It’s the beginning of another school year; it’s a time for new beginnings.
A Quick Update:
Here’s an update on my place in the candidacy process. I have officially been “Approved” by the Multi-Synodical Candidacy Committee. This means that I can enter into the assignment process in October. During this process I will find out which region I will be assigned to, and shortly after the Synod. It will take me while to find a call. This congregation has been such a blessing. First, I was blessed with being your intern then by your willingness to keep me on as a pastoral assistant. Now, I am blessed that I will be your Youth & Family minister. I will be doing everything Haley was doing plus leading worship, preaching monthly, and working on electronic communications.
A healthy Youth Ministry is undergirded by a simple philosophy—faith is caught more than taught. Faith formation is an individual and communal act that takes a lifetime.
The job of anyone who works in youth ministry here is:
1. To walk with young people in their faith journey.
2. To help them realize where God is in this journey.
3. To give them the tools necessary to deepen their journey.
4. To guide them lovingly back to the narrow path when they wander.
5. To be a faithful presence in their lives.
We do this by providing some programs, but mainly through deepening relationships between the older youth and younger youth and connecting both these groups to faithful adults. I connect with youth by going to their sports games, recitals, concerts, etc. I eat lunch with them, meet with them at Starbucks or in my office. I communicate with them online and offline. My purpose when doing this is to walk with them in their daily lives and continually connect their story with the story of God.
Included in this journeying is our youth program, which is multifaceted.
1. We implement a regular youth group for 6th-12th grade on Wednesday Nights. The purpose of these nights is to connect youth to the adults of the congregation during the meal, to connect the youth with each other in deep community, and to connect them to God through disciplines like prayer and reading scripture. The schedule of the night is fairly consistent. 6:30-7:00pm- Dinner and Fellowship 7:00-7:30- Play Games 7:30-8:00- Pray, Bible Study
2. Confirmation is a three-year program for 6th-8th grade youth. Luther writes in the Small Catechism, “Confirmation is a public rite of the Church preceded by a period of instruction designed to help baptized Christians identify with the life and mission of the Christian community…The rite of confirmation provides an opportunity for the individual Christian, relying on God’s promise given in Holy Baptism, to make a personal public confession of the faith and a lifelong pledge of fidelity to Christ.” Confirmation meets on the first Wednesday of the month and a retreat in June.
3. We have a regular Sunday School during the first service where the youth are taught scripture. The purpose of Sunday School is to immerse the youth in the language and stories of the Bible in order for them to learn the language of God and know the accounts of God’s work in history.
4. We have a once a month activity. This can include everything from a movie night, miniature golf, bowling, ice-skating etc. etc. The purpose of these events is to provide a setting for youth to invite their friends to a church event that is not intimidating.
5. Our after school program meets afterschool once a week on Mondays. The purpose of this program is to give kids a safe space after school to do homework, play, or rest.
6. First Friday is a monthly event on the First Friday of the month. This is an outreach and hospitality ministry to youth who walk home from school. We provide a rest stop with drinks, snacks, and games.
These are the ways we fulfill the mission statement of our Youth Ministry.
To reach out to 6-12 grade students in Faith Lutheran Church as well as the greater Castro Valley area, provide a place of fellowship and growth, and make authentic disciples, impacting the community with Christ’s love.
I look forward to being your Youth & Family Minister.
Youth & Family Minister