Mentorship Ministry at New Zion UMC
By Tamica Smith-Jeuitt, Senior Communications Specialist, Mississippi Conference
Photo right: Mentoring Ministry and Moving Toward Maturity painting a senior members home.
Colorful button-shaped chocolates may not quickly come to mind when youth at New Zion United Methodist Church in Crystal Springs, MS, hears someone mention M and M. For them, M and M refers to Mentorship Ministry, a program where they are paired with adults who encourage and guide them with life matters. The church's Moving Toward Maturity or MTM is a ministry for the high school students. Male volunteers are present for the teens growing up without a father living in their home. The young people are also getting helpful exposure outside the church walls. They went to a local restaurant for dining etiquette and toured the Mississippi Delta. They even took a trip to campuses of historically black colleges within the state and participated in a painting project.
"It was exciting to watch our youth and teenagers with painted faces and clothing enjoying giving back to the community. That is what Mentoring Ministry is all about -- adults helping young people," said Rev. Fitzgerald Lovett of New Zion UMC.
It has been more than a year since the church received one of the Mississippi Conference Connectional Ministries Mission Grants. The gift for $2,500 was used to strengthen both mentoring programs. For example, funds were used to pay for expenses to include children outside the church. According to a witness report that explains how the grant was spent, New Zion UMC offers Wild and Wacky Wednesday. This is a time when youth who are not members of the church join them for food, fun, and faith development. The program has helped build a stronger relationship between the church and the community.
According to the church's report, they are located is in one of the lowest rated school systems where as many as 24 high school seniors were not able to graduate because they could not pass a state exam. The New Zion UMC mentoring programs are inspiring hope for those who attend.
Follow The Circuit Rider for details on how to apply for the annual mission grants in the fall.
About Mission Grants
The Mississippi Conference Connectional Ministries Mission Grants are matching grants available to United Methodist churches and United Methodist sponsored or related agencies in Mississippi. Grants range from $500 to $2,500 per project, with one award of up to $10,000. They are awarded to form spiritual leaders, new places for new people, connections through existing congregations and engagement in ministry with the poor; therefore, living out the four Core Values of The POWER of We.