Moving Toward a Collaborative Youth Ministry!
Over the past couple months, clergy, lay leaders, youth and youth group parents have been in conversation about an exciting new possibility. Along with Community UCC and First Congregational UCC, both in Boulder, we’ve been considering launching a collaborative youth ministry program. Our vision is to build an open and affirming regional youth ministry with a focus on service and creation justice.
This new framework would provide more weekly opportunities for youth to gather, as well as the chance to build relationships across congregations. It will have a Sunday component as well as a mid-week component. Gatherings would rotate among the churches, but each gathering would be open to and created with youth from each of the churches.
As we’ve discussed this, youth and parents have expressed excitement for larger and more frequent youth group gatherings. They’re looking forward to summer service trips, retreats, and camps at La Foret, as well as larger and more frequent youth group gatherings.
As we think about the possible challenges, we recognize that we’ll need a youth director who is skilled at building relationships. We want youth from all three churches to find this new group to be a place of belonging and inclusion. We’ve also named the challenge of holding gatherings in different locations, including additional travel time when youth group is held out of town.
At each step of the way, though, folks have been quick to offer solutions, support and volunteer time. There have already been offers to help with carpooling when youth group is in Boulder. There’s also the recognition that even when it’s not feasible to go to Boulder events, there will be at least two events a month in Longmont, plus more involvement in camps and service trips. All in all, it seems the Spirit is encouraging us to try this new thing.
With that in mind, we’re officially moving into creating this new program. Our next step will be to hire a Youth Director. This will be a full-time position. We’ll be forming a search committee to include one pastor, one adult and one youth from each church. (It’s a large group for a search, but we felt it was worth it to ensure equal voices at the table as we interview candidates.) From UCC Longmont, Lysa Burianek and Violette Edstrom will be serving on the search committee, along with Rev. Amelia.
We’re excited about this new step! We know there will be ongoing discernment as we experiment, but we’re all entering this partnership with a willingness to learn and adjust together.
Looking forward in hope,
Amelia and Sarah