The purpose of Michigan’s State Youth Ministry is to support all volunteer and paid youth leaders, their local ministries, and provide avenues for evangelism, youth and leader growth and leadership development.
November 11-12, 2016 - Michigan Student Leadership Institute
This exciting event, primarily for Senior High students, is a three year leadership training event where students investigate and learn about such things as their Spiritual Gifts, prayer, Bible study, accountability, and sharing their personal stories. All this is done in a 2-day setting of hands on activities, worship, interactive sessions, and making new friends.
December 27-31, 2016 - National Inspirational Youth Convention (NIYC), Northern Kentucky
Each year nearly 300 Middle and High School students and their leaders anticipate Winter Retreat! We use the great facility of Cran-Hill Ranch near Big Rapids for this event. Everyone gathers at Cran-Hill for excellent worship, teaching, and recreation in God’s great outdoors!
Youth leaders, whether paid or volunteer, newer to student ministry or those more experienced, value the opportunity to learn and share together. During the State 360 Leadership Conference, we will have a full day of teaching and discussion on pertinent, youth topics.
Note the earlier date for 2017!
Each year more than 800 Middle School, High School, and leaders attend this convention, held at Western MI University, in Kalamazoo. Challenging speakers and musicians, along with growth sessions, opportunities to serve the community, and many recreation opportunities make this event great for evangelism and personal growth.
June through August - Our Middle School and High School camping program, as well as children’s camping, is held at Warner Camp, near Grand Junction, Michigan. The Directors and many counselors are MI youth leaders who highly value this summer experience for youth. The facility is great, the setting beautiful, and the cost very reasonable! Packets of registration materials will be sent to churches after the first of the year. For individual camp dates, check out the Warner Camp web site - www.warnercamp.com; (269) 434-6844.
Every year a group of approximately 40 -50 youth gather monthly for rehearsals, discipleship, and mentoring. This choir then travels several weekends during the year, touring to some of our state churches, and performing concerts for a week during the summer. They also are part of the SYC weekend. Information on joining the group is available at the State Youth Convention and St. Louis Campmeeting. For other questions, contact Dick Forsman at email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
This exciting event, primarily for Senior High students, is a three year leadership training event where students investigate and learn about such things as their Spiritual Gifts, prayer, Bible study, accountability, and sharing their personal stories.
All this is done in a two day setting of fun, hands on activities, worship, eating, and making many new friends.
From ACTION October/November/December 2014
Ministry to Over-scheduled Teens
Sound familiar? You have just finished the time-consuming preparations for a big event. You have promoted it every way you know how and prayed long and hard. And now you wait for all the students to come through the church doors for an experience they will never forget. Then, a few hours prior to the event, your cell phone starts ringing. One by one, students call to say they cannot make it.
Their reasons sound legitimate-the coach has added another practice, the band director has added another mandatory meeting, a teacher has added a huge last minute project. You are sure that for every student that is calling, there are many others who simply won’t show up.
So many things go through our heads- should I change the event and save it for a better time? But then we come to realize that there are few “better times.” We are directly competing with band, SATs, sports seasons, student council service projects, after-school jobs, homework, and teens’ important social lives.
Those of us in Youth Ministry won’t stop caring and must continue making a difference in students’ lives. How do we impact kids who are so busy?
Get Into Their World We used to enjoy “Field of Dreams” ministry- if we schedule it, they will come. Now, we must make the shift from “come to us’ to “go to them.” Many ministries now revolve around small groups meeting at various times and places that accommodate students and adults instead of the big weekly meetings.
Use Open Windows Arrange key events around these open windows in your students’ calendars. Check with all the schools that your students attend for the dates of vacations, finals, and sports seasons. This will aid when planning retreats and major events.
Influence Your Key Influencers Sure teens are busy, but they make time to do the things they really want to do. Get your key teens on board! In the business world it’s called the Pareto Principle- 20% of any group creates 80% of the final results. It’s the same in youth ministry. About 20% of the students will influence what 80% decide to do. Kids usually will attend a function, or church, if their friends are coming. They often want to know who is attending before committing!
Be a Go-To Presence During Crises Be around when a teen’s life crashes. Your authentic care and friendship during those intense moments will give you deep influence in their scheduling priorities. Do not make the huge mistake of asking kids to get involved in your world, (or the churches) without first getting involved in theirs. Remember that not all of their tragedies are in the same categories as adults. You can be a lifesaving presence during the pain of a breakup, the hurt of getting cut from a sports team, or when a teen is dealing with feelings of guilt. C.S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures…but shouts in our pains.” Wise youth leaders learn to come alongside students when it’s easy for God to “shout.”
From ACTION April/May/June 2014
I enjoy adding words to my vocabulary and recently encountered “renovatus” in my Bible Study. (n. Latin the state of having been restored, refreshed, revived, renewed, or renovated). Two weeks ago a group from our church returned from our annual Guatemalan mission trip. Though we always encounter poverty, physical needs, and lack of educational opportunities for many, I returned revived and renewed. Why? Because of prayer!
God has been teaching me some marvelous things about prayer and through prayer in the last few months. In Guatemala there often was a language barrier in conversing and praying, but God understood the prayers and I truly grasped the common problems around the world and how great our God is!
Pastor Walter, the local pastor, asked me to pray at the altar with a young pregnant girl and her family. I have the privilege of doing this weekly in a volunteer position with the Pregnancy Resource Center in Midland.
Matilde, a mom of a teen girl was so concerned that her daughter is being bullied on Facebook by some students from the area and even some teens from their church. She needed me to pray for them all and her attitude, as it was affecting families in the church. New technology to the area, but the same problems we face!
I shared with the English teacher at the Christian school at the Tracks where we ministered. She’s a single mom of a 14 year old. Sonia is striving to teach her students and her daughter the importance of abstinence through her personal story. We prayed for power, the right words, and that the students in her classes will receive the message with love.
Our whole team experienced the strength of corporate prayer. One of the missionary’s daughters fell three stories through a roof while we were there and severely injured her back. We can praise God that her surgery has been successful and she is walking!
As leaders of youth, we must be praying leaders! Not just for our own benefit of receiving direction and having a close and intimate relationship with Him. There’s more! We are to be praying leaders for the sake of our communities- those we live with, serve with, lead, and follow.
I recently reread Denise Van Eck’s Leadership 101. She reminds us, and for those we teach, a few essential aspects of prayer:
– The problem with describing prayer as speaking to God is that it implies we are still in control. But in listening we let go.
– Too many Christians think prayer means to have spiritual thoughts. The prayer life of most is too selective. They usually present only those things to God they want Him to know or think He can handle. But God can handle everything.
– Prayer shaped Jesus’ decisions (Luke 6:12-16- choosing his disciples). Should we be any different?
– Prayer determined the direction of His ministry (Mark 1:35-38). Shouldn’t we pattern our daily lives this way?
“Prayer is a partnership with God, an open door through which He speaks to us and changes us from the inside out.”– Stormie Omartian
From ACTION January/February/March 2014
God charts the road you take. Psalm 1:6 (The Message)
Forget maps, atlases, and having to stop at service stations for directions. These have been replaced with a GPS- Global Positioning System, either on phones, built into vehicles, or in portable units. With the help of a satellite, you cannot only chart a route to your destination, but pinpoint exactly where you are now.
Finding your way in life is definitely more challenging. That is why God offers His own GPS as standard equipment when we enter into a relationship with Him.
My husband and I jokingly call our GPS Susie. We so often get tired of Susie repeating the word “recalculating” when we have made a wrong turn, or have decided to change a route to detour.
In Youth Ministry, RECALCULATING is an extremely important concept for students to grasp. God always has a way to get us back on track- in the right life direction! It’s a three-part system that utilizes the Bible, the counsel of others, and the Holy Spirit. As leaders and shepherds in students’ lives, we often have the tough role of helping them see that a new direction needs to be chosen and then guiding them to Christ to find that new route.
Unlike the GPS on our phone or car, we may not be able to see where this decision will ultimately lead. But God knows. We must follow His direction, one turn at a time and He will get us where we need to go.
From ACTION October/November/December 2013
“You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation.” 2 Corinthians 1:10 MSG
Two times this summer I felt overwhelmed with debris. The first was on a day when youth and adults from our church assisted in a neighborhood cleanup project. Truckloads of trash and recyclable materials had to be removed quickly, or a family would have been in serious trouble with the local officials. The second time was during the Church of God Youth Leadership Summit in July. This event was hosted by Mid America Christian University (MACU) in Oklahoma City. On one day of the Summit, the 125 High School and College students, with the 30 adult leaders went to help with tornado relief in Moore, OK. We helped tear down a heavily damaged home and clear the lot. Even after two months, so many streets and neighborhoods are still desolate heaps of debris.
Just as we helped lift and move debris from the yard cluttered from years of collecting, and from the tornado devastation, students need assistance with removing the debris of burdens, guilt, doubts, and lack of self esteem. The list is endless. This isn’t an “easy fix” always, but one that requires time, patience, and many reminders of God’s grace!
As the school year begins, my challenge is for ALL adults in congregations. Whether you work directly with the students in your church or not, you are responsible for talking to God about them on a regular basis! Our prayers, our love, our time, and our resources will all play a vital part in the victory of everyone around us.
We must remember that Jesus is the greatest disaster relief of all time!