In 2014 First did a lot of work in creating a comprehensive strategic plan for youth discipleship, adult discipleship, worship, stewardship, community service, hospitality, evangelism, facilities and more. What do we want our staff to look like? How do we hope to grow our budget? What ministries are we feeling most called to grow and for whom? Why? It was through this process that we identified our greatest priorities. The first and foremost priority then and now continues to be our congregation’s commitment to providing kids, birth through college aged, with faith formation opportunities. In response to our plan, we hired Tina Nelson as a full-time youth director. Katie Everson continued as our Young Youth events coordinator. We also continued to prioritize Sunday School by paying a stipend to the superintendent. And First has enjoyed nothing but faithful leadership from our Sunday School leaders over the years.
Later in this newsletter you’ll see that Katie Everson is moving on from serving the Young Youth, which I’ve known was her plan since last fall. And after the last mission trip this summer, Tina Nelson will be moving on from serving as our youth director so that she may become the program director at Sugar Creek Bible Camp. So, there is a lot of transition within the youth ministries at First, but fear not! We have plans!
Currently, we are in the process of interviewing a candidate for the youth director position and have already received multiple applications. We remain committed to keeping a full time youth director on staff who primarily works with middle, high school and post-high school kids/young adults. In addition, we are considering enlarging the scope of a young youth director who would definitely continue to organize monthly events, but may also do a bit more with parents and families. Sunday School is in VERY good shape with Beth and Joel Miller leading. And Carla Stanton plans to return to her role as birth–3 guru by leading a Frolic class once a month.
First Lutheran has lots of goals, feeling called by the Spirit to be thoughtful and faithful as we live our lives in Christ, serving our neighbors in need and growing in knowledge and wisdom. But as much as we want to become more generous, worship well and serve the community, perhaps the greatest desire among us is to pass our faith on from one generation to the next. Know that despite the current vacancies in our youth ministry, I am working diligently to provide a robust experience full of opportunities for our kids! Fortunately, I do not have to do that work alone, as so many of you offer your wisdom and knowledge by teaching on Sundays, ‘guide’ing on Wednesdays and in so many other ways.
I look forward to announcing our new staff whenever the Holy Spirit does her work. In the meantime, I ask for your prayers that the right candidates hear God’s call to serve us at First!