A Moment for Mission
"I'll make a list of … all the generous bounties of God, his great goodness to the family of Israel —Compassion lavished, love extravagant." —Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In his first letter to Timothy (4:12, The Message), the apostle Paul wrote: "Don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity."
Youth in North Carolina take those words to heart. After Hurricane Florence swept through the Carolinas in September 2018, killing 53 people and causing more than $24 billion in damage, North Carolina bishop Hope Morgan Ward challenged conference youth to raise $500,000 for North Carolina storm relief. The conference is matching all gifts made to Youth Storm Response up to $500,000.
By November 2019, the youth had raised $567,000! That's generosity in action.
But the North Carolina young people go a step further by participating in the Youth Service Fund. "The Youth Service Fund shall be a means of stewardship education and mission support by youth within The United Methodist Church" (The Book of Discipline, Par. 1208.1). In congregations and annual conferences across the connection, young people raise and spend Youth Service Fund money to benefit their peers.
For every dollar of Youth Service Fund money raised, 30 cents goes to the United Methodist Division on Ministries with Young People. Youth from across the United States determine grants for youth-serving ministries around the world. In North Carolina, the remainder is divided among conference youth ministry, in-conference projects and out-of-conference projects.
Thank you, caring, committed youth, for making a difference!
Loving God, thank you for your extravagant generosity, compassion and love. Inspire us to share your greatest gift of all: Jesus Christ. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: First Sunday after Christmas — God of mercy and compassion, as we bring our gifts this morning, we still bask in the warmth of celebrations of Christmas, with tables surrounded by family and friends, tables filled with abundant food and joy. Alongside these blessings, let us also remember this story of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph fleeing as refugees at your direction to escape persecution in their homeland. We can only pray they found welcome and compassion in their flight, and we pray that the gifts we give and the lives we lead will offer compassion and welcome to your children, wherever they are in need. In Christ, who opens his arms to all. Amen. (Matthew 2:13-23)
Every year, United Methodist teens from around the world raise thousands of dollars for the Youth Service Fund. It is not the size of the gift that matters, but the number of people involved in giving.
If every youth attending a United Methodist church in the United States alone gave just $2, we would raise more than $1.5 million. But that's not all. Any youth can apply for funding. These funds exist for youth who want to serve their peers and need a financial boost to get a new ministry off the ground.
For nearly 50 years, countless youth worldwide have benefited. Here's how to spread the spirit of generosity:
- Share fundraising ideas, stories of giving to the Youth Service Fund and tips on living generously.
- Brainstorm how to best serve others. Share your dream ministry and start turning it into a reality.
- Go to the fund homepage, youthservicefund.org, to see how your gifts make a difference.
—Adapted from Youth Service Fund webpage