. It was great. Pleasure talking to you. 

Rose: You too.