Lawrence First UMC Spiritual Training and Mentor Program

5/28/2020

HOW DID OUR PROJECT GO AND WHAT WAS ITS IMPACT?

In 2018, two high school students were hired through the Culture of Call grant and worked throughout the summer to help create a mentoring program that would not only bridge the gap between the middle school and the high school students, but would help create an entirely new culture based in the idea that we are all uniquely created and uniquely called by God.

Thirty-four students signed up to be matched with a mentor or a mentee and agreed to participate in activities designed to build relationship with each other and help them grow in relationship with God. The first weekend in November, forty students met at Camp Chippewa to learn about their spiritual gifts and how those gifts could affect their calling. The mentors and mentees continue to grow in their friendships, no longer complaining about the “older” or “younger” students, but seeing one another as partners in faith.

The students were asked to share how they have been affected by the mentor program and their mentor or mentee and these are some of their comments:

  • “The most important thing to me this year has just been knowing that I will always have someone who is on my side, but specifically somebody has been my rock this year and has been with me all the way.”

  • “She has made me laugh and gets me excited for youth group every youth group.”

  • “Helps me find more joy in life.”

  • “The way they have become my family.”

  • “She has become a sister to me, inspires me to grow.”

  • “The love that they have shown me, even though they didn’t know me at first.”

  • “They helped me grow and become more outgoing.”

  • “I have a loving, sweet, kind mentor. I love her like a sister.”

 

This grant has truly blessed our faith community and we are just getting started, another round of mentor/mentee matches will be assigned this summer. The students are excited for the upcoming events and feel blessed by how this program has changed our youth group. It is a much more accepting group now that everyone has a champion that cares about them and is there to talk through the questions and issues that come up as journey together in faith. 

 

HOW WAS THE STORY OF OUR PROJECT TOLD?

Kaitlyn Fisher and Elena Lee, the high school students that have worked all year organizing events and nurturing the mentor relationships, just led a worship service in our youth group focused on S.T.A.M.P. (Spiritual Training and Mentor Program). The quotes above came from the blessings the students wrote and attached to the cross. Kaitlyn and Elena are working on a presentation they will share with small groups in our church and have written a newsletter article that will be in the next edition. This grant has been a game-changer for the two of them. It has given two very shy students opportunities to rise to many challenges on the administrative side as well as the program side and they are really thriving. They are now looked at for guidance in other activities as well and their confidence in their leadership has soared as well as their understanding of their spiritual gifts, which we talk about quite often.

 

WHICH OF THE 5 EARMARKS OF CULTURE OF CALL DID THIS PROJECT ADDRESS? 

  • Personal exploration

  • Mentoring

  • Spiritual nurture

 
WHAT COULD YOU SHARE ABOUT THIS PROGRAM WITH OTHERS?
If a church has a youth group with students who struggle with depression, anxiety, isolation, bullying, and/or behavioral issues, they should find a way to create a mentor program. Youth group should be a place that students feel safe and a mentor program, with a training component, empowers both the older and younger students. The high school students are given a leadership role from the start and it’s amazing to watch them live into that role. As they learn healthy leadership skills, the younger students watch them and want to grow into mentors themselves. Continual training is a key component for both the students and the adults who are learning to mentor their mentors. It’s a growing cycle of Christian love.
 

Thank you for this amazing opportunity in ministry. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me at 785-550-5380 or tami@fumclawrence.org.

 

Tami Clark

Director of Youth Ministries

Lawrence FUMC