Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Young leaders making a difference...

It took a year, but I finally connected with a group doing fabulous disability ministry on the East side of Wichita.  Amanda Brandt and her team of dedicated volunteers lead Young Life Capernaum groups at Andover High, East Wichita High, and Robinson Middle School.  At a recent parent's meeting she continually reminded everyone that this is not just disability ministry -- but an opportunity to jointly minister (and receive ministry) from their many friends.

Thanks to the generosity of several east side churches and Christian businesses who support them, Amanda and her team not only visit students during the week at school, but also lead a weekly club gathering (hosted by Eastminster Presbyterian Church) and raise funds for a camping experience in the summer.

As a parent,  I look for different qualities when deciding if a group or activity is right for my child. Capernaum had them all: welcoming environment, excellent training, boundless enthusiasm, and endless vision.  I was particularly impressed that the entire volunteer team had taken Mandt training - making the Wichita group one of the few Christian ministry organizations with that level of behavioral deescalation and safety training.

Grace Powell - volunteer, Amanda Brandt - coordinator

I was excited to hear the stories of some of the young volunteers -- some of them graduates of Trinity Christian School and others hoping to make a career in special education or human services.  Their enthusiasm is contagious!

Amanda shared her vision the other night.  While Young Life has a presence at over a dozen schools in the Wichita area, Capernaum is only available at three.  For them to expand will require more volunteers and pastors willing to welcome her share the vision from the pulpit.  She reminds everyone that Capernaum is not a replacement for churches inclusion programs but a missional supplement.

After my first meeting several weeks ago with Capernaum, I contacted youth disability ministry specialist Ben Conner (Western Theological Seminary) and inclusion specialist Erik Carter (Vanderbilt University) who both serve on Young Life Capernaum's national board of directors.  From what I understand, the small representation of Capernaum groups are not unusual -- even though the need is great.

I would encourage my pastor friends to contact Young Life Capernaum groups in your community and find out ways you can partner alongside them.

To reach Young Life Capernaum in Wichita, please contact Amanda at:

Amanda Brandt
Young Life Capernaum Coordinator - Wichita
6505 E Central #318  Wichita, KS  67206
661-428-0713 |