faith, with slideshow: Youth-led worship service at Ann Arbor's First United Methodist Church empowers all ages
Photo by Peter DeHart
We listened as graduating high school seniors came to the microphone one by one and told what involvement in the church youth group had meant to them. Of the adolescent wisdom shared, one sentiment repeated itself over and over: Teenagers were openly grateful for their church’s support of youth mission trips.
These kids have helped with local projects (CROP Walk and Habitat for Humanity in Ann Arbor and CASS Community in Detroit), but they have also spent time in orphanages in Bulgaria, helped start a high school in Kenya, and experienced a week without clean drinking water on an Indian reservation in South Dakota.
They have traveled the globe with their church friends, helping people of different languages and cultures, but still finding common ground and life lessons to share. And enjoying themselves all the while.
These youth understand the concept of “reverse mission.” While it is admirable that they spend a week making home repairs or roofing or leading crafts and games with needy kids, the more lasting impact of their efforts may be their broadened world view and their sense of community.
They have seen that life isn’t always easy or fair, but they don’t shrink from it. They feel empowered to be part of a small group of committed individuals making a positive impact in the world.
May we all feel so empowered.
Amy Fryar Kennedy is a hospice nurse, a mom, a Tarheel, and a member of First United Methodist Church. She can be reached at email@example.com. All photos by Peter DeHart.