I was 10 when I joined the church on Palm Sunday, 1969. I knelt at the chancel rail with my confirmation class and promised to love Jesus and my church. In return, my church family promised to surround me with a community of love and prayer so that I would become “a true disciple who walks in the way that leads to life.”*
Wow! What a big promise these God-loving people made on our behalf—and they kept their word. I was blessed with caring, knowledgeable Sunday school teachers, sent to church camp, given a red Bible (that I still have today), fed often, and prayed over during my growing-up years. My mind and heart are filled by their loving presence, and I remain grateful for their impact on my life.
Today, you and I make that same promise to the children and youth in our lives. Most Christians make the decision to follow Jesus at a young age, and as the body of Christ, we are called to nurture that commitment.
This year, The Upper Room launched Discovery Weekend, a program in the tradition of Walk to Emmaus. Discovery Weekend partners with congregations to provide a transformative experience for middle school youth. The Upper Room has a long history of program ministries and publications that invite children and youth into a deeper relationship with God.
Hopefully, you have seen children and youth at your church reading our magazines, Pockets and devozine. Or perhaps you know someone who answered God’s call to serve because of a Chrysalis weekend.
Our newest program, Discovery Weekend, engages the entire church family in welcoming middle school students into a community of love and prayer and empowers high school students to be leaders. This weekend experience shapes the lives of teens and lays the foundation for a lifelong commitment to Christ.
We need your support to nurture Discovery Weekend from infancy into a full-grown program. Your donation will allow us to partner with congregations, to train leaders, and to provide scholarships for churches that would not otherwise be able to offer the program for their youth.
Being a teenager today is difficult. School shootings, bullying, hate crimes, and political tensions fill our headlines. Academic demands, social media, and peer pressure only amplify the challenge to put Christ first.
Discovery Weekend creates a space for young people to experience God’s love and respond faithfully. As The Upper Room continues to honor its deep commitment to youth, will you join us by supporting The Upper Room youth fund?
Your gift will help fund a Discovery Weekend in a church and allow us to create more opportunities for children and youth to experience God’s love.
*from The United Methodist Church Baptismal Covenant
Sherry Elliott is Executive Director of Administration, Interpretation, and Development, The Upper Room.
Give your support to The Upper Room Youth Fund
Click here to learn more about Discovery Weekend.
"A few years ago, my sister, Anna, and I had a club called the Awesome Club.We had short meetings in a walk-in closet with stuffed animals and dolls. It was fun, but it didn’t have a real purpose. One day we decided that it would really make the club awesome if we followed the Golden Rule and did something to help others." Read more.