NYWC Atlanta Recap
We are so thankful to have spent a weekend with our incredible family of youth workers at NYWC Atlanta! When I think back over that time, there were tons of ideas but 3 seemed to stick out to me…
Youth ministry reminds the church that teens are not marginalized members of the body, but are co-creators and conspirators in the divine work of the church, restoring life on earth as it is in heaven.
Mark Matlock shared this as one of 5 reasons the church needs youth ministry during the opening Big Room session and helped me refocus my thoughts around the greater purpose of youth work. We know it’s not easy to walk with students through the mental, social, and spiritual developements that come with adolescence. But youth ministry gives the church an opportunity to embrace that time when God is doing something special in the lives of teens. By walking with students through that process, youth ministry creates room for students to belong within the greater intergenerational faith community and empowers teens to act as a vital part of the mission of the church.
What a beautiful reminder from Chris Hill! All the lock-ins, the coffees, summer camps, the weekly (sometimes daily) emotional rollercoaster, the extra hours of work, and the constant care involved in youth ministry suddenly comes into perspective when Jesus illuminates the lives of our students. This became a huge theme in the conversations I had with youth workers throughout the weekend. We needed to remember those moments and to retell the stories of those students. It brought such encouragement and life into our conversations around ministry.
Kenda Creasy Dean closed out the weekend with a powerful message about the labor pains that the church is currently feeling. The church is in the midst of some monumental changes and Kenda encouraged us to take it as an opportunity to reexamine our picture of God. Is it too small? Is our picture of God focused just on what we think we need or want? As youth workers, we have a unique opportunity to empower students to help create the new future that God has for the church. By investing in the lives of our students and drawing them into the intergenerational community of faith, they can be a vital part of expanding our picture of God.
Check out the Sunday Highlight video for more of a glimpse into the weekend:
Anytime we gather with our NYWC family, we know there are some youth workers that just aren’t able to make it. So if you missed NYWC this year, mark your calendar for next year…
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.