Escalators to worldwide friendship: Serving on the Division for Young People's Ministry

Escalators to worldwide friendship: Serving on the Division for Young People's Ministry

Escalators to worldwide friendship: Serving on the Division for Young People's Ministry
12/2/2015

Story and photos submitted by the Rev. Tyler Amundson
Pastor at St. Paul's UMC in Helena


Stepping off the escalator in July of 2012 at the Nashville airport, I saw someone holding the sign, “DMYP.”  Like many, this alphabet soup was another of the United Methodist acronyms I knew, but didn't completely understand. Division of Ministry with Young People (DMYP) is the organized section of our church designed to represent the voices of young people to the larger church and to support local churches in their ministry with young people. As I walked over to the person holding the sign, that was all I knew about DMYP and that my role was the Young Adult Representative for the Western Jurisdiction. By the end of my four-year term on DMYP I would learn a global perspective of our church, share the needs of young people with the larger church, and participated in a conversation on young peoples health whose information would make it to the president of the United States.  Most of all I would gain friends across the global church of all backgrounds who believe we should be one church united to share God’s love. 

I speak one language and I have always felt this is kind of rude that I have the privilege to speak just one language. At every meeting of DMYP we had translators because some on our division knew multiple languages, but not English. I had to learn to speak slowly and clearly so translators could keep up with my language. These translators mostly did their work out of the goodness of their heart and for very little compensation(the division does not get much funding), but they were amazing at keeping up with the rushed language of both the Americans and Europeans.

Over our term we learned to speak at a pace the translators appreciated, and also how to communicate with each other when the translators stepped out of the room. We shared songs in different languages, learned different cultural dances and traditions, and made some deep friendships across cultural boundaries. My respect for the challenges of people in ministry around the globe has increased and I am thankful that I have amazing allies in sharing the gospel from the tip of Africa to the Islands of the Philippines and all the way to the Eurasian Republics. This division truly provides an opportunity for young people to be a part of a global church and to learn how to be a global disciple.
 
In 2014 our meeting was in the Philippines. Each quadrennium, the goal is to have one meeting outside the United States in the country the division is hosting the Global Young People’s Convocation. For a young person who had never left North America, this was an amazing experience to see another culture and to also meet familiar faces in another land. The most striking statement that came out of the Philippines was a commitment from the Global Young People’s Convocation, a larger legislative body that represents our church more globally, and a commitment from DMYP for our church to seek unity. We know there is one issue dividing the church: human sexuality. On the division were members of political and cultural backgrounds, but we understood how important the gospel message of Jesus Christ was to share together.
 
At our final full meeting this last summer you could see we had become a true team in helping to share the work of ministry with young people. One specific example was our ability to get all of the young adults together to share with Mike Ratliff, a Rocky Mountain Conference clergyperson and the Associate General Secretary for the Division on Young People’s Ministry, the critical health issues of young adults in the United States. Ratliff then shared those concerns with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the White House to help impact public policy. What an honor to know we were part of that process.
 
The staff for the Division for Young People is amazing and they do great work creating transformational resources for the larger church. During my time on the Division I have seen a continued effort for the staff to be globally diverse and motivated to serve young people in all regions of our church. I want to take this chance to thank them for the amazing work they do in helping share the gospel message across the globe. 
 
If you are interested in serving on DMYP in the 2016-20 quadrennium, please submit your name for nomination through your Annual Conference in 2016.  Some of our delegates to the Western Jurisdictional Conference will be selecting people to serve. We get one youth (age 12 to 18), one young adult (age 18 to 30), and one adult worker with young people who will represent our entire jurisdiction. If you think God is calling you to serve our church in this way, please submit your name. If you have questions about this service, please email me at tamundson@stpaulhelena.org.
 
May God continue to call our church to share the gospel with all young people.


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