For a couple months now, myself and a couple other people here in Jackson have been talking about the future of youth ministry in Jackson County. At present, there is only one church in Jackson County that has a youth director (1st Baptist in Jackson) and that person is only part time. We see a huge mission field that needs to be tapped.
Right now the vision we have been playing with and praying about is to have a ministry set up with a full time person running the ministry. This ministry would be run and supported by a board of directors (representative of all the churches). We believe this ministry needs to be located outside of our church buildings and in a neutral location (possibly an old store front downtown). We have toured other community youth ministry programs to get an idea of what we might be able to do. We visited The Connection in Canby, MN and the Youth For Christ center in Fairmont, MN. In the Dawson, MN area there is a rural youth ministry network that just started this past fall called Route 212. They don’t have a building, but that is something they are praying about. And I know there is a community youth ministry program/building in Olivia, MN.
Is Jackson next?
The main thing for us (and the other ministries we have looked at) is that this ministry needs to be a Bible based, Christian ministry. We recognize that our different denominations have various beliefs and practices, but when it comes right down to it, we believe that Jesus Christ is our salvation. There are many things we can agree upon and we want to celebrate that.
This vision started with Salem and Our Savior’s Lutheran Churches talking about sharing a youth director…now it has grown to this. So today at 1pm a bunch of us are getting together to pray. We know that if this is God directed and ordained then we can not fail…but we need to be faithful and listen to God’s voice. So we are committed to praying about this and listening. We don’t know how this ministry will look or if we are even called to do this, but one thing I do know…there is a lot of excitement about this among our small group. Our hope is that, if this is ordained by God, this vision will catch on with others.
So my questions for you are these: Is there anyone out there that has a community youth ministry program in their area? How is it set up? What is your experience with it?
Like I said, I don’t know where this will go and there are a lot of questions to be asked and answered, but where ever it does go, it will be all for the glory of God.
Praise be to God!