Mission work important in youth ministry

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Kent Dendy could easily be mistaken for one of the youths that he leads.

It has not been that many years since Dendy was a member of his church youth group. Today, he is the youth minister at First United Methodist Church of Troy and is very excited about the opportunities he has to be a part of the Christian growth of the youths of the church.

"One of my goals is for my young people to be around other young people who care about God," he said. "Another goal is for them to be a part of a mission project and be involved in doing something for someone else."

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In an effort to realize these goals for the youth under his leadership, Dendy organized a mission trip to Mobile the second week in July.

He and Chris Rhodes and four youths from First United Methodist Church of Troy spent four nights in Mobile's inner city during the Mobile District Youth Meeting.

"There were several hundred people there and we were involved in work projects during the day and praise and worship at night," Dendy said.

The mission team worked on a couple of projects for individuals who needed assistance. They boarded up the eaves of one house and hung shutters on another. They also worked on the mission building, replacing tiles, dropping ceilings, installing lights and an ice machine."

"The mission is a permanent facility supported by the United Methodist Church," Dendy said. "The homeless are fed there and their other general things taken care of. The mission is also the site of meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and other support groups. And ceramics and other classes are taught there."

Dendy said his youths helped with food bag preparations at the mission, but were not actually involved in the feeding program.

"We ate one meal with the homeless and, I believe the experience made our young people more appreciative of what they have," Dendy said.

Dendy said the youth in his group were actually shocked that there are homeless people in Alabama.

"There are a lot of homeless people on the streets in the inner city of Mobile," he said. "We had to travel the same route often and we saw one homeless man repeatedly. It didn't matter - day or night - he was there."

The young people, who participated in the youth mission trip came home with different attitudes, Dendy said.

"I'm not saying that everyone was changed by the experience, but all of us were affected by it," he said. "It was a bonding experience and we can home closer as a group and that was a good thing. They got to see the world from a different point of view and they were all excited that they got to help others."

Dendy said his hopes and plans are to begin more extensive mission work in Pike County.

"My heart is really for mission work," he said. "There is a need here in Pike County and I what to be involved."

And, he wants to provide that opportunity for his young people.

"We've also been involved in Pathfinders, which is a evangelistic outreach organization," Dendy said. "Not every kid wants to go out and build something and not every kid was to knock on doors and share Christ. We want to give them opportunities to do either or both."