By Gerald D. Reimer, Director of Youth and Discipleship
For some students and leaders Abundant Springs 2019 will be remembered as the weekend when they gave their lives to Jesus, they committed to reading their Bible more faithfully, they won the basketball tournament, they worshipped Jesus with thanksgiving, they confirmed in their hearts a desire to get baptized, and so much more. Continue reading Dozens of God Moments Bring Tears of Thankfulness→
by Gerald D. Reimer, Director of Youth and Discipleship
If you serve thirsty young people—or those you wish would be—then TRU2018, on Oct. 26-28, at Camp Cedarwood is for you!
“If Anyone is Thirsty…” is the theme to be unpacked by Lloyd and Carol Letkeman, who have a long history of discipling youth and young adults.
Churches, please send your youth workers to this conference. The investment in them and your youth program is worth it. Registration is still open.
Are you dealing with Gen-Z, iGen, or Centennials? They are the generation of people born between 1996 and 2014. When you take into account that the three key trends that shape generations are parenting, technology, and economics, it’s not surprising that this generation is much different then any before them.
While working with the Gen-Z generation means there’s never a dull moment and is filled with fun and adventure, it also calls for incredible creativity and patience as they highly value flexibility and fun. They’re the first generation to have a super-computer in their pockets with 24/7 access to information.
While they may not be money-hungry like Baby Boomers, they don’t like debt either, and are willing to work part-time jobs while going to high school just to have disposable income and avoid student loans in the future.
While Gen-Z’ers are socially connected in their digital world, they would like to improve their face-to-face interactions. And this is where youth workers come into the picture as they have this incredible opportunity to disciple a generation that longs to and will make a difference in this world within their lifetime.
The National Youth Committee (NYC), serving under the direction of the Board of Church Ministries, has planned another training weekend for our EMC youth workers, and we’ve invited some passionate experts to bring that training to you.
Our main session speakers are Lloyd and Carol Letkeman, who have been disciple-makers of youth and young adults for more than twenty years. As strong advocates that the Christian way is “life on mission,” the Letkemans promote experiential life-on-life disciple-making. Currently Lloyd and Carol serve with MB Mission in Winnipeg.
Here’s what they say about the topic they will unpack during the weekend: “Are you thirsty?” is a legitimate spiritual question for all of us in youth ministry. We don’t know when we’re dehydrated! We live a fast-paced balancing act of youth events, mentorship, parents’ meetings, fundraisers, and youth retreats. We’re overwhelmed and struggle to “come up for air” or to “drink from the fountain of living water.”
Our thirst for living water makes all the difference! We can begin developing a youth movement of “disciples who make disciples” when we are being continually refreshed by our disciple-maker.
The main sessions will follow a journey centred on John 7:37-38, Jesus’ dramatic invitation to the crowds to “come to me all who are thirsty.” Multiplying a youth movement requires being filled with the Holy Spirit, being intentional and purposeful, and dying to self so that Jesus is glorified. The sessions promise to be inspirational, interactive, and filled with applications for your ministry.
The EMC, within local churches and wider, would not exist without volunteers, Christians who serve without being financially paid. Our conference’s local, national, and international activities depend on volunteers. The EMC has five boards and more committees with many volunteers.
Just ask the National Youth Committee how busy it is over a two-year cycle in planning for Abundant Springs (just past) or for TRU, our youth leaders’ event (to come in 2018). Ask Gerald Reimer, conference youth minister, to list all of the volunteers this year. (Prepare to be patient. It’s a long list.) Consider the work done by volunteers for our yearly EMC national convention held in Regions One through Nine.
No one is paid on the Nominating Committee, whose main task is to seek even more volunteers to help carry out the vision, values, and programs to which the EMC is committed. Church reporters are unsung heroes who keep you updated on their local church’s activities.
Yet volunteer isn’t an entirely correct term, at least according to William Booth, a Methodist minister. When Booth saw that Methodist churches, despite their lower class or common roots, were failing to reach the poor in London, he led a new movement with his wife Catherine.
What to name the new group? Volunteer Army was suggested, but William Booth objected. Once we become a Christian, he held, we are expected to act a certain way; Christians are more than volunteers.
Such a reality is basic to any church movement. The movement Booth co-founded was called the Salvation Army. Keep serving. “Your labour in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).
A publication of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference