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Olivet UMC’s new Family and Youth Minister

posted Jun 9, 2017, 5:19 PM by Michelle Malick   [ updated Jun 10, 2017, 6:34 AM ]
For Andrew Tait, Olivet UMC’s new Family and Youth Minister, “Ministry is a lifelong adventure.” Tait’s early life prepared him for ministry. “My mom was a Sunday school teacher and my dad was a steward, a deacon. I was in the church a lot as a kid helping out with projects.” He learned that ministering was “a lot more than just mastering the basics of the Bible. The leaders and teachers I had while in the youth group have been pillars in my faith journey and my understanding of who I am in this world or more importantly who I am in Christ.”

Andrew Tait, a graduate of Eastern Universtiy, begins his new ministry at Olivet UMC on July 1, 2017. Newly-wed, he and his wife Christa, a native of Ohio, met at a youth conference in North Carolina. He describes himself as “easy-going” and a superhero movie fan. He currently works at the ice rink is Oaks PA, where he runs the adult “learn to play” program and drives the Zamboni. He has been playing hockey there for 17 years.

Tait notes that “Adolescence is a funny age where you discover the world and all that is in it, and you feel forced to make a choice about who you are going to be and what you are going to do. While going through that myself, with many different influences and voices telling me what I needed to do, I was taught how to listen to the voice of truth. This has helped me to this day and I am certain it will help me for the rest of my days. I would like to help kids in the same way that I was helped back then.”

Tait recognizes that “Youth ministry is changing… The target market for youth ministry today is K-12 and all the way up to the age of 25. Faith is a journey. My main goal in youth ministry is to follow the calling of Christ, to share his Gospel and love and to equip others to do the same. Youth are at a pivotal time, trying to find out who they are. Looking at Christ and what he did with his disciples can bring youth clarity. Discipleship is a grounding and a foundation — especially for youth learning to know who they are and how they can live in this world.”

Tait’s ministry will extend beyond the church doors. He plans to reach out to those not in the church, meeting them “where they are.” He has been doing this in his job at Oaks, and plans to coordinate with Olivet’s new Pastor, Johnson Dodla, and Olivet’s many ministries. “The best resource a church is its congregation. No matter the age, everyone has numerous opportunities to speak about and to show Jesus outside of the church. Working with the youth and the congregation to empower them to see what Christ has done in their lives will enable us all to share what Christ has done, the love Christ has shown us.”

Tait’s responsibilities include youth and family ministry, outreach, and counseling. “The two best strategies I have found useful for counseling youth and families are listening and relating. Listening is key. Youth need to process their own thoughts and emotions before we give them advice. Really listening helps youth feel comfortable enough to speak freely and honestly. Youth are notorious for leaving out little pieces of the puzzle …. Active listening can open the doors to those hidden pieces.”

Tait feels that counseling, listening, and ministry are a “process with many stages…. We are all at different stages in our walks with Christ. I can draw from my experiences, but if I am quick to give answers and not listen, I might miss what God is truly doing in someone’s life. With listening and relating comes prayer and allowing the Lord to work. All of this cannot be done properly without help and leading from the Spirit.”

The members of Olivet United Methodist Church are excited about Tait’s ministry and invite all to join them at Third and Chestnut Streets in Coatesville every Sunday morning at 10:00. Find more information about the ministries of Olivet and our upcoming Bicentennial events coming in October, at www.olivetumc.org or by calling 610-384-5828.