The Acolyte Ministry is an important part of MUMC’s youth ministries program. Acolytes serve as worship leaders at the weekly 8:50 and 11 a.m. services, as well as during special services throughout the year. Acolytes provide significant assistance on Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, Easter Eve, Easter, and Youth Sunday.
Beginning in January 2015, we will offer confirmation to our 7th grade students. Confirmation students learn what it means to be a United Methodist Christian in today’s world using Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience as a guide in life decisions. Confirmation culminates with “Confirmation Sunday” in which youth make a commitment to Christ and to the church in front of the MUMC congregation. Confirmation also includes a time for youth to grow stronger relationships with other Methodist Christians their age, participate in fellowship and learn about other faiths.
In 2014, Missouri United Methodist Church received a Young Clergy Initiative grant from The United Methodist Church to lead youth and young adults to recognize, cultivate, and develop gifts and skills for future ministry, especially professional and ordained ministry. The Exploration Project provides many ways for students to explore their gifts and skills for ministry. One exciting part of The Project is the “Jr. Pastor of the Month” Program at Missouri United Methodist Church.
Any child or youth, 4th-12th grade, can apply by downloading an application and arranging an interview through Hank Jenkins (6-12th grades) or Nancy Cooper (4th-5th grades). At the interview, the child or youth explores his or her interest in learning more about church ministry and, if developmentally ready for this experience, selects three pastoral activities to be accomplished in an identified month of ministry as “Jr. Pastor.” The Jr. Pastor and parent(s) prepare a participation covenant with their placement director outlining the expectations and responsibilities of the experience.
Throughout the Jr. Pastor's month of service, the Jr. Pastor sits with the Senior Pastor in weekly worship, practices and provides worship leadership, is identified to the congregation, and participates in the three pastoral activities which were identified in the interview. Each week during the month of service, the youth meets with a lay mentor who is safe sanctuary certified by MUMC to help them reflect on their experience and explore a “Make a Difference” ministry idea.
After a child or youth has served as a Jr. Pastor, he or she is eligible for applying to undertake a “Make a Difference” ministry project which is a focused mission or service project, serving a specific target community. A possible grant of $200.00 may be awarded to the student for funding the age-appropriate startup and leadership of this ministry project.
Each Summer our youth participate in a Middle School missions trip for those entering 6-8th grades and a High School missions trip for those entering 9th grade through graduating seniors. Our Middle School typically partake in an in-state missions trip and have recently spent a week in Kansas City with other United Methodist Youth from the state. Our High School group usually goes somewhere out of state and recent trips have included New Orleans and Colorado. These trips offer our youth an opportunity to experience what it is like to be in service in the world and to show the love of Christ to those in need.
Our Missouri Annual Conference is committed to offering opportunities for youth to experience God in a variety of ways. Camps grow faith and build relationships and let youth experience worship and meet new friends.
Each fall and spring we spend a weekend away at a local campground from some time apart from the world and focused on growing spiritually and growing in deeper relationships. During our retreats, we have fun and play games, spend time in study and look to build a deeper relationship with God and those around us.
Every January, we travel to Springfield, Mo. to gather with other United Methodist Youth from the state of Missouri for a weekend of concerts, inflatable games, workshops and fun!
Every year youth participate in fundraisers to help cover costs to our summer missions trips. We have two ongoing fundraiser, a cinnamon roll sale in the fall held during Mizzou Homecoming Weekend. During this event youth help prepare and sell cinnamon rolls to those watching the homecoming parade. Every Spring, the youth help prepare and serve a spaghetti dinner for the whole congregation on a Wednesday night. Youth also participate in other fundraisers through the year as needed.
Typically the week before school starts back in the fall, we gather for a variety of activities that might include a trip to a theme park, a service project, a lock-in or worship experience. This allows for us to have some last-minute summer joy together before the youth start back to school for the year.