Meet our new Assistant Director of Youth Ministries, Megan Eldredge. She wrote a special note to everyone at Hyde Park:
“Hi everyone! My name is Megan Eldredge and I am so excited about joining the team at Hyde Park UMC. I’m a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. During my time in college, I spent three summers as a Camp Counselor at Warren Willis Camp and was an active member at the FSU and TCC Wesley Foundation where I am finishing up my year as the Assistant Director of Community. I’m originally from Melbourne, Florida, now live in Tallahassee and am excited about adding Tampa to my list of homes! I can’t wait to meet you all and be in ministry together!”
Megan will start on Monday, May 22. She will attend our Jacksonville Mission Trip with our students and interns. She will also lead the youth praise team and build relationships with our students and families over the summer. We are very excited she’s joining our team and hope you join us in making her feel welcome!
During the 11 a.m. Sanctuary service April 2, we confirmed 25 students and 2 were baptized. These students affirmed their faith in Christ and became members of our church.
These students have attended confirmation classes faithfully since January of this year to learn more about the Christian faith and the United Methodist Church. We are excited to welcome these new members of our congregation!
There was once a farmer who owned a mule. The mule had served him well for a number of years but he was getting old. One day, the mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule crying in distress. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened…and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery. When they began to shovel the dirt into the well, the old mule cried hysterically! As the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back…a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back…HE COULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after blow.
“Shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought panic and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP! It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him…all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.
That’s life! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity…The adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us!
FAITH is an excellent way to SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP out of the wells in which we find ourselves!
Teens are notorious for saving their raging fits for you and your home. Friendship issues, stress from school and hormones on hyper-drive can make your teen seem like they have transformed into a alien from another galaxy. No, your teen hasn’t been abducted! They are just trying to navigate their world that feels out of control.
There are so many places and environments your teen has to hold his or her emotions together, and their home is the one place they feel safe to let down their guard and release what may be pent up inside. For you as the parent, however, this is a test of faith and patience!
Be encouraged, however, and hang on to the promises in God’s Word that He loves your teen more than you do. He has a plan and a purpose for them, and though you might not be able to see it now, you can trust in the One who does. Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
When you feel like you are at your wits end, and there is no easy solution for your teen’s frustration, it’s time to get on your knees. Prayer is the harder work, but it is the most effective.
Find prayer warriors to “fight” the battle with you—ultimately, your teens are experiencing a spiritual battle, so you need to fight for them with spiritual weapons. Ask God for His wisdom to know how to pray. In the book of Psalms, it says, “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven” (1-7:28–30).
In these three verses, we are given some great encouragement. The Israelites “cried out to God,” and He “delivered them from their distress.” Stand in the gap through prayer, crying out to God for your teen’s distress—and ask Him to “hush” the raging waters in their life and make them “quiet.”
And, don’t be afraid to tell your teen you are praying for him/her. Saying something like, “I wish I could make things better for you. I don’t know what to do to help, but I want you to know I’m praying for you every day,” is a powerful way to let your teen know you love them.
Click here to check out this week’s online parenting class:
I am praying for you and your family too!
Recently, Merge Youth Ministries took 17 of our 27 youth in our Confirmation class to our Confirmation Retreat at Warren Willis Camp. Confirmation is an important time in the life of our youth as they learn about what it means to be a Christian and a member of the United Methodist Church.
During the retreat, our students learned about worship, Sacraments and the beliefs of John Wesley, the founder of the United Methodist Church. In the worship time, we discussed the membership vows our students will take when they become confirmed.
It was a very special time of growing in faith, having fun, fellowship and bonding as a group. All are invited to see these students take their membership vows publicly during the 11 a.m. Traditional Service April 2 in the Sanctuary. Thank you for praying for our precious Confirmands!
Most parents try to teach their children to say “please” and “thank you” from the time they are in diapers. It’s proper etiquette, and if we’re honest, culturally expected.
Your teen has (I hope) mastered the art of habitually saying “thanks” when appropriate. You are now in a critical window of time where one of the best things you can teach your teen is to not only say thanks, but have an attitude of gratefulness. Why? Because a grateful heart is the secret key to happiness.
The best recipe for instilling authentic gratitude in your teen is to model it yourself. Rather than complaining all the time in your teen’s presence, look for the good in the midst of the bad. Then, verbalize it by speaking “gratitude” language. When you’ve had a bad day at work, you can say, “Today was really hard at work, but I’m thankful that I have a good job.” If the refrigerator breaks, tell your kids. “I’m so grateful for all of the technology in this house that is still working!” When you see a homeless person you might say, “I am grateful for my bed, aren’t you? Let’s pray for him.” And though it may sound corny, tell your teens how grateful you are God appointed them to you. They will smile inside.
Every day, think of one thing you are grateful for and communicate this to your teen. It might appear they are tuning you out, but kids absorb more than we think they do. I can guarantee your teen is paying attention.
Looking for ways to be grateful may be a discipline you will have to develop in your own life too, so that you can pass it on to your teen. Being grateful for what one has is one of the best secrets for successful living; fostering gratefulness in yourself will enhance your entire family’s life and give your teen the direction they need to cultivate their own happiness.
Developing gratefulness in your teen takes long-term commitment from you, the parent. However, the benefits are long-term as well . . . and priceless.
According to a study by Froh, Sefick and Emmons, “Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families.” The study revealed gratitude is associated with appreciating close relationships and feeling better about both life and school.
Students in the study who kept a gratitude journal for only three weeks had an increased grade point average over the course of a year. They were more sensitive to situations where they themselves could be helpful, altruistic, generous or compassionate—and were less destructive. Research shows ungrateful youth are less satisfied with their lives and are more apt to be aggressive and engage in risk-taking behaviors. The effect of a grateful attitude is worth the effort as a parent, wouldn’t you agree?
One powerful way for teens to learn gratefulness is to go on a family mission trip. Spending a week in Leon, Nicaragua building houses for very poor families will leave an imprint on your teen that will be more powerful than your words. Some families hop in the car and drive downtown to bring sandwiches and hot drinks to the homeless. You can also serve food at a soup kitchen or volunteer after a natural disaster. Though your teen might scowl at the idea at first, they will be transformed on the inside by what they see.
Human beings were designed by God to live a posture of grateful worship. Your job as a parent is to gently turn their hearts from what they are ungrateful for to Whom they are grateful to.
Ultimately, teaching your teen gratefulness aligns with the Word of God. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
I am praying for you and your family! Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have questions or concerns. I’m here for you.