History of devozine

This article appeared in the first issue of devozine (May/June 1996) and describes the very beginnings of devozine magazine—a publication for teens, by teens.


We Can Do This!

One Group’s Passion for Spiritual Growth

A small youth group in Hartford, South Dakota, made a big difference when they asked the governing body of their denomination for a new youth devotional magazine.

The seeds are planted

During the spring of 1991, some of the youth of Hartford United Methodist Church wrote and shared devotions as part of their confirmation expectations. After Confirmation, they missed this experience. Some of them tried using The Upper Room daily devotional guide, but what they really longed for was a collection of meditations written by youth.

Something needed to be done. But what?

“We can do this!”

We Can Do This!With the help of Bill Gran, pastor of Hartford UMC, and Randy McGuire, Director of Camping and Youth Ministries for what is now the Dakotas Conference, the youth began to work on a petition to send to the General Conference of The United Methodist Church. They became more enthusiastic with each word they wrote. “We can do this!” describes the attitude that Randy McGuire remembers as the youth prepared the petition.

The youth wrote, “We believe the youth of our church need to know the mutual support and witness of other youth celebrating and struggling with daily faith issues in their lives … [and need] an outlet for the expression of their own spiritual highs and lows and an opportunity to give witness to what God is doing in their lives.”

Stephanie Gran, Bill Gran’s daughter, was a sophomore in high school in the fall of 1991. She and her sister, Jennifer, who was a member of the South Dakota Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM), were instrumental in taking the petition to the right places to get it approved. Finally, it was presented to General Conference in May 1992, and legislation “encouraging the General Board of Discipleship to consider development of a youth devotional” passed.

Hartford youth group - 1st Devo issue“We need something now!”

The Hartford youth group, along with other youth who had gotten involved at the conference and jurisdictional levels, were excited. But they also felt that youth needed a devotional right away. So they rolled up their sleeves and began to put one together themselves.

Stephanie Gran, by now chair of the North Central Jurisdiction Youth Ministry Organization, sent a letter to all 72 CCYMs in the US and asked each council to submit meditations written by youth. “It really felt good to be a part of something that would hopefully make a difference in the lives of other youth,” she recalls. Sixty devotions were collected, copied, and sent to all the CCYMs. Seven of these meditations appear in the first issue of devozine. (If you have a copy of the May/June 1996 issue, see meditations 9, 14, 15, 16, 36, 52, and 56.)

This youth group didn’t let its small size get in the way of a big vision. Do you have an idea for your community, your church, the world? What steps can you take to give it a beginning?


—from devozine® (May/June 1996). Copyright ©1996 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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