The halls and classrooms and chapel were humming on Saturday as Central hosted its first GPS gathering of youth and their leaders. Go.Proclaim.Serve. is an initiative to assist youth in exploring vocation; it is also an opportunity to link those good volunteers who lead these adolescents in their respective churches. It was a splendid day! I was reminded of my years as a youth minister and gave thanks for the energy and good humor in such an event.
Central desires to be a resource for churches as they help young persons think about the possible pathways their lives might follow. As I explained to the youth, the seminary is a “seed-bed” that helps grow people into their unique callings—some as professional ministers, others as deeply committed agents of transformation in their communities. One thing is for sure: God has “designs” on every person’s life. All are called to faith and service.
As I looked over the room full of bright and eager students—on a Saturday morning, no less—I was reminded of the events that contribute to the process of finding our lives. Sometimes it is something we hear at one of these gatherings; often it is the cumulative impact of being tended by caring others that opens us to new possibilities.
It is said that an army “travels on its stomach”; I would contend that effective youth ministry is somehow related to the amount of pizza available! You know those biblical texts about “the locusts coming through and all being consumed?” I think those texts could aptly speak about youth groups and food; it just disappears. Somehow I think using ABC mission grant money to feed kids is money well spent!
Dr. Heather Entrekin and her team designed a day that would help connect the dots of emerging faith and emerging identity. Through music, worship, games, small group interactions, and a “Gospel slam,” a creative re-telling of the good news of Jesus, youth gave voice to their longings for community and a world made better by their presence. She had this to say, "It was inspiring to be part of the energy, imagination, appetite (and not just for pizza) and openness our youth bring to the adventure of faith. The adult leaders modeled spiritual maturity and a deep commitment to grow as mentors and friends for these young people. We came away with good ideas for how Central can continue to support our churches' ministry with youth. And the day was fun, start to finish!"
I give thanks for these youth and their committed and loving leaders. The Spirit continues to call persons to lives that matter in the Reign of God. My prayer is that our school provided some ways to assist these teenagers is learning to listen for God’s voice.
Molly T. Marshall
Central believes that vocational discernment is the journey to authentic living. To learn more, continue visiting www.cbts.edu