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Youth music ministry rethinks its role and future

November 1, 2010 2 Comments

CREW Ministries' 2009-2010 team Tirzah: Michelle Groening, Stephanie Roller and Jessica Roth

CREW Ministries' 2009-2010 team Tirzah: Michelle Groening, Stephanie Roller and Jessica Roth

An Okanagan-based youth ministry that has sent music and witness teams to Lutheran churches and summer camps across Canada for 18 years is being forced by financial concerns to rethink its vision.

CREW Ministries is planning an alumni retreat in Kelowna B.C. on November 19 and 20 at First Lutheran Church to kick start the process, says Michael Schutz, chairman of  CREW Ministries’ board since May. Two other members added to the board to lead the revisioning are Scott Refvik of Pentiction and Ian Wemyss of Edmonton.

CREW Ministries’ modus operandi has been to pull together a full-time team of musicians each year and as many summer teams as there was demand from churches. “We put on concerts in schools, at youth retreats, vacation Bible schools and for international relief efforts. We filled a void,” says Schutz, himself an alumnus from the early days. “Some summers there would be four CREW Ministry teams and some summers just one.” But as church congregations shrink, “the full-time model is not sustainable,” he says.

The teams received financing from free-will offerings at the end of their concerts, local donations and donations directly to CREW Ministries. In mid-October CREW held a golf tournament to raise funds. “We are really open to ideas about how we can function year-round,” says Schutz. One idea that has emerged is to put together teams for one-off events.

The board is looking for ideas from pastors, church leaders, youth workers  and anyone with something to contribute, especially past CREW team members.

A large proportion of CREW team members have gone into church leadership roles, notes Schutz, who is director of Parish Services at Concordia Lutheran Church and School in Penticton.

The names of past musical groups, from Sycamore and qSarah in 2007 to Breathless in 2003, GALS2 in 2001 and Ah Gaup-Eh in 1998, attest to the spiritedness of those involved.

CREW Ministries can be reached via its website, www.crewministries.com.

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