Central welcomed about 100 persons to the seminary campus this past Saturday for a Kaleo event—about 70 youth and their leaders. They came from churches in the KC metro area, and they were primed to serve and to learn. Serving and learning usually go together. Reflecting on where they see God in the midst of their serving—an old Ignatian practice—is a time-honored process.
Over the past year and a half, Central has been crafting a “Transformed by the Spirit Leadership Center,” which is partially funded by a Ministry Initiative Grant of the ABC-USA. Kaleo is designed for middle school and high school students. Ably directed by Dr. Heather Entrekin, the center has as a primary objective to assist churches in creating a “culture of calling.” This means assisting congregations in the practices that can allow youth (and everyone else!) to hear God’s call. God is always calling, but the world makes it hard to hear.
Central cares about the next generation of ministers. We believe that it is our calling as a theological school to help secure the future of the church through nurturing the calling of those God is beckoning as leaders. Gatherings such as this will have an impact for years to come, by God’s grace.
When youth are on the premises, the energy level goes up! Their unrestrained enthusiasm—whether for pizza, praise, or proclamation—is infectious. Faithful youth leaders accompanied them and received good leadership development on boundary training while the youth painted and raked leaves, among other things. Central cares about best practices in the tending of youth.
A new feature of this gathering was the involvement of create students, working alongside small teams of youth. Young adults who have responded to the calling of God to serve as leaders in ministry helped guide the service projects of the youth, and they were visible witnesses to God’s creative work through them. I heard reports of great camaraderie and mutual delight in shared work.
This coming spring, Central will host another such event. I can think of no more significant investment of resources than to find ways to encourage youth to listen for the voice of God. It will make all the difference for the future of the church—and hopefully, the world.
Molly T. Marshall
Central seeks to be a source of renewal for churches. To learn more, continue visiting our website.