Another Tragedy and Why Youth Need “A Safe and Friendly Place”

Another Tragedy and Why Youth Need “A Safe and Friendly Place”

I woke this morning to the news. Another mass shooting.

The first thing I did was hug my kids. I decided not to tell them right away what had happened. Our time together in the morning is a time of peacefulness and preparation. Each weekday, we have breakfast together – without the TV or radio – and pack lunches and backpacks. Each day, Amy and I tell our boys we love them as we drop them off for school.

Our youth group meets in a few days. In the meantime, we’ll tell our boys that God loves them, but I’m grateful our boys will hear from our faith community about how God grieves, just like us, when human-caused tragedies occur. Lord, in your mercy…

I’m thinking of all our partner churches today, and the youth they serve. I am thinking especially of one church that asked YMIM for some strategic planning support last week. By a large margin, members of the church advocated that their youth ministry should be a “safe and friendly place for youth.” Over 60 percent of those surveyed prioritized this value.

Frankly, I couldn’t agree more with this congregation. The news was especially hard this weekend before today’s news. In our community, a teenage girl took her life on Friday in the hallways of the school she attended. Our family visited St. Louis over the weekend, where protesters again filled the streets, chanting disappointment with a judicial verdict that was race-related.

I am thankful that our youth group is a “safe and friendly place for youth.” YMIM has a small mailing list, so as I read through the names – including your name – I share a prayer that each congregation may also be this beacon of hope, grace, and faithfulness for young people in our communities. Please let me know if I can help.

Enrollment Deadline in Two Weeks – October 16
Try YMIM for Free at our Next Retreat

We are pleased to share that six youth ministers joined our two-year Cohort Learning Program this fall. There’s room for two more!

Our cohort meets every month in Kansas City, attends four national conferences, and studies four theological intensives. YMIM also provides on-site support, including an experienced youth ministry coach that personalizes the program.

All costs, including hotels, meals, airfare, books, and course registration, are included with enrollment.

Youth ministers are invited to our next retreat on October 16–17 for no cost. Try out our program! It may be a great fit for your church, or for a church and youth ministry program you know.

October classes include: Evangelism in Youth Ministry, Introduction to the New Testament, Creative Worship in Youth Ministry, Understanding Family Systems as a Leader, and Retreats and Recreation.

Youth Ministry Institute Midwest is a nonprofit organization that seeks to share the love and grace of Jesus Christ with young people through skilled and effective leadership. Contact Matt by replying to this email or by calling: 913-972-2530.

Featured picture, left to right: Matt Vaughan, YMIM Director; Charles Lingerfelt, Pittsburg FPC; Megan Doffin, Norfolk FUMC; Jenna Soltys, Village Presbyterian Church; Matt Dumler, Hays FUMC; Ryan King, Lawrence FPC; Bryant Westbrook, Valley Center FUMC. These six youth ministers recently joined our two-year Cohort Learning Program. More details are available on our website.
Also pictured: Youth ministers in our program from Wichita, St. Louis, Central Missouri, Central Kansas, and Eastern Kansas were recognized and commissioned at a service in April, 2017. A full list of our clients is posted online and updated regularly.
Fall and Winter 2017 Dates and Events for YMIM
Scheduling for other events is in process – contact Matt for more information
  • Oct. 5 – Consulting in Lenexa, KS
  • Oct. 10 – YMIM board meeting
  • Oct. 16 – Fall enrollment deadline
  • Oct. 16-17 – Retreat with Cohort Learning participants in Prairie Village, KS
  • Oct. 22-24 – PCUSA conference in Kansas City
  • Oct. 26 – Consulting and networking in St. Louis
  • Oct. 29 – Consulting in Lenexa, KS
  • Nov. 1-2 – Consulting in Lincoln, NE
  • Nov. 6-7 – Retreat with Cohort Learning participants in Prairie Village, KS
  • Nov. 12 – YMIM Topgolf Fundraising Event
  • Nov. 27 – Board end-of-year conference call
  • Dec. 11-13 – New Testament Intensive retreat in Prairie Village, KS


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