By Diane Maloney
Diane is a alumni YouthWorks Summer Staff and is now a youth minister in Tennessee. This summer she took two YouthWorks trips with her students to Birmingham and Brooklyn.
The job of a youth minister is not an easy one. A youth minister wears many different hats throughout the year, and the summer is generally only crazier. Between camps and mission trips, it is an incredibly busy season. The desire to provide a quality mission experience is strong. YouthWorks is committed to the same vision that I am when it comes to mission experiences for my youth. I am thankful for YouthWorks and the experiences they provide for my youth and adults. I love going on YouthWorks trips for a variety of reasons.
Once you arrive on site the staff handles all of the details of the week. This is probably my favorite part about YouthWorks because it provides me with an ample amount of time to spend with my youth. The quality time I get to spend with them on these mission trips helps me build deeper relationships than I could in one year of Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. The staff always invests in the lives of the youth; they provide examples of service and discipleship all week.
When I’m on a YouthWorks trip I feel I am not there to fix everything that is broken in this community, but I am coming alongside the great work God is already doing in that community. YouthWorks does this incredibly well. By having a year round presence in each community they serve, their mission trips are never about “saving” a community.
Each year, YouthWorks has programming that is designed for teenagers. This summer our youth were faced with trying to see themselves and everyone they encounter with the label “loved by God.”
Each YouthWorks trip leaves our youth and adults deeply bonded with the community, each other, and God. Serving with YouthWorks has pushed our youth outside of their comfort zones. From trying to dance like fools to make some little kids laugh, to playing Bingo with some elderly folks, to working in community gardens, our youth are always challenged to do something new to the Glory of God.