Your Gifts at Work in Youth Ministry
by Heather Turquette
Have you been upstairs in the C building around the youth room lately? There is an amazing vibe and a buzz among the students and all who enter the room! As you walk up to the youth room you get a glimpse of the excitement inside when you see the new updated paint, the great signage letting everyone know the values that we uphold in youth ministry and then, of course, you hear the amazing new sound system as the music flows into the halls, drawing students into the room. Once you walk in, you hardly recognize the space with the fresh wall colors, the words “You Belong Here” and our Four12 verse on the walls, reminding each student that they are welcome here and that they are valued in this church. You can’t help but see the new wide screen, see the speakers and sound booth and you know that you are definitely among the technology-driven youth at Good Shepherd, and they are thriving in this environment!
I fully believe that when you invest in the youth of a church, you are rewarded generationally, and this has never been more evident than during our Worship Experience a few weeks ago. Were you there? Did you see nearly 500 people come and pack the worship center with youth, families and grandparents, all raising their hands worshipping together? What a beautiful sight it was! I can imagine this image is similar to what we will experience when we all stand around the throne of God worshipping Him for eternity! And it was generosity of giving that allows us to put on amazing worship services like this, not only for our youth and our church, but for our whole community. The Worship Experience produced an energy and fire in our community to come and seek out what other great things Good Shepherd has to offer, and without a doubt this is bringing life and energy to all levels of programming at Good Shepherd.
by Blake Shirley
30 middle school youth from Good Shepherd UMC attended a Junior High United Methodist Mission project (JUMMP) with 3 other churches in Bryan/College Station for a week to perform home repairs for people who are unable to do the repairs themselves. In total there were about 130 youth attending the camp. The projects ranged from painting houses, building wheel chair ramps, and replacing sheet rock and flooring. Teams were organized with one adult, one youth intern and four youth. Each day the teams would leave around 8 am and work until 4 pm. The teams would pack lunches and eat with the home owners while doing a daily devotional with the homeowner during lunch. Each morning before breakfast and each evening after dinner the whole camp would combine for a youth lead worship service. Each team took turns leading the worship service.
The home owner my team worked for that week was Mr. Woodard. Mr. Woodard is 72 years old, and he lives with his dog “Mouse”. Mouse is a 12 year old Boston Terrier who loved the attention he received from the youth that week. The physical scope of the project was to replace his front door which was leaking due to the wood around the door being rotten. Also, there was a door on his front porch that needed to be replaced because it was falling apart, and the siding all around the house was rotting from water damage. In addition to the physical work, the team spent a lot of time talking to Mr. Woodard. He is a Vietnam veteran, and he loved to tell stories about the war and the many events he experienced through out his life. Mr. Woodard is a Christian and he attended one of the local Baptist churches. He just loved having the company every day, and I don’t think he cared as much about the repairs being done to his home as having people to talk to everyday. Mr. Woodard could talk about anything and everything, and he constantly had a story about some life event he was sharing with us. During the week we all formed a great relationship, and we were all sad when the week came to an end.
The week was such an awesome event to be a part of. It gives me the feeling of being the church the way God intended. Everyone comes together to serve and love. All the youth are kind and helpful to each other. Everyone pours lots of love into the homeowners and community. After serving all day everyday, the worship services feel more special. The words to the songs you hear over and over again seem to have a new and rejuvenated meaning. Even though it is hot, and the work is hard no one wants the week to come to an end. Everyone can feel that we were part of something special, and that we were being the hands and feet of Christ. The week concluded with a dinner and worship service where the homeowners were invited. Almost every home owner who attended stood up and spoke about how touched, amazed and thankful they were to have the youth come in and be such a blessing to them and the community that week.