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Youth Ministry In-Town Mission

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This past week, our Junior High youth embarked on the first summer trip of the year: In-Town Mission! This three-day trip allowed the Junior High youth to create connections and friendships with one another while learning from and serving different communities in the Dallas area. During the trip we visited several sites, starting with Bonton Farms, which serves the Bonton community in south Dallas by providing fresh produce for sale and the opportunity to provide jobs and access to resources that would not be available otherwise. During our trip, we toured the farm and were able to go on a goat walk, guiding the goats as they walked around the property.  

Later that day, we went to Hope Supply Co. and helped package donated clothes that were going to be distributed to homeless youth in Dallas.

We also went to the We over Me farm at Paul Quinn college to help farm and to a group home of Evergreen Life Services, that provides homes and services to adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.

 

Here are a few quotes from the youth on their experience at in-town mission: 

“I liked how we went into places that required us to look into other people’s problems on a local scale.”

“I loved In-Town Mission because of the opportunity for us as youth to grow closer as a community while we serve others” 

“One thing I love about In-Town Mission trip is that whether you're packing clothes, walking goats, or even doing paint touch-ups, you know that you’re helping someone.”

“I enjoyed In-Town Mission because we were helping people in our own community.” 

“I liked being able to help others while being able to spend time with friends.”

At the beginning of the trip, the youth were asked to think about the words service, mission, community and change, and dwell on their meanings throughout the trip. These words converged to create the most meaning when talking with one of the staff volunteers who works at Bonton Farms. The volunteer used the analogy of Sequoya seeds, which have the potential to grow into beautiful trees hundreds of feet tall. However, if the seeds are thrown on a table without proper soil, water, and sunlight, they will never reach their potential to grow. The volunteer reminded our group that the same goes with the people and community of the Bonton neighborhood and other communities in Dallas at large- without opportunities to grow or thrive, they people of South Dallas and the Bonton community cannot reach their full God-given potential.

As a whole, the trip was inspiring, exhausting (in the best way!), life-giving, and transformative. We were blessed to get out of our own neighborhood and get our hands dirty, living into our call to love our neighbors as ourselves. If you’d like to see more pictures of our trip, check out our Youth Flickr Photo page here, and join us in continuing to pray for our city! This is only the beginning.  

Posted by Megan Wiora with

Worship At Five

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by Elizabeth Beshear

How do we engage our children and ourselves in worship – making it interesting and engaging for all of us? That was our question last year when worshiping in the Sanctuary that we love turned out to be too loud and distracting for our three young children. It was important for us to have our children in worship, but we began asking, do we just go to Sunday School? Do we “stay the course” regardless of everyone’s feelings, actions, and reactions? Do we change churches? We thought about all of these questions.

Then we read about Worship at Five and decided to give it a try last fall. It has truly been a blessing for us and it has changed how our family worships.

We really like hearing from different pastors on a regular basis. This service offers us that perspective. The “one room” nature of Founders Hall also allows everyone just a little more time to talk before and after the service. Now, instead of hearing “Why do we have to go?” we hear “Is it time yet?” And instead of having an overwhelming experience, there’s a chance to engage. 

Worship at Five is a microcosm of what we hope for our children’s relationship with God: Worship is easily accessible, we don’t have to dress up, and everyone is actively welcomed. This service has become a fun and integral part of our weekend.

Come As You Are

The relatively informal nature of the services makes it much easier to want to come to church with kids. There are creative stations at the back of Founders Hall and there’s a playground right outside the door – perfect to get some wiggles out before and after the service. 

Great Music

David grew up singing masses in Latin, and we both love the traditional music from our choir, but the contemporary music is fun and engaging too. Our kids have even been known to clap and dance along to the music.

Children-Friendly

Not only is there a children’s sermon, but the smaller service means our kids get to know other members in a new way. We also get to have Communion with our children each week (there’s a little jostling for first in line!).  We are watching and listening to them begin to engage with God on their own terms. The questions that they ask show us they are actively engaged in the service.

To learn more, go to www.phpc.org/five

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