by Angela Moyer
Youth Pastor, Rockhill Mennonite Church
Dreaming about direction for Youth Ministry in the Franconia Mennonite and Eastern District Conferences was the topic of conversation for the gathering of pastors, youth leaders, Conference Related Ministry directors, and youth on Monday June 6th, 2011. Visioning and conversations were held around round tables with multiple opportunities to share table conversations with the entire group.
Jenifer Erickson Morales began the evening by facilitating conversation about the roles of children and youth in Scripture. It was evident that children and youth held significant roles in the story of God’s people. Marlene Frankenfield and Scott Benner shared historical perspectives of youth ministry in Franconia and Eastern District Conferences which revealed certain trends and patterns reflecting the values of fellowship, faith, and service. Intentional mentorship and discipleship of youth has been a significant piece in the stories of both Conferences.
Common themes of the evening were desires for relationship building and resource sharing among Conference churches, youth calling for deeper spiritual conversations, and desire to include the contributions of youth into the regular ministries of the church. Geography, culture, finances, time, and priorities were all acknowledged as significant barriers to achieving these goals. Finding the balance between fellowship/programming, discipleship/faith formation, and levels of support to congregations will be a task for the Conferences as direction for youth ministry is defined.