Amy Simons

Amy Simons

Director of Christian Education

Last year, I stood in front of you, with a new certificate in Youth Ministry in one hand and a 4-year Strategic Plan in the other. The intent of this plan was to motivate investment in Christian Formation and implement programs and policies that could support the natural transitions in membership and leadership. It’s no surprise that these two, fairly large goals, needed to be supported by smaller compounding tasks. 

Now, if any of you would like to put your hands on this plan I would be more than happy to give you a copy. I would also be more than happy to help you find ways that your influence, talent, and resources, can help advance it… That’s an invitation, not a warning… in case you were wondering. 🙂

But, for those of you who may only need the highlights today, here they are.

In 2019 we…

  1. Increased our contact list of children and youth not only to be reflective of our families but also their guests and our friends.
  2. Increased communication with our nursery families and college students
  3. Scheduled more facetime with volunteers so that we could grow in our fellowship and our own adult formation with teacher training sessions, conference attendance , and regular contact from me.
  4. We got serious about acknowledging the faithful ministry of our adult volunteers by commissioning them during a Sunday Service, and setting aside time to thank them individually. 
  5. We’ve made deliberate efforts to get where our youth and young adults are by going to games, plays, and meeting for coffee
  6. You may remember taking a survey last spring. We wanted to know what you knew so that we could learn how to communicate with you more effectively. 
  7. In practical ways, we clarified, what was before best guesses and assumptions with things like
    1. Volunteer Handbooks
    2. Parent Information Sheets
    3. An Annual Calendar
    4. A Christian Formation Budget AND Fundraisers! (Thank you to all who purchased a pie. I hope you loved it and that this fall you buy two!)
  8. We also assembled a Children and Youth Formation Council. These people include Heather Seaton who is incredibly involved with our Middle and High School Youth, Melanie Hollman, our vestry liaison, Lucas Curell who has been part of our budding nursery and Sunday School programs from the beginning and me. These folks have unique points of view, relationships, and skills that they bring together for the good of our young people and in support of the Strategic Plan. 
  9. We also added a Confirmation Class for Teens and a discussion group for college students and new members. 

Your right. If you were thinking, “Wow. That actually sounds like a lot.” You are right. It’s a lot. But that was just some of the groundwork. These were efforts made to prepare the soil so that the seeds of life-long formation can grow for all of us. 

There is much more to do. The work will never end. 

For that reason, this is not simply a committee’s annual progress report, but an appeal for your ever-present mindfulness of formation. 

Your mindfulness. Your willingness to be aware of your needs and the needs of those in your circle of influence might be the most important support you could give us. 

When you feel insecure about something in scripture and choose to come to a Bible Study or ask a priest, or blow the dust off your family Bible and dig deeper, you’re churning the soil of formation at St. John’s. 

When you see something messy, broken or out of place in our building and you choose to clean it, fix it, or put it back. You’re churning the soil of formation at St. John’s. 

When you were out late, struggling to get the kids up, ready, and out the door, or maybe “just not feeling it” but choose to come and be part of worship. Thank you. Your presence is valuable. And for those of you who see those who are struggeling and offer encouragement. Thank you. You’re presence is valuable. And both of you are churning the soil of formation at St. John’s. 

When each of us stays mindful and open to the many different ways we can mature in our faith. Then the ground becomes soft so that all of us can grow strong, deep roots. 

Yes, I spend most of my time focusing on children, youth, and young adults because they largely don’t have the ability or resources to advocate for themselves. But, come to Holy Week services this year. Join the choir. Grab a devotional book and meet a friend for coffee to talk about it. Buy a pie or help us paint a classroom. But do something that challenges you to grow and encourage others to do the same. 

Because that is the best support you could offer our young people and the whole community of St. John’s.