It was exciting to be asked to write about Compassion for this newsletter because this core principal is the long-term outcome of the teen experience in Youth of Unity. We all live very busy lives and our teens have a friend-set they spend much more time with on average than their church family, but when Compassion is broken down into parts what we’re asking is for members to look out for one another, celebrate milestones and demonstrate care beyond the weekly gathering.
As we’ve watched a consistent attendance of both Uniteens and YOU this school year, Jessica and I have asked the youth to stretch beyond the lesson and get out of their comfort zone. This looks like the writing group MOL’s - Messages Of Love - where we’re asked to write something we appreciate about each member present that day. We also spent some time recently in a lesson sharing with others some of the struggles we have accepting ourselves and then had each attendee state three things they see as strengths in the others.
The month of April is a good time for the teens to engage with one another; we had a 5th Sunday ushering and platforming opportunity (Colin really stepped up and delivered; first time that a Uniteen has served that way). We had the Hand-washing Ceremony, Easter Egg Hunt, spring grounds clean-up and Planet Unity that offered extra time to spend bonding with each other. YOU member Lucas Crump, and his mom Sandy, recently attended a Rally in Dallas, TX, and he gave a great report to the other members, especially the Uniteens, encouraging them to set their sights on attending these experiences when they cross-over to YOU in their freshman year of high school.
One other thing we have been doing lately is developing a Mission and Vision Statement for the Youth Department and talking about how our young people can establish a connection with the church congregation. We’ll soon be taking part regularly during services and doing a service project and creating a connection between the teens and the church leadership and their parents. What I hope you’ll take away from this article is that as the church is implementing several church-building activities, we are busy trying to create a sense of Compassion with our growing body of youth. We’ve talked as a group about the importance of the teens not only connecting with each other, but also with the adults and it was refreshing to learn the teens have an interest and understanding for doing the same.