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Did you Know - “Youth Ministries Abound”

Posted: June 21 2018 at 04:06 PM
Author: Rev. Arlene Christopherson, Assistant to the Bishop/Dir. Connectional Ministries


Every year during annual conference, some great questions are raised as we review the conference budget. From administrative costs to congregational care to programming, we want you to know your apportionment dollars are making a difference. 

One of the questions asked this year focused on youth ministries. The writer wanted to know where youth ministries are in the budget. Answer: While we do not have a large line item budget titled “youth ministries” the work of the conference for young adults, youth and children abounds.

Here are just a few of the ways we support the work of Youth Ministries. We have two conference camps Wesley Woods in Williams Bay, Wisconsin and Reynoldswood in Dixon, Illinois. These camps host individual church youth groups for retreats throughout the year and 400 campers over the summer months including a new Chicago Southern District camp in 2017.

Our Outdoor and Retreat Ministries Board of Directors is working hard to make these programs self-sufficient. We currently support the camps with a $60,000 line item in the budget - only 14% of their overall budget.

Our conference apportionments give partial support to five campus ministries located at the University of Chicago, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University in Evanston, North Central College in Naperville, and Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. College youth worship together, eat together, participate in missions, Bible study, eat and retreat. Did I mention they eat? At this critical crossroads in the lives of young adults, we are actively framing a faith perspective as part of the decision-making that will form these persons for the rest of their lives. This has been a significant investment in the future generation with a budget of almost $300,000.

We support the active work of several unique youth events that bring teenagers from across the conference together. The Pembroke Institute for African American youth faith formation meets each summer and the Plumbline Tour involves a trip to New York to study a contemporary topic from a faith perspective. New plans are underway for a Latino/Hispanic youth retreat next spring.

Through the Chicago Urban Strategy, churches are involved in Safe Havens that provide activities and meals for Chicago children on school breaks and we are working with agencies on the effects of trauma on children.

We have given grants to churches for summer programming, Vacation Bible School, after-school programs, gardens, and even cooking classes. The NIC Youth Ministries Team offered a workshop this past spring on sustainable children and youth ministries attended by 46 people.

The NIC Safe Sanctuaries team also provides important support, resources and quality training for adults working with children and youth. This summer many of our congregations are taking their youth on UM Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) trips. We support this work with resources, training and a network of worksite possibilities throughout the denomination, including hosting groups in our annual conference.

I praise God for all the dedicated and visionary volunteers that make all this work for youth ministries a reality!

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