School is out and a lot of Youth Groups are now on summer hiatus. Our Youth Leaders have worked hard since the 1st week in September of last year. The question lingers in the air: “Do we just wait until the next September to teach our kids about our Lord and Savior?” Yes, many volunteers who work with our youth on a weekly basis report. But the truth is that we should never stop teaching our youth about the love and blessing of God.
Here is my way of always speaking about God’s grace and love whenever I am in contact with our youth. I am currently coaching a basketball team for about 40 young men in Emporia, Kansas. Their ages range from 8-19 years. Our first day of basketball practice is the day after our last day of Youth Group. Some of my ball players are from my youth group. At the end of each practice, we circle up and say a prayer. On our first day of practice, with 47 kids present, I told them how I was blessed and how much God loved each one of them. I also told them that I loved them unconditionally, just like God did. It didn’t matter what they did, God will continue to love them, and so will I. Later that week one of the parents told me that her youngest son, who was only 4, was running around the house and said to her “Guess what Mommy? Coach Earl loves me, and so does God.” This 4 year-old child came to the next practice and asked to say the prayer when we next circled up. I told him, “Sure.” I almost cried on the spot.
I offer this example to show that spreading the word of God needs to be done year-round, including the summer. I do it with basketball. You can do it with anything that may interest the youth you serve. We serve a Great God!
by Earl Williams
Youth Director and Safe & Sacred Space Trainer
Grace United Methodist Church, Emporia, KS
Loving God, Loving Neighbor