Since 2014, attendees come together monthly to serve area parents and teens. Refuel YW Network, first organized by Scott Tinman, Pastor of Student Ministries at Findlay Evangelical Free Church, allows youth workers to both broaden and strengthen their impact. During its first 4 years, the group has had representatives from at least 12 different denominations, along with two local para-church organizations. “It’s about making things happen that couldn’t be done solo,” Tinman says.
Partnering with parents
Kat Patterson, Youth Director at College First Church of God, summarized it by stating, “Our heart is to partner with parents and to be there for the whole family.” In light of such a daunting task, Patterson finds the encouragement and idea-sharing, strong friendships and prayer support well worth the time she invests in Refuel meetings.
Concerns in the digital age
Top concerns for youth culture at the outset of 2019 is the impact of digital over-activity. “The greatest concern I have is the digital media consumption that is occurring at insane levels with our youth,” says Adam Borsay, Youth Director of Gateway Church.
Heather Braker, Campus Life Director at Arlington Local Schools (Youth For Christ of Northwest Ohio), points to teens’ overwhelming need for approval, identity, security and stability. She notes, “I agree that social media culture plays a huge role in this, especially as many parents are unaware of the time their teen spends on screens (phones, tablets, computers) seeking those very things.”
Borsay suggests two specifics rules to begin the new year, no digital internet devices in private areas of the home and a serious cutback on usage time. Braker adds, parents can seek out apps to allow them to access their teens’ screens.
Other concerns mentioned included the high percentage increase of teens vaping and the age old dilemma of the appropriate age of a child for parents to begin broaching the subject of sexual activity. Tinman provided encouragement which can inform both topics, sharing results of a recent survey of local teens which showed that 21% name their peers as their main influencers. But, 63% of those surveyed identified their parents as being the most influential factor in their lives.
Many other topics are covered at Refuel meetings and full-time, part-time and volunteer youth workers are encouraged to participate on the second Thursday of each month at 10am.
Locations of meetings vary.
Those interested should contact Scott Tinman at
419-348-3079 or message him through the
“Refuel YW Network” Facebook page.