Youth Minister Ramblings

Mary Conkling cropped


Preparations for the Youth Group’s annual Week of Fun have been underway for a while and now it’s almost here! All 6th – 12th graders are encouraged to attend and to invite friends from outside the church.  Below is the schedule of the week’s events.  It is okay to pick and choose which activities to attend, but it is imperative that the sign-up deadline be adhered to.  Parents are also encouraged to get involved and volunteer to drive and chaperone.

WEEK OF FUN – Schedule

Thursday, August 15 - One, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game.  Join us for a evening Round Rock Express Game.

Friday, August 16 - Cool off with friends during an afternoon float on the Comal River!

Sunday, August 18 - Following the 11am service, spend the day having fun around Austin, starting with Sunday Lunch.

Monday, August 19 - Grab your bathing suits and sunscreen because we are going out on Town Lake to race some kayaks.

Tuesday, August 20 - Escape the heat while enjoying a delicious meal at the Alamo!

Wednesday, August 21 - Test your fear of heights by sliding down the slide into Lake Travis from Marge the Barge.  We will also be grilling out lunch on the lake .

Thursday, August 22 - I am an amazingly talented bowler, so this is your chance to try and roll a strike and beat me at Main Event.

Friday, August 23 – Saturday, August 24 - Our annual WOF lock-in.  Bring a pillow and a sleeping bag for a fun-filled night at the church!

If you would like to learn more about the event, including important information about each activity, please stop at the counter in the entryway where release forms and sign-up sheets are available.  Hope to see everyone throughout the week!

– Mary Conkling (8/4/13)

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Mission Trips 2013 –

Corpus Christi, June 23-28

New Orleans, July 7-13

Youth Mission Trip -on sign

Click here to see television coverage of our youth, in action, on their Mission Trip to Corpus Christi!


Sunday Youth Group is taking a summer break.

Join us when we resume Sunday, August 4, 5-7 pm.


Questions? Contact Mary Conkling.


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Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Becoming a Good Samaritan: Session 2

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better.” – Mother Theresa

The second installment in our 6 week study focused specifically on caring for the sick.   During the lesson the youth all took the opportunity to define what “sick” meant to them.  Were they envisioning their 95 year old grandmother who was slowing dying of old age, or were they thinking about a friend at school who had recently confided that they were depressed.  It quickly become apparent that many people in our community are sick and are suffering.

My senior year in college I studied abroad in India, where I spent a large part of my time doing research for my senior Anthropology thesis.  With the freedom to choose whatever topic, I quickly was drawn to the social injustice of children in India who are born HIV positive.  Over the course of my time in India I worked closely with one orphanage in particular, whose main focus was these children, because all of them living in this home had been abandoned by their parents and socially labeled as “untouchables”.  After sharing this experience with the youth I showed them a few slide of some of the youth in the orphanage, illustrating that these children physically look just like us, yet they are very sick.

General Colin Powel once said, “No war on the face of the earth is more destructive than the AIDS pandemic.”  For all the carnage caused by AIDS, it is hardly in a category alone.  In fact, based on current UN findings, more children die today of malaria than of AIDS – which is even more tragic because malaria is a preventable disease.  I asked the youth, “what role does a follower of Jesus have in preventing and treating these fatal diseases?”

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3

As we talked more through out the session about times in which we were sick, and those that came to help and support use, the youth began to brainstorm and come up with ways that they could help the sick here within our own local community.

This week I would recommend watching the movie A Walk to Remember, which ties in well with this weeks lesson.


Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Becoming a Good Samaritan: Session 1

I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.” – Edward Everett Hale

This past Sunday during youth group we kicked off a 6 week bible study on what it means to be a Good Samaritan.  We started the lesson talking about the challenges the Earth presently faces: a bad economy, ongoing war, threats of disease and hunger and poverty.  But that while we face so many adversaries on a daily basis with the global problems getting larger, our capacity to meet them is still even greater.  It is up to us to make choices, because our actions do matter.  Before we read the Parable of the Good Samaritan I asked the group, why there are not more “Good Samaritans” in the world.  As they mulled over that concept we read the passage , and then broke up into smaller groups to discuss.  I am always so impressed by the level at which the youth group absorbs and processes the lessons they hear.  Not only are they able to identify the larger issues, they are also able to relate that back their individual lives.  We concluded the evening talking about how they can make a change, because anything as small as recycling a plastic bottle can make a difference.

The youth and I share a common love for movies, and I am constantly trying to use movie clips, shows, and even full length features to illustrate or emphasize a point.  Since we can’t fill every youth group meeting with a movie, I am going to suggest a movie every week that the youth watch that relates to the message that they heard.  This week I would recommend the movie Pay it Forward.  If you have not already seen it look it up on IMDB before you show your youth and make sure you have a box of tissues newer you, because it is a major tear jerker.

Think about all the positive changes we could have on society if we simply helped our friends.


Mission Trip 2012 – Day 1

Wow!  It is hard to beleive that it has only been one year since the youth group was here at Mustang Island Conference Center.  Over the past year all the youth have grown and matured so much, that it is exciting to see them back at the placew where it all began.


Since we were last here, the youth group has grown in size and evolved as a group.  Small groups and book bible studies has been added to the curriculum, allowing for more intimate and personal relationships to be formed.  Robby always says that if you want to know Christ, walk with those who walk with Christ.  I beleive that the youth group over the past year has truly embraced and embodied this concept.


So . . . . another year has passed and it is once again summer, meaning another mission trip has been kicked off!


Over the course of Friday and Saturday I spent much of the day addressing any last minute details that had to be finalized before the start of the mission trip.  First and for most that involved coordinating the van rentals.  This year we rented three 15 passenger vans.  If you have ever driven one of these vans you know how high off the ground, and big these vans are.  Their saving grace are their side mirrows, they are amazing!


Early Sunday morning all the youth met at St. Michael’s to help organize and pack the vans, before going to the 11am service.  At the end of the service all 35 of us were invited up fpr a blessing, before recessing out beind the cross.  Once in the vans we drove to Lockart for lunch and then on down 183s.  I must admit that I had never driven in this area of Texas before and as the lead car in the caravan I made a few wrong turns along the wat.


After ridding the ferry to Port Aransas we made it to Mustang Issland just in time for dinner.  Once they were finished the youth settled into their rooms before our nightly devotional.


All in all it was a wonderful day, and a great start to our mission trip!


Follow the Youth Mission Trip (2012) right here!

We will be down in the Corpus Christi and Port Aransas areas for their summer mission trip from June 24 through 30.  Our St. Michael’s youth are serving with the youth of St. Cyprian’s Houston to provide help to these communities via a number of different non-profit organizations.  They are also conducting a Vacation Bible Camp for the children of Cliff Maus Village, a low-income housing area supported by the Episcopal Church.

To see what is going on, please watch via this site:



Invest in the Youth Mission Trip: Become a Shareholder!

Individuals who have shared experiences are able to connect on a deep and lasting level. As I have grown older, gone away to college, and moved for my first job, I have realized that the friends I am closest to are those with whom I have shared experiences. Some of my closest friends to this day are those who were on my first mission trip, to NYC, when I was a freshman in high school.

On June 24, thirty youth from St. Michael’s will be heading to Corpus Christi for a week-long mission trip. As youth group members experience new situations outside of their comfort zone, not only will they develop strong leadership qualities, but they will also cultivate a substantial sense of stewardship that will spread into other aspects of their lives.

During the week in Corpus, the youth will be reaching out to the local community by sorting food, working on fences, painting, and distributing clothing and toiletry items. Over the course of that week, we will be working with multiple communities with varying needs. The youth group invites the community of St. Michael’s to “share” in this experience by purchasing “stock” in the mission trip. For just $20 per share, you will be helping our youth grow in their faith by serving others.

All shareholders will receive an e-mail update and photo of our trip every evening, as well as an invitation to our Stockholders’ Luncheon in August, where the youth will give a presentation about their experiences. Stock Order Forms are located in the front entryway of the church and available here on the website.

Come invest in the future of our Youth Group!

(May 27, 2012)


Youth Group – Sunday May 7, 2012

In small group last night we talked about Isaiah 64:8 “you are our father. we are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” The youth had some interesting conversations about what they are being created into, and what their purpose is.  Prior to discussing the verse all the youth received a tub of play-doh and had a few minutes to create anything they wanted with their play-doh.  Each youth uniquely molded their play-doh to depict a specific story.  As we went around the group, sharing what we had created I was struck by how differently they each depicted their life.  If you had a tub of play-doh what would you create?


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Follow the Youth Mission Trip 2011 … right here!

Our youth are down in the Corpus Christi and Port Aransas areas for their summer mission trip.  Our St. MIchael’s youth are serving with the youth of St. Cyprian’s Houston to provide help to these communities via a number of different non-profit organizations.  They are also conducting a Vacation Bible Camp for the children of Cliff Maus Village, a low-income housing area supported by the Episcopal Church.

To see what is going on, please watch via this site:

(July 25, 2011)

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“The Edge” – Youth Group Updates

Youth Group kicks off again on Sunday August 7th!  Can’t wait to see everyone and hear all about your fun summer adventures!

If you are already back from vacation or camp, call me and  let’s meet up for some iced coffee!  Hope to see you all soon!


(July 13, 2011)

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There will not be any Sunday Youth Group until August 7th.  (Happy summer break!)

There will be special events throughout the month of July.  Stay tuned, look for email announcements, and check the website calendar.

Have a wonderful July, and see you again in August!

Questions? Contact Mary Conkling .

(June 29, 2011)

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Lent -

This past Sunday night the youth group began their Lenten program.  Throughout the course of Lent the youth group is going to be watching different movie clips each Sunday night and talk about how each movie relates to their life.  This past Sunday night we watched a classic 1980′s film Can’t Buy Me Love, starring a very young Patrick Dempsey.  While I have seen this film many times I had never before noticed how many Texas references there are throughout the film.  This film talks about the struggles of a high school boy who is not in the “popular” group.  At the beginning of his senior year he decides that he is going to make a change and enjoy his last year of high school.  After a series of unfortunate events the most popular girl in school becomes indebted to him and promises to help him become “popular”.  Through out this film both the boy and the girl learn a lot about themselves and what it truly means to be accepted at school.

I personally thought that this was a very important film to begin the season of Lent with.  It talks about the sacrifices and conflicts of society for many of our youth.  After watching about 40min of the film  the youth began to talk about different scenes that they related too.  Then each of the youth wrote themselves a letter highlighting things that they wanted to focus on or change during Lent.  Shortly after Easter I am going to mail each of them their letter so they can see if they were able to accomplish all they had set out to do over Lent.

Before we left on Sunday I reminded the youth that Lent is not only about giving something up, but it is also sometimes about taking something on.  This year I am giving up sweets for Lent, which is going to be very difficult because I am turning 24 during Lent.  But I am also taking on journaling and rereading Genesis in the bible.  I have recently completed a 6 week bible study and while the bible study is on break for Lent I am going to go back and reread the book know that I have a different perspective on it.

So my parting question to you is……What are you doing for Lent?


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