Yesterday's comments include a couple people wanting to know how to fix dove. The very question misses the larger context of this blog. The answer to serving dove is guacamole. Tonight I'm fixing dove fajitas -- with fresh guacamole (starting with Haas avocados), beans, onions, peppers, and tortillas right off the tortilla-maker at HEB. I'll grill the dove with a little bacon and a bit of sauce and then slap them on the fajita plate. I've also been known to make quail fajitas and sandhill crane fajitas. Mmmm, good. - - - - Just a word about youth ministers here. I've been blessed to speak at lots of conferences for youth ministers through the years, and I've gotten to know many of them. Here's what I've discovered: so many of them are among the most passionate, godly leaders I've ever met. They tend to fly under the radar a bit since they are "youth ministers"--but trust me, their influence permeates throughout their churches. Most of them are thinking theologically in a way that connects with culture. They have to answer the question "Where was God in this?" constantly, because teens aren't afraid to ask. They have developed a knack for seeing beneath the surface to the deeper issues. For example, when everyone was blathering on about Generation X, most youth ministers saw beneath those "studies" to the deeper cultural shifts involved. Church leaders are, thankfully, talking more and more about missional living. I think many youth ministers led the way. Over the past couple decades they have moved away from the ski trip model of youth ministry (though there's nothing wrong with a good old ski trip!) to the mission trip model. They know that their job isn't to meet all the perceived needs of their teens or to compete with the next megachurch down the road but to help in the transformation of students into passionate disciples of Christ who seek to participate in the work of God. So many youth ministers I know are passionate about kingdom, mission, incarnational living, authenticity, and -- of course -- the gospel. They have little time for denominational concerns and have been moving beyond those borders long before others decided that is a good idea. In my freshman Bible class each fall, I ask my students to fill out a sheet to help me get to know them. One question asks them to tell me about the most influential person in their spiritual formation. As you would guess, moms and dads lead the list. But the next group is youth ministers. Isn't that amazing? So many university freshmen remember them as their mentors/guides/teachers! Does your church have a youth minister? Or if not, how about volunteers who pour themselves into the ministry? Then thank them! Pray for them! Encourage them! Support them! Can you imagine what a word from you might do to give them new strength? Or an invitation to go to lunch? Or a promise to pray for them by name each week? So today, I give thanks to all of you out there who are involved in the faith formation of teenagers. As the dad of a 7th grader, I know just how important you are!