If you ask Megan about her calling to youth ministry, she claims it’s not a dramatic story. But others may disagree.
After graduating from Wayne State College with a degree in Human Services Counseling, she knew two things for sure: she wanted to work with children and youth, and she wanted to do more than just counseling. She landed a job at a daycare, but felt she was called to do more.
After growing up in the Winside United Methodist Church, her mother encouraged her to look at Norfolk churches to see if there was an opportunity in youth ministry. The day she looked at our website was the same day we began advertising for a Youth Director.
It seemed like divine intervention.
Upon her hire, Megan was urged to enroll in the Youth Ministry Institute (YMI), an intensive program that teaches participants how to set up and run an effective youth ministry. After two years of classroom instruction, online classes, one-on-one coaching and on-site assessments, Megan will celebrate her commissioning on Saturday, May 4.
“YMI has been such a valuable resource for me,” Megan says. “One of the most important lessons I learned was how to work with different personalities and age groups. It’s a fine balance to keep kids’ interest while still having fun.”
Her instruction covered a wide variety of topics, from adolescent development, helping youth in crisis, effective ways to work with parents, and intensive theology.
“Everytime I leave my mind is exhausted and filled with 500 more questions that need to be answered,” she says.
Spending two days in Kansas City a month, Megan grew close to the eight members in her cohort. “They’ve been great to bounce ideas off of, provide reassurances, and know that they share many of the same struggles as I do,” she says.
Megan has already implemented some of the suggestions that came out of an on-site assessment. In addition to finding new communication channels for students and parents, she began organizing age specific activities during youth group. A big project in the future will be the renovation of Fellowship Hall.
About Youth Ministry Institute (YMI)
YMI is an intensive, two-year program designed for those new to youth ministry or those building a new youth ministry program at their church.
It involves meeting once a month in Kansas City for two days, August through May.
YMI lead for the Midwest, Matt Vaughn, traveled to Norfolk in August 2018 to conduct an on-site assessment and provide FUMC and Megan with some recommendations about how to improve the youth ministry program here. He met with youth, parents, staff and volunteers while here.
Megan has a personal coach, Andy Dykhouse, who holds monthly calls with Megan to discuss what was discussed at their Kansas City meetings. He always available to her to go over problems, brainstorm solutions and generally be a resource for her. “He challenges me to do things outside of my comfort zone,” she says.
As part of the program, Megan was able to travel to two ministry leadership conferences in North Caroline and Texas. There, she was able to network with other youth ministry leaders and attend conference sessions on what is working in other churches.
To read more about Youth Ministry Institute, visit