New Spiritual Formation Programs Draw Youth to Faith UMC Dickinson
Extending God’s love to children has always been a core value of Faith UMC Dickinson. This value readily surfaced over four years ago during the congregation’s participation in the Church Unique self-evaluation study. After the study, Jesus and Me (JAM) ministry coordinator Helen Childs says the church intensified its dedication to put faith into action through its children ministries.
“I am more than proud to be a part of the revitalization of our church,” she says.
“I, like other members, grew concerned about the absence of youth in the congregation. The church evaluation opened my eyes as to our unique kingdom purpose. God spoke to my heart about activating youth ministries. Responding to the pastor's messages on God's call to discipleship has infused new life into Faith church.
- Faith UMC’s JAM (“Jesus and Me”) Day outreach ministry continues to attract community youth. At the beginning of summer, the JAM Day outreach ministry offered 17 children a day of bowling, and laser tag fun at a local recreation center. This ministry, now in its third year, has introduced a spiritual development component through informal mini discussions. The program has adopted the Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed for Youth learning material as a guidance tool. Children are encouraged to imitate the teachings of Jesus Christ by applying his greatest commandment expressed in Mark 12:29-31. This scripture “To love the Lord thy God… and your neighbor as yourself” is the Jesus Creed. Faith ended the summer ministry program, with A JAM back-to-school play day held the Saturday before school start. The youth enjoyed basketball, board games and great snacks. They were once again introduced to a sprinkling of spiritual teachings during lunch. Rev. Diedra Walters, Faith’s associate minister, was among those on hand to support this ministry.
- Faith UMC took 10 youth and a new youth counselor, DaShae Gray, to experience the South District Lakeview Camp. Senior minister, Rev. Lorraine Brown says, “The youth and their parents always express such gratitude for this fulfilling experience.”
This was the 10th anniversary of the church’s Free School Shopping Spree that has long provided families from Dickinson and the surrounding Galveston County communities with new school clothes for over 100 area children. “It is always so heart-warming to see Jesus’ love at work through the eyes of excited children who receive brand new clothes,” says Rev. Brown. “We continue to see the need for this ministry as parents and children fill the church to capacity, year after year, to receive this blessing.”
The following Sunday was dedicated to providing back-to-school blessings for children and educators. The pastor extended an altar invitation specifically to those returning to school whether student or teacher. The sermon was dedicated to the children, encouraging them to be the best that they can, reminding them that they are representatives of Jesus Christ, and re-enforcing Christ’s love (and their church’s love) for them. The blessing ended with anointing each child, educator and parent with the blessing of the Jesus Christ as they entered the new school year.