During the West Central Regional Youth Event, we took a lot of video footage of our activities. In particular, we took a lot of shots of our Iowa Conference UCC group time and the closing worship service we led.
I knew I had some interesting things when I shot the footage, but it wasn’t until I edited the small clips into a larger movie did I see some important themes emerge. During our conference group time, we got to know each other and discussed what we saw as challenges in the church. After taking a vote, the issue that was most important was the dwindling numbers of young people in church. Not a big surprise. Our discussion also named some of the underlying problems — that anyone who brings forth new ideas are not taken seriously and are often dismissed.
We also spent some time “asset-mapping,” an exercise created by Luther Snow, to help groups identify their resources and create their own projects with what they already have. Our groups created some wonderful things — all of them included opportunities to serve, develop faith and create places for adults and young people to work together. They infused humor and an incredible spirit of openness. In the end, we could only pick one of the projects and the group chose to do a mission trip to a Native American reservation in South Dakota. The presentation of that idea is last in our video.
After experiencing these five days with the young people and adult leaders from 10 Iowa Conference Churches, I wondered what the church would look like if this energy was more prominently infused into the church as a whole. What if that spirit of openness and passion to serve really drove our churches? I’m not exactly sure, but I’d really like to find out.
So, please let me know if you want to be part of this next venture, in particular the planning and leading of this mission trip that these RYE attenders dreamed. Or maybe you just want to do some dreaming. Let me know.
Rev. Nicole Havelka
Associate Conference Minister for Youth and Young Adult Ministries
Iowa Conference UCC
My Blog includes day by day updates from RYE, check them out!