By Leneita Fix, a member of our organizing team
I am a Northeast girl, born and bred. I am blunt, I don’t trust you until I get to know you, and when I visit your church for the first time please don’t hug me or ask me to turn and hug my neighbor. I don’t know you. If you are from the area you laughed when you read this. If not then I have offended you. That pretty much defines us.
My first “real” youth pastor position was in a rural area of New Hampshire. I often
joke that it took me over an hour to pick up my students for events…not because
there were so many, but because students lived so far away from each other. Still I
wouldn’t trade those days for anything. I once attempted to apply for a youth min
job in the South. Students thought I was too “in their face.” I thought they were too
There is something special about serving youth in the Northeast. Students are
brutally honest about whether or not they care about God. They hunger and thirst
for authenticity and truth. Digging deep they will ask the brutally difficult questions
about your personal faith, life and whether or not Jesus is “worth it.”
Still sometimes it can feel like the rest of the world doesn’t connect with the unique
New England church. Ministry here tends to be all about relationship. A “large”
youth group is 50 students. We don’t get “silly” for the sake of “silly” very well in
the way of games. On top of that the conferences, speakers and trainings have a
tendency to avoid us like the plague. I can’t tell you how many times I have pursued
a “name” coming to my area to hear, “I have tried and I can’t get anyone to show
up.” That isn’t true. We do come. However, there may be a couple hundred
instead of the usual thousands.
In the last couple of months, thanks to the extreme efforts and tenacity of amazing
leaders in the Northeast, the larger conferences have begun to realize the potential
of our untapped market. They can see us sitting on the edge of our seats as
someone is listening to our needs and wants in the way of training. That is why
OPEN is coming to us.
The guys at the Youth Cartel understood the power of bringing the one day… to us.
What they have grasped amazingly is that to “work” best it must be catered to the
unique way that we in the Northeast think and process ministry. That is why they
partnered with another New England native, Jake Kircher, to mold this day. Not
only that, it is purposed to give local voices a chance to share their thoughts on youth
We are in the process of crafting the tracks and shaping this amazing event. I hope you will join us for something innovative. When the rest of the world says that this is an area that is “spiritually dead,” we understand it simply isn’t so. Christ never said there was an area too “lost” where he could not be found. Us up here in the “frozen North” we know it may take time, but they will be transformed by Him.
Leneita recently celebrated her 20th year in ministry is on one of the organizers for Open Boston. She currently does Youth Ministry consulting and writing via Blue Sky, Green Sky. She has done training and conference planning for both for Urban Youth Workers Institute as well as Simply Youth Ministry. Her passion is multiplying ALL youth workers (full time, paid, unpaid, volunteer, or bivocational) by aiding them to become better trained and equipped. Her first book, No Teenager Left Behind, was published by Simply Youth Ministry earlier this year.