Below is an excerpt from my bulletin article dated 8/11/2013. The planning meeting described within has been scheduled for 8/28/2013 at 7:00pm. Please let me know if you are interested in attending!
Why volunteer with Middle School Youth Ministry?
There is not a shortage of activities for our young people to get involved in. We live in a community that is blessed to have an active school district, a wonderful parks program, numerous athletic leagues, scouting organizations, community service groups and civic organizations. This means that there is not a shortage of opportunities to make a difference in the lives of young people. Volunteering with Youth Ministry is a unique way to do this!
We all know that there are fewer and fewer places of unconditional acceptance in our world, and ensuring that St. John Neumann remains one of those places for our young people is the task of ALL OF US-- but youth ministry volunteers take special charge of this task. They drive, they cook, they plan activities, they facilitate meetings, but most of all they build relationships. These relationships are the foundation upon which they share their faith and introduce young people to Jesus Christ and His Church.
This month I have been recruiting a Middle School Youth Group Adult Team—a mix of diverse individuals who will support one another and unite their talents in service to our middle school students. A handful of volunteers have already stepped forward and I am really excited to witness alongside them! The ideal team size would be 7-8 volunteers, and I am looking for a few more (volunteers must be at least 16)! If this is something you are interested in learning more about, please contact me. I will invite all interested volunteers together at the end of the month to discuss the program and brainstorm a way forward, no commitments need be made before that meeting.
Please spend some time in prayer as you consider becoming a Youth Ministry volunteer. Together we have a lot to offer our young people, and TOGETHER we will ensure that our parish remains a place of unconditional acceptance where they can fall in love with Jesus Christ and His Church. I look forward to hearing from some of you! God bless us all!
(734) 455-5910 x 20
The 2013 Peer Leadership Training Camp was a success! Thank you to everyone who prayed for and supported us during the past week. I must begin this post by thanking the alumni of the Saint John Neumann Youth Ministry program for their hard work and dedication in preparing this event- Sidney Bowerman, Jason Brown, Adam Handley, and Sarah Pfannes. These four amazing young people planned and facilitated educational sessions, inspired our incoming team with testimonies of their youth group experience, and have left their youth ministry program on strong footing for the coming year! I cannot thank them enough, especially for all of the times they had to patiently explain things to me because-- being the new guy-- I just didn't understand yet. They are awesome and our parish is forever in their debt.Adam and Erin make spaghetti.
Our participants were challenged intellectually, spiritually, and personally in numerous sessions and challenges. Session topics included: Scriptural Foundations for Leadership, Proactive Decision Making, Conflict Resolution, Small Group Facilitation, Prayer Leadership, and more! The group also completed numerous small group challenges-- even successful cooking six meals with various limitations (no sight, no talking, hands behind their backs). The team approached each session and challenge with an open mind and grew visibly as a result of their hard work.
The camp also included various prayer opportunities including Holy Mass, Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Lectio Divina, and a guided meditation. Following the guided meditation (based on the Call of Andrew from St. Matthew's Gospel) one participant told me that he had "never felt closer to God" than he had in prayer that evening! The staff of the DeSales Center also asked that we continue having retreats in their facilities because they enjoyed our young people's participation in the Mass so much. Go Neumann!
There was also a lot of time for laughter during the week. I honestly cannot remember the last time I have laughed so hard or for so long! The joy that God has instilled in this leadership team is as contagious as it is inspiring! There was even some mischief (see below):
Overall I could not have asked for a better Leadership Team or a better Leadership Camp. This group of young people will guide the High School Youth Group during the coming year by focusing their leadership on four components-- Guidance/Healing, Justice/Service, Community Life, and Word/Worship. They will also be key players in the Men's and Women's Ministries, and Faith UNwrapped. Finally, they will represent the young people of the parish on the Parish Council and on numerous other commissions. When I asked them if they were ready to take on this task, the answer was a resounding, "YES!" Please join me in praying for them and supporting them this coming year!