How Will You Let Jesus’ Light Shine?

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BY DOUG RIGHTS |

On Thursday evening, December 31, 2015 at the Youth New Year’s Eve Party in the Fellowship Hall at Fairview Moravian Church, I spread out Moravian Star points and markers on a table that included a sign that said, “On one of the star points share how will you let Jesus’ light shine in 2016 in you, your youth group, and/or your church?” At the party many of the youth and adults who attended wrote on the points. As the new year began, the points were put together and this Moravian Star has hung in my office throughout the year.

Moravian star image

In January I took the star to our Regional Youth Conference Retreat at Laurel Ridge, and many of the youth wrote their thoughts on the points. In February the star traveled to Florida for the Florida District Youth Retreat, and more was written on the star. Later in the year some of our area youth leaders wrote on it when we had a Youth Leaders Get Together. This fall I took the star to our Fall Celebration at Advent Moravian, and more thoughts were added. Here are what some had to say:

  • “I hope God will help us be bold in faith.”
  • “To help me get through my tough times.”
  • “I want to see all the youth on fire for our God.”
  • “Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain, that I can’t control.”
  • “I want our youth to shine by reaching out and meeting more people.”
  • “To provide a sense of direction in my life and show me where I should be going.”
  • “That our church loves God! We want Him to help us become the beacon of our community.”

Moravian star image

As this star has been in my office throughout 2015 (except for the times it went to the above mentioned events), it has been a constant reminder of all the wonderful youth and adults we have in our province and the many ways they want the light of Jesus to shine in their lives and in their churches. It is my hope and prayer that not only those who wrote on this star’s points, but that all of us, will let Jesus’ light shine in our lives and that we will see the great difference it makes when we do!

Lightbulbs

As we come to our Christmas Lovefeast and Candle Services later this month, many of us will sing the traditional “Morning Star.” It is my prayer as we finish out 2016 and soon begin 2017, that the wonderful words of this hymn will be evident in our lives and in our province . . . “Jesus mine, in me shine!”


If you have questions or need additional information, email (drightsATmcsp.org) or call the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries at (336) 722-8126.

The Rev. Doug Rights is the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries at the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM). Here he is with his new grandson, Nolan Key (photo by Kathy Rights.) 

doug

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Who Would Have Thought?

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BY DOUG RIGHTS |

It has been almost two months since I received some not-so-good news. This news finds me saying to myself, “Who would have thought?”

Who would have thought that the membership of our Southern Province would have declined as it has? Especially since the Moravian Church has so much to offer, including our rich and wonderful history, our special and meaningful traditions, our emphasis on God’s love than on God’s judgment, our value of community, our desire to serve others, and our willingness to accept people with different opinions.

Who would have thought that the financial giving from our Southern Province churches to our province would have declined so much these past several years? Certainly part of this is due to our decline in membership. Yet sometimes I wonder how many of us Southern Province Moravians prayerfully consider what God wants us to give and give that amount. How many of us consider God’s guideline of tithing and tithe or try to work toward tithing? How many of us see the importance of giving not only to our church families, but also the importance of how our giving goes to ministries in our province and ministry to the world?

Young Adult Moravians

Young Adult Moravians (YAMs) at a recent cookout/bonfire event.

And who would have thought our province would be at a point when we could not support a person working full-time with the youth and young adults of our province? Our Board of Cooperative Ministries shared the recent news of a shortfall in our next year’s budget. I think it is really more of a “big-fall.” Our board had to make the very tough decision that it could no longer support a full-time person to serve as Director of Youth, College and Young Adult Ministries.

This decision is my not-so-good news. I am sad I will not be able to continue to serve in a capacity that I have loved these past four years. It has been a joy and a privilege to serve our youth, college age and young adults of the province. Now I look forward to the next step God has for me.

But the greater sadness I feel, along with many others, is that of not having someone in this position. The members and staff of the Board of Cooperative Ministries will do all they can to keep our youth, college, and young adult ministries going. We hope this will also be a time when people will step up and help our youth and young adults feel even more wanted, more loved, and more connected to our churches.

My hope and prayer is that the day will come when I can say: Who would have thought that despite the lack of funds and a full-time staff person, our youth, college, and young adult ministries continue to be strong? That these ministries will thrive in even greater ways, and that our youth, college age and young adults will help bring renewal to our churches and our province!


Read the original announcement about the discontinuation of the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries position here.

Read the questions and answers post regarding that announcement here.


If you have questions or need additional information, email (drightsATmcsp.org) or call the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries at (336) 722-8126.

The Rev. Doug Rights is the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries at the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM). 

Doug with wife Kathy

Youth Matter! Part Two: Serving College Students

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BY DOUG RIGHTS |

A few months ago I wrote a blog about our Moravian college students and the importance of making them feel connected to their congregations while away. With a new school year underway, it is a good time to revisit how churches can serve and meet the needs of their college students.

Even though many of our college students are away from home and away from their church homes, that does not mean they should feel disconnected from home. Our college students are an important part of our churches.

College-Age Cookout

College-age cookout

In my previous blog, I shared some ways our churches can stay connected to our college students. I would like to highlight some of these ideas again and have added some fresh ones.

  • Have someone who is responsible for knowing who your college students are and how to contact them. (I would appreciate getting a list of your college students and contact information so I can contact them too).
  • Have someone from your congregation contact your college students to check in with them. Find out how they are doing. Ask if there is anything your church can do for them.
  • Make sure they get your church mailings, newsletters, and any other church information that goes out.
Moravian students at Christ the King luncheon

Moravian students at Christ the King luncheon

  • Have people in your church take a special interest in caring for a college student (adopt-a-student). Pray for that student and keep in touch with him or her or them.
  • Send care packages, especially during exam times or at the beginning of a semester.
  • Have someone in your church visit them and take them out for a meal.
  • When they are home and come to church, make sure you welcome them back.
  • When they are home, offer them opportunities to get together with other students such as at cookouts, going out to dinner after church, or have some type of class for them. For something like this to happen, it is best to have someone willing to do it and be responsible for it.
  • Also realize that not everyone is called to attend college. Be supportive of everyone who is college age.
Moravian students at Appalachian State this fall

Moravian students at Appalachian State this fall

When the time comes that our college students graduate, they may remain close to your church or they may be far away. Whatever the case, may all of our churches be faithful in carrying out their ministries to college students as they continue to journey with the Lord!


If you have questions or need additional information, email (drightsATmcsp.org) or call the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries at (336) 722-8126.

The Rev. Doug Rights is the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries at the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM). 

Doug with wife Kathy

Summer Camps Making a Difference

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A wonderful part about summer in the Southern province is our summer camps at Laurel Ridge, our Moravian Camp and Conference Center. During the summer months we have a variety of camps whichCampers worshiping include our Mission Camps, an Arts Camp, an Eco Camp, and our Summer Camp. Our Summer Camps are available for those who are Pre-Junior (grades 1-2), Junior (grades 3-5), Middle High (grades 6-8), and Senior High (grades 9-12), and the other camps are for older youth. Besides youth being involved in our camps, we also have several adults in our province who serve as deans and counselors for in the camps. We also have a great group of college students who serve on  the M-Staff, the summer staff who maintain the camp grounds and lead various activities.

Our camps are wonderful opportunities for all who attend to make connections. There is the connection with nature as you spend time in beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. There is the connection with other people as you live and share in a community setting. There is the connection with God as you have opportunities to focus on God’s presence, to experience God’s love, and to let God make a difference in your life not only in your time at camp but also as you go from camp to your daily living. One of the great things I saw at one of our recent summer camps was a Campers in small groupyoung person who began the week saying he had never felt God’s love and did not believe in God. By the end of the week I saw how he experienced God’s love through others, and he shared that he was a believer!

I will admit that one of the drawbacks of our summer camping program at Laurel Ridge is the distance between our camp in the North Carolina mountains and our churches in Florida. In talking with some of the youth leaders in Florida, we hope that one day we will have more of our Florida youth be able to come and experience God’s blessings at Laurel Ridge.Campers at a meal

Even so, our camps are going strong, and they do make a difference!

If you have questions or need additional information, email (drightsATmcsp.org) or call the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries at (336) 722-8126.

The Rev. Doug Rights is the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries at the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM). 

Youth Matter!

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June 14, 2016

I work with many special groups in my role as Director of Youth, College and Young Adult Ministries.  Two of them are our Regional Youth Councils (RYC).  Due to distance, one Regional Youth Council is composed of representatives and adult advisors from our Moravian churches in North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia. The other Regional Youth Council is composed of representatives and adult advisors from our Moravian churches in Florida. While I work throughout the year with the RYC for North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, I also visit our Florida churches at least two times a year for their youth events, and when there, will often meet with the Florida RYC.

Regional Youth Council

Each Regional Youth Council works to:

  • Glorify God through service and mission to/for youth groups in the province with an attitude of selfless love an acceptance for each other and those we serve.
  • Be a representative council serving the province by providing the communications link between churches.
  • Develop unity and friendship within the province among youth, thereby striving to unify the youth ministries program of the Southern Province.
  • Assist with the planning and coordinating of provincial youth activities.

(from the Regional Youth Council Constitution)

Our NC/VA/GA Regional Youth Council has monthly meetings during the school months and an annual Winter Retreat at Laurel Ridge. They carry out mission projects, plan provincial youth events, and help plan the Senior High Camp at Laurel Ridge. Our FL Regional Youth Council meets two to three times a year. They also plan youth events for the Florida District, including their Winter Youth Retreat, a Beach Bash & service project, and Christian music events such as Night of Joy at Disney or Rock the Universe at Universal Studios.

Florida Regional Youth Council

Both Regional Youth Councils are active and important groups in our province. Both provide great opportunities to keep our youth connected, to give them opportunities to serve, to help develop leadership among our youth, and to let them make a difference in our province and for the Lord! They also provide a lot of excitement, a lot of fun, and a lot of joy to the ministry of our province!

If you have questions or need additional information, email (drightsATmcsp.org) or call the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries at (336) 722-8126.

The Rev. Doug Rights is the Director of Youth, College, and Young Adult Ministries at the Moravian Board of Cooperative Ministries (BCM).