August 2018

Welcome to our new youth ministry newsletter! In this issue, you'll find tips for building a successful partnership with local schools and application information for the Youth Ministry Coaching Program (YMCP). Looking for an opportunity for self-reflection and growth? Our partnership with The Youth Cartel on this YMCP cohort experience is exactly what you need!

Forward this newsletter to your youth ministry colleagues and ask them to sign up for future emails by submitting this Google form. We would love to build a listserv for everyone working in youth ministry in the WNCC!

Would you like to contribute to this newsletter? Contact Havaleh Havelka, Training and Resource Specialist for the WNCC, at about writing an article, posting upcoming events, or highlighting your ministry in future issues.

Building a Successful School Partnership

Children and youth in North Carolina spend an average of 6.75 hours at school each day during the week. When you add in after-school programs like clubs, athletics and the arts, the time increases. For many of our youth, it’s where they spend the majority of their time awake and active—even more so than their homes.

This can be really frustrating as we try to plan activities as a church. We have to be mindful of the school calendar when we plan our church calendar. Planning the fall retreat on the same weekend as the high school Homecoming could be disastrous. In addition to the big items on the calendar, we also have to be mindful of athletic practices, band rehearsals and theater seasons to name a few.

As a former local youth minister myself, I know how maddening it can be. At times, it can feel like discipleship just isn’t a priority for families anymore because students and parents prioritize these other things ahead of the church. If you find yourself falling down a similar spiral, remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Before our students can even think about God or love or a sense of belonging, they need to feel physically fulfilled and secure.

For many students, after-school programs aren’t just for fun. By the time they reach middle or high school, students are already considering how those after-school programs might be their ticket to college scholarships, military service or future work opportunities. And that part-time job? They might be using that money to save for college, pay for athletic uniforms or music lessons, or they might be contributing to household expenses like rent, groceries, school supplies and clothes. Asking them to skip a night of football practice for youth group or take a week off work for a mission trip might be a bigger ask than you realize.

What do we do? One option is to get involved with our local school(s). If this is where students spend most of their time (and they are legally obligated to be there), then that might be a good place to make an impact. So, how do we build a partnership?

1. Know your network. Who do you know that is already connected with the school? Do you have teachers or administrators in your congregation? Are parents in your congregation involved in the PTA? Start with who you already know and learn from their perspective.

2. Identify the needs. Meet with the principle and ask what they need. If you can’t get in with the principle, meet with a teacher or coach. Start wherever you can. If we can help our local schools become better schools—with better academics, better athletics, better arts programs, better facilities, etc.—then we will build better opportunities for our students and a better community overall. This is about THEIR needs, not your goals. Almost every school needs money, but what are their specific needs? A new piano for the auditorium? Lacrosse uniforms? Supplies for the art program? Food donations for their family pantry? Do they need a director for the annual musical? After-school tutors? Listen to what they need and ask them to get specific.

3. Meet the need(s) you can. As you look at the needs list, what do you see that you can immediately assist with? What are needs that can be filled by people’s time and what requires money? Are there people in your church who can meet those needs? Are there other partners—other churches or businesses—you can pull in to help meet these needs? Start small with low-hanging fruit that you can address almost immediately.

4. Build relationships with staff. We build trust with school staff the same way we build trust with our students—by consistently showing up. Be patient and persistent and always follow through. When the school comes to you with a request, respond immediately. If you can’t meet the need yourself, use your network to make connections with those who can. Put in the appropriate time to get to know the teachers, staff and administration. Deliver donuts on teacher in-service days. Cater lunch for middle school staff or bring popsicles for students during stressful EOG testing. Volunteer to help clean out classrooms at the end of the year. Weed the flowerbeds outside. Serve the people without expecting anything in return. The more you are simply present, the more people will get to know you and trust that you’re truly there for them.

5. Show up for students. You might not be able to convince the school to allow you to come to campus for lunch, but you can attend sports events, concerts and science fairs to show your youth (and the school) that you care about them. Invest your time by showing up where they are. The more they see you around and get to know you, the more likely they are to come to you for guidance or accept an invite to a small group.

How do you partner with your schools? Share your stories on our WNCC UMC Youth Leaders Facebook group! If you aren’t yet a member of the group, send us a request to join via Facebook.

Looking for specific partnership ideas? Check out The Benefits of Partnering with Local Schools podcast from Rethinking Youth Ministry for a conversation including a youth minister, a coach and a teacher.

Youth Ministry Coaching Program (YMCP)

Critical thinking and theological reflection are extremely important for youth workers who don’t merely want to perpetuate the way things have been done in the past. However, thinking and reflection are merely one portion (though a significant one) of what will help youth workers stay true to their calling and also grow in maturity and effectiveness. Emotional, relational, and spiritual health are essential to long-term impact. The YMCP was designed by The Youth Cartel to provide both an opportunity for critical reflection and discussion of youth ministry issues and a safe place to experience holistic growth. 

Since the YMCP launched in 2010, The Youth Cartel has seen over 400 youth workers from nearly a dozen denominations graduate from the program, and the results have been astounding. Regardless of their age (from 24-60 years old) or experience in youth ministry (from one year to three decades), the ramifications of the YMCP have resulted in profound personal and Kingdom impact.

The WNCC partners with The Youth Cartel to create a cohort specifically for WNCC youth leaders. This cohort involves six in-person, two-day meetings and ten virtual individual coaching sessions over the course of one year. Cohort members work directly with The Youth Cartel to determine the dates for the in-person meetings. The in-person meetings take place within the geographic boundaries of the conference and participants are responsible for their travel expenses.

The Youth Cartel charges a participation fee of $3000 per person. The conference covers $2750 of that fee. Selected participants are responsible for contributing the remaining $250. (Scholarships are available for this $250 fee.)

The online application for our next cohort is now open. This level one cohort is scheduled to run January through December 2019. Applications are due by September 6, 2018. Applicants will be notified of their selection status by October 1, 2018. 

Prayerfully consider applying and please share the application link with your colleagues!

Contact Us


Amanda Thomas, CCYM Coordinator

Edward Ramsey, Youth Events Coordinator

Havaleh Havelka, Training and Resource Specialist
704.535.2260 x141

Western North Carolina Conference
PO Box 2757
Huntersville, NC 28070
Phone: 704.535.2260