|Pastor Doug rejoices with the woman who found her lost coin!|
I have never believed that youth and children's ministry should function as a separate entity of the church. They need some special focus and attention, programs geared for where they are in life, but they must also participate in and feel welcomed into the larger worship of the church. One of the best ways to help them embrace the full worshiping community is to help them discover their gifts and then empower them for ministry. Our youth are active ushers, coffee servers, scripture readers, Sunday School teachers and helpers, on worship teams and help run our projector on a regular basis. I think it's a mistake to only involve youth on youth Sunday. Instead, regularly having them participate in our worship service better prepares them to lead on Sundays when highlighting our youth is our main objective and helps them feel like a more integrated part of the entire community.
We have an amazing group of teens and leaders at Immanuel. I feel so blessed to be part of a church that so fully embraces our children and youth and longs for them to continue to grow in their faith, develop their gifts and learn what it means to be a strong church leader.