By Starrla Cray
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Katie Kuball was a high school freshman when she started a youth group at her church near Faribault.
Now, she leads youth for a living.
“It was important then, and it’s important now,” said Kuball, who became the director of Christian education at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie Sept. 3.
Whether she’s coordinating Sunday school, instructing seventh-grade confirmation class, planning youth group activities, or leading release time (religion classes for Lester Prairie students in grades 2-6), Kuball looks forward to each day at her new job.
“It’s been amazing,” she said. “It’s exciting to see so much activity.”
St. Paul has two youth groups Kids for Christ (KFC) for grades 6-8, and Active Christian Teens (ACT) for grades 9-12.
“The biggest thing for teens is really helping them own their faith,” Kuball said. “That way, it’s not something they do just because their parents believe it.”
At their weekly meetings, the students hang out, play games, and spend time in God’s Word through Bible study and prayer. Youth also participate in monthly activities/service projects, and take an annual mission trip to KI Sawyer Air Force Base in Gwinn, MI.
“We try to have a balance between fun and serving time,” Kuball said, explaining that get-togethers can range from taking cookies to nursing home residents, to sharing an evening around a bonfire.
“Lock-ins are always a big hit,” she added.
Before accepting the call in Lester Prairie, Kuball served three years as director of Christian education at a church in Menomonee Falls, WI.
“We got really into badminton, and started our own league,” Kuball said of that youth group.
Another memorable event was a digital scavenger hunt, a competition in which youth are sent out to find and take pictures of things on a list.
The first time Kuball did one of these hunts, she was in her own youth group in high school.
When Kuball was younger, however, youth group at her church had primarily consisted of just a yearly mission trip.
“A group of about five of us decided we wanted something more,” she said.
They found youth advisers to lead them, and started a weekly Bible study and other activities.
“I really needed a place to grow in my faith,” Kuball said, explaining that the group was especially important because in ninth grade, she transitioned from a Lutheran school with a class of 28 students, to a public school with nearly 300 students in her grade.
At St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie, Kuball is excited to spend time with the teens and pre-teens in youth group, as well as the students in her other classes.
“The teaching aspect of my job is probably my favorite,” she said.
Kuball has a degree in lay ministry and theology, specializing in youth ministry and parish teaching.
“My goal for this year is to get to know the kids, their families, and the community, and then build on those relationships,” she said.
Kuball can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.