2014 Mission Team in Gifford Hudson UMC went through a congregational process with the conference’s Congregational Development Office.  In the midst of that process the primary staff person, Camilla, died suddenly.  The church was left with a focus which had been voted on: “Youth,” but without having all the resources and vision needed to fulfill that goal.

Over the past week I have been working with those who have worked with young people in the past, the NOW team, and administrative council to understand where we are at with this goal and to set a clear vision to move forward with the resources needed for success.  The greatest need, though, is clear terminology.  The best I can understand, the congregation set a goal: to have a thriving church with successful ministries with young people.

Since the United Methodist Church defines “Ministries with Young People” as anyone under the age of 35, we will too, but within that wide range there are two specific groups with which we can have the most impact:  Children (up to 5th grade) and Youth (grades 6-12).  We can’t have one program without the other:  a successful children’s ministry feeds into a youth program and young families are attracted to churches with strong youth ministries into which their children can grow.  In order to do this we must work toward the goal together.

We must focus on creative and vibrant children & Youth ministries, but we, as a congregation, spend a lot of time in meetings.  In order to shift energy from meetings and administrative tasks and, instead, move forward with ‘ministries with young people’ the Administrative Council is to undergo a process of discerning the best structure for this church and then form teams to accomplish our goals.

In the meantime we need to get started!  I am calling together some people to discuss our most immediate needs for our ministries with young people.  These interim Team Meetings for children & youth ministries will occur over the next week and, then, join in a special “Fall Program Gathering” (luncheon) on July 27 during which we will plan some all-church activities.  More important than any meeting, committee, or structure, however, is for this church to grow in its commitment to ministries with young people and commit with generous financial support (as you already have), but also through increased volunteers, donation of supplies and transportation, and prayer.  Together, as a church, we can achieve great things!

Pastor Scott Carnes

I am the pastor at Hudson UMC