Church and Relationships
September 30, 2022
in Pastor's Weekly Message
Did you join us for worship last week? Our youth led us in a fabulous service celebrating creation through their lens of the video game Minecraft. We met a puppet named Suzy who shared with us her own creation. We baptized a youth who has been coming to church with his friends. We saw photos from their July trip to Sierra Service Project. It was such a full and rich service. Thank you to all the youth and adults who helped to make it happen.
Our youth program is experiencing a fullness we haven’t seen since the pandemic. Kids are bringing their friends and are learning what it means to be loved in a safe place. They are hearing about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and they are learning what it means to be the church. It’s exciting!
As a parent of two teenagers, I see how valuable this safe space is for our youth. For a variety of reasons, youth are being isolated from meaningful relationships, are facing stresses we have never seen, and are challenged in difficult ways. This has repercussions. A study Barna Research shared in October 2020 says that half of U.S. 18–35-year-olds (49%) expressed anxiety over important decisions and were afraid to fail. More than three in 10 said they often felt sad or depressed (39%) or lonely and isolated from others (34%). (https://www.barna.com/research/mental-health-next-gen/). This is huge! According to these numbers, of the 23 youth who were at youth group Sunday night, three often feel sad or depressed, 12 deal with anxiety, and another three are lonely.
But there’s good news in the research as well. The church can provide answers to a relationally hurting society. We can provide a counter experience to the isolation that is prevalent in our society. We can help kids to cope with their stresses, just by being the church. In fact, youth who experience church as a family, as a warm and positive community, are more likely to feel relational connectedness and be more emotionally resilient in all areas of their lives. https://www.barna.com/research/relationships-build-resilient-faith/
This translates to adults as well. The church is poised to be a warm and welcoming place for all to find community and an end to isolation. Strong relationships are the key to living meaningful lives in this world, and the church is a wonderful place to cultivate those. We begin this work in worship, when we are warm and welcoming to those who attend, especially greeting people we don’t know. But then we offer opportunities throughout the life of the church. Join a small group, a study that is being offered. Attend UWF (formerly UMW) or Marksmen and get to know others around the table. Come make quilts or other crafts and join the conversation. Join in a volunteer opportunity and get to know those you serve with. Volunteer to be a meaningful relationship to our kids or youth through teaching Sunday School or leading youth group.
If you are interested in helping out with the youth or children, we are always looking for adults who are willing to have fun and help set boundaries. We need teachers who are willing to lead the lessons and offer a safe space. We need drivers for some of the trips—or your minivan for someone else to drive! Talk with Pastor Kim or Rachel or Julie if you want to know more about our awesome programs for children and youth. And check out our Messenger newsletter or the Adult Spiritual Growth board in the courtyard to find other ways to connect.
St. Mark’s believes in changing the world by caring for all people. This care begins in our nursery and continues through every aspect of our church life together. How are you offering relationship with others?
See you soon.
- 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care (except fifth Sundays)
- 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website
To access our livestream service:
- From the main menu on our website click “Worship.” -OR-
- Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.