Southeastern Jurisdiction Youth in Mission gathered this summer in North Carolina.
Lanecia A. Rouse
By Klay S. Williams*
September 13, 2012—If you are wondering where the heart of young people in The United Methodist Church lies, look no further. The new vision for this budding, passionate, and spirit-led group is in the ministry of mission and outreach.
Young People in Mission (YIM) of the Southeastern Jurisdiction met this past July 15 – 19 at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. YIM is a movement of youth and young adults, ages 12 – 30, and their adult leaders, who assemble each summer to create and explore mission and outreach opportunities. Partnering with organizations and agencies of the UMC, this amazing summer experience offers innovative workshops and hands-on mission projects and helps youth and young adults to better understand how mission is part of everyday living.
“Young people have a huge heart. In their own lives, there may be a lot of brokenness and suffering that many times shifts to the needs of others throughout the world. It’s a rich environment. They want to know how they can make a difference and they’re finding opportunities in their own backyard,” reflected Emily Sanford, an adult advisor to the design team of YIM.
The design team of YIM is comprised of youth, young adults, and adult advisors. It is spearheaded by Kris Konsowitz, a local youth minister at Collierville UMC, who expressed the importance of the connectional system within the UMC. “The connectional system is huge. We have an event called City of Opportunity, where all of the organizations and agencies are present. Students can connect with leaders within these UMC organizations who are doing mission and outreach work,” Konsowitz remarked.
The connectional system within the UMC creates opportunity for young people to grasp what it means to be in partnership as one body of Christ and work toward a common goal. “Mission should be one of the things that bring us together. When we are all using our gifts, God does big things and multiplies our efforts,” commented Sanford.
The work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is also shared at YIM, offering participants opportunities to explore the totality of mission work, both from a domestic and a global point of reference. “YIM connecting with the work of UMCOR is truly amazing. This retreat opens the eyes of what UMCOR is doing all over the world. Most people do not realize the work that the UMC does. Greatest of all, students are taking information back to their local churches,” said Konsowitz.
As we seek to be a part of the collective experience of mission and outreach ministry, it’s important that we function as one team moving toward a common goal. In turn, partnership efforts provide a space for youth and youth adults to discover their own vision for the gifts and talents they are given.
Your gift to UMCOR’s Undesignated Fund, UMCOR Advance #999895, will be used where it is needed most.
*Klay S. Williams is a writer and contributor to www.umcor.org