Tuesday, July 19, 2011

youTheology in Illinois

youTheology Great Rivers/St. Louis Metro yT-pod is up and running. We give God thanks!
So here we are at Little Grassy Camp in Illinois following the same curriculum as the groups at Saint Paul School of Theology and Lydia Patterson Institute. It is exciting to see it coming to life in a different setting with different teachers in a style that works for the audience.
youTheology in Illinois is unique. It is all male, which is great. The Illinois Great Rivers UMC Conference is raising up a group of male leaders and youTheology is privileged to be a part of it.
Let us pray this group of young men---that they would grow in the faith and be steadfast in Christ.
You are welcome to check out pictures and videos of what’s happening in Illinois on the youTheology facebook page…www.facebook.com/youTheology

Loving God, Loving Neighbor

Friday, July 15, 2011

Perspectives from the Field: 2nd Annual "ONE God, ONE Day, ONE Love" event

Please mark your calendars for August 20, 2011, to join in on youTheology's 2nd Annual "ONE God, ONE Day, ONE Love" event.

This is an opportunity to meet with youth from different Methodist churches (AME, AME Zion, CME, and UMC) for a time of worship, community building, and service as well as a time to reflect on the work we do together. We hope that YOU and the youth from your congregation will be able to join us on Saturday, August 20th.

Last year, my youth were able to participate and had a good experience as they worshiped with other youth, had time to get to know one another, served the community and then came together to reflect on the day. My group plans to return this year and I hope you can join us for ONE God, ONE Day, ONE Love. Online Registration DUE August 1st.

Here are all the details:
* WHEN? Saturday, August 20, 2011
* WHERE? Saint Paul School of Theology and area community service organizations
* HOW LONG? 9.30 am - 4.00 pm (worship, lunch, community service and reflection)
* WHO? Middle & High School Students and Youth Workers (youth must be accompanied by adults; 2 adults for every 10 youth)
* COST? $7 per person pre-registration (www.youtheology.com/onedayregister; online registration deadline is August 1, 2011) or $10 per person registering on the day of the event
* For more information, please visit www.youtheology.com/oneday plus you can also LIKE us on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/youTheology.

youTheology is a Saint Paul Schol of Theology Pan-Methodist program that is preparing leaders, deepening faith, providing curriculum resources, and giving opportunities for loving and serving God and others with high school students and youth workers.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27

by Mark Whitaker
~~Youth & Young Adult Director, Communications Coordinator, & Scouting Rep
Avondale United Methodist Church in Kansas City MO (North of the River)
~~Marketing Coordinator - youTheology Advisory Board

Loving God, Loving Neighbor

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's Your Message?

This is a question we need to keep at the forefront of our ministry with youth: "What's your message?" It's a question that can easily get lost in the busyness of youth ministry and yet it is critical to our enterprise. It also helps to clarify why we do what we do.

Youth ministry is multifaceted. It involves programs, some of which are very complicated and dynamic. It also involves administrative details and managing relationships at many levels. I am sure you can add to this. As youth workers, we can be kept quite busy, especially those whose primary employment is outside the church. Lots of demands. It is easy to lose sight of the message.

In "Internet Ministry: Delivering the Message in Cyberspace," Shane Raynor reminds us of the importance of methods being in service of the message; a message that does not change. He advocates the use of the internet but reminds us that we need to be like John Wesley in that when he adapted new methods, it was because of the importance of the message and the need to get it out to as wide an audience as possible. Raynor

So what is the message? Raynor sums it up thus as he breaks down prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace: "Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead, conquering death. It's through believing in Christ that we are forgiven and receive eternal life, and it's through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can put away sin and become more like Christ. Not only that, we can have assurance of our salvation" (Raynor 2011, 135). This is the good news of Jesus Christ.

What place does the good news of Jesus Christ have in our youth ministries? What about yours?

Raynor, Shane. "Internet Ministry: Delivering the Message in Cyberspace" in Generation Rising: A Future with Hope for the United Methodist Church, ed. Andrew Thompson, 132-142. Nashvilee: Abingdon,2011.

Loving God, Loving Neighbor

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Point of It?

As I read Kevin M. Watson's chapter entitled, "Small Groups: Bearing One Another's Burdens" the word "purpose" kept coming to my mind. Watson is writing about the relevance for today of early Methodism's system of class meetings. He points to these meetings' emphasis on discipleship and transformation and their role in growth in the life of faith, noting the shift from class meetings to Sunday School where the emphasis is more on information giving. He makes other notable points. They raise the question of why we do what we do and what we are looking for during and at the end of the process. What's the point of it all?

This is an important question for us to revisit at this point in youTheology as we begin another year. Why are we doing what we are doing and what are we looking for? As we begin the 2011-2012 year, it's time for us to refocus and hold our mission before us and before the new crop of youTheologians, mentors, and leaders. How will we, together, develop faithful leaders for a diverse church and world? That's our mission. How will our small groups, presentations, discussion and other times move toward this end? How will faith be deepened and lives transformed through worshiping and serving together, learning about the Methodist tradition, participating together in spiritual disciplines, and seeking to hear God's call? How are the church and the world being transformed through what we do? How will God be glorified? There is a point to it all.

Summer is not yet over, and so this is a good time for those of us who work with youth to revisit our purpose before we go into the new school year of activities? What has God called us to do so that lives are transformed to God's glory? What is the point of it all?

Loving God, Loving Neighbor