I took copious notes at the workshop devoted to youth ministry, presented by a panel from across the district who have been working on a new model due for implementation over the next year. I am still distilling the various ideas and discussion that was presented, but offer a brief summary here of what is currently happening in youth ministry.
After a period of Appreciative Inquiry, involving individuals at all levels of programming across the district, it was discovered that the things that district youth express longing for in programming are the same things that adults also want to create: deeper worship experiences, connecting the dots to create truly multi-generational congregations, more meaningful and localized social justice work, developing spiritual resiliance, and thinking about “the way we gather” in order to include more people.The question becomes, how to put it all together on a district level, a cluster level, and in our congregations.
The current vision for the new model of youth ministry includes emphasis on creating more geographical clusters of youth programming, rather than centering on the lines drawn by congregational clusters: for example, instead of a Denver cluster encompassing all of Colorado, reorganizing into Northern and Southern Colorado. The team envisions that events that are not as intensive as the traditional three-day Con, such as a one-day social action project, or a social evening, could happen more easily in these geographical clusters, where participants would not be expected to drive more than an hour or two to get together.
The current structure of YRUU will need to rewrite their bylaws in order to implement a new governance structure to support these clusters, including creating more leadership positions to facilitate communication between congregations. This process would conclude at the Bridging Con to be held in April.
District wide Cons would still be a big part of District youth programming, but much more emphasis will be placed on networking individual congregations.
Concretely speaking for right now, while this transition is still in the planning and process stages, it falls to individual congregations to reach out to one another to plan events for their youth. District resources are available for building congregational programs, and individual congregations are encouraged to ask for help as they need it.
Voting on a new name for the District youth ministry program will take place this weekend as well.
I’ll post more later as I get through my notes — this workshop was packed with good information and good ideas for moving forward.
Posted Saturday, 17 October 2009 12:58 Written by Jess Cullinan