Youth Blog

A Place for Growth

12:06 14 March in Our Story, Youth

Raising Up Saints of God

By The Rev. Eric Wolf

“Don’t let them pigeonhole you into youth ministry!” advised a seminary professor as we prepared for internship. What that professor meant was, “You’ll be doing many different roles in your ministry, so insist on getting a wider experience than working with one group in your internship congregation.” What a lot of us heard was, “Youth ministry isn’t really pastoral ministry.”

That had a particular impact because I’d already been involved with youth ministry for some time at this point. When I got to internship, I boldly told my supervisor that I was happy to help with some youth things, but I really wanted a wider variety of experiences and that I needed something different.

I worked with a variety of committees and groups, my supervisor involved me in the top-level meetings about finances. I worked hard to learn well-rounded skills and do all the things that I thought were expected of me and was successful. During internship I preached, I taught, I worked to be a grownup. I did ministry with our older parishioners during health, sickness, and death — it wasn’t terribly difficult to find older parishioners in Florida, so I spent days visiting 90-plus-year-olds who had the heat on during the summer. Don’t get me wrong, walking with these people was holy ground; but did I mention that I’m a well-insulated man? In the words of John Pinette, “I’m a large mammal”. Heat in the summer? Lord have mercy!

When I look back though, those aren’t the things I remember most as being most formative.

We practiced with the praise band every week. Our 60+ organist, an early 30-something, a young adult Eric, and four teenagers who became some of my favorite people in the congregation. We played praise music and then stuck around to play Stevie Ray Vaughan, Weezer, Matchbox 20, and the other obligatory music surrounding 2005. We talked about heartbreaks and navigating hormones and first cars, first wrecks, learning to grow into new competencies, and they asked me hard questions about faith, life, the universe, and everything. With the full youth group, we went to Universal Studios and did hurricane relief work following four Cat 4 and 5 hurricanes during the very early time in my internship, and I had the privilege of learning from them so much about myself through their eyes.

I keep up with just a few of the people from internship, but recently I was messaging on Facebook one of the “kids” (who has his own kids now) and told him, “I know I was just an intern, but I think a lot about you”. He said, “you were a lot more than an intern to me”.

“Don’t let them pigeonhole you into youth ministry;” “you were a lot more than an intern to me”.

+++++++++++++++

When I think about what it means to be Church and look at the cloud of witnesses who forms and shapes me, I see years’ worth adults who cared enough to form my faith and answer my impossible questions; and hundreds of Youtherans (many of whom are now young adults) in my mind. I see their creativity, their passion, their growth and deep discernment. These sages ask me the hardest questions, challenge me the most earnestly on my opinions and interpretations. They tell me jokes that aren’t religious!

Jesus lifts up the young. I wonder if it’s because they’re willing to see him, not the religious guy who goes around doing cool stuff and saying profound things. “Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will know even as we are fully known” (1 Cor 13). I think this is what makes youth ministry such a rewarding vocation, youth haven’t yet learned to guard themselves against the discomfort of being formed, they aren’t afraid to be changed by the Gospel.

Working with our synod’s youth ministry is a joy and an honor. We have enthusiastic youth, a richness in adult leadership, and a unique opportunity to work on faith formation with young adults as they learn to be the next generation of adult leaders to fall in love with formational ministry.

After all, isn’t that what Jesus tells us our job is? Make disciples.

The Church is a lifelong faith formation enterprise with disciple making as our mission while we learn to love God and love each other. The Church isn’t a place for being, we can be so many places. The Church is a place for growth.

If you want to see young adults in worship, be involved with the youth and young adults in your congregation. Invest your time and energy in helping them to become the adults you hope they might become. Invest your congregation’s resources in their formation so they can learn to be faithful stewards and have hearts for serving God with their time and talents. Hound them with your love throughout their college years and don’t let them forget who they are and what they mean to you — not “you”, your congregation, but to you. Don’t do it hoping they’ll stay. Do it because they matter to God. Do it because of what they can offer to your own growth in faith and love in your own life.
Make your congregation a place for growth. Get involved with each other, and discover Jesus together!

Peace,
Eric

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March is for Youth Ministry – Freed to Hear!

20:58 01 March in Youth

The Event (6th Grade) – March 18-19
Being in 6th Grade can be hard because it’s a year of transition. This is on the same weekend as the 7th & 8th Grade Winter Retreat, and begins on Saturday (information on the registration and RSVP forms). We will be using the same theme as that retreat! The Event @ Camp Kinard, 3/18-19 cost is $60 per person.

Individual Registration
http://scsynod.us/lcytheevent

Group RSVP
http://scsynod.us/lcytheeventgroup

7th & 8th Grade Winter Retreat March 17-19
Have you ever been distracted, confused, or thought, “that person is speaking, but I sure can’t get what they’re saying!”?

During this weekend we talk about how to hear what others say, how to hear what God is saying, and how to hear your own voice when others seem to be drowning you out.

Register today, and come hear what Jesus is saying to you! 7th & 8th Grade Winter Retreat @ Camp Kinard, 3/17-19 Adult Group Available! We will focus on elementary & middle school ministries and the cost is $95 per person, Adult & Youth.

Individual Registration (Adult & Youth)
http://scsynod.us/lcy78wr

Children and Youth Ministry Workshop for Adults! March 17-19
Working with youth can be challenging, but working with children presents a different set of challenges. Join adult leaders of youth from around the synod to learn some new strategies, hone your skills, and hear what others are doing!

Deacon Deborah Poole and Mrs. D’Etta Broam have prepared an engaging curriculum to talk about the peculiar challenges of this important formational ministry.

Our sessions will be an icebreaker session on Friday evening, our programming on Saturday, and we encourage you to stay for closing worship on Sunday morning.

Camp Kinard, 3/18-19 and the cost is $95 per person.

Registration
http://scsynod.us/adultwinterretreat

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2017 March for Ministry Flyer - Freed to Hear!

2017 March for Ministry Flyer - Freed to Hear!

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Partnering with LCY – Pledge and Volunteer!

21:22 07 November in Youth

One of the things that has made LCY such an effective ministry over the years for helping our youth become leaders in the Church is that we’ve had a dedicated group of adult volunteers to help shape and form them, and encourage them to think about how they can live out their call to live in the light of the Gospel. Our volunteers who serve during events have helped many pastors discern their calls to ministry, and many congregational leaders understand what leadership in the Church looks like.

We’re looking for more volunteers always, and have a goal of at least 25% of our total staff for the year be new faces so that we can benefit from fresh ideas and fresh eyes, and provide a way for our synod’s youth leaders to enjoy being part of something bigger!

We also are a ministry that’s supported by congregational pledges in addition to our synod budget. A few weeks ago, we sent out a packet with a letter to your pastor, a letter to your congregation’s youth leader, and a pledge form. In order to send voting members to LCY Convention, each congregation needs to have a pledge on record for the school year.

If you haven’t seen any of those (or want to make sure the right people see them), here’s a link to the pledge form so you can print it and take it to your youth leaders, pastor, or youth group to talk about how to support our synod’s youth ministry.

If your pastor or youth leader haven’t seen the letters, they’re available here for download.

We’re so grateful that our ministry by, with, and for youth is supported by our congregations! LCY is our youth, and also those who support them!

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Club 345 – December 3 at Mt Hermon, West Columbia from 10-4

21:16 07 November in Youth

set-freeClub 345 is a day-long event for 3rd, 4th, & 5th graders to get a chance to meet others from around the synod, get a taster of LCY, and learn more about how to follow Jesus – all in the context of fun games, songs, and study!

Also, we will have an adult group available for leaders of youth, so plan to bring your youth and hang out or if you don’t have youth in this age range who are able to come but want to get to know other leaders of youth, come on out!

Individual Registration – http://scsynod.us/lcyclub345

Group Registration – http://scsynod.us/lcyclub345group

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Hand in Hand – November 18-20 at Camp Kinard!

20:59 07 November in Youth

hand-in-handHand in Hand is our fall service project for LCY! Registration for Hand in Hand is underway, and we’re looking forward to a day of helping seniors from Pine Ridge Senior Center clean up their yards! Click here for a printable copy of our flyer! Reserve spaces for your group here (each youth still needs to register). Register individual youth here.

We can’t wait to see you there!

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