Thank you for your generosity, expressed at year-end both by your gifts to the pastors and staff (much appreciated!) as well as by the time you took to interact with RHUMC’s survey on Children and Youth Ministry. It is fun to read about your special memories drawn from being part of the Sunday School teaching team or the Wednesday night (Logos) youth program support crew. Clearly you value the presence, participation, and leadership of children and youth in worship. You are enthusiastic about our Vacation Bible Camp and appreciative of Parents’ Night Out opportunities. You have seen first-hand how young people have grown and developed through the Sierra Service Project and other service-oriented experiences. You enjoy how holidays are enhanced by kid-oriented fun and festivities. Your families have been strengthened and encouraged by time in the preschool and with the Kidzone/Midzone after-school programs.
It is an additional joy to learn about your anticipation of how your children will grow in their relationship with God and be supported in their spiritual growth in the future. Collectively, you indicated that the highest priority purpose of Children and Youth Ministry is to support young people emotionally and spiritually with practical guidance as they grow and develop. A number of you are eager to help in specific ways and you emphatically communicated your willingness to be involved. Your gracious responses give me high hopes for what will be happening among us in the year now getting underway.
Your specific suggestions about how to help new Children and Youth Ministry staff become acquainted with the congregation and community are especially timely. You will read elsewhere in this issue of the Cornerstone about leadership decisions that have been made and/or are in process. Introduction, invitation, and involvement are three words that might summarize a wide array of proposals for welcoming events and activities that would be helpful as selected leaders make new beginnings among us. I am especially grateful and inspired by your recognition that we are all potential mentors and models to youth and we can all play some role in nurturing the faith of children and youth in our midst.
I am grateful to Dr. Michelle Dexter for her help with the survey design. I highly recommend the parenting seminar she will offer at RHUMC at the end of this month (January 28). I look forward to seeing how the survey results continue to inform our next steps in the development of our ministry with children and youth (and also, in fact, with people at all stages of life!) I pray that in the year 2018 God will continue to strengthen families of all shapes and sizes through the various facets of our ministry. And again, I honor you for being people of such generous spirit!
Trusting that Christ will light our way,