There’s something about leaving your hometown that gets youth fired up. While we like to tell ourselves that it’s all the wonderful activities we’ve planned, my experience tells me that it’s often the conversations on the way there, staying up late and hanging out with their friends, and just a change of scenery.
While the fellowship is wonderful, it’s important to take all of that positive energy and turn it into something meaningful and long-lasting. Sometimes, a different environment allows a youth (or a youth leader, for that matter) to open up about what’s going on in their life or to raise questions they might have about their faith journey.
Interacting with other Christians can get all of us fired up for God, but we should also strive to take that energy back to our congregations. Whether it’s attending a conference (I’m taking my youth to WOW in Springfield, MO on January 23-24) or going on a Mission Trip (we went to Cherokee Nation in 2009 and have two trips in 2010) everyone is excited. Be thinking about ways that you can share the experiences with the congregation and other youth back home. This makes them feel a part of the experience and reinforces what you learned on the trip.
Let God be your Navigator and don’t fall asleep at the wheel!
by Mark Whitaker
Youth & Young Adult Director and Communications Coordinator
Avondale United Methodist Church in Kansas City, MO (North of the River)
Loving God, Loving Neighbor