Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thank You!

This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving.  Lots of people are spending the month stating things that they are thankful for and we should work with our youth to appreciate all that God has given them.  Let’s make sure WE are also saying Thank You to all those that make our ministry possible:

  • To the youth (as it is difficult to have a Youth Group without any youth)
  • To parents, volunteers, Sunday School teachers, teachers, coaches, Scout leaders & other adults (like it or not, they are your partners and they each play a crucial role in the lives of youth)
  • To the church secretary (they can make your life much easier or much more difficult; personally, I’m really fortunate here and do not express my appreciation near as much as I should)
  • To the cleaning crew (and say an extra thank you the next time you have one of those really messy meetings and the church ends up clean once again)
  • To the Senior Pastor (especially when you’re fortunate enough to have one that “gets” youth)
  • To the Staff Pastor Parish committee (don’t forget to thank those that determine your salary)
  • To the church members that support your youth and put up with your craziness
  • To those that have served as mentors to your youth or to you

And on behalf of youTheology, I’d like to say Thank You to …

  • The current class participating in The One-Year Journey as well as our alumni
  • Youth that participated in “One God, One Day, One Love” in 2010, 2011 or 2012
  • Adults that participated in any of the years of the Youth Workers’ Gathering
  • The current set of Advisory Board members
  • Past Leadership Team and Advisory Board members from our first 10 years; they helped us get to where we are today
  • Future Advisory Board members that will help us as we take the next step forward in ministry
  • The members of the Program Committee that help create special events
  • The members of the Development Team that help us figure out how to fund the program
  • All of the donors (past, present, future) including those that participated in “Send Me A Mile” earlier this year or that supported the Movie Benefit & Auction earlier this month
  • Our partners in ministry whether through grants, resources or ideas
  • The Director, Support Staff and all those that help make our ministry possible
  • And of course, Saint Paul School of Theology, for hosting/housing us for the past 10 years!

So, one more time …

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, November 20, 2012

Whatever You Do, Support

How can you, how can I best support our youth who face enormous stress and pressure? On a daily basis, they are confronted with sickness, violence, death, and uncertainty. Many are expected to assume adult roles and make adult decisions prematurely.

The pressure to excel to satisfy adults, be it coaches or parents, etc, takes the fun out of many activities. Competitiveness and the giving of grades have taken over many extra curricular activities and events. Coupled with this is the lack of security. Even as simple an act as going to school is no longer safe. A 13-year old dies after being shot on a school bus on the way to school. you can read about it here.

This was not our world, but it is theirs, the students with whom we work. And there is so much more. It means we cannot use the same standards to assess them as would have been used on us. It also means that we need to be compassionate in our attitudes toward them, loving them with God's love.

We do this while pointing them and seeking to help them connect in meaningful ways with the God who loves them so much that this God send Jesus Christ for our sins and our salvation; this God  who walks with them in their life and through their stress.

We need to be loving presence. We need to listen, care and support, and pray.

How do you support the youth in your ministry?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future