2023 National Young People’s Ministries Gathering

Event Overview

Discipleship Ministries is happy to partner with the U.S. Jurisdictions to host the annual Young People’s Ministries Leadership Gathering.

This meeting is open to those who hold responsibilities for age-level ministries with youth and young adults for multiple districts, Conference Councils on Youth Ministries, Annual Conference or Episcopal Areas, or Jurisdictions within the United States.

When: October 2-6, 2023

Where: Wesley United Methodist Church, Honolulu, Hawai’i

Cost: $125 registration, which includes meeting space, speaker honoraria, and some meals. Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging. Flights are estimated between $400-$900, depending on the airport origin. Fly into Honolulu International Airport. Rooming costs are estimated at around $200 per night, participants are responsible to find their own rooming near Wesley UMC. Spouses may register for $75 to cover the cost of included meals.

Who: Staff and volunteers with organizational oversight for ministries with youth or young adults for multiple districts, individual annual conferences or Episcopal areas, as well as jurisdictional levels, including CCYMs and JYMs.

Why: Professional development related to ministry with youth and young adults in The United Methodist Church as well as opportunities to explore the effects of colonialism in the church and reflect on antiracist discipleship practices by engaging directly with Native leaders of The United Methodist Church in Hawai’i.


As a group, we will engage in the native culture of the Hawaiian people and indulge in the important work of collaboration in a rich and multicultural part of our denomination. We are grateful to have one of our own leaders, Pastor Monalisa Siofele Lolohea, Program Manager for the Young People’s Ministries of Cal-Pac and a native of Hawai’i, be our lead connection in our work together. Together with her connections and the help of Cal-Pac, our time together will help us navigate a new language and cultivate alo-ha, breath of God, as leaders of and for young people.

Rev. Piula Alailima, a current member of the board of directors of Discipleship Ministries, and others in the Hawai’i District will aid our group to have a unique opportunity to learn and grow in the ways of reconciliation and reconnecting with the indigenous peoples of the islands. The Hawai’i District is often happy to host denominational gatherings, but it rarely receives groups who can accept their invitations. October is a low-travel season for Hawai’i, so costs will average at or near their annual lows for travel.

Our group will learn from the ways in which Jesus has been at work in the people of Hawai’i, who still are oftentimes victims of outside hegemony and paternalism. Our planning team does not expect, like consumers, to be given a certain religious product, but to bear witness to examples of real-life discipleship. For those of us who have been steeped in the white church, we do not expect our Hawaiian church ohana, family, to assuage our collective guilt or give us a good word to guide us. We simply expect to accept the invitation to go and see and be guided by the work of the Spirit on our way.


(Topics Subject to Change, Dates Confirmed)

Monday, October 2: Arrival Day at Honolulu Airport. Shared dinner at Wesley United Methodist Church in Honolulu and the start of meetings.

Tuesday, October 3: Denominational Trends & Contextual Needs. Challenge sharing. What are the needs we see among local church leaders and young people? Who are we being called to become? Chris Wilterdink, Discipleship Ministries

Wednesday, October 4: Cultural Immersion and Lamentation. How are we disconnected? How has the doctrine of discovery and subjugation tainted the presence of Jesus Christ? What does repentance look like? Piula Alailima (Leader of the Acts of Repentance Task Force)

Thursday, October 5: Hope and Liberation. Different from optimism, hope allows us to look at the broken reality, whether in the islands, ecological disruption, or the effect that secularity has had on the church; and it allows us to maintain a posture of hopefulness. How can we identify and be present with the dispossessed? How can ministries with young people be with those who are on the margins and how might that affect the shape of the church in the future?

Friday, October 6: Vocation. Exploring marginalized places around the island’s communities with an eye to how to bring the posture of vocation and calling home with us —in the same way that Mother Theresa said “find your Calcutta” – what might a similar process of exploration look like in our home areas? How might we walk alongside young people in their discoveries and vocational calling efforts?

Saturday, October 7: Departure day from Honolulu Airport. Any time.

Event Details

October 2, 2023 - October 6, 2023
12:00 AM CDT - 12:00 AM CDT
Honolulu, Hawai’i
Wesley United Methodist Church
$75.00 | $125.00