As I look into the New Year that lies ahead I can’t help but be excited about all of the new adventures that lie ahead for me and everyone here at House of Prayer. Not only has our Sunday School begun branching into different classes, due to the willingness of so many within this community to volunteer to teach classes, but our youth have many different opportunities in the coming months to further grow and enrich their faith.
The first adventure that is upcoming for me is that I will be traveling to the Holy Land in January. As part of my cross cultural class at Luther Seminary I will leave for two weeks to visit the many different sites where Jesus walked and where our faith story began. One of the drawbacks of this class will be that I will be out of the country between January 9th and the 22nd. I am very excited about this opportunity and will be more than excited to share what I learn from my experience upon my return back to House of Prayer.
The next adventure is one that we have already begun here at House of Prayer. Over the past year and a half I have been working with congregation members to find ways to improve the youth and children’s ministries that are already occurring here at House of Prayer. One of the major studies in the past decade has been the Exemplary Youth Ministry (EYM) study which has been a formational study of the program that I am receiving at Luther Seminary. One of the benefits of this study is that it was able to define seven characteristics that students who have remained active in their churches throughout High School and College possess.
Over the next several months I hope to be able to outline one of these characteristics each month and to point out how this characteristic looks in the ministry here at House of Prayer. The first of these characteristics of Vital Faith is “Practicing Faith in Community.” This characteristic says, “Youth that are of maturing faith actively practice their faith in Jesus Christ through regular attendance at worship, participation in ministry, and leadership in a congregation.” Here at House of Prayer we encourage our youth to worship weekly on Sunday Mornings as well as to join in our ministry through service opportunities like our Rake-A-Difference event this fall and by doing Feed My Starving Children. The final portion of this characteristic is to see our youth in leadership. As part of this strategy our youth will be leading a worship service this April, where they will be able to plan and be a voice of leadership heard here at House of Prayer.
There are exciting things happening at House of Prayer and our adventure has just begun. I look forward to being able to further explore the ways in which House of Prayer is working to make this a friendly and welcoming place for our youth to grow in faith.
Intern, Parish Education/Youth and Family Ministry