Last week I led a group of middle school youth and adults to Romney, WV for a week of mission work and spiritual development with the Jeremiah Project. This was my first large event in my new role as Director of 4th-8th Grade Ministries at Aldersgate. The trip was not my first time leading a group of youth and their parents, but it was my first as a “professional”. As we pulled into the Hampshire Country 4-H camp, after a 3 hour drive full of call me maybe and all the wrong directions, we were
ripped from the car welcomed by an energetic staff.
Immediately we were swept away to turn in our paperwork, stow our gear, and then headed to the dinning hall to create name tags. One of the immediate results of putting groups of teenagers from multiple churches throughout the Commonwealth was a loud, (controlled) chaotic atmosphere. For any person who relishes order and a calm atmosphere this might sound like a nightmare, but what the Jeremiah Project did during our arrival was the beginning of building a community. The youth of Aldersgate had the opportunity to meet youth from all over Virginia, some from more rural areas and others that live down the street from Aldersgate. The reason I mention this is that our youth need to know that there are other youth just like them: young Christians who are discerning what God has in-store for their lives, while living in a world that wants them to conform to the latest Abercrombie style or MTV shore reality show.
The Jeremiah Project created a community instantly with their intentionally planned program and then immersed our youth in it. This community grew throughout the week to the point that the community, even though separated geographically, has taken to social media to remain in contact with the hopes of future events together.
The time I spent with the Jeremiah Project last week was proof that 1.) middle school youth want to be part of a faith community, and 2.) when given the opportunity these youth will continue the community with the hope of sustaining and growing it.