By Roving Reporter Marcia Mengel
I got the opportunity to meet our new Youth Ministries Coordinator, Erich Schmitt, on his first official day oat work at PB UMC. He told me he has 10 years of experience working with youth ministry. He has volunteered as Youth Leader at Foothills UMC for about 9 years. “A lot of what I’ve learned came from camp, working with youth in various capacities, especially when I was camp counselor to them.”
When I asked him about his future at PB UMC, he told me, “I am very excited to learn and grow with the youth. I am here to facilitate, and to direct the youth in a way that they will own the effort. That’s for them to own, not me. One of the first things I want to do is to help them create identities where they’ll collaborate with each other, knowing what is important to them both inside and outside the church. I think I was fortunate to have a good mentor when I was youth, and that’s where I got my energy to work with youth. I think we need to put more energy in our youth.”
He told me pi (3.14159) is meaningful to him and his fiancé, Amanda G. “We plan to get married on Pi Day. That date is important because Amanda has a degree in math, and Pi Day celebrates the mathematical constant pi. Pi Day falls on March 14, since three, one, four are the first digits of pi. The next three digits are one, five, nine. I made our relationship official on March 14 at 1:59.”
When I asked him if there was anything else he’d like to share, he told me, “I think the best advice I can give anyone who wants to work with youth is to meet them were they are, not where you are. It is better to listen first, and you will learn what is important to them. Also, churches have gotten hung up on internal needs, which are important, but we should also meet the needs of the community. I believe this mostly reflects the many ways Jesus did ministry: to go outside the walls and be the church.”
I had a lot of fun getting to know Erich and look forward to observing his impact on our youth.
I’m sure all of you have seen our Youth Ministries Director Erich Schmitt with long hair. Some of you probably have even seen him since he got it cut.
I asked him why he grew it and how it took for him to get such long hair. He told me, “My hair grows pretty fast, I say that it took about a year and half. I got it cut on December 31st. I felt like ‘New Year, New Me!’ I am still looking for a company to sell it to, as the hair is still sitting on my coffee table. I’m taking my time in doing research in companies who don’t profit, since I grew my hair for free, and local companies that cater to children and youth. It brings me joy that something so simple (such as growing hair) can make the biggest difference in another person’s life. If you have that opportunity, you should go for it.”
I am sure many of us are inspired by Erich.