05 November 2009

"Reaching Youth and Young Adults - Top Priority"

Friends, it is a good day to be a youth minister in The Episcopal Church. If you haven't seen it already, please hit this phrase to link to Episcopal Life Online to read about the survey results of the Strategic Planning Committee. I don't know about you, but I am doing my happy dance, praising God that the church at least "gets it" that young people are the biggest asset we have in developing strategies for enabling spiritual transformation, evangelism, and church growth.

The phrase in the E-Life report by Mary Frances Schjonberg that warms my heart is, "The five areas called "very important" by a clear majority of respondents were, in descending order: reaching youth and young adults; evangelism/proclaiming the good news of Christ; worship, music and liturgy; leadership; and strengthening congregations." I say AMEN and ALLELUIA!

So what does this mean? I do not intend to sit around to wait and see. We need to get organized and prepare to mobilize and I am going to need to ramp up our ability to communicate with one another more efficiently. I am consulting with our communications department to take care of the technological possibilities on the office end. Currently we have the DYMC (Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator) listserve that will eventually go away when the listserve subscription expires.  Soon each member of the DYMC and all of our diocesan offices will receive communication from me that will include the following request.

As Program Officer for Youth I am attempting to establish a network that consists of ONE  person for each diocese who can do three things:
  1. receive email as the Diocesan Youth Ministry Contact for distribution to the rest of the congregations of the diocese and
  2. receive conventional mail at the diocesan mailing address for informational and distribution purposes and
  3. serve as the Youth Ministry participant at the Provincial Network level, on behalf of the diocese, through participation in that network's communications, gatherings, and initiatives.
Will you please help catch this momentum by initiating the conversation in your diocese? I pledge to keep you posted and to seek your council as strategic planning progresses. Your Provincial Youth Ministry Coordinators are eager to take up this work. We look forward to hearing from you. In the mean time, keep track of your "Best Practices" and your stories of transformational success in your congregations. I'm gonna need a witness! or two, or ten, or 100.Can you say Lifelong Christian Formation? Hit those three words to go to the Charter that General Convention adopted last summer. It also wouldn't hurt to read some of the PEALL (Proclaiming Education for All) surveys and reports. Here's a link to the Report on Episcopal Youth and Young Adults in Congregations and on Campuses.

Most of all, know that you are not alone in this mission field. I thank you on behalf of the Church for sharing your gifts and answering your call to this vital ministry.

Blessings in Faith,

Bronwyn Clark Skov
Program Officer for Lifelong Christian Formation and Youth
The Episcopal Church

212-716-6074 Office
646-242-1421 NEW Cell #
800-334-7626 Toll Free

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