Trinity Lutheran Church|
Where Jesus' Voice is Heard, Proclaimed and Lived
N60 W6047 Columbia Road
Cedarburg, WI 53012
Pastor's Word for June 2017
Dear Friends in Christ,
I want to share with you some thoughts about our combined Youth Program.
Our Youth ministry program (currently referred to as WaTeR -- which is an acronym for "Weave, Teach, Reach") began about 6 years ago with a vision that was somewhat different than a typical youth ministry program. This one involved 4 churches. Faith, Immanuel, and St. John are similar in some ways but which also have distinct histories and ways of doing things. This is both gift and challenge.
We spent about two years working together, building a relatively flexible structure for youth. I say "flexible" in that it had some structure, but it left room for the new youth director to have a hand in shaping it according to his or her gifts and ideas.
When we felt that we were ready to "launch" the newly developed youth ministry program, we began interviewing candidates for the position. It took several months and a lot of conversations.
We called Alaine as our first director of the WaTeR program 4 years ago.
Alaine brought several good gifts to the program. Some of her strengths include being an excellent Web designer, event planner and teacher. She made some meaningful connections to many of our kids.
Alaine, being the entrepreneur that she is, spent much of her time developing these communication and organizational structures. It's exactly what we needed to get the program started. Now that this has been accomplished, the WaTeR Council felt the need to build upon this in a different way.
Near the end of this year the WaTeR program faced some financial difficulties. Three of the four churches found that they simply couldn't afford the $15,000 a year that is needed to maintain a full-time youth director. At this point we are looking for ways the local congregations can create a sustainable youth ministry program. Finances are extremely tight and the pool of candidates is always limited. We may need to be creative in staffing our congregations and ministries. This may include combining calls, restructuring roles and responsibilities, relying on volunteer leadership or calling someone part time. These are only some of the options that we as a WaTeR Council and member churches will be considering in the upcoming months.
Yes, the process of re-evaluation of the program is not an easy one. Those of us on the WaTeR Council knew that there needed to be a change, but we wrestled with what that change should look like ... It was as if we tried to combine the Human Resources departments of four different companies to decide what is best for all four. Another difficulty in all of this is the unique environment of the church community. It is a struggle to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of ministry while being sensitive to financial realities. God's call at any cost is a nice sentiment, but we must deal with our limitations.
Parting with Alaine was painful for many, and the result of a WaTeR structure that was not sustainable. While it seemed quite sudden, the reality of this unsustainability has been ongoing and finally reached a critical point that necessitated action. Alaine's departure is a reflection of a program that was sorely in need of a new direction.
We look forward to working with the other congregations (Immanuel, Faith, and St. John) in the future in youth ministry and other ministries.
Peace as always,