During the first weekend in May several adults and youth from SIPC gathered in our Fellowship Hall, rolled up their sleeves, and worked together through an incredible process of defining why we do youth ministry at Sea Island. For over thirteen hours we dreamed, visioned, and refined our work. It was a long process, sometimes the chairs were too uncomfortable and our legs fell asleep, and sometimes we just went around in circles about ideas we thought made sense or goals we wanted to achieve. The Holy Spirit was with us, though, and we accomplished what we set out to. The end result of this process was a mission statement that will guide our youth ministry, a set of core values that we believe are priorities for our leaders and our teaching, and an ambitious slate of goals that we hope to accomplish over the next three years. I would like to share the mission, values, and goals with you for two reasons. First, I want to keep you informed about our continued Youth Ministry Renovation Process. Secondly, and more important to me, I share these with you because I believe inherent in our mission, values, and goals is an invitation for our entire church family to be involved in the youth ministry of our church.

As you can see, the first part of our mission is to connect with God and others. Everyone who worked on developing this mission shared a vision of a more connectional youth ministry at our church. However, we also wanted to be sure to expand on what we meant by being connected. We want our youth to be connected to God, first and foremost. We want our youth to be connected to each other. We also want our youth to be connected to the church, and every member who makes us this particular congregation. This is why we emphasized Committed as one of our six core values: we recognize that every single person who claims to belong to the life of SIPC needs to contribute to our youth ministry. It is such an important element of this ministry, that it even made it into our three-year goals: to establish a ministry that intentionally connects each of our youth with a network of adults from our church.

We believe we can achieve this over the course of the next three years. I know we can, as long as we have your help. There are many ways that you can play a vital role to our youth ministry. You can be an active and regular volunteer at one of our many youth programs. You can contribute your time and skills by taking on an administrative task for the youth ministry. You can support our youth in their daily life by building a relationship with one of them, attending one of their games or concerts, or learning their name and calling them by it when you see them. All of these are great ways to connect with the youth at SIPC. The most important way, however, and the way I hope everyone will be involved and connected to our youth, is by praying for them. Keep these young people in your daily prayers. The struggles they face at school, play, and home would be challenging for anyone to undergo, even with more years of experience and knowledge. Also, continue to pray for the ministry that we share with these youth. We have experienced a lot of changes this past year, some positive, and some not. We continue to trust in God as the Spirit leads our youth and our leaders to be more Christ-like through our learning, serving, and fellowship.