Saturday, June 20, 2020

5 Reasons I know that Black Lives Matter

                                                                                                                                    June 6, 2020

Five Reasons I can know that Black Lives Matter:

#1 – The prophetic call for action to end the suffering of those who are being oppressed and to pursue justice is found in scripture:  We hear it in the voices of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and Micah, just to name a few... "Learn to do good. Seek Justice. Help the Oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow."  Isaiah 1:17 (CEB)

#2 – Over and over, we see Jesus, and the disciples, paying attention to a particular person or group of people who have been marginalized or outcast. This is not a devaluing of others’ lives, but a needed and necessary acknowledgement of the sacred worth of particular lives which was being denied at the time.        #samaritansmatter #taxcollectorsmatter #gentilesmatter #eunuchsmatter

#3 – To acknowledge publicly that Black livse matter to ME personally- is a form of repentance.
It means acknowledging that far too often we have failed, in word and deed, to say that they DO matter, especially at those times when they most needed us to stand up and speak out.
We remember our United Methodist liturgy of confession says: “We have not loved our neighbors. We have not heard the cry of the needy. Forgive us, we pray.”

#4 – To all who follow Christ Jesus, he tells us: “Deny Yourself” not “Justify Yourself.”
Now is the time to check our privilege. To be grateful for those who lead the way to true equality. To elevate and amplify the voices and experiences of persons whose stories need to be heard right now.
And also to pray for the kingdom of God to be on Earth now through us.

#5 – Jesus prayed “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done” – This is a groundbreaking moment in our history where we have the opportunity to participate in a movement that draws us closer to the reality of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. 

And I don’t know about you, but I don't want to miss it.


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

“God at Work” Summer 2020 @ NRUMC

“Does God really work that hard for one person?”

This is the question a student once asked me after studying Matthew 18: 12-14, where Jesus uses the
image of a shepherd leaving ninety-nine perfectly healthy sheep to find one that has wandered off
- saying that God does the same for us! That is hard for me to grasp (especially the times when I am
the wandering sheep), but if God is willing to work that hard just so one person knows they are loved,
maybe I should too. 

Jesus also tells us that what we do for the least of these, we are really doing it for him. Maybe these
“least of these” people haven’t wandered, but I believe God works just as hard in their lives. 

That is who God is: a hard worker; someone who sees the uncomfortable and the challenging and
says “That is still worth it!” We see this through whenever he goes back to cities that kicked him out or
tried to stone him to death or when Jesus sits with those who are on the fringe of society and gets to
know them. Jesus does the hard things and steps out of his comfort zone because there is work to be

I believe that God works hard for one person, but I believe that God does that work through us. 

This summer, we have some amazing opportunities to do that work! Please take a look at what we’ll be
doing in the summer of 2020 and sign up to be a part of it!

M28 Camp June 28 - July 1
As God works hard for one person, sometimes that work needs to be done in us! We are excited to
return to M28 Camp at Lake Junaluska, where students will experience a weekend of fellowship and
fun in the mountains of North Carolina, while also learning about what it means to be a disciple as we
explore the call Jesus gives us in Matthew 28. 

When: June 28 -  July 1
Where: Lake Junaluska Retreat Center
Who: 6th grade - 12th grade
Cost: $300
Registration and Deposit due: March 1
Register here:

CSM Philadelphia July 12-18
For a carpenter, we never really see Jesus swing a hammer for all the work he did to show God’s love.
While using the gift and hard work of construction to serve those in need is a beautiful thing, we
wanted to provide an opportunity to step out from where we’ve grown comfortable. In this urban
mission, City Service Mission (CSM) will guide us as we serve in various ways around
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! While this image of serving may seem different from what we’ve done in
the past, this work will still provide the very hands on experience that NRUMC students have come to
Our accommodations are provided by St. James UMC and Joy in the City, two organizations local to Philly! These locations will help us feel integrated in the community that we are serving. Throughout the week, we will visit different mission organizations to work and provide care for their clients and guests. Each evening, CSM will take us to local restaurants as we continue to learn about and build relationships with the community! 

We are excited to say we will have a free day at the end of our week here in Philadelphia, which will give NRUMC a chance to explore the city on our own. We will ll do some sightseeing, find the best cheese steak, and celebrate the time we will have spent together that week!

When: July 12 -  July 18
Where: Philadelphia, PA
Who: 6th grade - 12th grade
Cost: $475
Registration and Deposit Due: March 1
Register here:
Faith Ministries- Reynosa, Mexico July 26 - August 1
North Raleigh UMC has been working with Faith Ministry in the community of Reynosa, Mexico for
many years, building strong relationships (and strong houses!) with those who we have served.
This summer, NRUMC high school students have the opportunity to continue strengthening those
relationships while serving the citizens of Reynosa. The cinder block and cement houses we will help
build provide families with the shelter, warmth and security they need. We are thankful for the faithful
adults in our congregation who have made this opportunity possible for our youth and we can’t wait to
see our youth learn and grow alongside them.

Before going on this trip, each student is required to have a conversation with Nick or Jen. We will also
have team meetings once every month, starting in April and leading up to the trip! Lastly, we are
requiring that passport information be turned in with your registration by March 1 to help with
travel bookings!

When: July 26 -  August 1
Where: Reynosa, Mexico
Who: 9th grade - 12th grade
Cost: $750
Registration, Passport, and Deposit Due: March 1
Register here:

Where YOU Can Help
This Spring, we are excited to once again partner with the United Methodist Men
for our Golf Tournament Fundraiser. We are aware that students may not be able
to attend the day of the tournament, but we can still use your help!

We are always looking for businesses to sponsor this event through monetary donations,

prizes, or by providing refreshments. We have set up a few days that align with your
school calendars for you and other members of the Youth Group to campaign for sponsors!
By helping with this and getting involved with tournament preparations, students will
be able to raise money to go toward their trips specifically!

You can sign up to campaign here:

We are very excited for these opportunities and we hope you’ll join us this summer as we grow and serve together!
Please watch our Youth Summer Trips 2020 video:

Youth Summer Trips 2020 from North Raleigh United Methodist on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Families in Mission- Where will your family serve?

I recently read this article about helping families serve in mission together, and I was instantly proud of the way our congregation at NRUMC encourages families to do this!

If you spend even just a few minutes on our new website you'll see SO MANY ways our church is in mission! From monthly hurricane relief trips to supporting over 75 backpacks of food every week for students in need. Our church's values call us to generosity- to serve and give to others, but also to exhibit courage! Serving as a family might mean giving up something else. I encourage you to be brave enough to SAY YES anyway,  even if it means saying no to something else... 

I pray that
 during this season that your family will take advantage of just a few of the mission opportunities that NRUMC offers. 

YAM JAM  - Oct. 12
-Come dig in the dirt and bag potatoes for the Society of St. Andrews!

Family Promise -Oct. 20-27
- Sign up to cook a meal or be an evening host!

SuperHero Run - Oct. 26
-For the fifth year, friends, family members, runners and walkers will come together to support two families who have suffered too much after their children were affected by rare diseases

UMW Holiday Market - Nov. 7/8
- Bring baked good or crafts to donate to the market.
- Donate used books
- Come shop the market and silent auction on Nov. 7

UMM BBQ- Nov. 8
-Order BBQ plates and Brunswick stew in advance to benefit local missions!

Visit our website to see even more mission opportunities!

“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  
Acts 20:35

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Thoughts from a Small Group Leader- "Big O"

"If you build it they will come." The tag line made popular by the film Field of Dreams. The story followed an Iowa corn farmer who was being lead to build a baseball field in the middle of his corn field.  As it turns out the main reason he was led to do this was to recapture a chance to toss a baseball with his dad. 
Over the past few years North Raleigh UMC has been striving to create and energize a Youth Ministry program that lives up to our Churches "Vision Statement" to  glorify God and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by offering a safe and caring environment for anyone who is searching to be spiritually fulfilled and accepted. Yes we stumbled over the past five years but I'm excited to say that all of the pieces necessary to live up to our goal are in place. The programs are being planned and your ministry team, Jen, Nick and a group of dedicated volunteers are eager to help you along the way.
We've "built it" now who's ready to come play in our corn field, or sweet potatoes if that's your yam. I am so encouraged by the participation we've had  on Sunday nights to start off this year. God has definitely been in the room, leading songs, playing games and speaking through your leaders with messages of encouragement. 
On a personal note though I would love to see a greater participation from the upper classes. We all recognize the many obligations and requirements on your time. With college applications, social events, jobs and school work it's hard to put aside those two hours on Sunday evening. However I also understand the importance of having that one place and time that you can relax and be refreshed, a Refuge- if you will. 
Come see us, Sunday evenings at 6:30PM. If you can't we'd still love to hear from you and know that you are OK. Contact Jen or Nick or any of your Small Group leaders. We are there to "have a catch" any time.
John "Big O" Owen.

Parent Article:

Monday, August 26, 2019

August (Notes from Parent Meeting, Volunteering, and more!)

  • Help us best communicate with you by reading the YOUTH BLAST every Monday!
  • Follow us on Instagram (nrumc_youth) and join our Facebook page (North Raleigh United Methodist Youth Ministries) to stay informed on all upcoming ministry news!
  • If you have not yet done our online registration for the year, please fill it out ASAP. This form will not only register your student for Youth Group, Sunday School, Music and Creative ministries, but will also update your contact information for the year!
  • Our website ( got a makeover. Check it out!
  • Turn in a health/consent form for 2019-2020!

  • Our goal is to make disciples who love and follow Jesus Christ. We strive to keep this priority at the forefront of all programming, activities, and events. 
  • It can be challenging to measure transformation and spiritual growth, but we have three strategies that we believe will help our ministry be sustainable and impact lives:
    • Intergenerational: We see and understand the importance of youth knowing and having relationships with individuals of all ages in our congregation, and recognize that our youth bring important gifts and abilities to our community.
    • Interconnected: We believe students benefit from being included in the WHOLE life of the church, its culture, and its mission. We long to see our church in mission together as the body of Christ, connected in ministry and in vision. 
    • Relational: Relationships are at the heart of our youth ministry. Our goal is to create a space where youth grow relationships with one another, with their ministry leaders, and most importantly with God. We believe this happens best through consistent small groups participation. 
  • Sunday School is designed to guide students in their biblical knowledge and understanding.
    High School Sunday School: 9-12th grade in room Y1
    Middle School Sunday School 6-8th grade in Youth Main Room
       Family Support:
  • Nick and Jen want to do all they can to support you as the spiritual leader in your families. Please let us know how we can be a resource for you and know that we pray for you regularly.
  • If you can do ONE thing to provide spiritual leadership for your family it's this:
    Be in worship together regularly.  (We can show you the research that says so.)
    Make serving together a priority this year. 
  • Adults to help at Kick-Off (Sept. 7 at Honeycutt Park)
  • Confirmation Table Leaders (Sundays 12:30-2:00pm)
  • Sunday School Teacher Subs (Sundays 9:45-10:45)
  • Meal Team for HS Fall Retreat (Sept. 20-22)
  • Golf Tournament committee members
  • Christmas Party Team

    Upcoming Events:
  • First Wednesday, Sept. 4
  • Kick- Off Party Saturday Sept. 7 at Honeycutt Park, 5-8pm, BRING $5 and invite a friend!
  • Registration deadline for HS Fall Retreat is September 15th!
  • Worship on the Lawn, Thursday September 19th  (This is a brand new event! Come support!)
  • High School (Guys and Gals) Fall Retreat September 20-22. Registration OPEN NOW!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Who's the new guy??

Hey everyone! I’ve been able to meet so many of you and you probably know the basics about me
already. But I’d love to take a chance to properly introduce myself. 

My name is Nick Richart and I am loved by God. That’s where everything has started for me.
My decisions, my mistakes, my life story - it all stems from this love that I still can’t fully explain. 

Starting at too young an age, I have faced many hardships and heartbreaks in my life.
I used to think these hard times were what defined me. Granted, they are a huge part of my story and
have helped shape who I am today, but these hardships created cracks in my life that allowed God to
pour through. I’m not certain that God made these cracks, but the love that God offers was certainly able
to work through my times of trial. 

Through death, lies, temptation, guilt, and so many other heavy things that I have experienced in
my life (and I’m sure you have, too!), I knew that I loved God and that God loved me. I thought that these
heartbreaks were necessary for me to love God - and in some ways, that's true - but ultimately, this
love story that God has written is much simpler. Do you want to hear it? Here it goes:

“God loves me. The end.”

No seriously! That’s the whole story.  Everything else that has taken place, good or bad, has been a normal
part of life that our non-normal God is trying to be present in. Now you may think this diminishes the big
events in my life, but I think it adds so much more! God was present with me when I peed my pants in
kindergarten. God was present with me when my 4th grade crush rejected me (no hard feelings, Hailey!).
God was there with me when my mom died, but is also there anytime I remember the times she made me
laugh. God was with me when I met my lifelong friends and has been with us as our friendships have
continued to grow. God was there when my niece and nephew were born and has been present with me
as I get to show them the love that God has shown me. 

The point is, God loves me so much that I can’t get rid of the guy. That’s why I’m here. I have been offered
a love that knows no bounds - one that has seen my mistakes and said “I still love you.” This love makes
me whole and challenges me to be a better version of myself. 

The best part? That love is offered to you too. 

I hope I can show, experience, and teach that love as best I can in our time together. It’s my prayer that
beyond anything, the NRUMC Youth know that they are loved. So let’s talk video games or basketball!
Let’s grab a milkshake or go hiking! However you want to hang out, I’m game. I’d love to be present in
your life just like God is present in ours. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

April: Summer scheduling, Welcome Nick, Big Idea Photos

April 10, 2019

First of all, a HUGE THANK YOU to all who made Big Idea 2019 a weekend to remember!
Remember, you can view all the pictures from the weekend on our Shutterfly ShareSite.

Recap Video Links:
Thank you Sarah and Spencer for capturing the weekend in such an amazing and meaningful way!
I pray that all will continue to explore their calling to "Co-Create" with God through community.

 We have a new Associate Director!  Nicholas Richart

NRUMC is thrilled to announce that Nicholas Richart will be joining our staff as the Associate Director of Youth Ministry beginning April 23rd, 2019. Nick is currently the Director of Youth Ministries at Central UMC in Shelby, NC where he has served for the past 3 years.  Nick grew up in Mooresville, NC and attended Appalachian State University graduating in 2015 with a degree in Religious Studies and a minor in Recreation Management. In his spare time Nick enjoys picking the banjo, rock climbing, and reading comic books.

We hope you will join us in praying for this transition in our youth ministry and warmly welcoming 
nick to our staff and our church community! ALL YOUTH AND PARENTS are invited join us in "officially" welcoming Nick on Wednesday May 1 6:30-8:00! If you feel led to bring a gift for Nick, we encourage gift cards to local restaurants and shops so that he can try all the places you love!

Please check out the last blog post about our current ministry needs! It will take a while for Nick to get his bearings and we need your help going forward!

  • Beginning Sunday June 9th all youth grades 6-12 will meet in room Y1 for Sunday School.
    Summer Sunday school will be more casual as we read through Love Does by Bob Goff.
    Please let Jen know if you are able to help facilitate Sunday School this summer!
    Youth Sunday School classes will resume on Starting Point/ Promotion Sunday, August 25th
  • Beginning Sunday June 9th all youth grades 6-12 will meet on SUNDAY nights for youth group at our normal 6:30-8:00 time. There may be some weeks that we meet earlier for fun events so watch the Youth Blast and our Instagram so you're in the loop!
  • We are still in need of 2 adults each to attend our Middle School Mission trip June 16-22 and our High School Mission trip July 7-13.  Specifically we need adults who can serve as site leaders and lead housing repair projects. We MUST have additional adults sign up or we cannot attend these trips! Trip fees for adults will be waived.

    View my Previous Blog Post on General Conference 2019 and The Way Forward

    Interesting in being involved in a Reconciling ministries?  (Contact Melissa Auten)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

General Conference 2019

The following was shared with High School youth on Sunday evening March 10th as a way to educate students on UMC current events and polity. Please reach out if you have questions and know that all of our pastors are available and willing to speak with you.
The General Conference of the global UMC met in St. Louis February 23-26, 2019. This body meets every 4 years and at the 2016 gathering of GC the conversation about the marriage and ordination of our LGBTQ+ friends was so much a point of contention that the GC decided to table the conversation and readdress it at a special GC session in 2019. A Council of Bishops was assembled to lead us in "The Way Forward" and find a plan that would keep the United Methodist church true to its name.
This Council proposed multiple plans that would keep us unified, but endorsed the plan they named the “One Church Plan”. The One Church plan was basically a 'states’ rights' type compromise allowing for individual conferences, congregations, and individual pastors to decide for themselves whether or not to marry or ordain LGBTQ persons. The plan that was ultimately passed by the General Conference is named "The Traditional Plan" and calls for keeping the current language as well as a more strict enforcement of the prohibition of ordination and marriage for LGBTQ+ persons.

A bit of UMC History:  in 1972 the current language of the Book of Discipline was added which currently reads that “homeosexuality is incapitable with Christian teaching" Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.

Essentially, adopting this "Traditional Pla"n means keeping the current language, and more strictly enforcing it which many are opposed to. The vote for the Traditional plan was by very small margin (3%) with the Majority of US Delegate highly favoring the "One Church Plan" instead.  Many pieces of the Traditional Plan are currently unconstitutional, specifically some of the “punitive” language or plans to punish those who go against this, and therefore The Traditional plan still has to go through the “supreme court” of UMC- through judicial review this April --- NO CHANGES will go into effect until January 2020 regardless- AND in May of 2020 we have our normal session of General Conference all over again.  This is not the end of this conversation for United Methodists.

We have to remember that we are a GLOBAL church. 
The One Church Plan was actually supported by 66% of our US delegation. The Traditional Plan passed by 53%, which is basically 45-50 votes out of over 800 total. (So when you’re old enough to vote in elections, don’t think for a second that your vote doesn’t count!) Each Annual Conference will elect delegates to General Conference this June-- so the 2020 session of General Conference will have newly elected delegates… Basically, this decision is not final and the conversation is far from over.
But MOST importantly:
God loves you and I do too. I believe our church will work to continue to welcome and love all of God's children in the life of our church. No one is saying that persons in the LGBTQ+ community are unwelcomed in our congregation, on our staff, in church leadership, to take communion or be baptized or that they will be denied any of those things…
We are called by God to be welcoming and create a community of faith for all persons. For those of you who may be part of the LGBTQ community or an ally to that community, please know that you are not alone and that you are loved in ways bigger than any words or decisions can communicate. If you need someone to talk to or someone to pray with you, please reach out to me or our other ministry leaders who love you dearly

We hope that you will join us in prayer for our LGBTQ brother and sisters and continue to be the welcoming and encouraging community of believers that we know you to be. We have work to do!


More Resources: (To stay informed) 

Monday, March 11, 2019

March Update--Current Youth Ministry Needs. (Updated April 10)

Parents, please read below and find somewhere that you can help us this semester! Your support is greatly needed!Please reach out to me with questions.
Thanks in advance,

Mission trip Chaperones:
- MS Mission Trip/Tekoa- 1 Man and 1 Woman needed
- HS Mission Trip/ ASP- TWO Additional Site Leaders needed!

Send- Off Celebration for Cade: Sunday, April 28th
- Food (6-8pm)
- Set up (5:30-6:30pm)
- Clean Up (8-8:30pm)

Welcome Party for New Associate Youth Director:  Wednesday, May 1
- First Wednesday starts at 5pm-
- We will continue Rise against Hunger until goal is met
- S'mores and fire outside !

Sunday School Teachers:
- SUMMER  Sunday School 9:45 hour      from June 2-August 18th

Confirmation Celebration Dinner: (May 11)
- Set Up and Decorating
- Kitchen Team
- youth servers
- Clean up
- Photographer

Golf Tournament: 

- We still have room for a few more teams and we need more door prizes!!!
- Spread the word to help us get players and teams registered

---------------------------THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT---------------------------------

BIG IDEA: (March 29-31)
- Family Group Leaders   (We need 6 more adults!)
- Saturday Lunch Team (March 30, 11am-2pm)
- Saturday Dinner Team (March 30, 3-8pm)
- Sunday Clean Up/Reset Team (March 31, 1-2pm)
- Donate from our Wish List! 

Golf Tournament: 
- Join us this Saturday to go out for sponsorships! 

- Day Of Tournament Volunteer SUG (April 29th)

- Spread the word to help us get players and teams registered

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

February Parent Meeting Info

February 19th, 2019

Thank you to all who attended this Sunday's parent meeting! If you missed the meeting or need a reminder, here are the details:

Golf Tournament:

-The United Methodist Men contacted us in November offering to revive the Golf Tournament fundraiser of years' past and split proceeds for missions! This is our one BIG fundraiser for 2019 and will benefit youth missions all year (Costs for Tekoa, ASP, Peru, as well as Rise Against Hunger at Big Idea and other mission projects.) This fundraising also helps us keep the cost of retreats and events low by covering overhead costs, chaperone costs, and transportation expenses. 
- We need your help for this to be successful! We're organizing teams of youth and parents to visit local businesses and service providers, as well as NRUMC Sunday School classes to ask for their support of the golf tournament as a sponsor and/or by giving donations. Youth can earn volunteer hours for this time. Your first opportunity is THIS Sunday!
- We will also need volunteers leading up to and the day of the tournament (April 29th), for things such as set up, registratration, lunch, clean up.  Stay tuned for more info and get involved!

Hiring Update:

-The hiring team is made up of members from Staff Parrish committee, youth council, and other youth parents. We've been receiving applicants since January and are still in our first round of interviews. We are interviewing another person this Thursday and we appreciate your prayers for discernment during this time.

Summer 2019:

-The registration deadline for Breakaway (Summer camp), Tekoa Mission Camp (MS mission week), and Appalachia Service Project (HS Mission week) is next Sunday, February 24th. After this date, we will hold a waiting list for these trips and the price may increase.
- We need additional adults to attend the middle school mission trip (specifically men!) as well as experienced site leaders for ASP-High school trip. 
- All summer registrations can be found on our website at
 Click on the registration button to read more about the trip and sign up.

BIG IDEA Retreat 2019:

-Registration is now open for our local retreat March 29-31st called Big Idea! This retreat is for youth grades 6-12 and is a GREAT event for students to invite friends to! Our theme for 2019 is Co-Create--Together, we will begin to answer the call to create God’s kingdom together through ideas like peace, justice, mercy, forgiveness and joy! As those made in the image of God, we will learn what it means to “co-create” alongside our creator for the transformation of the world.  Visit our website or click here to view the registration form and sign up today!
- We need MANY MANY adults to help make this weekend happen! Let us know how you can help whether as a family group leader, host home, donating to mission projects, or serving on a meal team. 

Current Ministry Needs: 

  • Sunday School Teachers for Senior High class (Sundays 9:45-10:45) 
  • Mission Trip Leaders for Tekoa and ASP
  • Big Idea Meal Team for Lunch (March 30)
  • Big Idea Meal Team for Dinner (March 30)
  • Big Idea Family Group Leaders (March 29-31) 
  • Golf Tournament Sponsors (February through April)
  • Office Volunteer Help  (Tuesdays 10am-12pm)