A New Face in Family Ministry

August 10, 2017

Galilee hired Pam Bentley, our new Director of Youth and Family Ministry, just as Vacation Bible School started last month. We believe in throwing our staff in at the deep end!

To her credit, Pam gamely joined the kids in the Live Out Loud class of VBS and spent a week cleaning park grounds, visiting food pantries, and taking freshly baked cookies to sheriff’s deputies in the company of scores of young people she didn’t even know—yet.

“I LOVED it!” says Pam. “As a military spouse, I’ve learned that when you move to a new place and want to meet people, you just have to jump in. To me, it was perfect timing and a way to get to know the Galilee community—kids, youth, and adults. I look forward to VBS every year, so it was awesome to get to be a part of this.”

“Our Live Out Loud campers were amazing, working hard as a team to complete our projects each day.”

Pam Bentley, Director of Youth and Family Ministries.

Pam was especially impressed with the Live Out Loud motto, “The Church Has Left the Building,” and Galilee’s dedication to showing kids that faith belongs in the world, not just the sanctuary.

“Growing up, my family attended Catholic mass every Saturday night. Sitting in the pew was part of our weekend lifestyle, but we were not heavily involved in church activities outside of mass. When David and I got married, he and I were drawn to the UMC slogan, “Open hearts, open minds, open doors.”

“As I got involved in the life of the church, I discovered a more personal relationship with God. Until then, I had never been in a Bible study or small group. I had honestly never opened the Bible to read scripture! But through a mothers of preschoolers group at St. Barnabas UMC in Texas, I found support from women with strong faith. They encouraged me to buy my first Bible! We shared the joys and challenges of parenting in an open and honest way, and prayed for each other, our kids, and our families. I am grateful for my time with the women who opened my eyes to what it means to love God and love others.”

Pam and David Bentley with their daughters, Kate and Liz.

Pam was born in New Jersey, but she is a roaming Texan at heart. “My family moved to Arlington, Texas when I was 10. I met my husband, David, in high school and our immediate family lives in and around the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, so Texas always feels like home. People complain about hot Virginia summers, but as a Texan I don’t mind the heat!”

“Currently, David serves in the Navy Medical Service Corps and we have two daughters, Liz (18) and Kate (16), a cat named Fifi and a newly adopted kitten, Mimi. The Navy has moved us around quite a bit, allowing us to spend time in Japan, California, and South Carolina before arriving at Leesburg in 2011. We love it here!”

Pam (back left) with the LOL kids and volunteers in service at DeShong’s Gift Back organic, nonprofit garden.

In her role as Director of Youth and Family Ministry, Pam will oversee activities and programs for Galilee’s middle and high school youth. This will include regular lessons during the Sunday Grow Hour, as well as Sunday evening Youth Group, and special events either on a one-off basis or as part of our regular calendar like Fall Fest, reBOOT winter retreat, and more.

Encouraging young people in the life of faith is important to Pam.

“We remember those who encouraged us when we were young. For me, it was my parents and my high school band director, Mr. McDaniel, who saw potential in me as a leader although I was incredibly shy. He promoted me to conduct the band and invested a lot of time and energy to guide and encourage me to be all that I could be. Musically, he helped me reach my goal of making the Texas All-State Band and going on to college to major in music and to play clarinet professionally with the Dallas Wind Symphony for eleven seasons. Personally, he taught me the value of discipline and dedication.”

“As a parent of two teenage girls, I am grateful for the role the church has played in their lives, and those who have encouraged and influenced them to rely on God. Dropping our older daughter off at college last year was incredibly hard for me. I felt as though my “parent” time was up! I prayed for any last nuggets of wisdom I could send her way. And then, I had to let her go.”

“I had to rely on God to help her. Our youth, who face so many challenges, need positive influences in their lives to help them navigate life. It is crucial for them to know that God is with them through it all. In whatever ways I can help our youth (and parents), I pray that God will use me.”

Fall Semester of Galilee’s youth ministry will begin Sept 10.

Kick-Off Sunday for the Fall semester of Galilee Youth is September 10. The day starts with Youth & Parent Breakfast during the Grow Hour at 10:15 am. Later that night, swing by for Youth & Parent Orientation at 7 pm to hear more about Pam’s plans lesson topics, game nights, service projects, retreats, and how you can get involved

“Jump in!” Pam says. “These groups require no pre-registration. Whether you’ve been coming to Youth Group for years or have never come at all, everyone is welcome.”

Teaming with our children’s leader Bri Jones, Pam is working to provide ministry to Galilee families as a whole. “Our hope is to create an environment at Galilee where parents are supported and equipped to guide their children spiritually no matter what age – newborn into adulthood.”

“Our fall event calendar will be set soon and shared through all available media. Check the monthly bulletin, follow Galilee Family Ministry on Facebook, check our website, and feel free to reach out anytime if you have a question or need some help. My email is pam.bentley@galileeumc.org.”

We are glad to have Pam Bentley on board and are confident that she won’t be doing any of her valuable work alone. She likes to quote Philippians 4:6, after all: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Pam says, “I love this verse because it reminds me to let go and let God work out the details.”

There will be a special reception to welcome Pam on August 27 during fellowship time. Come say hello and enjoy coffee and snacks.