I regularly feel a sense of gratitude for all the people who make our ministry happen, and June is a time to give thanks for the people who nurture faith in our children and youth. With each baptism, we renew our commitment to be a church for our children and youth, to nurture their faith as part of our commitment to all people in our church. Among the ways we lived our commitment this year, God provided one of our own, Kelly Humphrey, to organize events for our middle school and high school students. Her leadership helped us accomplish one of our 2013 goals of broadening our ministry to engage youth as we discussed in our Stewardship Groups last fall. Our latest confirmation class completed its journey into faith and membership through the faithful work of David Monk, Pam Darreff and Gordon Braudaway. And, our church school staff has faithfully worked with and loved our children throughout another year of church school. Thank you all for your ministry, and thank you, church, for your commitment to be a place and community where all generations are welcomed through your faithful and generous gifts of time, talent and money.
Since January, while Kelly was organizing youth activities, the Youth Design Team has been working to develop a plan to build a sustainable youth ministry. This is a concrete follow-up to one of the mission study goals of our church which is to engage youth. The team has met frequently, from monthly to bi-weekly, to discern through prayer, Bible study and conversation next steps for our church to live the goal we have set for ourselves. What can we build that will engage our youth in an organized and faithful way that draws on the strengths of who we are as a church and continues to invite our youth to practice the presence of God with us, knowing God in their lives and in our life and ministry together? Our hope is to design a plan that will allow us to live our baptismal covenant together.
The Design Team is preparing to share with the congregation on Sunday, July 14 what has arisen from its work and next steps the church can take. Two congregational conversations have provided listening opportunities to hear from church members about their experiences of youth ministry and what God is saying to us about our ministry now. What we heard is being incorporated into what will be presented July 14 to the congregation for further conversation and discernment. We believe something new and sustainable is emerging that will allow us to live our mission as a church to “connect with God, one another and the world.”
Until July 14, here are some ways you can help the Design Team now:
Pray for the team that what is being developed will build on the faith and spirit of our church;
Plan to be present at the July 14 Mission Celebration Service to engage the first draft of the work;
Make space to listen for how God is inviting you to be involved as we work on connecting to God, one another and the world
While our ministry may be gearing down for the summer, the work continues as we discern God’s future for us and take concrete actions to live into that future. Thank you again for your faithfulness as we practice our faith and live the presence of God in our life together.