October Newsletter 2019
It’s officially fall on the Quad at YDS and we are just a week away from the kick-off of our 2019-2020 Yale Youth Ministry Institute Lunch & Lecture Series! Our first event is on Wednesday, October 9 where YMI Founder, Skip Masback will talk with us about Planning and Leading Retreats that Transform. In this session, Skip will explore how the Christian traditions of pilgrimage can transform a vision of youth retreats that change lives. We’ll begin with theory, but the primary emphasis will be on praxis – what are the nuts and bolts of preparing, organizing, leading and integrating transformative retreats into the life of your youth ministry.
Next month, Bill Mathis, Director of Black Church Studies and Lecturer in Divinity at YDS will focus on how to create a nurturing community for youth engagement in the life of the church.
We are thrilled to announce that Jill Olds has joined our team as the new Director of the Yale Youth Ministry Institute! Jill’s greeting follows, and she looks forward to meeting many of you at our lectures and serving all those in youth ministry – near and far!
Dear Friends of the YDS Youth Ministry Institute,
Greetings to all of you! My name is Jill Olds, and I’m the new Director of the Youth Ministry Institute here at YDS. I’m honored to be in this new role, and I thought I’d take a moment to introduce myself to all of you. My hope is that you’ll do the same when we get a chance to meet!
I was raised in a UCC church here in CT, and first felt a call to ministry as a youth in that church. I mean that literally—I can remember where I was sitting during youth group. (And yes, it was in the church’s basement.) One of my youth pastors had gone to Princeton Theological Seminary and spoke with pride about its youth ministry degrees. So, after college, I enrolled at PTS (sorry, Yalies), and graduated in 2009 with an M.Div. and an M.A. in youth ministry. I was ordained that fall, and started by serving as a hospital chaplain in PA. Future years would see me as an Associate Minister in two other churches in MA and CT, working with youth groups, church school, Confirmation classes, mission trips, outreach events, intergenerational worship services, and all manner of other forms of ministry that often come with being an associate.
As I planned these sorts of activities, my primary focus was always on pastoral care towards youth. How could I reach these young people, so that they knew the deep and abiding love of God? As I approach ten years of ordained ministry, I am reminded that I always learn more from the youth about this than they ever do from me. Together, we create the atmosphere of radical welcome and extravagant love, and God does God’s thing within that space.
It is an honor and a delight to be in this new role, doing much the same. With the audience of youth workers that the YMI is privileged enough to reach, we can learn from experts in these fields, and share practices with one another that have worked in various settings, both locally and internationally. My hope and prayer for all of us is that we continue to learn and grow together.
Thank you for allowing me this space within which to share, and to be welcomed. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of assistance—not as an expert, but as a fellow learner and traveler along the journey.
The Rev. Jill E. Olds
Director, Yale Youth Ministry Institute