For the first time since my arrival at FFUMC the youth of First Farragut will elect the members of the 2010-2011 Youth Leadership Team (YLT). We are doing it up real big with a fun election night together (themed snack, a guest speaker, and some sweet ballots!). I wanted to ask for prayers for our exciting night. There are over 20 students on the ballot who are running for a total of 10 positions…which means some students will not be on the team. I want this to be a night of encouragement and not of disappointment. I am proud of all of the students who have prayed about, considered the cost and the commitment, and placed their names in the hat.
More than that it is a significant night in the night of this youth group for a couple of reasons. When I began my journey at FFUMC as the Youth Pastor the youth group was in total disarray. The group was small and in many ways was damaged. They had experienced a TREMENDOUS amount of transition in the leadership of their youth group and there was discord between students and adults, between students and students, and between the group and the congregation. I was asked EARLY ON to start a youth leadership team (or Youth Council as they refer to it in the Methodist Church). My response was a DEFINITIVE no. I explained to those who asked that allowing for student leadership in a youth group that I was taking over could be disastrous. There weren’t strong relationships established, there was little trust, and the depth of spiritual life was almost non-existent. There was hunger among many students for consistency, authenticity, real relationships, the Word of God, and regular opportunities for fellowship. I sensed that if we could create those things on a regular basis that health would return to this group. In just over 3 years we have seen the youth group grow from about 20 students to close to 60. The number of adult leaders who are active in students lives outside of just Sunday and Wednesday has grown tremendously. The youth group successfully split into High School and Middle School last year (and they had a hard time leaving the “all together” aspect behind) and leadership among students is BLOWING UP! Middle School students have high school students to look up to. High School students are leading by example. And the church and the world are taking notice of this exceptional group of young people. I’m not saying I have the BEST youth group in the world. I’m just saying today that I’m extremely proud of them. Just like me, they made a commitment to change in their lives and change in the youth group, and now it is happening. Now there is trust, maturity, depth, and excitement. Now I am MORE THAN HAPPY, thrilled even, to put a YLT election in their hands.
So please pray this weekend as we take another Giant Leap forward in the growth and development of the First Farragut Youth Group! God is good…all the time! Praying for you all today. Have a fantastic Wednesday!