May 20, 2014

A weekly communication for:

WDC Churches and Pastors

WDC Executive Board, Commission, Committee and Task Force members

Any content may be used in bulletins and newsletters and

forwarded to congregational leaders and members.

WDC Sprouts is also available at:  www.mennowdc.org (Publications)


*Youth Ministry Heroes


Youth Ministry Heroes

by Olivia Bartel, Camp Mennoscah Director

Folks in youth ministry, paid or laypeople, are amazing.  They are stalwart and prayerful, passionate and mischievous, generous and caring.  They are the people who mentor the youth in our churches.  They tend to work many more hours than they are paid for and volunteer endlessly.  Some have large youth groups and some have very small groups.  All of them are striving to grow the youth of the church into committed and faithful adults and leaders.

I first became friends with some of my favorite people four years ago.  These friends are part of the Youth Ministry Council.  The group changes from year to year, though there are some long-time attendees.  We spend two full days (plus a smidgen of two more days) discussing, debating, struggling, and rejoicing in the work that we do in youth ministry.  I’m there to represent the Mennonite and Anabaptist camps as a member of the Mennonite Camping Association board.

The Youth Ministry Council attendees come from across the United States.  This past week, there were friends from Oregon, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa, a sizable group from Kansas, Arizona, and from any number of other states.  We come as youth pastors, agency representatives, conference pastors, and simply those interested or involved in faith formation for children and youth.

We are all different.  We live in different areas.  We do youth ministry in different ways.  We look at faith from different perspectives.   But we are all absolutely certain in one thing, that children and youth are worth the effort and heartbreak and worry and celebration that it takes to share our faith and church community.

I am privileged to know people I would never meet otherwise, if for no other reason than they live far away.  Curt shared a bite of his pumpkin scone with me.  Jon, Carrie, and I ran in the mornings.  Jesse, Cedric, Rachel, and a whole horde of other folks walked the streets of Kansas City in search of barbeque with me.  I listened to their stories, some which are so much like camp stories and some which are nothing like any experience I’ve had.  They listened to mine.

They renew me.  They give me hope.  Their great faith in God and in their youth inspires me.

I think about the people who volunteer their time each summer at Camp Mennoscah as program directors, counselors, cooks, nurses, summer staff, board members, and in so many other roles throughout the year.  They, too, have great faith in God and in youth.  Each person cares so much for the campers and other staff that are at camp.  They share their faith stories.  They struggle with doubt and fret about a multitude of issues.  They play pranks and tell bad jokes.

These Camp Mennoscah people inspire me in their dedication to our camping ministry.  It’s not easy working with children and youth (or even just people in general), and yet they persist in creating a fun and meaningful experience.

I cheer for them.  I do a happy dance for them.  I can’t wait to see what adventures we have this summer.  Hooray (and thank you) for all youth ministry workers!

WDC Announcements

1.  Hear church planters Karen Mascho, Moises Romero and Byron Pellecer reflect on our theme, God with Us – Patient and Persistent at the 2014 Western District Conference Assembly on July 4-6 in Waxahachie, TX.  On-site lodging is limited – register soon at mennowdc.org.

2.  Something wonderful happens when dozens of folks gather together to celebrate a new thing.  Be part of the excitement by attending the Shine! curriculum Launch on Sunday June 22, at Lorraine Ave. Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS.  Call 316-283-6300 to register your team.

3.  Potatoes are not hard to peel.  Many of you are aware of this wondrous fact and have chosen to spend a week or two at Camp Mennoscah as a kitchen helper.  Some of you, however, have been led astray by your fears of simple kitchen tasks.  Let us reassure you that you have nothing much to fear–maybe a little sweat, maybe a bit of camper noise, maybe an overabundance of fun.  We still need helpers for July 27-Aug. 1.  Contact us at 620-297-3290.

4.  Nurse needed at Camp Mennoscah!  We seek a camp nurse for July 13-19, our ever-exciting week of Junior High led by Derek & Kara Klingenberg.  It couldn’t get much funner.  Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 for more information.  This position comes with either a stipend or a camper discount–and a free camp tee!

5.  Summer camps start June 8!  That means we’re counting down the days for you to send in your Camp Mennoscah registration forms.  We’ve got adventures coming out of our ears!  Grab a friend, throw your swimsuit into a bag, and start practicing letting your little light shine!  Registration forms can be found online at www.campmennoscah.org with an online payment option.

MC USA Announcements

1.  Radical Hospitality Resource Guide – Coming soon:  a six-week video curriculum focusing on immigration, the Bible and Christian hospitality.  Watch our Facebook page for information about when this FREE resource will be available.

2.  Bring a friend and make a difference by serving local ministries with a diverse group of Mennonite youth! Apply with a friend for Youth Venture’s Philadelphia team and BOTH will get a $100 discount! Young adults ages 14-20 can apply by June 1 at MennoniteMission.net/Serve.

Western District Conference

2517 North Main, PO Box 306

North Newton KS  67117

316-283-6300; FAX:  316-283-0620

Email:  wdc@mennowdc.org