Perhaps no goal is more widely supported across a congregation than the belief that investing in our kids faith foundation is one of the key reasons we join faith communities that focus on those aspirations. St. Timothy‘s Episcopal Church in Danville has long supported the youth ministry and mission of the church. So it is no surprise that it also remains a high priority across the generations.
The challenge we face as a congregation is finding the resources to develop and maintain a youth ministry program across all age groups. Often we are forced to choose between a program strategy that focused on elementary school age children, tweens or teens. Maybe we can squeeze out a program for two of the three age groups but not all three at once. The result is our program goes in waves and families also come and go based upon the strengths or weaknesses of our efforts.
This is not for lack of trying or of faith. It is a resource problem we struggle to face.
In our 20/20 Vision process we again confront this challenge asking parents and kids and those who care about them to help us define a strategy to serve our kids. This time we are focused on defining the needs for each age group and with the help of parents, grandparents, teachers and staff we seek to create a core program that creates a faith foundation and then explore ways to enhance that core program in collaboration with others.
DioCal Area Ministry: Mission and Ministry
There is a change a foot at the Episcopal Diocese of California. A proposal in being considered across the Diocese to separate the Diocesan Assessment into two parts: An Administrative Budget that would cover the basic operating costs of the Diocese and a Mission and Ministry Budget to give parishes the choice of how to allocate a share of their Diocesan assessment across a variety of programs. I have proposed another alternative that encourages the congregations to work together directly to identify their mission and ministry needs and collaborate directly to put together programs than can serve the needs of more than one congregation.
Whether these changes will be made will not be decided until the Diocesan convention in October 2011. Meanwhile, we still have youth ministry needs that must be addressed. So the 20/20 Vision team and Vestry are soliciting parents, grandparents and other congregation members to work with the clergy and staff in the design of youth ministry program goals, strategies and ideas across age groups. With that needs assessment in hand, St. Timothy’s is in a position to talk with other congregations with similar needs about working collaboratively on programs than can travel from parish to parish.