VIDEO: Ministering Out of Community – Interview with Lester Comee

In this video, our own Zach Gurick talks to Youth Ministry veteran, Les Comee, about how we practice youth ministry out of a place of community.

This interview took place after Les’ presentation at the Flagler Forum on Youth Ministry at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida.

Transcript:

Zach Gurick: So we are sitting here at the Flagler Youth Forum, with Lester Comee. He is a legend in youth ministry because, you have been doing it for so long and you have influenced and impacted so many lives in the last 47-48 years that you’ve been walking with youth, standing beside them and you have just spoke about mission community and doing ministry out of a sense of community. So rather than having a team where you’re just focused on pushing them out to perform, reach more kids, grow, do more, you’re saying- we need to share life together. We need break bread together, have a meal together, focus more…

Lester: …many meals together.

Zach: And out of that ministry natural flows, we go out in this community together, we go, enter into kids lives together. And a lot of time we are going to need each other. So we talked about, Ruah –the breath of God and being reminded of being renewed with every breath that we take and helping our volunteers especially our leaders that we work with, to so slow down, to take a Sabbath, to take rest, to play together. And the other thing that really came out was, when you have this sort of community, this team, there is going to be a lot of conflict and so maybe tell us a little bit about how you work with that on your own leadership and in your life.

Ministering out of Community - Les Comee

Lester: One of the things I have talked about in the seminar, Zach, was, in my family growing up, we didn’t learn how to deal with conflict, so here I am in the leadership position and they’re all people like me broken, hurting, lonely. And so we’re bumping heads with each other all the time, without skills. We maybe have a theology out of Matthew 18 says ‘Care for one another, talk to one another, one at a time, two at a time’ but we don’t know how to do that, so we talked for a little while in the time about dealing with conflict, and who can help us deal with conflict.

So, rather than having a team where you’re just focused on pushing them out to perform, reach more kids, grow, do more, you’re saying- we need to share life together…

I went to a couple of people that were my mentors and just watched them and then asked them ‘how do you deal with conflict?’ Cuz’ that’s different. I had to learn, I have to learn all those skills to help work with the community. And you read in “Life Together” about community and Bonhoeffer is very honest about people not getting along. Cause’ we don’t. And we’ve had pro’s come in when I didn’t know what to do. I go online on Youtube and look for conflict, what is Brene Brown had to say about conflict? And actually she, for some National Management forum, has some incredible stories, that’s great stuff on YouTube. You just do a little research, but the hard thing is spending the time to take it into yourself. And how’s it been for you learning how to deal with conflict? – I’m dead serious.

We maybe have a theology out of Matthew 18, it says ‘Care for one another, talk to one another, one at a time, two at a time’ but we don’t know how to do that…

Zach: That is a struggle of mine as well and I feel similar (you and me brother). I would much rather avoid, deny, run away from conflict and so it’s a lot of internal work for me to really shoot, shoot straight for someone. A classic two on enneagram, a classic people pleaser. I don’t want to upset anybody, so having those hard conversations is so challenging. Something that, I see as I grow and as I’m transformed then, I’m able to lead others in that much better. So you mentioned Dietrich Bonhoeffer for life together, Brene Brown fantastic resources, you mentioned Bill Hybels…

Lester: … Intervarsity has numerous books on building a team that deals with all kind of stuff and conflict is one of them. I don’t remember the titles, but a lot of Intervarsity books on that. But as much as anything ,it’s finding somebody who can help you understand who Zach is, or who Les is, as a denier or as a run from person and then how do we deal with that? How do we work with that, it’s a slow process, for sure.

Zach: Yeah! Well thanks a lot for sharing with us today and thanks for continuing to pouring into the lives of young people.

Lester: Thank you Zach.

Comments

comments