Focusing on the First Third of Life

Ministries supported by the Pentecost Offering reach people during this critical stage

For years, researchers have highlighted the importance of early life experiences for brain and social development. In a similar way, many congregations realize how important Christian formation is during the first third of life, from childhood through young adulthood. Children, youth, and young adults develop their spiritual moorings through supportive communities, caring mentors, and faith-related nurture and service. Gifts to the Pentecost Offering support our congregation’s efforts of faith formation in the first third of life, with 40 percent of proceeds staying here, while 60 percent is used to support national initiatives of our denomination focused in this area. The Pentecost Offering makes a difference for the life of the whole church and for congregations like ours.

In Rochester, New York, Third Presbyterian Church is passionate about Christian formation during this critical first third of life. Rev. Lynnette Duerksen-Sparks, Third Presbyterian’s associate pastor of outreach and evangelism says, “[the Pentecost Offering] just made sense to us. It is aligned with so much of the work we are involved in.”

One young adult whose faith formation began at Third Presbyterian has continued her journey of discipleship through the Presbyterian Young Adult Volunteer Program (YAV). She served this past year in Asheville, North Carolina, assisting an organization that builds houses with and for low-income individuals. Though her volunteer year has concluded, she is still continuing this work. The YAV program is made possible by your gifts to the Pentecost Offering. You provide young people with a year of service for a lifetime of change.

The Offering also sends students to the Presbyterian Youth Triennium. Jane Carden, youth ministry coordinator, says, “(Triennium) is all about establishing relationships and connections.” Jane has led the delegation of the Genesee Valley Presbytery three different times. She’s listened to many youth who have found their voice at the event and developed the ability to lead and share their faith when they return home. This impact is important for all students, but especially for those from smaller congregations in the presbytery, kids who have limited opportunities for peer-to-peer relationships within their congregation.

In addition to spiritual development, the Pentecost Offering supports student achievement in local school systems, a key building block of success that is formed within the first third of life. For more than 30 years, Third Presbyterian has capitalized on the expertise of schoolteachers and professors within its membership to provide a successful tutoring program. More recently, the congregation has organized community groups and equipped families to advocate for improvement in the city’s school system. Addressing root causes of poor academic achievement in the United States is a major commitment of Educate a Child, Transform the World, a denomination-wide initiative that is supported by our gifts to the Pentecost Offering. This initiative equips and connects Presbyterian congregations that seek to advance learning through public schools.

Just like Third Presbyterian Church, our congregation supports the Pentecost Offering to help people begin life with a strong start. A solid foundation of faith and learning formed from childhood to young adulthood enables individuals to weather life’s storms and build on life’s opportunities. Our congregation and our church’s national ministries are helping to shape the future of children, youth, and young adults. The Pentecost Offering helps people in the first third of life reach their fullest potential both now and in the future.

Please give generously.

God of Promise, you gave us your Holy Spirit at Pentecost
and inspired the faith we share.
May the gifts we offer today be used to extend Your promise
to our children and to the ends of the earth. Amen.

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