Tag Archives: TRU

TRU 2018 – Time in Community was a Highlight for me

by Caitlin Dyck

CAMP CEDARWOOD, Man.—I’ve had multiple opportunities to attend retreats in the past; they’ve always been something to look forward to. Retreats have always given me chances to unplug, relax, and focus on my relationship with Jesus that don’t always occur otherwise. I’m happy to report that I, as well as many others that I spoke with, were able to do the same during TRU 2018.

TRU is the biennial youth leaders’ retreat for our conference, and this year included groups from as far away as Alberta and B.C. I personally had not been involved in youth ministry since 2010/2011 and had never attended TRU before. Together we met at Camp Cedarwood to share meals, times of worship and knowledge with one another in the form of Saturday morning workshops, as well as informal times spent in conversation.

Lloyd and Carol Letkeman (MB Mission), whom many might know from their work with SOAR Heartland, a youth missions program in Winnipeg, were kind enough to spend the weekend with us, sharing on the theme Are You Thirsty? Both Carol and Lloyd taught during our daily sessions, inviting us to revisit passages in John when Jesus spoke about living water.

In John 7:37-38, Jesus invited people: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Carol challenged us on Friday night, asking, “What do we need to lay down, in order to receive, so that we may then give to others?” It was a question for the weekend ahead, but also for the coming year of youth.

On Saturday morning we had the opportunity to learn from local leaders and speakers in our conference on topics such as Surviving Life with Annoying People and Blind Spots in Ministry, to name a few. I chose to attend the workshop on Non-Suicidal Self-Injury as well as Experiencing God. In our work with youth, there are occasions when we need to support students through mental health issues that could result in them self-injuring. Heidi Dirks was able to walk us through some of the underlying issues and give us advice on how to best support our youth in those difficult times.

Through my conversations with my own church team as well as others, I found that many of us had similar goals for the weekend. We had all looked forward to the time to bond with one another; on youth nights we are often so busy leading and talking to the youth that we don’t have much time to get to know one another. The time to rest, relax, talk, and play games with others was very valued.

The time was also useful for sharing between other groups, to find the similarities and differences of how they run their youth nights, and even to compare how different our demographics are depending on location. That time spent in community was certainly a highlight for me, as well as the opportunity to refocus our goals for the youth this coming year.

Caitlin Dyck is a volunteer youth leader at Steinbach EMC.

TRU2018 Youth Leaders’ Retreat “If Anyone is Thirsty…”

Oct. 26-28, 2018

Are You Serving Gen-Z, iGen, or Centennials?

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.”

Gerald D. Reimer Director of Youth and Discipleship

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.

Jordan Doerksen: TRU 2016 was Powerful. So Come in 2018!

by Jordan Doerksen

In late October 2016 EMC youth leaders gathered from near and far at Camp Cedarwood on Pinawa Bay, in Manitoba, for TRU. What is TRU? Great question! It is a weekend retreat, planned every second year by the EMC National Youth Committee, with a goal to Train, Refresh, and Unite youth leaders within the conference. ­­­

Fourteen churches were represented among the group of 80 people, with over 80 percent of the leaders being volunteer workers that came together with their church group. What a great weekend of learning and fellowship we had!

I remember feeling awkward and out of place when I first went to TRU in 2010. I didn’t arrive as part of a group, I was the only participant from Alberta, and the only person I recognized was Gerald Reimer (our Conference Youth Minister).

It didn’t take too long, though, and I started making connections with other leaders as we sat together in sessions and shared meals together. I was given a number of valuable youth ministry tools and ideas, and I was especially encouraged to know that we do not serve alone.

Here I met dozens of brothers and sisters with a common desire to serve Christ and disciple teenagers; and now in 2016 I returned for TRU to find a number of the same people still serving faithfully in the church. As I retreated from regular routines for a weekend like this, I was built up by people sharing ideas and testimony of God’s life-changing power. It is a real advantage to be part of a family of churches across Canada!

Our main speaker for TRU 2016 was Dr. Chris Marchand, the pastor of Niverville Community Fellowship in Manitoba. During his three sessions, he shared personal and biblical examples of how leaders should inspire teens to “Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor 11:1 NLT). Specifically, they should be able to imitate our words, the way we read the Bible, and the way we pray.

Chris challenged us to carefully consider our own Christian life, and use a variety of opportunities to teach youth. A one-size-fits-all approach to spiritual growth will fall short because God has made everyone unique.

Along with these messages, youth leaders enjoyed great times of worship in song, numerous group discussions, and six different ministry workshops to choose from. These provided some great insights for leaders to understand youth culture, as well as some practical tools to employ in leading small groups and connecting with teens. There was also a good amount of free time planned throughout the weekend for people to enjoy activities, visit together, or even take a nap.

It’s obvious that TRU is not the biggest or flashiest youth leaders’ weekend in the country, but it is a very personal, positive, and powerful time for the youth leaders that choose to participate. We’d love to see you bring your youth leadership team out to join in 2018!

Jordan Doerksen

Jordan Doerksen is the youth pastor at La Crete Christian Fellowship Church in northern Alberta. He is part of the EMC’s National Youth Committee, which, in alternate years, provides Abundant Springs (2017) and TRU (2018).