The Youth and Family Service Team is excited about how God has been working to equip our churches to meet the needs of the next generation. A significant aspect of this process was the first ever Youth and Family Ministry Conference held in Boston, Massachusetts in 2007. Elders, evangelists, youth ministers, parents and youth workers gathered together and encouraged one another with the realization that it would take all of us working together to pass our faith on to the next generation. Shortly thereafter, the ICOC Delegates formed the service teams including one for Youth and Family. We selected our committee, consisting of brothers determined to cultivate this vision.
In the last year, it has been a joy to see the youth in so many of our churches responding to the multi-generational involvement in their lives. The following has occurred:
1. Regional Youth and Family Ministry Conferences in 2008 – Regional conferences were held in various parts of the country in order to facilitate the participation of more parents and youth workers. These well-attended conferences were held in South Florida, the Midwest, Boston, the Heartland, Texas, and California. Many adults responded to the call to volunteer their services in youth ministry.
2. YFM website – We are excited to announce our new YFM resource website, to be launched in December in cooperation with Disciples Today. The address for this website is liveit2giveit.org. We believe the address says so much about what we need to do to pass on our faith to the next generation – “You gotta live it to give it.” The website will include a variety of information for youth workers, youth ministers and parents. There will also be information regarding our youth camps and leadership events.
3. 2009 International Youth and Family Ministry Conference in Chicago – We are also excited to announce our next international conference to be held in Chicago from April 16-19, 2009. The title of the conference is “Legacy of Faith”. This theme was inspired by our dear friend and brother, Dan Rice, who passed away suddenly this past June. Shortly before his death, Dan led a youth camp entitled “Legacy”. Dan embodied the qualities that we are so desperately trying to pass on. Although Dan is not with us physically, his legacy remains in so many young people that he inspired to love God. In this conference we will encourage elders, evangelists, parents and youth workers to be great examples of faith for the next generation to emulate. Everyone interested in participating can find more details on our website, liveit2giveit.org.
For me personally, the most gratifying and impacting part of my association with the YFM committee has been the fellowship with a group of men who love the next generation with all their hearts. We have built a team that has encouraged me and taught me things about God and the next generation that I never would have known. I am grateful for Marcus Overstreet who has been a tremendous support and eager partner. I want to thank Dave Pocta (Chicago), Phil Arsenault (Boston), Damon Curtis (Houston), Shane Engel (San Diego), Alex Hernandez (Hampton Roads), John Mannel (Los Angeles), Adrian Hill (London) and our recently departed brother Dan Rice (St. Louis) for their genuine faith and passion to see the next generation in God’s hands.