Omaha Saint Paul UMC unites youth


Reported by Marta Wheeler,
Omaha Saint Paul UMC

Project Summary

Did your project go as expected?
The project went much better than expected!

Which of the 5 earmarks of Culture of Call did this project address? How?
  • Discernment events/experiences - yes
  • Personal exploration -  yes
  • Mentoring - yes
  • Spiritual nurture - yes
  • Community expression of supporting individual calls - no
The 20 year leader from Africa led the youth in song and Bible study. He was mentored in meetings and via emails and encouraged to provide leadership. We can see the means of grace working in him as the Holy Spirit fills him. The youth listen carefully to his words and sing along beautifully.

Will the project that you undertook be continued? How?
We plan to continue working together, especially now that we realize we are one congregation. Decisions ahead include which models to use for decision-making, the role of cultural competency, and connecting youth who attend the same schools.

How did this project cultivate a culture of call in your church or district?
The grant writers have identified the youth leader of the African congregation, who is a recent high school graduate, as a possible candidate for ordained ministry. We are now more aware of his current lay ministry skills.

How were people impacted through the project?
The work of coordination has helped us better understand how to plan in the future. We are also learning that refugee members are very agreeable. For instance, when we invited them to go sledding with us, they agreed to come without knowing what sledding was. We had guessed to bring hats, gloves, and boots for them to use, but they arrived not realizing they would be heading down a long snow-covered slope. The look of amazement on their faces was wonderful! We are learning to be more specific about our invitations as we work together as we try to figure out the questions to ask.

How did you tell the story of your project?
The story has been shared as a sermon illustration, in the church newsletter, and with church leaders.

What could you share about this project with others?
This project affirmed our assumption that youth of all backgrounds can relate well to each other and learn from one another. We suggest that adults who do the work of planning allocate extra time for learning communication patterns, and be open to the possibility that the two groups have a different norm when it comes to a relationship to time.