Two congregations in Oshkosh, Wis., joined forces to give their inactive youth groups a much-needed ecumenical boost.
"Neither of the churches had a vital ministry beyond confirmation," says the Rev. John Hobbins, First United Methodist Church pastor. Leaders of First and neighboring Calvary Lutheran Church stepped out of their comfort zones to form Experience Youth.
Alternating between the two churches, more than 20 middle and high school students meet twice a month to share a meal and engage in Bible study. Colin Saladin, leader of Experience Youth, says he feels blessed to see the teens share common interests and grow stronger in their faith. According to Saladin, they focus on the strengths of each denomination and build on those.
In addition to Bible study, fellowship and game nights, Experience Youth went on a summer mission trip to Steubenville, Ohio, and Superior, Wis. "It's a great way to explore things together and make comparisons," Hobbins says. The youth had a positive experience, helped people in need and formed new relationships.
In August, more than 60 people attended Experience Youth's annual stockholder dinner and listened as the teens shared highlights of their mission trip. Their Facebook page reads, "We remembered all over again what fun it is to simply love our neighbor and model tenderness and generosity to each other and perfect strangers whom we then come to cherish more than we cherish ourselves."
AT A GLANCE First United Methodist Church | 700 W. Linwood Ave., Oshkosh, WI 54901 | 920-235-8430 | [email protected] | www.facebook.com/FirstChurchOshkosh | Pastor: Rev. John Hobbins | Average Attendance: 101 | Wisconsin Conference
"It Worked for Us" is written by Christine Kumar freelance writer and and administrator, Baltimore Metropolitan District, Baltimore-Washington Conference. Send story ideas to Interpreter at [email protected].