It's Time to Invest in Those That Invest in the Young
Youth workers love being with other youth workers to share ideas and energy – whether that’s over lunch or over a weekend retreat. Read what TAC Youth Worker Connection (YWC) has been up to lately, and what opportunities are available for youth workers to tap into as they collaborate to Invest in the Young.
In case you haven't noticed, both the temperature and the calendar are racing towards summer. At this time of year most youth worker’s time is spent receiving calls from students wanting to join their summer trips, begging more adults to come along to accommodate additional students, and pulling their hair out trying to track down all the paperwork.
Youth workers across the conference are grateful to youth ministry cohorts like Eddie and Katie Eichler, co-director of youth ministries at John Wesley UMC for helping to create an informal group known as The Youth Worker Connection (YWC). “There’s a structure for clergy across the conference to connect, and we thought something similar would be very valuable for youth workers,” adds Katie. Ministry workers and volunteers from several dozen churches across the TAC are already active in this evolving group that has hosted “lunch ‘n learns,” training workshops and is promoting the first-ever YWC retreat. Adds Eddie, “The Youth Worker Connection is hosting a retreat May 2-3 at Lakeview Methodist Conference Center to learn, worship, connect and relax. This will be a wonderful time in the wilds of Fair Village to connect in new ways with other youth workers!” Russell Martin will lead worship and Rev. Andy Stoker, Ph. D. in Family Studies, will be sharing several important messages with participants.
Youth Ministries Director Audrua Welch of Faith UMC, Spring is excited about the connectional group and the retreat. “So often, as youth workers, we're doing the feeding so the retreat will be a great opportunity to be poured into and a chance to rest. I'm looking forward to spending some time with old friends and making new friends and diving into the Word with them. Doing youth ministry together is so powerful, and the YWC gives us a way to connect and make it happen.”
The festivities begin at 2 pm on Thursday and a finish at 1 pm on Friday. According to organizers, the cost of the retreat is $60 and scholarships are available. To register, visit youthworkerconnection.org. Questions can be directed to Katie Eichler at firstname.lastname@example.org or Eddie Erwin at email@example.com
Kenda Creasy Dean remarks in her book, Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church, "Research is nearly unanimous on this point: parents matter most in shaping the religious lives of their children. This is not to say that parents determine their children's spiritual destinies. Even the Bible has apostate parents with spiritual children, and vice versa, which only underscores the importance of supplementing teenagers' religious formation with congregational education - consistently the second most important variable on adolescent religiosity."
The Youth Worker Connection is focused on training, networking and caring for the souls of United Methodist Youth Workers in the Texas Conference. Adds Eddie, “The Center for Congregational Excellence and The Youth Worker Connection will be holding several upcoming events that should be on youth worker’ calendars!”
· May 16: Summer intern training on Thursday at Westchase UMC from 11a-2p covering everything from Safe Sanctuary, surviving spastic sixth graders, Sahara-like swelterings and saying "sayonara" to seniors.
· May 28: Lunch & Learn with Professor, Author and Annual Conference keynote speaker, Kenda Creasy Dean on Tuesday from noon - 1:30pm at a restaurant in the Discovery Green of Downtown Houston. Anyone who wants to share a meal and converse with Kenda is invited to notify firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-650-4786 for an update on where this conversation will occur during Conference.
TAC Youth/Young Adult Ministry Director Rev. Thera Freeman says, “The Youth Worker Connection events so far have been outstanding--youth workers meeting the needs of youth workers is connectionalism at its best! The retreat will be a great time of worshiping, learning and relaxing – and an ideal opportunity to energize youth ministry volunteers as well.”
More information at www.youthworkerconnection.org