…Children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. (Mark 10:14b The Message) You don’t have to be around the Lynn Haven United Methodist Church for very long to realize that we have taken these words of Jesus to heart as “children are at the very center” of our congregational life. This reality is clearly in evidence in our ministries this summer. Last month, 70 of our middle and high school students went to Camp Lee in North Alabama for a five-day spiritual retreat. Joining with several other churches, a total of nearly 200 young people enjoyed times of worship, recreation, and fellowship. By week’s end, eleven persons made first-time professions of faith (including three Lynn Haven youth) and nearly half of the group recommitted their lives to Christ. Can anybody say, “Praise the Lord!”? Our younger children were busy in June as well with two Service Squad events, which included ministry to the residents of the Panama City Nursing Center. Then about 20 upcoming middle schoolers enjoyed an overnight trip to Wild Adventures in Georgia. Things will really “kick into high gear” during the month of July. We expect as many as 400 children to participate in our Maker Fun Factory Vacation Bible School, July 9-13. That vital ministry will require at least 120 workers and there are still many places available to serve. You can find your spot by signing up at the link provided on our website (www. mylhumc.net) or by contacting our Children’s Minister, Mary McQuagge (firstname.lastname@example.org or 265-5231). Following our own VBS, we’ll be taking the ministry “on the road” to Honduras, July 1724. A 16-member team led by Ms. Mary and Ms. Bobbie will minister to 250 at a youth rally and 500 kids at three separate VBS-style events. Our children will fund many of the activities through our VBS offering this year. The youth will spend much of the month ministering in a variety of ways. Dozens will serve as VBS assistants, twenty teenagers will travel to Baton Rouge, July 16-22, on a mission trip to perform repairs to flood-damaged homes, and about fifteen middle school students will perform service projects at the Alabama Girls Ranch, July 24-26. Finally, we’ll close out the summer with our annual Back to School Bash for the students at Southport Elementary on August 6; there will be the Blessing of the Backpacks and Teacher Appreciation Sunday on August 13, and Youth Week will take place July 30 – August 2. I haven’t even mentioned all of the children’s and youth activities planned this summer, and I’m tired just writing about them! But I’m thankful to be the pastor of a congregation that follows Jesus’ example and makes ministry to young people a high priority. There is no question the psalmist was right when he wrote: “Children are a gift of God; they are a real blessing” (Psalm 127:3 TEV).
May we be as much of a blessing to the next generation as they are to us.
Craig Carter Lead Pastor, LHUMC