Last Fall, Kristi Reeves was part of a team from the San Marcos Seventh-day Adventist Church to attend the Growing Together Summit held in San Antonio. Her team as well as teams from over 20 other churches embraced core commitments that can make a church a great place to grow. One of these commitments, “Keychain Leadership,” talks about entrusting young people with access and authority to be of influence in their local church.
Well Kristi, as well as her team, were pretty fired up about what they learned, and eager to share it with their congregation. At the summit, they had made intentional plans to help their whole church love next generations better. In fact, Kristi had some ideas as to how to apply the core commitments as soon as the next Sabbath.
“I thought it would be great to have young people help with greeting Sabbath mornings,” Kristi thought given that she was already volunteering in that area.
When church leaders give opportunities for next generations to be involved, it helps young people form as sense of identity, belonging, and purpose with their church.
“The young people were so excited to greet, some of them headed out into the parking lot to welcome people and hand out compliments,” lauded Kristi, “It was incredible.”
Enter five-year-old, Sarah Sidlo.
Adult greeters, Vilma Resendiz and Kristi invited Sarah to join their greeting team on a Sabbath morning, and the glow on Sarah’s little face could only be matched in the responsive warmth of those she welcomed to church. Sarah was so thrilled to be a greeter at church, that following that experience, she promptly marched into Pastor Josue Murillo’s office and asked if there was anything else she could do to be of help with in the church. Sarah was fired up. Vilma, Kristi, and Pastor Josue couldn’t have been more delighted.
When young people love their church, embracing responsibility and leadership, the whole church benefits—all generations. Growing Young Adventists is about drawing next generations into the vitality of church life and discovering not only the vibrancy of intergenerational relationships, but moreover finding Jesus at the center of it all.
Growing Young Adventists is a learning journey for local churches and leaders helping to build faith communities that will not only survive, but thrive in the years ahead. It is an inter-generational movement nurturing relationship building and cultural transformation that embraces young people and benefits all generations in the Adventist church. GrowingYoungAdventists.com #GYA #GrowingYoungAdventists
Sarah is one of tens of thousands of young people who can, even at a very early age, be invited to serve and minister in their local church. Sure it will take additional effort, and require building trust in youth and young adults, but if Sarah is any indication, it is well worth it.
Churches that embrace Growing Young Adventists, have leaders who are raising up leaders.