Happy New Year, everyone! Wow, I just can't believe all that happened in 2023. God really blessed in so many amazing ways. I can't wait to see the ways that He blesses in 2024!
The Wisconsin Youth Department proclaimed last year as "the year of content creation." If you'll recall, one of the specific plans that was stated in our Wisconsin Conference's Strategic Plan for 2022-2026 (as revealed at our 39th Wisconsin Conference Constituency Session, October 2022), was to "create a youth ministries communication program, which will involve training young people in various communication methods, including a social-media discipleship program for youth and young adults." #WakondaWednesday has been the outcome of that planning process. We have recruited 14 young writers over the past year, who wrote a total of 21 articles for our ministry. Together, they've drawn readers for over 1,200 visits to our Youth Department website.
I find the writers, I work with them, I edit their work. Our department pays them $100 for their article. And in return, people really, deeply enjoy reading their perspectives. We've even had three articles by our young writers get shared by the Lake Union Herald (print edition), which means their articles are getting read by upwards of 35,000 readers! We also have a couple of young photographers who consistently send in quality pictures from various youth events in our conference.
As we move forward with a plan like this, the hope is that we will start to see even more involvement from young people in the media messaging our department puts out. I personally would love to see young people continue to write articles and take pictures, but also film and edit videos (both serious documentary-style and short form TikTok-style), write original creative content (short stories, serial installments, comic strips), and even play editorial roles as the production grows.
Why do all of this? As stated above, part of the reason is discipleship. We live in a world that increasingly treats digital media as normal, everyday communication. Developing the skills to write short, informative articles, to create short and engaging videos, to shoot and edit beautiful and captivating images, and also to package it in a way that grows an audience: these are all tools that are helpful in today's world. Not to mention: framing these skills in a way that they can be used for bringing the Gospel to a world that desperately needs it. And, in a day and age where costs are rising and gas prices are stiff: there's good reason for local churches to invest in learning and teaching digital media as a way to reach people all across the state, country, and world, without ever needing to travel long distances.
We're excited about how God has used the young people involved in #WakondaWednesday, and we're excited to see the effort continue to grow and develop as we move into the new year. Keep us in your prayers! And if you know a young person who loves to write, take pictures, or who has other skills or talents in the area of digital communications: please let us know!
And now, please enjoy: our top 10 blog articles from our young people in 2023 (links are embedded in the titles).
"Born to Trust, Raised to Doubt," Ava Case
"Greater Insights on Ministry," Lexi Hamilton
"A Passion for Youth Ministry," Dana Colindres
"Life-Changing Summer in Ministry," Lexi Hamilton
"My Times Are in Your Hand," William Ramos
"Let Your Light Shine," Ava Case
"For Such a Time as This," Anna Foll
"From Wisconsin to Italy," Ellie Britain
"Called to Public Campus Mission," Kevin Wilkinson, Jr.
"The Power of One," Lexi Hamilton