Last night I finished reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have read Bonhoeffer’s books, but it was really insightful reading about his life from which those books were born. While I in no way would ever compare myself to the things he faced, I couldn’t help but feel an affinity with Bonhoeffer on many levels. His desire to live as a man of principle and according to the Word of God; His determination to think deeply and theologically; his battles with depression and yet seeking to remain positive, optimistic, and hopeful; his experiences in seeking to follow the Lord upstream against the tide of popularity, trusting all results completely to the Lord; and perhaps most surprisingly, his work with youth and children. I never realized that Bonhoeffer was in fact a youth worker. I was pleasantly surprised to see this side of him! I was so blessed to see his relational approach to ministry. He taught Sunday school. He had young people over to his house for discussions for his Thursday Circle. He took time to talk to them about their real-life issues. He took them on retreats and helped them learn how to spend time with God, in the Word, in contemplation, and enjoying nature together. I loved learning this about him, because they are things that I am passionate about in my own youth work. I am a teacher by gifting, and I love sharing God’s Word and helping them learning through discussion. I also love shared experiences which allow us to think deeply about God. Small groups, retreats, trips. Bonhoeffer was my kind of youth worker. Biblical. Practical. Relational.
When I finished reading the book. I hit my book shelf to find my next book to read. Coincidentally, I found that I recently grabbed a book by Andrew Root during my book shopping at the National Youth Worker Convention entitled Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker, which I am about to read. I am excited to see how he develops this idea of Bonhoeffer’s work with students.