Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Those Gifts

A few Sundays ago I was visiting the church of which a couple of our alumna are members. I attended the second worship service. Someone passed me the attendance pad. As I was about to write my name, I looked a few lines above and realized that one of our alumni, class of 2007, had attended the earlier service. In addition, another one, class of 2011 had been helping in the nursery during the earlier service.

It's always a joy to see and hear about the witness of our alumni. Not so long before that visit, I'd had the privilege of hearing another alumna accompany a service. Music is so important in worship.

I count these as gifts, to know that so many of our alumni are still pressing on and serving the Lord, witnessing faithfully to how God has called them. We will continue to hold them up in our prayers.
Loving God, Loving Neighbor

Monday, August 15, 2011

And It's Good

 We are really blessed at youTheology. Each year, we welcome an outstanding group of youth and their mentors to the Saint Paul School of Theology campus in Kansas City, MO and are joined by video link with another excellent group at Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, TX. We have a great group of leaders.

It is a special time of discovery of talents and finding one's place and voice as community is built. It is God's time as we place our activities within the framework of prayer and offering to God all that we are and bring. This was the case from August 4 - 7, 2011 when we welcomed the new group of youTheologians and their mentors. This Saturday, we will experience this in a condensed form at our One God, One Day, One Love Event. What a privilege!

This is all God's work, and it's good.
Loving God, Loving Neighbor

Friday, August 12, 2011

Perspectives from the Field: Crazy Busy Summer

Summer is supposed to be a time to rest & relax so why does it seem like it’s crazier than ever?  Trying to coordinate everyone’s schedule can be a challenge.  And when you get together, it’s important to find the right mix to make sure they’re having fun but also growing closer to one another and closer to God.

It’s a good idea to exchange ideas with other youth leaders to find out what worked for them, realizing that you might need to modify their ideas to fit your program.  Also, consider getting involved with other youth groups to do stuff together that you might not be able to do on your own.  For example, my youth group participates in a Mission Trip organized by the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Over the last few years, my youth have been to Kennet, Jefferson City and St. Joseph (all in Missouri) as well as Cherokee Nation (Oklahoma), New Orleans and Colorado Springs.

We also regularly participate in Festival of Sharing (in Sedalia in October) as well as WOW (in Springfield in January) which are now circled dates on our annual calendar.

One event to consider is youTheology’s "ONE God, ONE Day, ONE Love" event which takes place on August 20th.  You just need to round up your youth, show up and participate as we’ve already planned out the details.  To learn more, please visit plus you can LIKE youTheology on Facebook @ 

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

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Avoiding Silos

Dr Doug Powe makes a relevant point about silos and community in his chapter, "Race: Grace and Unity in the Post-Civil Rights Era" in Generation Rising: A Future With Hope for the United Methodist Church. He makes the distinction between the Pre-Civil Rights era when a vertical vision of society in which one's awareness of others was confined to those like oneself, the silo vision, with the Post-Civil Rights era where there is greater awareness of and interaction with those not like ourselves.

A question this raises for us is, how far have we gone beyond the silo in the make up and interaction of the various communities with which we are connected, especially our student groups?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor