Written by Keri Cousins, Youth Director
Last summer, our youth director and volunteers at Goddard United Methodist Church began assessing what could be taught in the six-year youth program to help the youth succeed as they become young adults. They concluded that the students could use more education in basic life skills. Thus, a new program called “the Carpenter’s Workshop” was developed.
The objective of “The Carpenter’s Workshop” is to provide the Goddard youth with learning opportunities in basic life skills through Methodist theology and the motto: “Do all the good you can, for everyone you can, for as long as you can.”
The program will teach basic life skills in a safe, Christian environment while teaching the importance of service in mission. Through participation in The Carpenter’s Workshop, our youth can be prepared to transition into an active Christian adult life of service in the United Methodist church.
The Carpenter’s Workshop ministry is designed to encompass various life skills, including basic woodworking, mechanical, electrical, culinary, sewing, and financial skills. The possibilities are only limited by the need, creativity, and passion of the dedicated adults leading the program.
The leaders would be chosen and background checked by professional and experienced members of the appropriate specialties within our congregation and community. Safe Sanctuary guidelines will also be followed at all times.
The Carpenter’s Workshop ministry will include instruction and training on the proper use of safety equipment and basic woodworking tools (screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, tape measures, etc.) It will create a connection between the learning of life skills and the thought-provoking actions of Jesus as a carpenter in Nazareth. Following in the footsteps of Jesus can present the Bible and its life-changing message to the youth via an exciting new experience.
Basic mechanical and electrical life skills will reflect the disciple’s skills, such as repairing steering, oars, cracks, and sails on their fishing boats. Also, maintaining the carts carrying their fish to the market daily was an important life skill for the disciples. By comparison, changing a tire, replacing a battery, or interior light bulbs in a car can certainly be considered a life skill for today’s youth. Although Biblical people had to know how to use oil and tallow to make candles, today, being able to repair an electrical plug or lamp is always a handy life skill.
The Carpenter’s Workshop ministry will include culinary and sewing projects. Food is an important part of Biblical history. Even Jesus prepared breakfast for His disciples. So the youth will learn the necessary culinary skills to cook basic foods to survive as adults. As for sewing, who could forget the Biblical heroine, Lydia? She was involved in sewing, cloth making, and dying. The disciples had to know how to sew and knot to mend their fishing nets. Youth will learn to sew up a seam and sew on a button. Youth who achieve these things will have life skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
By teaching various basic life skills, The Carpenter’s Workshop will provide confidence for the youth to tackle the activities of daily living. They can develop interactive skills through working as individuals and in teams. These skills will help them better understand family and social dynamics. Through these newly designed educational opportunities at GUMC, our youth will learn how to spread the love of God through life skills that connect them to the life of Jesus, the disciples, and other Biblical characters.
The Carpenter’s Workshop is a ministry that has the potential to witness a large section of the congregation and the community by teaching life skills to our youth. They can then use those life skills to help their parents, the elderly, and the entire scope of generations within the congregation. The outreach, marketing, and witnessing potential to the “un-churched” and the “over-churched” community is truly exciting. It is a concept with the potential that few ministries can offer.