In the Great Commission, Jesus says “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Jesus does not put an asterisk on disciples with an age attached to it, he simply says “Go.” Next Generation Ministries supports local churches in the areas of children, youth-age, college-age and camping ministries in making the youngest disciples in our church.
As children are exploring the world, teaching them about Jesus is key to their Christian development. Children’s ministry provides a fun and safe environment to establish the foundations of faith.
The Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church is committed to providing safe places of worship and fellowship to everyone they serve. As part of that commitment, the Conference is offering Safe Gatherings as a resource for you in this important area.
Safe Gatherings is an online abuse prevention program that screens and educates staff and volunteers to help prevent abuse of children, youth and vulnerable adults. When employees and volunteers are trained about best practices when working with vulnerable populations, know the behaviors of potential abusers, recognize the signs of abuse and know how to handle reporting, they are better equipped to prevent abuse.
Upon successful completion of the Safe Gatherings application, background and reference checks, and online training program, each applicant will receive documentation of approval valid for three years and will have continued access to the online training program for one year.
The Next Generation Ministries NextGen Leader’s Academy works hand-in-hand with full-time, part-time, and volunteer UMC youth and children’s leaders to provide the connections and coaching needed to create modern, sustainable and thriving ministries. The program is designed to come alongside UMC youth and children’s leaders to equip and support local church ministry. The Academy provides coaching from NextGen ministry experts, relevant training, space for retreat and renewal, and lasting connections with others UMC leaders working with the next generation. We accomplish this through four components:
NextGen Leaders Academy participants will be assigned a group with six or seven other nextgen leaders from Missouri. Youth leaders will be grouped with youth leaders, and children’s ministry leaders will be grouped with children’s ministry leaders. Each month, each cohort will meet virtually to celebrate wins, discuss challenges and support each other in ministry. These cohorts are designed to continue past the initial six-month length of NextGen Leaders Academy in order to continue the network of support.
Each cohort will be led by a ministry leader in a related field. Cohort meetings will consist of revisiting the previous month’s training topic and allow space for free conversation and questions.
By asking thought provoking questions, challenging beliefs and providing real ministry examples, cohort leaders will guide you as you refine your techniques and improve your ministry. One-on-one coaching will be available upon request in a limited capacity.
Monthly virtual trainings will feature ministry experts with a variety of specialties. These two-hour long learning sessions will provide information on new ministry techniques, share applicable tips to improve your effectiveness, and allow space for your questions specific to your ministry setting. This isn’t a two-hour lecture; it’s a hands-on experience.
Too often, youth and children’s leaders are so exhausted that they neglect their own self-care. The first session of NextGen Leader’s Academy is a retreat. Cohorts to meet together for the first time in person. Leaders will have time apart to relax and recharge, learn about their strengths, and envision what the future of their ministry can be.
Youth ministry is about more than being fun, cool and hip with the kids. During this challenging and transformational time in life, it’s critical that students find support in their local church and learn how God is walking with them through their ups and downs.
Make plans to join Missouri Conference NextGen Ministries for UNITE, a summer youth conference hosted at Central Methodist University on July 17-21. Together we’ll INSPIRE students to unite through worship and mission, CREATE opportunities for students to use their voices, ENCOURAGE students to be Kin(g)dom workers in their local communities, and EQUIP a generation of young people to share the love of Jesus for the transformation of the world. Sports tournaments, service opportunities, eSports, swimming, workshops, worship and learning round out the full schedule planned for this United Methodist youth experience.
The mission of NextGen camping ministries is to create opportunities for children, youth and young adults to encounter Christ. Everything else comes secondary. Camp is an exciting experience for all that attend, but the adrenaline rush isn’t why we set out each summer. Our camping ministry is designed to provide an incredibly fun experience, create leaders of the faith in local communities, inspire mountaintop faith moments that will last a lifetime, and develop a community of faith amongst young people, so they know they are not alone.
Our church camps in Missouri don’t solely impact the lives of the children in attendance. At each of our day camps and Christian sleepaway camps, we teach our church partners and volunteers how to effectively create opportunities to develop their leaders. We put the tools in others’ hands to continue this good work in camping and beyond. This is only just the beginning of the journey.
We partner with local churches to host day camps in their parking lots. Every year we host a handful of overnight camping experiences at properties in Missouri.
NextGen Conversations is a podcast that seeks to empower children’s, family, youth and college-aged leaders to create dynamic, Christ-centered ministries. Local church leaders often don’t have the time, energy or resources required to reshape a nextgen program. Every episode features a conversation with a ministry leader and covers innovative solutions to common problems faced in churches today. We want to give you practical steps to transform the way you do ministry. It’s time to get in on the conversation!
Growing up, stepping out and being away from home for the first time is exciting, but these years provide the greatest chance of walking away from faith. Providing a community to rely on can be life-changing and life-saving for many college students. In this time of transition, college-age ministry encourages students to independently choose to pursue and strengthen their relationship with Christ.
The Office of Next Generation Ministries offers college-age ministry grants to local churches and ministries already engaged in college-age ministry of any type.
Headshots by Schaefer Photography