A New and Exciting Opportunity
What if youth ministry was more than youth group? What if churches built youth ministry not just for young people, but with young people? What if youth ministry became a construction site: a place where young and old work together to survey, build and reflect the kingdom of God in their local community? These are the questions being asked by Princeton Seminary as they launch a new initiative called the Log College Project, in which Abiding Presence has been chosen to participate. I am excited for our congregation to learn, grow and discern alongside 53 other churches of various denominations from around the country.
The first phase of the project is to become part of a “Community of Engagement.” Following a curriculum provided to us from the Log College Project, we have formed a design team made up of young people, parents of children and youth, staff, church council representation and adults in the congregation who are currently involved with our senior high youth. This design team is spending the next few weeks researching, meeting and developing a community blueprint. We look forward to sharing with the rest of the congregation what we have developed. It will be out on display by the weekend of June 23/24.
We will submit our community blueprint, along with some of the other research about our congregation we have collected, to the Log College Project. They will choose 12 churches to move forward into the next phase of the project, which includes spending two years as part of a “Community of Practice” rethinking youth ministry. While we certainly hope we are chosen to move forward, even if we are not both the process and the research will be helpful to our Senior High Discernment Group as the continue to listen, pray and imagine what God has in store for us. In many ways, the Log College Project intersected in a “Holy Spirit moment” with the work of our Senior High Youth Ministry Discernment Group that has been meeting since January.
I invite you to join me in praying for what God has in store for our congregation as we complete the Community of Engagement phase and wait to hear if we are chosen as one of the congregations to move forward to the next phase of the project. One of the things that has been clear in our discernment so far is that we envision youth ministry happening not just off in the corner of the church in the youth room, but instead as part of the DNA of the congregation in many and various aspects of our church’s life together. We hear God calling us to be a community that is about building relationships between people of all generations in ways that lift up the gifts that each person has to bring to the church. This means that all of us – all of us – will have a role to play as we move forward. So, I hope you will start praying, listening and discerning alongside of me and our leadership about what your role might be. If you want to chat more about it, I’d love the chance for a conversation!