Once students start putting their bags in the van, they start putting themselves in the van.
Once they’re in the youth room with the bagels, their focus is on the bagels.
Once they’re inside the house you’re renting for the ski retreat or the cabin at the camp that is hosting the Jr. High Retreat, you’ve lost their attention.
They’ve crossed the threshold–charged across it, tripped over it, sauntered by without even seeing it.
Thresholds are important spiritual spaces. We pass through them to enter a different kind of space, a different experience of time, a heightened awareness of God. The van door is a threshold, as is the entrance to the youth room and the mantle of the rental house or cabin.
The start of the school year is a threshold, too. And graduation. And a hundred other things students experience at the church and elsewhere.
Pay attention to thresholds as a leader. Create ways to mark the moment when students cross over, both on their way in and on their way out. For Godly Play, this happens as children are greeted by an adult who brings their face on a level, takes the child’s hand, and says, “It’s so good to see you. I’m glad you’re here.” It doesn’t need to be complicated.
What are your favorite tactics for observing thresholds?