This past Saturday (Sept. 15, a.d. 2012), young adults from around our conference were invited to join together to serve, share in worship and have a great time. About 40 young adults - college students through couples in their 30’s (thankfully our CTC director of Communications & IT wasn’t there to raise the median age) – and several precious children spent the day serving at Mission Arlington and worshipping at the UTA Wesley Foundation.
The purpose of this gathering was to bring together young adults from different churches to meet, to fellowship and to serve the community. Mary Kathryn Nader (New World UMC), Aleta Duran (St. Barnabas UMC), Kerry Kinney (Lighthouse Fellowship UMC), and Julian Hobdy (Campus Drive UMC) were part of the design team that helped make this event happen. Not only were groups exposed to Mission Arlington, but to other young adults in their area. Smaller young adult groups were able to join with other churches to share in mission and worship with an energy that comes from gathering of dozens of young people
Groups from St. Barnabas UMC, Campus Drive UMC, Meadowbrook UMC, St. Andrews UMC and the Weatherford College and UTA Wesley Foundations met at Mission Arlington in the early afternoon. After introductions and a prayer, our team went to work! Most of the group loaded cars with clothing, joined in a spirited game of sharks and minnows, delivered clothing to a nearby apartment complex, and built relationships with people in the community. The rest of our team stayed behind to clear a large room that will soon house Christmas gifts.
The work was hard and while I can't speak for the rest of the crew, I am still sore. Still, there was a physical and uplifting energy on Saturday. People were full of excitement, enthusiasm and passion for serving others. Several of us had never been to Mission Arlington and were blown away by the scope of ministry happening. It was incredible to be part of a ministry making such an impact.
After several hours of work, we walked over to the UTA Wesley Foundation refueled on a delicious feast of spaghetti and chocolate chip cookies (contrary to urban myth, the image to the right is NOT representative of the number of cookies I ate). After a time of fellowship, in which we enjoyed sand volleyball and games of pool, we celebrated in worship together.
Worship music was led by Jarrod Johnston (guitar) of FUMC Duncanville and Julian Hobdy (keyboard) and Cameron Shotlow (drums) of Campus Drive UMC [photo left] and included a mix of Chris Tomlin and Israel Houghton. The worship was so full of the Spirit that you’d swear these guys had been leading worship together forever – this was their first time as a trio.
After Jarrod, Julian and Cameron got our souls singing, it was time for Rev. Kyland Dobbins [photo right] to touch our hearts and minds with the message. Kyland challenged us to continue to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, keep doing what we're doing and do it all with an attitude of gratitude! Kyland reminded us to serve as if we would be the one who would one day needed such acts of mercy and compassion. After the message, Rev. Joseph Nader observed communion and we shared in the body and blood of Christ as a family. The worship space was full of reverence and joy as we sang praises. Young people left the event on Saturday energized to continue serving in ministry in their own local setting. And now that these new relationships have been established, the hope is these groups will continue to serve in ministry together.
Young adult ministry is challenging - many life transitions happen between 18 and 35 years of age. Young adults in our conference are hungry to change the world. They want healthy relationships with other adults, an opportunity to serve, and relevant worship. If you are a young adult looking to get plugged into a young adult ministry in your area or a church in the conference searching for resources for young adult ministry, please contact me at LeanneJohnston@ctcumc.org.
*Leanne is the coordinator of Youth & Young Adult Ministry for the CTC. firstname.lastname@example.org