The young people we meet across Greater New Jersey are not only creative, they are also ready to put their faith into action. That’s why our theme for Next Gen Summer Camps, Created to Create, fits so well. Our next generation of disciples have been created for such a time as this and they are ready to create what is next for the church and world.
Our goal at Next Gen Ministries is to harness this creativity so that our students can move into what is next with a passion that is unharnessed.
The next generation of disciples of Jesus Christ are the leaders that the church needs today. Students are already leading at Annual Conference, in our churches, on college campuses and beyond. Here’s how:
• The students registering for Next Gen Summer Camps will be engaging in new paths in discipleship with programs focused on video, theater, music, photography, leadership and cultural immersion. What they learn will guide their path forward. If you haven’t heard Kaleigh Corbett’s emotional testimony about how summer camp changed her life, click here to watch and share this video with other parents. Next Gen Summer Camps start July 22 and there is plenty of time to sign up.
• This weekend, 11 students began Cultivate: Summer of Exploration, eight-week summer internships with their local church. In the midst of change and transition, the next generation of disciples will lead on.
• This coming week, 16 students will embark on a civil rights journey, Joshua Generation, to Atlanta, Birmingham, Selma and more to immerse themselves in the history of civil rights, the challenges that face us today and the role that the church will play in moving forward.
• The IGNITE Squad has over 40 young people gearing up for IGNITE the first weekend of October where we are preparing to host 2,000 young people on fire for Christ.
• Since Annual Conference, more than 200 new people signed up to receive our Next Gen Community newsletter. We must be doing something right when the response is so affirming.
• Our churches are yearning for programming and support for young people’s ministry. At Annual Conference 30 churches responded to Bishop Schol’s call to receive coaching to grow youth ministry. You can sign up here.
As our denomination struggles with what is next for Methodism, our students are already moving into it. To ensure there is sacred space for them to create what God has created them for, our board has released a new inclusion statement:
Next Generation Ministries welcomes all people to participate and lead in its ministries and programs. We believe that all people are of sacred worth, beloved children of God and embrace the diversity of race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic ability, family configurations, education and mental and physical ability in the Body of Christ. Whoever you are and wherever you are from, here you will find a safe, life-giving space to connect, grow and lead in your faith journey.
Today, I welcome you to share everything Next Gen with others in your community. Invite students to register for summer camp here. Volunteer for a week at summer camp here. Share this newsletter with other parents and leaders in your congregation and have them sign up here. Share opportunities you see in your local community with the Next Gen community by emailing Kerwin Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kerwin is our new Next Gen Program Coordinator. You can read more about Kerwin and our new staff here.
We thank you for being a part of God’s movement in Next Generation Ministries. We believe God is doing a new thing. We’re committed to grow in faith and leadership and we will continue to provide resources and voice for the next generation of disciples to lead the church today.
Together in the Journey,
Eric Drew, Executive Director | Next Generation Ministries