Academy Youth Host Their Own 'Family Reunion'

Date Posted: 1/9/2014

As the sun set on the final ‘holiday week,’ youth and adults gathered at First UMC Conroe, on January 3 for a special weekend.  As TAC youth mentor Russ Bowlin describes, “They came to be reunited. They shared stories, laughter, meals, and enjoyed the other benefits of living in community. This group of about 40 took part in worship, lifted their voices in praise, heard Scriptures read, listened to sermons and gathered around the Table of the Lord to receive Holy Communion. They call it practice.”


Alumni of the Texas Youth Academy have been gathering for mid-winter reunions for five years now. Members of each class are invited to be reunited with friends and mentors, but also to recall the disciplines they experienced during their two weeks of study, worship, service and communal living. They gathered to practice living out their faith in Jesus Christ within this community in order that they might live this faith in the world.


Ashley Hamel, Youth Ministry Intern at FUMC Coppell shares this reflection she posted on Facebook:


“As I was driving back to Dallas this morning, a song came up that has really (to be honest) been my jam for a few weeks. This morning it was different, I sang it with words from Russ' sermon in my thoughts. I love TYA. I love how evident God is when we gather. I crave to find a group of people who are so vulnerable with each other but also with their Creator. We each experienced God in different ways while at TYA but I think it also allowed us to see God in new and powerful ways--in a way without limits. When I get back to day-to-day life I put limits on God and I throw low expectations on the people around me. God is so much bigger. Thanks for reminding me. Below are the lyrics:


Desert Soul by Rend Collective Experiment 


I love you God

But I want to love You more

I need You God

But I want to need You more


I'm lost without

Your creative spark in me

I'm dead inside

Unless Your resurrection sings


I'm desperate for a desperate heart

I'm reaching out, I'm reaching


All that I am is dry bones

Without You Lord, a desert soul

I am broken but running

Towards You God, You make me whole


You are exactly what we need

Only You can satisfy

For more information on the Texas Youth Academy, go to