and I know that I deserve your love
'cause there's nothing I'm not worthy of...

This is brave, this is proof
This is who I'm meant to be, this is me

Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum

I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Two weekends ago at a Camp Agape board retreat, I got to talking with a woman from a congregation at which a friend of mine serves in youth ministry. This past November, this friend of mine gave birth to a baby boy, so naturally, I mentioned to the woman at the board retreat that I had just met him, calling him by name.

The woman looked puzzled.

I gave her a moment.

She came up blank.

I threw her a bone, adding that this child was my friend's newborn. The woman let out a sigh of relief. She stated that, though she was aware my friend had recently had her baby, she didn't know the baby's name because she really didn't really know my friend all that well. She went on to explain that because she has no children or teenagers in her home, she really had no interactions with my young friend.

This kinda bummed me out.

Though I spend a lot of time with youth in my role here at Good Shepherd, I could never imagine doing ministry in a way that distances me from the rest of the congregation. And I flat-out reject the idea of empty nesters or older adults disengaging from the youngest third of the congregation simply because they no longer have students of their own and "already did their time." If my wife and I ever have a child, these adults will be the people who will not only witness the baptism of our child but also make the promise to support and pray for them in their new life in Christ. I will hope my child is known not just as Andrew Buck's kid, but for who he or she is. Isn't that what we all hope for ourselves?

In two Sundays, twenty-six youth and adults from Good Shepherd will be returning from the Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) Assembly weekend retreat in Greensboro having had a blast. All will leave the weekend physically tired. Many will leave spiritually rejuvenated. And some will leave wishing Good Shepherd could be a little more like LYO. I, nor should you, take offense to this - it's just the nature of these kind of weekends.

The music and worship-style are specifically geared toward teens.

Most everything throughout the weekend is student-led.

It has the potential of being relationally-intense.

At LYO, students are listened to, leave having felt "known," and are consistently encouraged to be their authentic selves. I know the latter will be true this time around because "This is Me" from the movie "The Greatest Showman" is on the worship song playlist. When this was brought to my attention, it felt like a stretch. However, after having witnessed the Sunday morning education "Generational Panels" for the past three weeks, I have learned how important this theme is for young people, as well as adults, in the Church. One of the questions asked of each of the generations is "What do you look for or value in a congregation?" The answer we kept hearing was "I feel welcome here" or "I value a warm congregation." One of our high school students elaborated last weekend, saying that, at Good Shepherd, they can be exactly who they were created to be and still be loved. They make no apologies.

Well done, Church. Let's keep it up!

My cross-generational dream for Good Shepherd is that all students know this to be true. One day, weekends like LYO will feel less like a getaway from Good Shepherd, and more like an extension of this loving, caring community. We do a great job teaching our young people what "Jesus loves me, this I know" sounds like. Let's show them what it looks and feels like. 

- Andrew Buck, Director of Cross-Generational Ministries
This Sunday's Readings
Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Luke 6:17-26

Generations Forum continues this Sunday, 9:30-10:30 am, Underwood North -  Join all the generations for the 3rd Generations Forum featuring the Baby Boomer generation this week. Each week, the panel is asked the same questions, and you are sure to learn something new.

Do You Have Items that Could Be Given New Life as Bingo Prizes?
On Friday, February 22, Good Shepherd will host its 23rd Annual Coffeehouse Bingo night, and prize donations are needed.  Great prizes include gently used adult-sized sports team or college t-shirts, ball caps, backpacks, tote bags, purses, flashlights, playing cards, and costume jewelry. No candles or glass items please. Donations can be placed in the box in the Narthex.  Want to volunteer at Coffeehouse Bingo? Sign up here.

Read the Bible in 90 Days - Sunday, February 24 - May 26, 6:30-7:30 pm  Have you always wanted to dive deeper into the Bible or do you have a deep knowledge of some Bible stories, while being curious about what you haven't studied? Join us on a 90-day journey through our holy scriptures, led by Pastor Pam Northrup. Sign up on Realm or by contacting the church office.

Rams Men's Ministry Hurricanes Hockey Night -  Friday, March 1, 6:30 pm  All men are invited to join Good Shepherd's Rams Men's Group to watch the Carolina Hurricanes take on the St. Louis Blues at PNC Arena.  $25 cost includes game ticket and transportation. Sign up online.

Take Some Time to Help Families in Transition March 3-10   In partnership with Family Promise, Good Shepherd will be hosting families in transition in our church March 3-10. Learn more and sign up to serve, password: homeless.

Summerfest Auditions -  Monday, March 4, drop in 5:30-7:00 pm, Sanctuary  All rising kindergarten through 6th grade children are invited to come prepared to sing a simple song of their choice and recite a few lines! Summerfest is a week-long (August 4-9) musical theater "camp" at Good Shepherd. Let us know that you will be coming to auditions on Realm or email barb.newcomer@gslchurch.org.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper -  Tuesday, March 5, 5:30 - 7:00 pm   Come enjoy a pancake supper hosted by the GSLC youth!  Freewill offering will support the youth attending the 2021 ELCA Youth Gathering in Minneapolis.

More information about upcoming events is available in  this week's bulletin announcements. 

Health and Healing for Amelie Leng.

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish , including Sithokozile Mpofu and Zvidozvashe Zhou. 

Sitho is 20 years old and has a 5 1/2 year old son.  She had been in our support program for over 10 years. She left hairdressing school a few years ago and is not currently in our support program. During a visit with our 2017 mission team she expressed to them  that she would like to return to complete her course. She has not yet spoken to Mnene staff.  We continue to hold her in our prayers.  Her Mail For Mnene partner is Jane Lovelace and family.

Zvido turned 28 last month.  He attended classes at Polytech, took final exams and passed his tests.  He received a diploma in Auto Mechanics.  He has not found permanent employment yet but is doing odd jobs in Bulawayo.  He said that he thanks God for all of the love, prayers and support he receives from the GSLC support program.  His Mail For Mnene partner is Cathie Strawbridge and family.

Visit the Wittenberg Information Center in the Narthex for photos of this week's orphans and  more information on the Mnene Ministry.
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