This past week, Kris Milliron of Marshall First Christian Church attended two youth ministry conferences in Black Mountain, North Carolina.
First was the DYMN/DHM Youth Ministry Summit at Christmount Conference Center. Disciples Youth Ministry Network (DYMN) and Disciples Home Missions (DHM) partnered to host this event, where Disciples Youth Workers from across North America joined together to re-envision the future of DOC youth ministry. As it has been over 20 years since the last youth ministry definitions were presented before the General Church, the group came together to redefine priorities for the future of Youth Ministry, including:
- The need for youth to have a voice and a place at the General level of church
- Intentional Inter-generational focus and relationships in and throughout the church; authentic mentoring across all cultures and ages
- Innovative and resourceful technology
- Worship that engages all, welcomes all, and provides a space for all at the Table
- Youth integrated into every piece of ministry, and the need to take youth seriously
- Missions that are less project and more long term, less charitable and more justice focused
- Diversity. Diversity. Diversity.
- A growing relationship with UCC
- Youth need training and leadership opportunities in making wise, ethical, moral and responsible decisions and actions.
- General and regional churches need to again become relevant to the local church
- Prioritize youth in the wider and local church.
- We need each other! Youth leaders need each other, the church needs youth, the youth needs church, etc.
- There is limited opportunity for youth leaders to be in conversation together
- There are clear and defined silos and disconnect that need to be identified and broken, especially among institutions and constituencies
- Being flexible to the messiness of change and innovation
This Summit was extremely successful, allowing a diverse blend of youth workers the opportunity to brainstorm and work together with one purpose, in addition to networking, connecting, sharing resources, and enjoying Sabbath time.
Following the DYMN/DHM Summit, Kris and many of the other DOC Youth Leaders drove just down the road to Montreat Conference Center to attend the Progressive Youth Ministry Conference. Over 250 persons in youth ministry from around the world (Australia was represented!) converged to network and share inspiration, resources, curriculum, ideas, and much, much more. In addition, there were three renowned keynote speakers, two worship services filled with beautiful music and inspirational messages, and three sessions of over 20 seminars to choose from. The knowledge gained from the collective experts and educators was invaluable; participants returned to their respective churches and youth renewed, rejuvenated and reignited to share all that was learned and gained from this diverse range of expertise.
Kris would like to express her gratitude to both her home church in Marshall for their prayerful and financial support, and to the Mid-America Leadership Development Team that awarded her a grant to offset conference fees. (Learn more about leadership grants.)
Thanks to Kris for representing CCMA at these conferences, for sharing
her experience, and for her continued dedication to our collective youth ministries.