Friday, July 29, 2016

Expressions of Faith

Summer programs are helping our students discover new ways to express their spirituality. Ahmad Washington, spiritual development minister, leads two groups who are using their artistic talents in rap/spoken word and praise dance to glorify God.

Washington said students started showing an interest in developing their talents and thought it would be a good way to get more students involved in weekly worship services. He decided to post a sign-up sheet to get a list of those interested. He spoke with each student to discuss their motivations and level of commitment before beginning the weekly sessions.

Currently, five students are included in each group. The sessions start out with a prayer, and Washington said the group visits a particular scripture to get them focused and remind them of their reasons for their work. The scripture reads:

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” – 1 Timothy 4: 12-16

During the spoken word/rap session, Washington will have beats prepared for the group and they begin working together to create a song. Each student contributes lyrics to the song, whether through freestyling or through writing their lyrics during the session. Washington helps the students with stage presence, their delivery and articulation as well as how to hold a microphone and how to recover if you mess up.

For praise dance, Washington said one of the girls has stepped up to become a leader of the group by developing choreography and teaching the dance to the others. Washington oversees the group, leads practices and offers encouragement.

“The goal is for the youth to become a regular participant in the worship services,” Washington said. “I want to eventually get to a point where we can also do things in the community and minister to other youth groups and participate in concerts in the city.”

Washington said the experience has given the performers a level of accountability while also providing a good example to the other students in the worship services.

“It has had a two-fold affect,” he explained. “It is a blessing for the kids to see their peers living in the same type of situation going through similar things to express their faith. They enjoy it and are able to relate to them. And for the kids serving in worship service, they learn that it is more than just holding a mic. They have to look at the standards in which they live.” 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

“A Day to Remember”

MCH Boys Ranch youth beat the heat and spent the day on the water during “A Day to Remember” ski day hosted by In His Wakes ministry. Twenty boys traveled to Fort Worth’s Marine Creek Park on July 11 to experience the joy of water sports while also learning more about Christ.

In His Wakes, a ministry that travels across the nation, offers youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity for an enjoyable day on a boat at the lake. They have made a stop in Fort Worth for several years to host youth from the Boys Ranch. As described on their website, In His Wakes “uses water sports as a platform to share about Christ’s love in a powerful interactive way.”

“This program also seeks to bring hope and healing to a hurting world which runs hand-in-hand with the Methodist Children’s Home mission ‘to offer hope to children, youth and families in a nurturing, Christian community,” said Anthony Mead, outdoor education director at the Boys Ranch.

This year, the boys were able to have an exciting day of tubing, boarding, and water skiing. It was the first time to be on a boat for many of the boys. During the day, the volunteers for the ministry were able to help several boys overcome their fear of water or fear of falling during their attempts to try something new. 

“This was an amazing time of building trusting relationships through the various interactive water sports and building community,” Mead said. “We also were able to talk about Christ and learn to grow in our faith. To me this is another way to nurture this hope we have in Christ by allowing our youth to participate in these type of ministries for years to come.”