The Gathering Place
The Gathering Place is an interactive website for Anabaptist youth leaders to find connection, resourcing, networking, mentoring, and spiritual formation.
Youth Bible Study Resources
A collection of 117 Bible studies written by college students for use by high school youth groups is one of several new features of Mennonite Church USA’s revamped youth leaders Web page. Between 2004 and 2009, Michele Hershberger, a Bible and Ministry faculty member at Hesston (Kan.) College, engaged students in her Christian Education and Intro to Youth Ministry classes in writing the Bible studies. Hershberger, colleague Carol Duerksen, and students from LCC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania, where Hershberger taught in 2009, also contributed to the collection. Users of the site can also submit their own Bible studies for consideration for the collection via a link on the Bible studies page.
Other features of the revamped web page include information about peace curriculum resources for youth groups; lists of conference youth ministry websites, Mennonite colleges and service opportunities; Scriptures/resources pertaining to selected social justice issues; a blog; and a link to a Facebook group for those who work with youth.
Ohio Conference held a Youth Worker Retreat Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2016, at Camp Luz in Kidron. See photos from this event: https://ohiomennoniteconference.org/2016/10/2016-youth-worker-retreat.
Youth Pastor Peer groups meet occasionally in regional groupings for fellowship and support. There are also a number of Conference-wide events around which youth pastors gather for resourcing. Each spring, Annual Conference Assembly (ACA) is a time for youth pastors to connect.
For three years, the Conference sponsored E3 (Equip, Encourage, and Empower), a training series for youth leaders. The first event featured Duffy Robbins. In September 2009 Walt Mueller was the guest speaker. The fall 2010 event took place Saturday, Sept. 11, at Camp Luz in Kidron. The speaker was Michael Novelli, who led an experiential learning event called “Shaped by the Story.”
Youth Ministry Resource Person – Randy Keeler
During the 2014-15 academic year Dr. Randy Keeler, associate professor of religion at Bluffton University, spent his sabbatical serving as a youth ministry resource to the Ohio Conference. He has written several articles detailing different aspects of his work with the Conference which are available for download.
Congregations interested in working with Randy Keeler may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, (419) 302-4666 (cell) or (419) 358-1932 (home).
Randy Keeler has developed an annotated bibliography of youth ministry resources for leaders of Mennonite churches. If you are interested in this bibliography, please contact him at the above email address or phone numbers.
Youth ministry advocates
Another way the Conference supports youth ministry is through our Youth Ministry Advocates. Advocates educate congregations about the role of youth pastors and assist in maintaining healthy relationships between youth pastors and their congregation. Click on the title for a complete job description. Randy Keeler (email@example.com) serves as Youth Ministry Advocate for the western part of the Conference, while Michael Amstutz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Youth Ministry Advocate for the eastern part of the Conference.