If you ask anyone who has been doing ministry with children, youth and families in ELCA congregations for awhile, they will be able to tell you that there has been a significant change in the culture of our community over the last 20 years.
Children, youth and family ministers share resources, give mutual support and share ideas more than ever before.
- Part of that is because new technology has allowed it. Watching conversations on our Facebook group, paying attention to the traffic on MartinsList and looking at participation in things like 3rdTuesday Conversations are just an indicator.
- It’s also at least partially due to the understanding that as congregational resources have continued to shrink, and we are all being asked to do more with less, we have to be “in this together” to do this ministry.
Today, the Network is launching our new initiative to help all of us in this work together: The Discipling Cohorts Initiative will draw together people into cohorts, organized by synod, for a year of skill development, vocational conversation and spiritual growth. This one-year journey that these groups of 8-10 will take together will culminate in the development and presentation of a personal development plan for the next 3-5 years, which will further individual growth in ministry.
The cohort process will begin with the groups meeting first face-to-face at Extravaganza 2018 in Houston. While meeting there, the groups will determine their calendar for meeting monthly over the next year for conversation, guided by a trained peer coach.
If geographic restrictions make it impossible to meet face-to-face during the year, groups can meet online to facilitate the conversations.
It is our hope that those who do this vital work with children, youth and families will continue to grow in their skill, faith and commitment to their work. It is when we stop developing that we begin to fade in our ministry. The people we are called to work with deserve the best the church can give them.
We are now recruiting two groups:
- People to be a part of the first set of cohorts. We are looking for up to 8-10 people from every synod. We are looking for people who want to grow and develop their ministry.
- People who are interested in serving in the first batch of Discipling Cohorts coaches. Coaches will be trained the day prior to Extravaganza 2018 in Houston.
More information on both of these roles can be found at disiplingcohorts.org.
Please prayerfully consider your involvement in this project. We’re looking forward to the future church; the one who steps boldly into a broken world with God’s Word of hope; the one whose leaders are fully equipped and prepared to navigate a change world, and the one whose young people’s faith is deeply and richly engaged with the mission of God.
Thanks for being a part of this ministry!
Executive Director; ELCA Youth Ministry Network