Monday, October 29, 2012

Developing Leaders

As you might already know, youTheology is all about “Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World, Now and In the Future” but what about today’s leaders?

As we approach Election Day, how should we speak to our youth about the process and the people?  Churches and other non-profits are not allowed to officially endorse a candidate and deciding whom or what to vote for is a very personal decision.  Still, we should encourage our youth (especially high school seniors that might be voting for the first time) to be informed about the issues and to find their voice.

Also, whether your candidate wins or loses, keep the leaders of our church, community, state, nation and world in your prayers.  We need to lift them up and ask for God’s guidance to make the world a better place.

We also should look at our own leaders and our place within the church and community.  When we select leaders for our church, is there a place for our youth?  Look at their talents and see if there’s a way to realistically have them play a role in your congregation.  You just might be surprised by the great ideas that our youth bring to the conversation.

Would you like to know more about youTheology?  To find out how it is developing faithful leaders for a diverse church and world, now and in the future, please attend our Movie Benefit & Auction (on Tuesday, November 13 @ 6:30 p.m. @ Barrywoods AMC) or visit one of these links: 

Videos at or or watch “youTheology: The Journey” by clicking here.

Thank you!

by Mark Whitaker, youTheology Advisory Board Chair
Youth & Communications Director @ Avondale United Methodist Church in KC North
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

youTheology Lessons

Recently, I was privileged to hear from youTheology alumni how God has been using the youTheology ministry in their lives. It was a real blessing. Their experiences spanned a number of years. As I listened the following themes emerged as to what gave meaning to this time in  youTheology:.

  • Becoming part of long-lasting community of peers who took faith seriously.
  • Interacting with adults, including seminary professors who took them seriously and engaged them at a deep level.
  • Learning more about the Methodist heritage, including what it believes.
  • Being able to exercise their gifts in ministry, including preaching their first sermon.
  • Having a place to be heard.
These are the things that endure and are so much a part of who we are as Christians. We are called to love one another with Jesus' love. This means taking each other seriously and honoring each other's gifts, regardless of age. It means entering into each other's stories and listening. It means working through what it means to live faithfully, with the help of God and others who are walking this Christian road, some having been on the journey for a longer time. It is also learning more about the faith context out of which we are called to live out our Christian lives. Ultimately, it's about loving God and loving our neighbors.

What gives meaning in your youth ministry? What do the young people say?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Present . . . all but

Occupying space, that is physical space, can be easy sometimes. We just show up, sit down, or sometimes stand up. We're present. But are we really?

There's this big difference between being  physically present and being really present to those around us. Really present as in, I'm here, my mind is focused on what you're saying, I'm attending and actually getting who you are and where you're coming from; at least as much as is humanly possible in my journey at this point in time.

It's easy for our minds to wander, consumed with details of pressing issues and activities; easy to become absorbed in ourselves.

And yet . . .

And yet the teens we serve need more, deserve more. So many people are brushing them off with activities and toys (gadgets. etc.) Yes. Teens need our presence more than our programs, our God-centered presence. A presence that taps into God's guidance and attends fully to those around us, all present. It's easy and it's not.

Jesus was present; very present. He got what people were saying and so much more. He got who they were and what they needed. As a result they received life.

God-centered presence can be life-giving.

How are we giving life to the teens we serve and/or others around us? How are we all present?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future