Celebrating Children and Youth Ministries

7/21/2014

FOCUS ON THE VISION
DENISE WALTON

A young man rushed into the Connectional Ministries Office with his grandfather a few steps behind and asked, “Where do I register for camp?” With a smile and a warm welcome we let this young man know that registration would begin in a couple of hours in the building next door.

Camp brings a sense of joy and excitement. Children and youth have a way of walking in a spirit of joy and anticipation that can be quite contagious.

Over the past eight weeks, the South Georgia Annual Conference’s Camp Connect has served hundreds of children and youth. The primary focus has been and continues to be discipleship and spiritual formation while engaging in worship, prayer, teaching, fellowship, fun activities, and team building. 

We are thankful for the Conference Leadership Team who worked diligently and faithfully to ensure the campers had the opportunity to learn and grow in their spiritual development.

All across the annual conference, local churches have focused on ministry with children and youth through vacation Bible schools, summer activities and district camps.

Let’s continue to celebrate the many ways children and youth are learning and growing in discipleship. However, for every child or young person reached in our efforts toward discipleship, there are many in the shadows of the church steeple, district and conference events that have no faith experiences and no knowledge of Jesus Christ.

While we understand discipleship happens year round, the end of the summer is a great time to reflect on your discipleship efforts. Celebration, reflection, and evaluation of the current ministry will reveal the strengths and opportunities for growth.

How can we reach more children and youth on a local, district and conference level? In what ways can your local church broaden its reach to children and youth in your community? How can you partner with other congregations to provide ministry and mission opportunities for children and youth? How do we encourage and foster diversity and hospitality for all children? In what ways can we reach out to welcome children and youth living with disabilities?

2 Timothy 3:14-15 says, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Rev. Denise Walton serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries. Contact her at denise@sgaumc.org.