By RENEE FITE
Teen ministry involves one-on-one time, face-to-face, without cell phones, to be effective.
Kids with access to cell phones can’t help texting or interacting outside of a group meeting instead of being present and involved for discussions.
At least that is the way Shana Dry sees it.
“The youth of today are very knowledgeable and have so much to offer,” Dry said. “They want to be listened to and to be loved.”
The Education Ministries director and youth director at First United Methodist Church said she has great hope in the future with what is happening in their youth group.
Dry has an open-door policy, and all youth know her cell phone number and know they can call her anytime day or night.
“I am constantly planning and having activities for them to be a part of so that they can be involved in something positive that may impact their lives in a loving Christian way,” said Dry.
The youth of today are so complicated and filled with so many activities to do along with so much technology that Dry believes sometimes they need to unwind and just be where they are.
“Every meeting, I take up their cell phones while we are together. They complained about it at first but now I believe its not a problem at all,” she said. “This gives them the opportunity to interact person-to-person instead of looking at a phone.”
For seven years, Dry has served as youth director and three years in Education Ministries at the Tahlequah. Before that, she served at a Sand Springs church and a small church in Oklahoma City.
“I have been called to ministry quite some time. I knew I was called to full-time ministry and I do love to preach,” she said. “I am called to serve in all areas of the ministry, that is why I work so well with the children and youth of the church.”
Her responsibilities include being in charge of all activities for infants, children and youth. Currently she is attending Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa. She graduated from high school in Pawhuska and earned a bachelor of arts degree at Oklahoma City University.
Influences on her ministry began in her youth with pastor Roger and wife Susan Wood, who also served as the youth directors.
“They were used by God to shape me and educate me about Christianity and the love that surrounds you and is in you being a Christian,” Dry said.
The other mentor is Reverend James Graham, pastor at Tahlequah FUMC.
“He has been working with me as a mentor and leader in my faith to know and understand myself that God has blessed me with a gift of great compassion, humility, and to share the love of Christ with others,” she said.
The youth have many opportunities to earn money for projects and mission trips.
“The church supports missionary Kristen Brown in Bethlehem and the youth go on a mission trip every summer. Some of the members went to Jamaica for a mission trip this past summer.”
Other mission trips have been to Puerto Rico, and Chicago and just this past summer the youth went to Denver and worked with the homeless teens and young mothers of the city.
One person she can always depend on as a sponsor on the mission trips, or other activities is husband of 21 years, Duffy Dry. They have three children: Angelea, 21; Christian, 12; and Ja’Lynn 7.
“Duffy goes on all mission trips and all youth events. He is a member of the church and is also involved in the life of a church,” she said. “He was born and raised in Tahlequah, and moved here about 20 years ago.”
Tahlequah is a wonderful place to raise a family, she said.
“We love our church family and the Tahlequah community,” said Dry. “We are a welcoming and loving church and want everyone to know that we welcome you with open arms and want you to come join us and come as you are.”