May 21, 2015

By Fred Koenig

When First UMC in Warrensburg recently hosted a cluster Charge Conference for other United Methodist Churches in the area, member Max Ridenhour knew it was a good opportunity to offer his neighboring United Methodist Churches some radical hospitality. He operated the sound system that day to insure everyone could hear and be heard. 
    
He played drums in the praise band during worship, and when the Charge Conference was completed he made it a point to greet people as they left. It’s not like he’s doing it all on his own, though. Of course, he needed a ride to church, because he’s not yet old enough to drive. 
    
Ridenhour got connected to First UMC in Warrensburg through a summer Vacation Bible School program when he was in first grade, which may seem a lifetime ago when you’re 15, but was actually less than 10 years ago. His family started attending there, and by the time he was transitioning from being a child to a youth, he was ready to embrace all the church had to offer. 
    
At first he was asked to be the sound tech for the youth band. But his skills as a percussionist in school advanced, so he was soon moving to be drummer in the youth praise band. The sound-tech skills he learned weren’t for naught, though. He moved to being a sound-tech for the band in the primary worship service. 
His service isn’t limited to the local church. Each summer since the sixth grade he’s participated in a mission trip. He’s been in mission in South Dakota, Arizona and Louisiana. This year he’s going 
to Wyoming. 
    
“When I was a kid, it was just church, but when I became more involved as a youth I realized why I was there,” he said. “I like being able to say I am a Methodist. I’m able to actually do something (through church) to make a difference. It’s important to me to be part of something bigger.”