Last April I joined our Men's Softball team, now it should not be a tremendous surprise that I am not very athletic, but I experienced a tremendous amount of pain radiating upward from my feet going up each of my legs after each game. This was more than being sore, so I went schedule an appointment with a pediatrist to see what was wrong. After some x-rays, Dr. Tupper told me I need support. I have high arches and those arches need to be supported, so I have spent the better part of a year working on getting my high arches properly supported and now I am pain free. (Just in time for softball again, and you should come out and support our men's team on Monday nights and coed team on Friday nights starting in April) Without my arch supports I can walk, but I will be in pain later; I need the support in order a basic function like walking possible.
Have you ever tried to do something without the support of others? Sometimes it is possible to do on your own, but it can often be difficult, even painful. One of the task of every congregation is to empower people to do ministry. This requires that we support one another in our efforts to do ministry. This is support is essential for all new ministry and for new people getting engaged in ministries. As we seek to engage new generations of people for Jesus Christ, we will do so through new ministries for and with younger people. These new ministries will need to be supported and given the tools and resources to help those ministries succeed.
More than Lip Service
It is easy to say that we will support these ministries, but making that support real and tangible is critical to success. We must do more than speak, we must actively seek to support one another in our ministries. Actively supporting new ministries and new people, helps us show others that they are valued and that their ministries are important and vital to the life of the church. But what does specifically supporting young people in ministry look like? How do we make this more than words that we say or words on a screen?
Involving and Resourcing
One critical element in supporting ministry with young people is actually the word, "with." Ministry with young people, rather than for young people is a critical Community taking that next step into our future as a congregation. Many congregations in their attempts to reach new generations of people focus on ministry for young people, feeding into a consumeristic model of ministry where if you just have the right programs young people will just flock into the church. Most churches (all involves a heavy burden for any claim) that try this method or model fail. Ministry with young people places the focus including the young people in all facets of ministry: idea generating to planning to actualization.
The next step of the church engaging in ministry with young people is allowing for the resources required to do those ministries with excellence. Ensuring that Community's ministry with young people are properly resourced could mean a variety of things. Ministries are properly resourced when they have all the necessary space, materials, financial support and leadership needed. If we are going to succeed in reaching new generations of people we must properly resource our ministries with young people, to do anything less is just setting ourselves up to fail.
What We Are Doing at Community UMC to Support Ministries with Young People
There are two new ways in which we are proactively trying to resource ministries with young people. First we are repurposing the Youth Wing into a multipurpose space to be a subtable for school-aged children through youth with space to play, to study/do homework, watch moves, to engage in art, and more. The other way that we are supporting young people is that we are proactively expanded our childcare related staff. We have hired a part-time Childcare Coordinator, whose responsibility will be to oversee both the nursery (for children kindergarten and under) and the night care (for children post kindergarten-age 12) during the evening activities at Church in the multipurpose space. We are also seeking to hire more nursery and night care workers to be able to expand out capacity to support new families as well as meet the needs of our congregation. These decisions were made in order expand our reach, our capacity to be in well resourced ministry with young people and families. Properly resourced ministries will help us to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
Grace and Peace be with you,