THOUGHTS FOR PARENTS FROM OUR CARE MINISTRY
In a webinar on helping adolescents cope in the pandemic, psychologist Lisa Damour shared this definition of mental health: “having the right feeling at the right time and the ability to weather it.” She encouraged parents to create space for the wide range of feelings and feeling-based behavior children have under the chronic stress of the pandemic: anger, grief, lack of motivation, sharper edges in communication, despair, anxiety, among others. She also suggested that this experience will help our children learn something that parents, especially parents in the 2000s, typically work very diligently to isolate their children from: life is hard and one is not to expect it to go well all the time, or for them to feel good all the time. Sometimes the right feeling at the right time is a hard feeling when times are hard; what matters is the ability to weather, or to cope, with the feeling. As Christians, we are well aware of these observations from a faith perspective. We know this world is not the way God wants it to be, so we keep pointing to the redeeming love of Jesus as the power to align the world closer to how God intends it to be. We start telling our children when they are young that they have a place in God’s purpose for the world, to notice those who are in need, beginning with those in need of friends and inclusion, and expanding that to the wide variety of human needs. As Christians, we also have a set of tools for weathering the difficult feelings of hard times that are gifts of our faith: the constant presence of God, the promise of light that is greater than all forms of darkness, the strength of the Holy Spirit when what we face feels beyond our own, among others. What a blessing to tell children that they will never be alone in any hard thing they face because God will be with them in the darkness, from getting used to sleeping by themselves to the darkness of disappointment, like, for example, the disruption of nearly an entire year of their young lives. We also tell them that the love of Jesus is there regardless of any difficult experiences, perhaps especially within them. I am grateful to all the psychologists, teachers, counselors and others who are supporting our children and teens right now (and their parents and grandparents) AND how those best practices are even more solid under our and their feet when aligned with the gifts of God through Jesus Christ.
In Christ, Pastor Jen
The Lewinsville Youth Fellowship Program involves grades 7-12 and meets weekly on Sunday evenings in conjunction and cooperation with the youth choir program (Lewinsville Choristers and Youth Bells).
Here at Lewinsville, the youth are part of the congregational life. Our students serve in Sunday morning worship, join in inter-generational activities and events through the Sunday morning CE program, and share in mission & service through Sunday evening Youth Fellowship. The students also serve and reach out to the surrounding community through involvement with mission & service projects done in conjunction with Lewinsville’s Mission & Service Ministry Group and mission oriented groups like World Vision, Share, and the Salvation Army.
Sunday night Youth Fellowship is a time for youth to reconnect with each other and their faith. The program begins at 6:15 pm with dinner provided by a parent, a lesson/discussion followed by a recreational or learning activity to end the evening.
YOUTH MINISTRY MISSION
To name each and every youth as a child of God, knowing that God matters to them and the world; to ensure that each young person knows that they matter to God, to the Church and to Lewinsville Church; to nurture faith in our young people such that it will guide and comfort them throughout their lives; to set before our youth the vision that as today’s disciples they will be called to become tomorrow’s apostles.
YOUTH MINISTRY VISION
To grow and sustain a vibrant youth ministry to:
- provide opportunities to serve Jesus Christ through mission and outreach;
- offer a safe, welcoming place of refuge, fun and activities to deepen the connections of youth to God, our community, the world, and to each other;
- welcome all who come and actively reach out to others;
- encourage active participation of parents and families and develop creative ways for balancing youth activities and life’s other demands;
- craft programs and activities that will continue to draw youth back to the church and create a life-long faith;
- engage youth in important roles in our church as worship participants, as disciples and apostles, and as leaders.
- provide educational opportunities which allow the youth to grow in biblical and theological understanding.