Youth service fund:
The money behind the skillet
By Matt Park
For the past several years, the Youth Service Fund (YSF) has supported the Zimbabwe Orphans Endeavor (ZOE) Ministry. The ZOE Ministry feeds, clothes, counsels, provides education, and witnesses to the many orphans of Zimbabwe. Most children in the ZOE Ministry have been orphaned by the AIDS virus claiming the lives of their parents and families. This year, YSF granted $1,000 to this ministry. The money will fund a youth camp for 80-90 orphans similar to camps in the United States. Holston youth, through YSF, are providing Zimbabwe orphans a chance to experience a youth camp and to learn about the love of Christ.
Inside the boundaries of Holston, YSF has awarded $1,500 to the Bethlehem Center in Chattanooga, Tenn. With these funds, the Bethlehem Center will offer a seven-week program to urban teens. This program will help guide the teens on a Christ-centered path, developing the leader that lies within each person.
These are just a couple of the projects supported by the Holston Conference Youth Service Fund. Other examples of sponsored ministries include UMCOR Katrina Relief, Camp Lookout, and Youth Desk & Ministries in Uganda (Advance Special #14123A).
What is YSF? YSF is money raised by youth, distributed by youth, for the benefit of youth. Every year, youth and adults from inside and outside Holston participate and contribute in fundraisers sponsored by the Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM).
The money raised is distributed by the CCYM. Thirty percent goes directly to the United Methodist Church's Division on Ministries with Young People to support global youth ministries. Forty-six percent is distributed in grants by the CCYM. Half of the grants are given to Holston groups, and half are distributed outside Holston. Twenty-three percent goes to the CCYM for administration and ministry support.
This year at Resurrection 2007, God moved youth and adults in attendance to contribute more than $35,000 to the Youth Service Fund. This nearly reached the year's goal of $38,000. By March 2007, the Youth Service Fund had surpassed its goal. This year, through the generosity and caring of the Holston Conference youth and adults, the Youth Service Fund will be able to contribute more money to care for and witness to the youth of the world than ever before.
This year at Annual Conference, the Conference Council on Youth Ministries will distributing key chains for a donation to YSF. There are also many other ways you can get involved in this exciting ministry: organize and participate in fundraising projects for YSF; tithe your youth fundraisers to YSF; or collect a YSF offering in your local church and at district youth events such as the Festival of Gifts and Talents.
Prayer is also a great way to get involved. Pray that the funds raised are used in the best way possible. Pray that those ministries receiving the grants may be empowered to help more and more people in the coming years. Pray that God may bless the Youth Service Fund to minister throughout the world, year after year, and on an ever increasing scale.
To contribute to the Youth Service Fund or to learn more, visit www.holstonyouth.com or contact the conference Youth Ministries office at (423) 928-2156, ext. 243.
Matt Park is chair of the Youth Service Fund and a member of Wesley Memorial UMC in Cleveland, Tenn. In April, he received a $20,000 Horatio Alger National Scholarship, based on his winning essay about Billy Graham. Park plans to attend the University of Tennessee at Knoxville this fall, majoring in journalism and electronic media.
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