Greetings from the Youth & Family Service Team! Coming out of an unpredictable year in 2020, we are excited to share some impactful highlights that took place in 2021…
In March of 2021, many Youth & Family ministries across the U.S. watched “An Evening with Mr. Fred Gray.” It was a historic and special evening presenting an opportunity to sit at the feet of a civil rights icon, who entered the spotlight in 1955 for representing Rosa Parks after she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus. This was a partnership developed by the ICOC Teachers Team and the Teleios Society that brought a level of social awareness and solidarity across the various ministries.
In the summer of 2021, Audie and Bethany Monday with the Philadelphia Youth & Family Ministry had a banner year with their youth.
At the Forge by Hope for Kids…
- They were able to see 1,000 campers from ACR family of churches.
- Over 300 adults volunteered during 11 weeks of camp serving (counselors, cooks, nurses or maintenance).
They were encouraged by the partnership with HOPE worldwide’s Youth Corps Program…
- HYC participants mentored youth from inner city Philadelphia, implemented a lifestyle of service with organizations like One Day at a Time, and evangelized Philadelphia college campuses.
- In addition, over 50 young adults served 10 weeks through a Leadership Academy from all over the United States. By the end of the summer they saw over 100 campus-aged individuals come together to serve and train to grow in their leadership to advance the kingdom of God.
This summer they welcomed a new partnership with the Beam Mission Fund’s Chance of a Lifetime (COAL)…
- Participants spent the first portion of the program at the Forge.
- Chance of a Lifetime prepared 15 young adults to serve and lead like Jesus at camp, in campus ministries, and overseas as missionaries.
Sara Saltos, a young single, was recognized as a women’s ministry leader in the Greater Philadelphia Church of Christ, on December 19, 2021.
In the summer of 2021, a year of COVID-19, where we canceled half our trips, we had half the number participants we normally have. Nadine Templer (pictured above) of Kathmandu, Nepal, reports:
- In 2021 we had 200 teens go on trips (we normally have 400).
- Many teens decided to study the Bible and/or become Christians.
Cool quotes of teens who went on Youth Corps trips in 2021…
- “That trip was the single most life-changing and enjoyable trip in my life. Being connected with other teenagers who are seeking God and partnering with them to serve those in need is fulfilling for myself but more importantly it is giving to others.”
- “This summer, I went on a HVC to Daytona, and I loved it. It was extremely influential to my faith, and the people I met there helped me grow so much spiritually. In September, I got baptized and I think the trip really helped me out with it.”
- “I would like to participate in this HYC because the last HYC changed my life. The experience of meeting new people and serving God was incredible. It brought me to a state that I could identify my need for God which has been blurred for a lot of my life and just connect with others.”
In August of 2021, Curt & Heidi Ammons (pictured above) from the Milwaukee Church of Christ hosted our first in-person Service Team meeting to plan the 2022 World Discipleship Summit. It was a tremendous time of not just planning the Youth & Family Track, but a time of bonding and building a deeper sense of unity.
Mike and Kristen Lamb were asked to lead a Cradle to Campus Ministry (called “Next Gen Ministries”) for the whole Boston Church of Christ. This ministry will focus on a comprehensive ministry of families of infants all the way through to campus. The five pillars they will focus on are to: partner with parents, teach the children, foster relationships, work together, and reach more families.
Thanks to the continual investment of building strong families, almost half of our Service Team members are kingdom kids. However, the need for more full-time you and family leaders is dire. As we embark on a new year, we ask for your prayers that God will continue to bless us with opportunities to walk with and train men and women who have a passion for building families across our great churches.
Damon & Michelle Curtis, Service Team Chairs – Houston, USA
Curt & Heidi Ammons – Milwaukee, USA
Phil & Kris Arsenault – Boston – USA
Ross & Manami Lippencott – New York, USA
Audie & Bethany Monday – Philadelphia, USA
Jake & Kelsey Rock – Orlando, USA
Nadine Templer – Kathmandu, Nepal
Eric & Megan Testa – Indianapolis, USA
Bob & Susan Wedin – Phoenix, USA