Building District Connections – One Day at a Time | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
November 2011

Building District Connections – One Day at a Time

By Chris Wilterdink

With the size and spacing of Annual Conference Events, some groups of young people ache for more chances to connect with their fellow young people from different churches in their area. Why not explore different options within your districts for brief and cheap multi-church events?

Group has recently revamped its “1 By Youth” program into “The Big Day of Serving”. Basically, Group arranges for a massive service project (normally neighborhood cleanup/landscaping/graffiti covering) accommodating up to 400 participants at a time that will take between 4-6 hours to complete. The large group is divided up among group of 10-12 to work on individual worksites working from approximately 9am to 3pm – then closing with a block party.

Similar events are sponsored by local governments:

If your local church is looking to build relationships with other church groups from your district- why not consider a very short, very cheap mission event any time of year? Look for partnership opportunities with local governments, or use your church’s existing non-profit relationships to set up 6 hours of work for a large group of young people. Then bracket that mission work with other large group opportunities.

How to start:

Choose a Saturday along with other young people’s leaders in your area, then pose the question: What could we do for a local mission/service if we could promise 50, 100, 200, 300 people for 6 hours on a Saturday afternoon? The possibilities could be endless!

Additions to the mission project:

- An all group breakfast to start the day
- A traveling picture/video crew to record the activities during the day
- A common devotion for everyone during lunch break
- A cook out to feed everyone at the end of the work. Share pictures from the day during this time!
- A worship service to close the work day. Find a host church and get a local pastor or music act to help lead a worship experience.

How else do or can your districts connect and support relationships between young people?

Chris serves as Director of Young People’s Ministries for Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Chris has a BA in English Education, and an MS in Project Management, and over 15 years of local-church youth ministry experience. He is passionate about leadership and faith development in young people and helping ministry leaders understand their value in the lives of young people. A Stephen Minister, Chris is a native of Colorado living in Franklin, TN with his wife Emily, 2 children, and sausage-shaped beagle.