Connectionalism Can Make a Difference | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
January 2011

Connectionalism Can Make a Difference

By Rori Blakeney (SEJ)

For just as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body – though many – are one body, so too is Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12

Most people hear and read that familiar verse in Scripture, they immediately think of the local church and spiritual gifts. But, the folks at Doraville’s Winters Chapel see it differently. With an average Sunday worship attendance of 70, the church has discovered this scripture provides a theological framework for their understanding of the connectional ministry of the United Methodist Church.

“We are a small church with ambitious aspiration,” said Lilli Danielson, a youth parent and one of the Scout leaders at the church. “It's the first time we've done anything this adventurous.”

She adds that the trip was made possible because the generosity of other United Methodist Church entities like the Intentional Growth Center, who provided housing for the group, Christ United Methodist Church who assisted with transportation and most importantly, Rev. Carolyn Poling, director of Ministries with Young People (MYP), and her staff took care of the programming for the weekend.

“Their help made this a very affordable trip for us,” she said. “Otherwise, there is a high possibility that we would not have been able to provide this experience to our youth.”

This is an example of one of the many benefits of being apart of a connectional church. You can be small yet do big things. Youth pastors in small church often forget there are many resources to support their efforts to provide quality opportunities for their youth

The 18 youth and youth leaders who went to the INFUSE Ski Retreat at Lake Junaluska, were provided a first class experience that had the right mixture of faith formation and fun. There were over 900 hundred people in attendance at the retreat. Sponsored by the Southeastern Jurisdiction Ministries with Young People, the weekend gave young people and their leaders the opportunity to connect, serve and grow.

In addition, the weekend highlighted the homeless ministry at Haywood UMC, a new ministry in Western, North, Carolina. There was an offering taken on Saturday night in addition to many churches bringing items such as blankets, sleeping bags, jeans, coats and toiletries.

And, the good news is I didn’t have to do it all. There was no fight with church leadership about doing something wild in the sanctuary. I didn’t have to beg the finance committee for extra money. And, there was no need to rumble through endless pages of material or listen to countless cds to try to find a speaker and band.

Instead, I had the benefit of being connected to a church that is connected to other churches.

“I really enjoyed going on the ski trip. I liked the fact that every night we got to enjoy a great service and music by the band “Unspoken” and magnificent word by Rev. Olu Brown. said Latrell Rance, a 15 year-old member of the youth group and Scout.

“I was a natural at skiing once I got the hang of it. I met great people and had a fantastic time. I hope to enjoy something that great in my life again.”