From Rev. J.C. Austin:

Earlier this summer, Julia Pedroso and Sophia Pedroso, two of our youth, attended the Design Lab for the Log College Project at Princeton Seminary, which is helping us to design a new model for doing youth ministry. These are their reflections on that time together. I am grateful for their faithfulness and leadership, as well as for the adults who accompanied them and are working together with them on this project.

From Sophia:

About a month ago Julia and I went to Princeton Theological Seminary in order to work on the Log College Project with 12 other churches from across America. For the past year, we have been working with a group of incredible people within our church in order to begin the planning and formation of ideas for our youth ministry.

However, it wasn’t until attending the week in Princeton that our ideas truly came to life. Each day we did a variety of workshops in order to explore different areas of our idea, allowing it to slowly move from an idea to reality. It started off small, ensuring we had the proper focus and goals, eventually going as far as looking into the economics and the proper timeline of events.

Throughout this, Pastor JC and I worked on a pitch to give to the whole group in order to receive investments and offers from anyone who was willing.

Especially for me, this pitch was one of the most stressful yet significant moments of the project. I think it was one of the first moments of my life I could say with certainty that I could represent my church. And it’s a feeling I haven’t lost since. Never before had I felt so dedicated to a church, and it was a feeling I loved dearly.

Additionally, working on the Log College Project has allowed us to connect to a variety of very different people who were all able to come together with a simple idea, the formation of an effective intergenerational youth ministry to help and interest kids of all ages. Although there was plenty of work, it was never without fun, Julia and I being mixed in groups with kids from all different places and creating memories we’ll never forget.

From Julia:

At Princeton, we attended meetings and services daily. While we were there, there was a youth led sermon where we and the other kids were giving sermons, singing hymns, and reading from the Bible. Through this, we never felt closer to God. Through daily services and doing something that we knew other people and our community would benefit from gave us a connection to Him we’ve never experienced.

We saw His glory in the work of helping others and in working together with the people around us, even if we had just met them. Princeton is an experience I know we’ll never forget.

Grace and Peace,

Pictured, from right: Deb Philpotts, Elizabeth Conard, Julia Pedroso, Sophia Pedroso, J.C. Austin, Tracy Samuelson