A Theological Program for High School Youth

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					Becoming a missional church must go hand
in hand with nurturing those young persons
already in our churches. — Conrad L. Kanagy,
Road Signs for the Journey: A Profile of
Mennonite Church USA. (Herald Press 2007)

       A Theological Program for High School Youth
                                                                                         Live your passion

                                                       is for young people who want to learn, worship, and test
                                                       gifts for ministry … to serve, play and deepen their faith.

                                                       In consultation with their home pastors, participants
                                                       identify five areas they want to pursue. These include:
                                                       • a theological question or issue they want to wrestle
                                                         with and discuss
                                                       • a spiritual discipline they want to practice to draw
                                                         closer to God
                                                       • three ministry skills they want to test or practice
                                                         more fully
                                                       These learning goals are integral to both the Group
                                                       Experience and Congregational Experience of !Explore.

is for youth who are passionate about the church and
who desire a place in it—youth who are asking deep
questions and long to share their vision, energy and
hopes with God, the church and the world.
                                        E xplore your faith

    Group Experience
During the 16-day group experience, youth worship, serve
and study. Participants become church with and for each
other while exploring their own places in their congregations
and in the church they imagine for the future.

Worship and prayer are the bookends of each day, offering
new ways to connect to God. In between is time for reflection
and activities that build relationships, develop leadership
gifts and foster spiritual practices. Visits to local and regional
congregations introduce participants to different forms of
worship and Christian community. Intersections of faith, the
church and God’s creation become a focus during retreat
and service activities.

Faculty and seminary students who serve as event pastors
are conversation partners for the theological study that
!Explore fosters. In-depth discussions about God, the Bible,
culture and faith encourage participants to ask tough
questions and exchange ideas with others who share a
commitment to the church.

In addition, youth work alongside Elkhart residents in
service agencies that help transform the lives of people in
the community. Assisting at a local food pantry, working
with survivors of domestic abuse and participating in life-
skills training underscore ways to join in God’s healing work.
In these service experiences, youth also learn to identify
systemic injustice and understand how class, race and
gender affect individuals and communities.

See reverse for details on the Congregational Experience.
     Congregational Experience
The Congregational Experience comes before, after, or
on both sides of the Group Experience (see reverse side).
Participants serve their congregation for 100 hours over
five or more weeks, working along side their pastor in a
mentoring relationship.
                                                                          !Explore literally changes the
During this time, participants test gifts for ministry while
                                                                          lives of the participants as well
church members discover new, vibrant leadership in the                    as energizing the congregations
congregation and practice their role of encouraging young                 as they watch their youth grow
people to hear God’s call on their lives.                                 in openness to pastoral ministry.
                                                                          — Terry Shue, Kidron (Ohio)
                                                                          Mennonite Church, pastoral
Each participant joins in ministry assignments, observing,
interacting with members of the congregation, practicing
leadership skills, receiving and giving counsel, and further
engaging in spiritual disciplines and theological reflection.

The pastor-mentor, the congregation and the !Explore
participant collaborate to shape ways for new ministry gifts
to emerge and grow, and for new perspectives and vision to
be valued.

It was really exciting to see strong congregational support for me
to go to !Explore both financially and spiritually. I felt affirmed and
appreciated by my congregation through out the entire experience.
— Ben Borne, Wildwood Mennonite Church, Saskatchewan, Sask.,
2008 participant
                                                                              Program details
   explore                                                                • Group Experience dates: July 5–20, 2010.
     Contact                                                              • One group of 15 youth will be invited to participate.

Web:    www.ambs.edu/!explore                                             • The congregation contributes $1,000 to !Explore and
        www.ambs.edu/programs-institutes/clc/                               gives the participant a stipend of $500.
        explore/espanol (Información en español)                          • Financial assistance may be available for participants
E-mail: !explore@ambs.edu or explore@ambs.edu                               who travel a great distance to AMBS or whose
Phone: 574.296.6225 or 800.964.2627 (toll free)                             congregations cannot afford the participation fee.
Fax:    574.295.0092                                                        Contact the !Explore Director, Andy Brubacher Kaethler,
                                                                            for more details.
                                                                          • Youth receive a stipend of $500 from AMBS in addition
Front (l-r): 2008 participants Ben Borne and Sarah Yorence • 2006           to the congregation’s stipend.
Group II members talk together at Mirror Valley Retreat, Valley Road,
Mich. • (top) 2005 Group II gathers at Mirror Valley Retreat • (center)   Application instructions
2008 youth take part in team building activities at Amigo Centre,         • Youth who are currently juniors and seniors (grade 11
Sturgis, Mich. • (bottom) 2008 participants serve with Soup of Success      and grade 12) may apply for summer 2010.
at Church Community Services in Elkhart, Ind.
                                                                          • Download application forms at www.ambs.edu/!Explore
Back (l-r): 2007 Group II at Mirror Valley Retreat • 2008 Theological
Exploration Group discussion with former AMBS professor Steve
                                                                            Select the How to participate link.
Schweitzer • (top) 2006 Group I participant Hefzi Guzman • (center)       • Complete and turn in forms by February 19, 2010.
2006 Group I participant Jer’el Blocker • (bottom) 2007 Group I
participant Stacy Kinkaid • Arms of 2007 Group II during a trust fall     Información sobre !Explore en español
activity at Amigo Centre
                                                                          • www.ambs.edu/programs-institutes/clc/explore/espanol
       A Theological Program for High School Youth

800.964.2627 (toll free)

This trip was amazing because of the way it impacted
my life. I have gone on other youth trips but have not
heard from God in the way I have on this trip; I have
not researched him in the way I have on this trip; and I
have not yearned for his presence in the way I have on
this trip. — Oliver Davis III, Calvary Community Church,
Hampton, Va., 2005 participant

Overall, this experience has taught me so many things. I
have re-ignited many flames. I have a passion to work in
the church, and serve in various ways. I also have a new
excitement for the future of the church that I can’t wait
to share with others. — Hannah Schrock, First Mennonite
Church, Iowa City, Iowa, 2009 participant

                             Associated                        3003 Benham Avenue
                             Mennonite                         Elkhart, IN 46517
                             Biblical                          800.964.2627
                             Seminary                          www.ambs.edu
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