Leadership training gives youth active devotionals to use. The PML program also
gives them the rationale, skills, and opportunities to develop relationships that otherwise would not be explored. St John’s youth start to build confidence, conversational skills, and the ability to stand up for themselves. They develop relationship skills. They understand that they have a purpose in their schools, community, and church.
Phil Francis is the Director of Youth for St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kasson, MN. Kasson and the neighboring town of Mantorvile have a combined population of 6,000. While the culture of the church is rural, it also has members that work in Rochester and choose to make their homes in Kasson. There are two pastors and three program directors serving the youth of St. John’s.
Phil has been leading the Peer Ministry Leadership program for eight years. “This has been one of the best years because of the leadership of the participants. There are three other adult Peer Ministry Leaders who are the lifeblood of our program. One has been involved now for five consecutive years! Meghan, our youth and family intern, states that Peer Ministry also benefits her and has helped her find a deeper meaning with her work at St. John’s.” Looks like they have found their “purpose.”
Phil follows the training manual, knowing that it will take all year to complete it. At
times, a lesson may open up a new discussion, but the conversation will come full circle back to the training. Throughout the year, Phil keeps his goals in mind.
- Are they learning caring skills?
- Are they growing in faith and values?
- Do they see a purpose in their service?
The trained Peer Ministry group meets and works together. The leaders lead and share, stretching their comfort level. By spring, Phil has built up the trust level and feeling of purpose to allow for the success of St. John’s Peer Ministry Leadership.