YOUTH MINISTRY UPDATES AND THOUGHTS
On New Year’s Eve, Pastor Luis preached on the topic of ‘going home’. I would like
to share some of my thoughts and interpretations regarding what he said,
especially as it pertains to my role here in the coming year.
The idea of home – leaving home, coming home, being home – has always been
an important part of our religious tradition. In Genesis, Abraham left his home,
and in Revelation we hear of a new home. As followers of Jesus, we are in a sense
called to find our home in God, and always remember that this is not our only
home. Home is a place of comfort, and a place to be challenged. Home means
different things to different people, and the meaning of home, or even what is
home, can change as we change, as the world changes.
A primary work of the church is to be a home, a home for all; a seemingly simple
thing, but not an easy thing. The idea of church as home is not a static idea.
Rather, it is something that changes, perhaps evolves. As more and different
people become part of a faith community, that community changes. Like a family
that – over time – incorporates new people and relationships, faith communities
are changed by those welcomed in – (If not, then they haven’t truly been
Youth ministry since the middle of the last century has always been about making
the church a home for teenagers. Often this took place within the church
building; sometimes in other places, some explicitly faith-focused, but sometimes
not. The best youth ministries have always created home based on relationships
and experiences, as well as place. The best faith communities for youth (and
children) have always been willing, even eager, to change and adapt as their youth
have grown and changed and discovered who they are.
Churches have focused on children and youth for a while now, and often been
perplexed as to what to do once they have graduated high school. There is an
increased need and desire to be home to those who are post-H.S. (Garrett-
Evangelical Theological Seminary is in the midst of a $1.5 million study on church-
based ministry to Millenials). As the nature of youth ministry changes in this faith
community, and in our society, I will be exploring new ways to make First UMC
Lombard a home. I will be listening and reading and learning. I’ll keep you up-to-
date, and I ask you to keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I’m eager to find
where we’ll find Jesus working!!
Scott Hotaling, M. Div.