Ben Remmert, Associate in Ministry
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” I Timothy 4:12
I have to admit that I had some difficulty writing this article. I was told that I had complete and creative dominion on what I can write about as long as it is about the ministry of Peace Lutheran Church. My mind started to race about what I could write. Should I write about Sunday school and how we developed a new worship/teaching model? Should I write about our new young adults’ ministry and how eight of our young adults challenge their faith in Colorado? Or should I write about confirmation ministry and how it’s been a blessing instead of a headache? I just didn’t know what to write.
As some people may know about me, I am a person of structure, so this was a little out of the box. However, I diligently began brainstorming topics and ideas. Twenty minutes later, I came up with nothing. Until I looked over across my desk and saw a bright yellow card that was given to me from one of my high school students who served on our youth-led worship Sundays. These were Sundays where all our children and youth would fill in as greeters, ushers, acolytes, communion assistants, lectors, and sing during musical solos. However, this youth helped out by preaching. I picked up the card and remembered the message she wrote, “Thank you for letting me get the opportunity to give the sermon. And thank you for your help.”
I was stunned when I first received this card. What youth would be thankful for preaching? Reading this card, my mind flashed back to my memories as I child, when I had a certain time and a certain place to worship and would never be allowed to lead worship at such a young age. I keep this card on my desk to remind me that our children and youth have a voice and that our leadership in the church is guiding and finding opportunities for them to discover their own voice.
Most of my colleagues are doing this, but as a church we need to mentor our youth and help them share their voice about faith. Youth are the best source of information on what our society and culture can do to help spread the faith of Christ. Therefore, this is what I have been doing here at Peace Lutheran; guiding our children, youth, and parents in their own voice of faith. Now it has been a great ride here at Peace Lutheran from our Reformation Day Celebrations, Saints Celebrations, Vacation Bible Schools, summer trips, garage sales, gnoming fundraisers, and service projects. However, I am so thankful for Camp Hope Day Camp Ministry and its effect on Peace Lutheran Church.
For those that do not know what Camp Hope is, it’s a day camp ministry our synod developed twenty years ago where junior high school, senior high school, and college-aged students alike lead a day camp in their own congregations, beginning and ending the day with worship. Between those worship times, youth would lead in teaching Bible stories and guiding children in their faith through games, snacks, dramas, music, crafts, and creative story telling. Now I am a product of this ministry almost fifteen years ago and every summer it has been a great source of renewal in my faith life. It is from Camp Hope that I discovered my call to Word and Service as a Youth & Family Minister.
We started this ministry at Peace Lutheran two years ago. Our first year we had sixteen campers registered. Our youth started to discover their own sense of call as disciples of Jesus Christ. I wish that I could tell all the stories of Camp Hope here at Peace Lutheran, but there just wouldn’t be enough time to get them all down. It is because of Camp Hope, our youth began to thirst for more opportunities to learn about their faith, to serve their communities, and to lead worship services. It is because we gave them a voice and an opportunity to lead that I feel with confidence that we are doing God’s work at Peace Lutheran Church. I hope that this article will challenge you to listen to the voice of your children, youth, and college students and help them in getting their voice heard. God’s peace be with you all.