College Avenue UMC offers Culture of Call retreats


Reported by Peggy Riley,
Youth Ministries Director, College Avenue UMC, Manhattan, Kansas

Project Summary

Did the project go as expected?
We finally had the opportunity to complete our Culture of Call Retreat on January 24-25, 2020. Our original plan was to offer two retreats at Tuttle Creek Campground. BUT the campground was closed this summer due to flooding. So Plan of our church members owns a Bed and Breakfast, so we re-scheduled the retreat in January and stayed in these fabulous accommodations. All youth in the church were invited to attend.

Which of the 5 earmarks of Culture of Call did this project address? How?

  • Discernment events/experiences - yes
  • Personal exploration - yes
  • Mentoring - no
  • Spiritual nurture - yes
  • Community expression of supporting individual calls - yes
Friday evening was spent exploring our "names" (given names, nicknames). We also listed nouns and adjectives that describe us and how "Christian" changes those descriptions. The hands-on activity of adding descriptive words and phrases to Peggy-made stoles kept the youth engaged and a way to "tie-in" the lessons to their lives.
We explored how our belief in God shapes how we understand others and how that motivates us into action. The youth expressed how they are better at showing God's love than putting God's love into words. They realize that they need to show God's love to EVERYONE--knowing that all people are children of God.
After taking a spiritual gifts survey, all of the youth identified MERCY as their prominent gift. As a group they decided they could use this gift to not only be in mission through our annual mission trips, but also through service projects for our church members and community.

Who was the primary audience of your project?

How did you use the funds?
The funds were used to reserve three rooms, living room, kitchen at the Bed and Breakfast from 6:00 Friday to 4:00 Saturday. A pizza supper, Varisty doughnut breakfast, Jimmy John lunch and lots of snacks kept the hunger pains away!!

How did this project cultivate a culture of call in your church or district?
Pastor Dennis emphasized that God may be calling them to ordained ministry, but God may be calling them to be teachers, leaders, workers within the local church. A "call" does not always mean professional ministry, but God calls all laity to be in ministry. Following the retreat, 5 youth registered for Institute through Camp Chippewa, ten participated in the Flint Hills Youth Rally, 3 registered for a camp at Camp Chippewa.

How were people impacted through the project?
This youth group raises money by opening our parking lot to those attending KSU football games.Through their donations, the youth grant over $13,000 to community organizations. Capitalizing on their collective spiritual gift of MERCY, they now not only want to donate money, but also want to donate their time to these non-profit organizations.

How did you tell the story of your project?
Through the church newsletter, email blast, and word of mouth!!!

What could you share about this project with others?
Having the retreat away from the church made the weekend a "set-apart" experience. God is with us no matter where we are.