Youth Leadership Team (YLT)
A regional leadership training ministry that prepares young leaders for lifelong service by engaging their gifts and passions to support regional camp ministries. High School youth from around the PSWR are recruited through a broad application and interview process. The size of this ministry varies depending on the need and interest, but normally between 16 and 21 youth are chosen each year. Focusing on five areas of spiritual formation (Hospitality, Mentorship, Local Service, Global Mission, and Disciples Identity), these young leaders participate in leadership for our High School Winter and Summer Camps, as well as, serve as Counselors in Training for our younger aged camps (optional). Additionally, each year YLT participants are encouraged to visit regional congregations to share information about the ministry and recruit new members. We pray that God will use this ministry to prepare leaders who have deep roots in service in the local, regional, and national expressions of the Church in a way that empowers their passion for camp ministry and Christian service wherever God leads them. (Total monthly commitment: 15-20 hours including one week-long summer camp each year)
Adult leaders for YLT are invited each year to chaperone events, mentor youth, and plan programming for youth participants. All adult leaders are expected to engage in camp leadership at at least one older aged youth camp each year. Additionally, adult leaders commit to anti-racism training as well as consent to a background check to ensure the safety of all minors involved. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a YLT Adult leader, please contact Rev. B. J. Barlow – Associate Regional Minister – email@example.com. (Total monthly commitment: 20-30 hours including one week-long summer camp each year)
Youth Immersion Ministry (YIM)
A regional anti-racism/pro-reconciliation initiative that prepares young leaders to do ministry in cross-cultural contexts. High School youth who are recommended by their pastors are interviewed and selected based on their passion and interest in promoting justice for all people. The ministry is designed to engage 16 youth selected from among the North American/Pacific Asian Disciples constituency, Hispanic Convencion constituency, African American Convocation constituency, and Anglo/European communities of faith in cultural experiences from all over the world. Focusing on five areas of spiritual formation (Hospitality, Mentorship, Local Service, Global Mission, and Disciples Identity), these young leaders participate in one significant immersion experience per year, difficult conversations regarding race and culture, service projects in local settings, and advocacy on behalf of those whose voices go unheard. We pray that God will use this ministry to prepare leaders who have broad world-views, sensitive but bold voices for justice, and strong foundations in our Christian tradition. If you or someone you know might serve well as a YIM participant, you are encouraged to speak with your church pastor about how to be considered for recommendation. (Total monthly commitment: 15-20 hours including an immersion trip each year)
Adult leaders for YIM are invited each year to chaperone events, mentor youth, and plan programming for youth participants. Ideally the adult leadership is comprised of one male and one female from each of the constituent ministries listed above. All regional adult leaders commit to anti-racism training as well as consent to a background check to ensure the safety of all minors involved. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a YIM Adult leader, please contact Rev. B. J. Barlow – Associate Regional Minister - firstname.lastname@example.org. (Total monthly commitment: 20-30 hours including an immersion trip each year)
INVITE YLT OR YIM TO YOUR CHURCH ON SUNDAY!
Are you interested in hosting a YLT or YIM Sunday at your church? We are anxious for the opportunity to come share the good work being done at camp and the amazing opportunities experienced in reconciliation ministries for high school students in the PSWR. Our YLT or YIM have experience presenting in worship and can offer a 15 minute message or program during Sunday School/Coffee hour. Whatever works for your church, we welcome the opportunity to partner with you, and to spread the good news of what God is doing in and through our young people in the PSWR. To schedule a Sunday, contact the regional office at 626-296-0385.
REGIONAL YOUTH NEWS: MAY 2017
YIM INVITES YOU TO END OF THE YEAR PRESENTATION CEREMONY
In May, another year of ministry draws to a close for the Youth Immersion Ministry. This year was packed with amazing experiences and God encounters – PUERTO RICO, UNITE, URBAN MISSION IMMERSION, PROK EXCHANGE, and much more!
Pastors, youth leaders, family, and friends are all invited to attend a ceremony and reception at the REGIONAL OFFICE on Friday, May 19 at 7:30pm. You’ll hear about our trip to Puerto Rico, learn about our work in anti-racism ministry, and share time with these amazing young leaders who are walking the walk of reconciliation! Please come support this amazing ministry.
For more information, please contact Associate Regional Minister, Rev. B. J. Barlow at 626-296-0385.
CONGRATULATIONS, NEW YIM ADULT LEADER: SAIANNA SMITH
The Youth Immersion Ministry is excited to announce that Saianna Smith has accepted the call to serve as our newest Adult Leader. Please join us in congratulating Saianna!
Saianna Smith attends Abundant Life Christian Church, Los Angeles where she serves as the Board Secretary, and actively participates in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry (YAYA), choir, and dance team. A recent graduate of UC Irvine, Saianna is working to live out a biblical faith and to provide mentorship for younger people.
Saianna joins seven other adult leaders who are active participants in constituent ministries throughout our region. Each adult leader commits to a monthly meeting, designing meaningful programming for youth, mentoring YIM, and participating in an annual immersion experience alongside our youth participants. This year YIM are traveling in three teams to Hawaii, South Korea, and Indianapolis for our General Assembly. Saianna will traveling with a team of youth and young adults to represent our region this year at General Assembly.
Congratulations, Saianna! We look forward to serving with you and to witness God's work through you!
We are hosting a regional Family Fishing Excursion on Monday, June 12, 2017 at 6:00am. Cost is $30 per person and is open to the entire region. We only have 40 spots available and want to encourage teenage youth groups, parents, youth leaders, pastors, and friends to come out for a day-long deep sea voyage. The $30 includes all supplies for the day, lunch, charter fee, and youth fishing license (not included if over 18 years old, must be purchased separately). The trip is chartered and sponsored by Friends of Rollo/Kids at Sea Organization – and we will sail in the Sport King boat out of L.A. Waterfront Sportfishing. Contact BJ Barlow at email@example.com for more info.
“One Spirit of Love” – A Debrief of Winter Youth Summit: UNITE
When Rev. Daphne Gascot Arias and I sat down to dream up Winter Youth Summit, we wanted to be certain of two things: 1) the youth would come away inspired to live into their Godly giftedness; 2) the diverse leadership from around our region should be engaged in the entire planning process. We wanted to break free of the notion that “regional youth ministry” was only for a certain group of youth, and dig deep into the vision of becoming ONE in our diversity!
Leaders from Casa de Oracion, FCC Riverside, FCC Orange, Sallims, Downey Memorial, South Pasadena , E. 105th Street, Iglesia Cristiana del Este Whittier, Mill Creek, All People’s, Casa de Refugio, Filipino Christian Church, Centro Familiar Cristiana Restauracion, and Pacific Beach were recruited to make it all happen. After months of planning, praying, and hard work we were blessed to have had over 70 youth registered, over 110 people present, and an event that resembled wholeness and unity unlike most we’ve seen. This was no easy task, but it was worth every moment!
The weekend started with a bang! Yes, the worst storm in six years hit the beach our opening night, but it was the amazing worship in Hatchery Chapel that had the biggest impact for us! I’m talking about powerful preaching given by Rev. Teresa Hord Owens (our new GMP Candidate). I’m talking about over 130 people braving the storm to worship together to kick off the weekend with spirit and excitement. God was with us and his people had gathered to be together as ONE church!
On Saturday morning we woke up to breakfast burritos and a beautifully decorated fellowship hall (shout-out to Rev. Soriliz Rodriguez and her family for all their hard work!). Rev. Jarda Alexander led morning devotion before the youth went off to their choice of morning programming, including:
“Adulting 101” with Rev. Justin Floyd
“Feminism… not just for women!” with Rev. Chesla Nickelson and Rev. Daphne Gascot Arias
“Anti-Bullying” with Rob Blair
“Discerning the Call to Ministry” with Rev. Belva Brown Jordan.
For lunch on Saturday, we had Hawaiian BBQ (sponsored by FCC North Hollywood). After we ate we watched the movie “Zootopia” and spent time catching up with friends. In the afternoons we had our workshop tracks which engaged the specific skills and talents of our youth. Nine different tracks were offered ranging from, photography to culinary arts, hospitality to global ministry, and audio-visual to public speaking. Our youth had an opportunity to learn how to raise the bar of excellence in service, and they practiced specific areas of ministry (for the very first time for many). The day closed with a spaghetti dinner, a meaningful service that inspired us to turn our “Fear into Courage”, prayer, s’mores, and a quick walk to the hotel.
Sunday was “Beach Day.” After munching on eggs, chorizo, and warm tortillas, the youth walked to Redondo Beach Pier for morning meditation and programs:
“Pier Fishing” with Ed Ramolete (yes, we really did go fishing and it was amazing!)
“Beach Meditation” with Rev. Jarda Alexander“
Blue Theology – Environmental Justice” with Rev. Michelle Harris-Gloyer.
For lunch, we walked back to the Hatchery to enjoy a traditional Korean feast provided by the amazing and gracious South Bay Korean Christian Church (thank you, Pastor Ahn!). We rested in the afternoon and watched the live action version of “The Jungle Book” before heading back to our workshop tracks. That evening we walked back to the beach and our amazing Food Supervisor – Eduardo Mendez (and crew) – made an American BBQ for us to enjoy as the sun set. The Youth Leadership Team and Youth Immersion Ministry joined forces to play games with the entire group before heading back to Hatchery Chapel for evening worship. Rev. Daphne Gascot Arias preached an inspirational sermon, reminding us that the reason we serve is not for any individual person, but “it’s about God!”
On our final morning, the adults handed the keys over to the youth! After a quick breakfast buffet, the youth checked in with their groups before leading worship entirely on their own. Over the course of the weekend each group prepared something special to present in worship leadership: the musicians provided high quality worship music, the culinary team baked homemade French bread for communion, the photography team shared a montage of all the amazing photos they took using their smart phones, the hospitality team greeted parents as they arrived for worship, and so on and so on. Our youth did a fantastic job leading us into the presence of God, and they were having a blast sharing their talents with the church. We ended the weekend by surprising the youth with gifts given to those participants who exhibited amazing leadership and unity throughout the weekend. Each of our adult helpers chose one or two youth that stood out as examples of leadership excellence. We all were so proud and blessed by our amazing regional youth!
While folks were leaving the Hatchery, we listened carefully and watched to see responses from the weekend. The energy and excitement was palpable. One of the most meaningful responses we received was from a lifelong PSWR camper. They said, “I have to be honest, I was skeptical when I heard Winter Youth Summit wasn’t going to be like Feb Camp… but this was amazing! It was well planned. It was fun, and I can’t wait for next year!” Another participant wrote, “I experienced God this weekend as we were all sitting down at the table eating together. It made me realize how amazing it is that God made people so great!” An adult leader shared that after the summit, he was convinced that “the Church often doesn’t offer young people the opportunity to soar. I’m convicted to lead differently at my own church.”
One of the most powerful moments of reconciliation over the weekend came while we were walking back to the Hatchery from the beach on Sunday night. Two youth who had previously been friends recently experienced a falling-out of sorts. As I walked with them, I asked, “Why do you seem so angry?” The two youth began working through their history together, sorting out what drove them apart. One youth said, “You were mean to me during a time in my life that was really dark.” The other responded, “I didn’t mean to treat you bad. I thought you were really cool.” The offended youth said, “That makes me feel a lot better. I hope we can be friends again.” It doesn’t get any better than that! They chose grace for one another instead of continuing their anger… even though it may have been justified! What a powerful experience of practicing the ministry of reconciliation, and what a blessing it is to serve in a ministry that offers opportunities for youth to practice doing so safely.
The truth is, there are very few opportunities for youth to live into their own passions and giftedness. There are very few opportunities for youth to work together cross-culturally. Sometimes it is because we don’t have the resources to provide those opportunities. Other times it is because we aren’t willing to trust that they are equipped to do so. Too often we are afraid of what might happen if we intentionally blend our cultures in service. UNITE demonstrates that giving the opportunities and room for making mistakes, asking for forgiveness, and doing better for each other are practical expressions of being united in Christ. This is what it truly means to be a Disciple! This is what we pledge to provide for our youth in the PSWR. We’ve experienced it happening at this event, and we will continue to nurture it every time we gather together as young leaders.
Our gratitude for all those who helped make this weekend so special makes our heart full of joy. Thank you to all those listed below who helped in some way to make this a true combined effort of our entire region. Let’s continue to UNITE to make ministry more meaningful… together!
Cherilyn Browne Paul Svenson Michel Johnson Cesar Ube Cesar Ube, Jr. Michael Zaragoza Paul Ube Daisy Vasquez Rev. Young Jun Yang Rev. Ahn All the good people at South Bay Korean Church Eula Pagdilao Hae Jin Park Rev. Darrell Haley Corinne Bergmann Claudia De La Fuente Jessica Kim Gideon Mbui Steven G. Henderson Patrick Vannoy, Jr. David Becerra Joseph Mondragon Sloan Hamilton Julie Cummings Carlos Guzman Rev. Spencer Burke Hobe UbeIan Pollard Hannah Ryder Sharron Dangerfield Jeremy Gillette Tripp Fuller Jesarela Gutierrez Julian Gutierrez Veronica Martinez Eduardo Mendez Ericka Murphy Heather Thomas Ed Ramolete Karla Molina Anali Valle Francisco Ramos, Jr. Rev. Francisco Ramos Rev. Soriliz Rodriguez Daniel Delgadillo Rosa Stasilli VeAnn Clark Tevita Uesi Rev. Daphne Gascot Arias Rev. Justin Floyd Rev. Teresa Owens Rev. Young Lan Kim Robert Blair Rev. Michelle Harris-Gloyer Rev. Matthew Harris-Gloyer Gabriel Lopez Siobhan Lopez Christy Kennedy Christine Cooley Jessica Kim Rev. Sadie Cullumber Megan Barlow Andrew Jaramillo Rev. Corinne Bergmann Jarda Alexander Rev. Belva Brown Jordan Rev. Chesla Nickelson Disciples Seminary Foundation Global Ministries Loch Leven All People's CC Bixby Knolls CC The Hatchery LA Casa de Oracion, San Diego Casa de Refugio Centro Familiar Cristiano Restauracion Church of the Valley Disciples Women Downey Memorial E 105th Street FCC North Hollywood FCC Ontario FCC Orange FCC Riverside FCC San Bernardino FCC Torrance Iglesia Cristiana del Este Whittier Mill Creek CC Mission Hills CCNAPAD Pacific Beach CC Pasadena Christian Church South Pasadena CC University CC Vista La Mesa CC Redondo Pier Inn
On the Journey Together,
B. J. Barlow