The Florida Conference Youth Ministries Department is excited to share its official logo (above). It represents one Youth Ministries Department in three areas (north, central, and south). Since 2010, at the request of Florida Conference administration, the two departments, Youth and Pathfinders, merged into one department that oversees Adventurers, Pathfinders, Youth, Young Adults, and Adventist Campus Ministries. We still have the other individual ministry identities, but this Youth Ministries logo represents the whole department.
Our mission statement is: To Train, Equip, and Deploy an Army of Young People. We are asking all our ministry leaders to focus on these action words and evaluate all they do in ministry for young people through the lens of the mission statement. This is designed to help us stay on track and be intentional about preparing an army of young people for service.
Life on Fire is our theme for 2015. We want to see young people and leaders challenged, encouraged, and inspired to live a Life on Fire. We have created unique resources (small group study guides, weekly videos, a how to start a ministry pamphlet, etc.) to help make this happen, and we will continue to promote Life on Fire as a vital part of growing young people to maturity as followers of Jesus Christ. The theme is based on II Timothy 1:6, and there’s even a theme song.
To help promote our mission statement and raise up an army of young people, we started Youth IMPACT Mission Trips in summer 2013. In 2014, we connected this to Florida Conference’s Mission to the Cities movement to work in the same cities of emphasis as the Conference. In 2015, we are in Fort Lauderdale, and in 2016, we will be in the Tampa area. The goal of this week-long mission trip experience is to give young people training in ministry and practical experience in doing those ministries. Then, the benefit to local churches and communities comes after the mission trip when young people go home and are encouraged to start their own ministries and be a blessing to their community as well. We need pastors, churches, and youth ministries leaders to help open opportunities for young people to serve locally and keep this spirit of service alive and maturing.
The ONCE Project is an evangelistic activity where all ages of young people gather at one church in their Cluster (a grouping of 7-12 churches) to conduct door-to-door surveys and invite people to start Bible studies. This has already resulted in baptisms because young people were willing to let God use them. Each Cluster has a bin with lanyards, name cards, surveys, clipboards, pens, books to give away, Bible study invitation cards—everything needed to mobilize the young people. In addition, all these materials are available online.
The Blaze: Ministries Training Weekend is another opportunity to be trained, equipped, and deployed. We were holding separate preacher trainings, CREATION Health trainings, small group trainings, etc., but they occurred on different weekends. We thought, “What if we combined all these ministries, added more options, and gathered hundreds of young people for one weekend, training them in specific ministries that fit their gifts and interests?” We launched in 2014 with a dozen options. In 2015 and beyond, we will continue instructing young people to blaze a new trail and put their talents to use in their local church as a way to bring people to a knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The High School Bible Retreat is an annual retreat for all teens (both in public high school and our academies). It happens every autumn (usually the second weekend in October) at Camp Kulaqua in High Springs. Hundreds of teens attend to be together and have joint worships, small groups, solo time, service opportunities, group games, and baptisms.
Red Zone is the annual event that brings the Adventurer and Pathfinder ministry to a close each season. Thousands of young people gather together for worship, fun, a chance to display what they have worked on over the course of the year, and, of course, the Drill and Drum Competition.
Young Adult Listening Sessions is a new initiative in 2015. The Youth Ministries Department is partnering with Florida Conference administration to conduct four listening sessions around the state. Our goal is to let young adults know that we are listening. We want to know what they think and how we can best serve and minister to them. From these listening sessions, we plan to develop a Young Adult Council that will serve as a steering committee for young adult ministry.
The Weekly Update is an electronic notice sent by e-mail once a week to anyone who wants to be in the loop about what is happening in Florida Youth Ministries. Visit http://bit.ly/flcyouthnews to find past updates. A link is included in each update to receive e-mail delivery of future updates.
We are looking for qualified leaders who are ready to help us grow Youth Ministries in Florida Conference even stronger. If you are interested in becoming a part of our team of officially appointed volunteers, please contact us at FLYouthMinistries@floridaconference.com