As youth ministers and Christian ed leaders we make spaces available where it is easier to experience God. God is already there, we hopefully point to God and make God more visible.
Two or three times a year I hear the question. Does anyone have any good fundraisers?
This comes from overworked youth ministers who don’t want to spend their time and energy doing car washes that raise a few $100. Volunteer Sunday School teachers who never knew they signed up to be fundraisers for youth. Parents who don’t want to have to do a monthly fundraiser each month where they have to move flamingos, bake brownies, and send their youth to rake leaves somewhere once again.
These are all good fundraisers and in some places can work. I know because I have led all of these plus a massive Christmas tree lot, silent auctions, chili sales, child drop and shop, dog-walking, serve-athon, walk-a thon, recycling program, and finally dance-a-thon. So after doing all of those and taking into account the amount of work I had to do vs. the level of success I had. This is my favorite.
A common occurrence in many congregations is a backpack blessing service. BuildFaith.org has a great article on these services at Blessing of the Backpack’s 6 Tips for Success.
At EYCArkansas, we began wondering what this would look like with an older mindset and as part of a youth group or youth Sunday school meeting. We used prayers from Call on Me: A Prayer Book for Young People, the Book of Common Prayer and the New Zealand Prayer Book and came up with a great liturgy that any group can use. We have shared below a copy that you can take and print or edit to your heart’s content.
“According to the constitution, the Episcopal Church in Arkansas gathers once a year to govern the congregations that make up the Diocese of Arkansas. We worship, we celebrate, we listen, we speak, we debate, and we vote. It is a large event with a large amount of work needing to be done.
The first part of the convention is our gathering, which happens on Friday evening. We celebrate the sacraments in a festive Holy Eucharist. All of the clergy vest and process, the Bishop preaches and presides, and afterwards, we continue to enjoy being the church in community at a reception.