Our Ministries


According to Staci...

Thursday
Sep202012

Genuinely Cool Youth Ministry

This summer, I was blessed to travel throughout the Mediterranean for a few weeks.  Asked by many, what my favorite place was, I can assuredly say, Istanbul Turkey is the place I want to return to.  I found Istanbul to be a surprisingly ancient yet modern city with amazing energy and friendly people. I loved the breathtaking mosaic tiles of the Blue Mosque,  the damp underground cisterns, the lively chaos of the Grand Bazaar, and the stirring calls to prayer heard through the city. 

The Grand Bazaar proved to be overwhelming as well as eye pleasing. So much cool stuff to look at.  So many Lira to be haggled.  Miles of shop stalls.  My son Parker, was pleased to negotiate a good price for a pair of 'Genuine Fake Ray Ban' sunglasses.  So many signs to lure passers-by in......'Cool Stuff' and 'Genuine Fake' were by far my favorite.

Since I have been home, I have had a chance to reflect on my trip as I prepare for a new year in Children and Youth Ministry. I am struck by how often we fall into the 'Cool Stuff' trap in ministry. Especially in Youth Ministry. 

How often do we fall prey to believing that what attracts middle school and high school students is “cool stuff”?

Like the shop stall attempting to attract passersby, sometimes ministries dangle “cool stuff” in front of our youth, using a whole year full of fun events to attract kids to youth group gatherings.  The problem is, more often than not, this approach to ministry simply doesn't work.

Sure, sometimes cool, fun stuff attracts kids. Yet, rarely does it make them stick.  If “cool” is what students are looking for, the church loses. Every time. We simply cannot compete (monetarily or otherwise) with the “cool” factor of other organizations, nor, I believe, should we try to do so.

Now don't get me wrong. Fun is not bad. In fact, I hope and pray that our church's youth ministry is fun. I value laughter. I value relaxation. I value silliness.  I value crazy fun. I believe each of these things is the Holy Spirit made known to us through being in relationship together.   I simply don't believe we need to use these things as bait to lure youth into youth groups.  After all, "cool stuff” is not what actually attracts youth to youth group.....

Genuine, caring and welcoming communities do. Relationships do.  Deep conversations do.  Safe spaces do.  Acts of service do.  These are things that in today's over scheduled, fast-paced world, many youth lack regularity in.  But, what we all crave and long for is, the 'Genuine Stuff' of God's Love!  

My personal approach to Children and Youth Ministry, is that all activities,  including the fun ones, should be seen through the lens of our Mission......Peace, Respect, and Love in Action.  Through fun fellowship activities, sharing and prayer, contemporary theology and acts of social justice and service; we as a community of children, youth and adults can grow together to find meaning and belonging in this world. Empowering one another to live out our faith by sharing the good news of God's Genuine love for all. 

Now that's Cool!

 

 

Monday
Jul162012

Scenes from NYE

Wow!  What an incredible week the youth and I had at the UCC National Youth Event.  In the coming weeks, stories will be told, reflections shared, and memories revisited.  

I put together all the photos that I've taken and that the youth in large our group have shared with me.  I hope you will get cozy and take a look and get a glimpse at the truly amazing week we shared together as part of the Pacific Northwest Conference Youth at NYE.   

Our RBCC youth will share thier stories on Homecoming Sunday September 9th at 10:00am.  You won't want to miss it! 

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Tuesday
Jul032012

Follow our Youth to NYE!

 

12 RBCC UCC adults and youth will be leaving Saturday for Indiana and the UCC National Youth Event! 

Our church family has helped us have this incredible experience through financial support, prayer support, and enthusiasm!! 

We invite you to follow us to the National Youth Event: 

On-Line:  http://www.ucc.org/youth/nye/

Facebook:  RBCC Youth Group or United Church of Christ Youth

Twitter:  #TheUCCYouth

Blog:  rbccucc.org/according-to-staci

Check back and Follow us often for photos, trip reports, and LIVE streaming from NYE!

SEE!  God is doing a NEW THING through UCC Youth!

 

Thursday
Jun282012

Gettin' Ready!

10 Youth and 2 adults from RBCC are gearing up to go across the country to Indiana for 3 days of community service and 4 days at the UCC National Youth Event.  This is an incredible opportunity for all 12 of us and we are all getting excited to leave on July 7th.  National Youth Event is held every 4 years, and is an opportunity for youth and adults to gather for service opportunities, worship, workshops, fun, and fellowship.  

Recently, I gave our youth who will be attending, the task of naming what they hoped to gain from the NYE experience.   Since the comedian David Letterman is from Indiana........the youth made a Top Ten list of their NYE wishes........a la David Letterman Top Ten Style: 

 

 

Top Ten things we want out of NYE in Indiana: The Coffee Edition

10.  Coffee of course! 

 9.   Other peoples's coffee......(Meet Others!) 

 8.   Help people make coffee...(Help Others!)

 7.   Learn about coffee...(Learn new things!)

 6.   Count the number of Starbucks...(be aware of our surroundings and experience new places!)

 5.   Talk and discuss coffee...(Talk and share with new people!)

 4.   Deep bottom of the heart talks about coffee....(Deep conversations with peeps/friends!)

 3.   Explore our individual coffee needs...(Learn new things about ourselves!)

 2.   Reflect on coffee...(Reflect on life!)

 1.   Enjoy coffee together...(Have Fun Together!)

Youth are awesome........Let the learning, service, faith and fun BEGIN!

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jun062012

Holy Expressions

This past Sunday, was Trinity Sunday.   A celebration of God!  Not to explain God, but to celebrate God's wonderful and mysterous presence made known to us in many ways. God as parent and creator, friend and guide, an everpresent breath of life.  

Before worship, children were given a free-form poem to write.  With the help of a few promts such as: words that descibe God, things that God does, words we would say to God, and names for God,  the children were able to express the many ways God is made known to each of them.  

These poems are Holy Expressions, and some were shared in worship.  I share them here for everyone:

 

 

 

God
Fair, Good 
Helping, Greeting, Playing with kids 
Thank you for doing all the good stuff 
Jesus

God
Love, Kind
Loving, Helping,Giving
I Love You
My God

God 
Hopeful, Helpful 
Loving, Caring, Blessing 
Thank You for loving me 
Good Shepherd 

God 
Loving Entity 
Seeing, Non-Interfearing 
What's Up Dude?! 
Adonai

 God
Hopeful, Young
Helping, Loving, Caring
Hello God, I love you
The Spirit

God
Mighty yet Gentle
Teaching, Caring, Watching
Thank you for hope
Love

God
Powerful, Mighty
Sharing, Caring, Loving
Thank for everything
Lamb of God 

 

 

 

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