Romans 8:28 tells us that God has the full ability and will use everything for the good of those who love Him.
That is definitely a pandemic scripture to hold onto.
I hear so often people talking about this generation, these kids, kids now day and the list could continue. So often they look at their generation with rose colored glasses.
Let me say this in opening. We had it great and we had it bad. We had good people and we had not so good people. Garrison Keeler, on his radio show, would talk about the people of Lake Wobegon as place where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average. For some reason people believe that of past generations.
As a youth worker and school teacher what I see is great youth and troubled youth, often in the same person. Some with more potential, and many with untapped potential. Same thing I recognized of the youth when I was their age.
Where the difference is how the older generation is teaching the younger generation? The situations have changed, but the potential has never diminished. I know that because everyone is created by God.
When we go on a trip, we pack a suitcase with everything we are going to need. When God created every human, he created us different and packed us with what we need for the journey of life. As adults we need to help those who come behind us to unpack their suitcase of life or it will all be in clutter.
I hear adults upset about our youth not standing for the flag, but have we taught them or just got mad because they don’t. Why do I stand, because my father taught me that is what I should do. The youth don’t respect the church, but have they ever had it explained to them how to and why?
Then the one that really bothers me is, “I fear for the church of tomorrow.” First of all, when did faith in God stop. It’s God’s church and it will not fail and neither will my faith in God. Also, if we don’t give our youth responsible roles in the church today, how will they be prepared to lead the church if it is just thrown at them all at once.
I believe in our youth. I am excited to see them growing, maturing, and becoming responsible workers in the kingdom. If I think something will fail when I step aside, then I have failed to do my ministry of preparing disciples and passing on the wisdom God has blessed me with. I also believe that God has already began to use this pandemic to re-tool and re-organize the church, The Body of Christ. He will use it for our good and I pray that those at such a young age are accepting the call to step out of their comfort zone to serve God even sooner that my generation did. Something as simple as a mask, which I don’t know of anyone who enjoyed wearing, has taught me to love someone else and wear that mask because I care.
These kids, and I use that term out of love, have had to make adjustments we wouldn’t have ever dreamed of. Going to school at home and being virtual is not easy. They have had to adjust to be successful. Some did and some didn’t, but that would have happened for every generation. But I know, for those who were successful, God is going to use that for them again and again. Now we have to encourage them to give the growing to God. I thought it was tough when the high school building burned down in my home town and we had to walk from churches to the field house and other buildings spread across town just to attend school. But their school buildings were closed while school continued. Some didn’t have the tools to be successful, but they didn’t let that stop them. Many succeeded with determination and that is why they will be great leaders of church of tomorrow because they are already leading in the church of today.
We will be/or have already had elections for persons to be a part of our leadership team for this coming year. But I think that team needs to grow. I have asked the team and they agreed to increase its numbers. So this is what we want to do in the coming year. If you are the primary youth leader at your church, please stand up. There are different titles; Youth Pastor, NYI President, Youth Director, and maybe you have a unique title for that person at your church. We want to invite you to be a part of our council meetings. Come, share, and be a part of our leadership team. We want you to have an actual voice, because we can have more ideas and better serve our youth this way.
We have some of the greatest leaders and workers on our district. We decided a couple years back to honor some of our hard working leaders each year at the convention. This Award was named after our previous District NYI President for his hard work and commitment to the youth. We named it the cast iron award, because just like a cast iron skillet that is strong, hardworking, and getting better with age these workers can always be counted on to do the hard work.
The first recipient is someone I have known almost my entire life. He and I grew up in the same church. Life moved us other places, but we are again on the same district. This person has worked at more of our church camps than anyone I know. He doesn’t just work one camp, but usually is at all four camps; primary, junior, middle school, and high school every year. He is probably getting close to having worked at nearly 100 church camps. Our first recipient of the Gordy award is Eddie McDougal.
Our second recipient has just jumped right into youth ministry. In their “spare time” they have a career where they work with youth as well as at church. They have accepted the call into ministry and currently is taking classes working toward ordination. They are always excited and faithful to work with our youth both at their local church and on the district. Our final recipient of the Gordy Award this year is Cassie Crowder.
I am excited to see our district events returning to in person and whatever the new way is.
We ventured out to go Snow Tubing in January. Numbers were limited by Winterplace and pre-registration was required. We had over 75 join together that evening, I am sorry again Buffalo that we missed your email. And if there is ever a place a mask is a bonus it is going downhill in below freezing temperatures on an inner tube. So plan to join us in the snow on January 14.
BLAST as we knew it was cancelled for a second year. But we decided that it was time to get together somehow and had our own BLAST-Off gathering. We had some who submitted video performances. Kaylee Wiseman from Elk River won in the solo category and Buffalo continued their reign of dominance in puppets. I am excited to say that BLAST will be back in full swing for 2022. If you are not aware of what BLAST is, shame on you leaders for keeping it a secret. District BLAST will be March 21 and Field BLAST is June 9-11 at MVNU. Check you packet for BLAST Information.
(Let me go off script here and say, Leaders if you are not getting information see me today. I send emails and texts out frequently so give me your contact information. We also try to put out information on our WV South NYI Facebook group. It bothers me when I am talking with teens and adults and I hear, “I didn’t know about that.”)
Make sure you get me your email and cell number. I try to send out info about events.
Quizzing has had an almost 2-year hiatus. But we are starting back up full steam ahead. This years books are Romans and James. Two of my favorites. Ruth Anne Briannna have decide to step down as directors. Marbeth Slater will be taking the helm of this wonderful ministry. If you have one teen who wants to quiz, don’t discount them. You can combine with a church near you. There is a calendar in your packet with quiz dates. If you have any quizzers meet up with Marbeth today so she can get information to you. The dates are ready and locations will be coming soon.
SONFest is returning this fall on September 18. Cory Asbury and Riley Clemens are two of the names slated for this event. (Check out the webpage for more information. Sonfest.mvnu.edu)
This year we are combining with NMI to have the Fall Youth and Missions Retreat. This will be the weekend of October 8-10 at Cedar Lakes. I hope your youth group will be attending. Remember one as important as ten.
Church camps finally started back up after a year of cancellation. Middle School camp had 93 campers and Senior High had 63 campers from all across West Virginia. With camps being mentioned, we reached an end of an era with the closing of Middle School camp this year. Ollie Parsons, after leading camp for some 25 years, has stepped down as the director. It is along with his retirement from pastoring church too. He has been a wonderful leader over these years and deserves to go a different direction with his life. Gordon Killian has stepped up to direct next year’s camp and Laura Crouch and Trevor Lanz have come along to help as co-directors and I believe we have someone who is going to shadow with Gordon this year to be our next Middle School Camp Director..
Ollie we would like for you two to come to the platform. We have a gift for you so you can set on your porch in Tennessee and remember the great times of camps.
Denise would you come up too. If there is one thing that goes unseen, the wife of a camp director is just as vital in the success of camp. We want you to be able to rock along with Ollie while you enjoy your grand kids.
Another event that I hope every at every church and the youth be a part of. The Journey is a global youth virtual event, hosted by Global NYI on August 13 & 14 streamed on YouTube. This will have NYI from across the globe all participating together. This 2-hour event is being streamed three times during those two days so that it will fit into everyone’s time zone. Here is a short video presentation about The Journey. You can go to Nazarene.org/NYIJourney to get information.
I want to go ahead and begin plugging for Nazarene Youth Conference now. This event is in July of 2023, but the time to begin preparing is right now. NYC 2023 will be in Tampa Florida. Allan Jones is our NYC Coordinator and he will be working diligently to make this a quality event at the best possible price. I would love to see one hundred youth and leaders from our district attend this event. You saw the video as we were opening our convention, here is a short reminder.
Finally, I want to share about a mission trip we are planning for 2022. We had originally started preparation for this year, but you know…pandemic. Originally we were going to Guatemala. We had a project to work at a local church in Guatemala City to help in doing repairs at their church. We would be there preparing to return home right now if it hadn’t been delayed. We are working with a couple possibilities for next summer. It looks as if Guatemala will not be available next summer. We should have some specifics in the next few weeks. If your church is interested in being a part of this mission ministry please send me your contact information so I will be able to include you as I receive information.
Check the calendar and continue to look for notifications for district events. Just a reminder, if you are not receiving notifications from me, see me before you leave today so I can get your contact information.
I say it often, and truly mean it, “If I can help you in any way I would love to. If I can come and share with your youth I would love the opportunity.” If you have an event your church is sponsoring that you would like to share across the district I would be glad to help.
What I hope and pray for is that we have youth who are becoming Disciples of Jesus Christ. God is using them for His glory. Let’s celebrate them and not find fault, because we all have faults. But in Jesus we all have hope and future.
Your servant mark#3