Rooted and Relevant
Celebrating Life Together
All People Matter
These are the three core values we use to summarize the “DNA” of our church family here at First Trinity. One of the most challenging ones to embody is that first one. Because our world is changing so quickly around us we must continually seek God’s guidance in how we remain firmly rooted in the unchanging truth of God’s Word and our Lutheran heritage while sharing and living it in ways relevant for today. The way we did things over 175 years ago when this congregation was founded is not the way we do them today and for good reason.
Personally, as the Director for High School and Young Adult Ministries, the way I did youth ministry even 8 years ago when I arrived is different than ministry today. The needs of our students as well as the culture in general are changing and our ministry should reflect that. So, when I saw an advertisement a few months ago asking the following questions, it caught my attention:
- 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 the Log College Project. This is an “innovative initiative to help Christian congregations design, test, and implement new models of youth ministry. Twelve congregations will receive $15,000 grants to build new ministries that take theology and young people seriously. This project is funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., built by the Institute for Youth Ministry, and housed at Princeton Theological Seminary.”
Out of over 200 churches that applied, First Trinity was chosen to be one of 53 congregations to be part of what they call a Community of Engagement. They gave us tools to explore new and innovative ways to do youth ministry that value a strong theology and really meeting youth where they are.
We are currently working our way though the materials we received from them that helps us dream and brainstorm what youth ministry could look like in our context and what we’d need to make it happen. This team is made up of young people, parents, staff, youth volunteers and other adults from different spheres of influence around the congregation. After each of the 10 people work on an individual task to gather data and information, we will gather together to develop a Community Blueprint which will launch us into our next steps.
We will submit some of this to the Log College Project and they will then choose 12 churches who will receive the grant along with all kinds of support, research, conferences and more to help rethink youth ministry. Whether we move on to this next phase or not we will get valuable information through this project about what those 12 churches are collectively learning about youth ministry today. I also believe this initial process will help us figure out exactly how God is leading us to serve young people specifically in our congregation and community.
I would ask you to pray for the team that is forming and more so for our young people! You may even be asked by one of the team members to be in on some of the conversations related to their individual tasks. We will share any more updates we get along the way as well as learnings from our research and planning.
If you have any questions or want more information please contact me! I’d love to share!