We over in the Youth Ministries had an amazing 2018! Between the Focus First process, growth in both attendance and engagement, the hiring of a rock-solid associate director, we have spent this past year building a better and better ministry. And we have no intention of stopping now. As we launch into 2019, we are delighted to be responding to some of the articulated desires of the larger congregation and our youth families of what could be next, and how we can continue to evolve to better serve this community. We want to keep you updated on all of the exciting “new” this semester so we’d love to introduce you to the new staff, new events, new parent resources, new classes, and new curriculum that will make our community stronger than ever!
We have a new Middle School Program Coordinator! We want to welcome Lane Davis to our staff! Lane is a PhD candidate at SMU and has experience as a youth pastor and key leader at several large Methodist churches; he was missing being in the trenches of ministry and we are so happy to welcome him and his gifts and experience to our team! Lane is newly married to a Fort Worth local and looking to make Fort Worth and FUMCFW his new home. Lane will be at Sunday school this weekend to meet everyone ahead of joining us for Revolution Weekend!
New Events (The Gathering Youth Sunday)
Rev. Lance Marshall has given us the awesome opportunity to lead a Youth Sunday in the Gathering on February 17! The engagement of youth was lifted up a year ago as one the strategic priorities for our church during the Focus First process, and Lance has been a vocal advocate for youth since, including giving them this opportunity lead the larger church community. We’ve already begun brainstorming and planning with teenagers, and I can only hope that you take as much delight in watching them lead as I do.
New Parent Resources
Parenting teenager is hard, and we want to give all of our parents all the resources they need to make it a little bit easier. This semester, two small groups of parents who are facing unique circumstances are gathering so that they can provide support, advice, and fellowship to one another.
If you are interested in meeting with a group of parents figuring out how best to love and support LGBT+ young people in their lives, contact Jennifer Bond (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you are interested in meeting with a group of parents figuring out how to best love and support young people experiencing mental health struggles, contact Jennifer Jolin at (email@example.com).
Based on feedback from our youth, Soul Care this semester will take a break from its normal rhythm of covering spiritual disciplines and pivot to a series of four discussions on the experience that can cause so much hurt in adolescence, like heartbreak, loneliness, and stress. These student-driven discussions will be focused on normalizing the hard things that we all experience, giving teenagers language for what they’re experiencing, providing healthy coping mechanisms, and helping teenagers find the hope that our faith calls us to in the midst of it all.
Faith in 3D will follow its normal format of talking about popular movies, songs, advertisements, and pop culture, and seeing what parallels, or differences we might be able to find in scripture or our beliefs. We’ll be taking our cues the conversations that high schoolers have been starting with us and talking about social media culture (including teen influencers), disability, the LGBT+ community, and what it means to be the church in a changing world.
This will be our inaugural semester for our “Cross 5th” class — where we will bring a small group of high school youth out of the Justin building for class and have them experience some other part of the church! This semester, we’re starting with First Street Methodist Mission.
Middle School Live this semester will be focused on the letters of the New Testament. We will progress through the semester by spending several weeks in each “city” we cover, opening with fun games and activities about that particular context, and then learning from the letters with the context of the city in mind. As an example, we’re starting in Romans, so we intend on opening with Roman “chariot races” and “gladiators” with pool noodles in lieu of swords, as we talk about what Paul might need to say to a community like that, and then reading through some of it together. This approach we hope will not only provide a fun rhythm but also a background in learning to read scripture with an eye to historical context.
We are so incredibly excited for all that the future holds, and hope that you’ll all keep the young people of our church in your prayers, and consider how it is that God might be calling you to be part of their lives!
Director of Youth Ministries