Each year we have some wonderful diocesan youth events led by some great leaders and by some great youth who are on the DYC (Diocesan Youth Commission). The DYC is a group of twelve 9th-12th grade youth from all over the state of Arkansas, who help plan and lead youth events. The term for a DYC member begins as we prepare for AYE in September and ends with Winterstar in March.
You have started a new full-time or part time youth ministry position. There will be this day, after you have smiled and met everyone, where you sit at your desk and ask the question:
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.