Last evening I had the privilege of preaching and serving communion to over 350 youth and adult leaders for the opening worship service of their "TransforMISSION" event at the University of Indianapolis. The youth are in Indianapolis all week to serve in various mission service projects around the city, which are being coordinated by Metro Ministries. Youth from congregations all around our Indiana Conference were there with lots of energy, enthusiasm, and passion for sharing. The worship service didn't start until 8:30 p.m., and they were still going strong at nearly 10. Kind of late for an old guy like me!

I am grateful for the organization skills of Helene Foust of our Conference staff, along with many other adult leaders of youth who made this first-ever event possible. I am grateful that the University of Indianapolis is such a willing partner (and their new President Rob Manuel came to greet the youth). Mostly I am grateful for the youth -- every time I am with youth and young adults from our United Methodist churches of Indiana I am encouraged, uplifted, and confident in the future of God's work here in Indiana. They even took up an offering for the Africa University campaign.

The title of this week of mission projects is intriguing, isn't it? "TransforMISSION" brings together two important values of United Methodists around the world and especially here in Indiana. We are big supporters of missions of all types, and we believe in the transformation of the world through Jesus Christ when we get the nerve to step outside of our comfort zones and our church walls to engage in such transforming mission work. All of us who follow Christ are called to engage in this ministry.

So, please join me in praying for the youth and leaders who are involved in TransforMISSION this week. Pray for their safety as they work, pray for those they serve to be receptive, and pray for our youth to be transformed themselves as they engage in this week of mission.

And ... while we are praying ... let's also pray that every one of our United Methodist congregations in the Indiana Conference might catch the vision of empowering youth to serve and to lead us into this ministry of TransforMISSION. Amen.