Brandon Westgate, RMC’s newly-appointed youth director, shares his vision and outlook for the youth department.
SERVING (HOW CAN WE HELP?)
The youth department exists to serve the youth and young adults of the churches in the Rocky Mountain Conference. They are the epicenter of activity and engagement. We desire to help equip, encourage, and inspire local leaders to create opportunities for the youth and young adults to grow in their faith walk with Jesus.
This includes promoting local events and organizing larger conference-sponsored events like Greater Summit and our summer camp program. We are here for you. Please reach out and let us know how we can help.
SOCIALIZING (LET’S HANG OUT!)
Many of our young people have been impacted by the challenges brought on by COVID-19. Aside from the virus itself, these younger church members have been exposed to bickering in their own homes, local churches, and schools about mask mandates, vaccines, and social distancing. They have been witnesses to the divisive results of political and social agendas perpetrated by well-intentioned older saints within our midst.
The results are that some families who previously socialized together no longer invest in one another, and our younger members feel caught in the middle. Many of these are left trying to navigate the emotional minefield that lost friendships (due to grown-ups isolating from one another) have brought about.
This is one reason why creating opportunities for our youth to interact in a non-threatening environment is vital. This is the key to building a solid faith-based community. We are social creatures, and the younger we are, the more we need positive social interactions to nurture healthy development. Events like Greater Summit and our summer camp programs at Mills Spring Ranch and Glacier View Ranch and grassroots gatherings such as MVMNT events work together to foster continued spiritual growth for our younger members.
SEEKING (YOU FIND WHAT YOU SEEK!)
Speaking of summer camp ministry, preparations for summer camp are already underway. The RMC youth department is busy at our camps, hosting various groups and readying the facilities for the 2022 summer camp season. We are planning an impactful program for the young people who are fortunate enough to find themselves at summer camp. Our theme this year is “WILD.” We will focus primarily on the story of Ruth and hope to bring out of that story some wild aspects, including Ruth’s WILD commitment and her WILD faith.
A big piece of our summer camp program is making sure we have a motivated and spirit-filled summer camp staff. If you or someone you know is 18+ or a graduating high school senior and would like to be involved in the summer camp ministry, visit https://www.rmcyouth.org/summerstaff, where you will find an application to be part of something WILD!
SEEING (I SEE YOU!)
You may be reading this and are wondering, “How can I help?” First, pray for and with the young people you know. Prayer is a powerful, yet under-utilized tool. Second, as you see youth events scheduled, please make sure that you prioritize these times so that our young people can engage with their peers in healthy, safe spaces. If needed, perhaps you can help with funding or by providing transportation, or even by providing refreshments (hint: pizza is always a win). And please remember to take some time and engage a younger church member in a conversation. Make them feel seen and they will feel like they belong!
Regardless of age, we are all in this together. So, let us press together to equip and inspire our youth to contribute their energy and talents to spread the gospel message of grace in our homes, churches and communities.
–Brandon Westgate is RMC youth director.