Thursday, November 3, 2011

Perspectives from the Field: When you “Run the Race” is it a Sprint or a Marathon?

For those of us that work with youth, we often focus on the next meeting or next event but we need to make sure that we’re working with long-term and the end goal in mind.

Many times we’re not going to see how our youth turn out or how their faith journey evolves.  However, that doesn’t mean our role in that path is any less important.  Sometimes we are planting a seed and might not see the growth.  Other times, we’re the ones that benefit from the work of others as we see the light turn on as someone accepts Christ or grows in their faith. 

One way to increase your chances of seeing someone catch a spark is by getting involved with youTheology.  The high school youth in the year-long program are able to explore their faith with a mentor and it culminates in the Pan-Methodist Pilgrimage. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to see some of the youth I once led grow up to be active members of my congregation.  I even have one of my “alumni” that now has a son involved in Youth Group.  The son spoke during the youTheology One Day event this Fall while the father is joining me in the youTheology Think Tank.

Encourage your youth to learn and grow their own faith so that it’s not dependent on the next big event or youth trip.  You want to make sure that their faith can make it through the hard times and not just the fun, exciting ones.  Of course, the same goes for you as a Youth Leader; you need to have a support system to help your faith endure through the hills and valleys of youth ministry.

What do YOU do to help your Youth Ministry endure?

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
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

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