Youth Ministry

A Message from Tricia Guerrero, Director of Children & Youth Ministry

To the Youth Community, our youth and their families:

Many of you may have seen news in the past few days about the global United Methodist Church and their vote against the LGBTQ+ community. Here at First UMC Santa Monica, our commitment is to full inclusiveness for all and that commitment will remain unwavering. The whole Western Jurisdiction, the regional United Methodist Church of which we are a part, claims this ministry as well, in partnership with many across the country and around the world.

Our global church has made a very harmful mistake.

Growing up in this church, the community and region that we do, we often forget that there are some Christians who believe differently and who think that God cares about whether a person is LGBTQ+. We forget because here at our church and in our youth group, we think it’s irrelevant to God’s love and acceptance.

A core belief of Christians – and United Methodists is that: God is love and God loves the WHOLE world, including everyone in it. And so our beliefs lead us to know that when a belief is unloving or does harm, it is not of God.

To our youth I want to remind and insist to you: God loves each of you beyond anything you can imagine, the same way that God loves each and every beloved child of God. There is no one that escapes this love of God.

For those of us who are LGBTQ+, have no doubt that you are loved by God, just the way you are. You are deeply loved by God, and that is as true today as it was yesterday. God loves you, I love you, this youth group loves you, and the people of our church love you.

As an adult, I want to say “I’m sorry that this is still a thing in the U.S.”
As a Christian, I want to say “I’m sorry this is still a thing in the church.”
As your Youth Couselors, I want to remind you, ” It’s not a thing here.”

You should feel safe, loved, and respected in our church and I promise to continue doing everything in my power to make it so. We will continue being church and loving every person who comes through our doors in just the same way as before. There are a lot of feelings to feel, a lot of thoughts to think. If you want to get ice cream and talk about this, I’d love to.

In peace and blessings,
Tricia Guerrero
Director of Children and Youth Ministry


The Youth Ministry at First United Methodist Church is a community of youth and adult volunteers who gather weekly to explore and grow in faith together. We nurture relationships with God, with other youth and with our adult counselors and mentors. We believe that being a disciple of Jesus Christ is a lifelong process of growth and development that must be journeyed with others in community. We welcome all youth in our community who would like to join us.

There are many different opportunities for the youth to participate and grow in God’s love and grace. On Sundays, the youth participate in the 10 a.m. Sanctuary Worship by serving as Acolytes, Crucifers and Lay Lectors. Sunday evenings we meet for United Methodist Youth Fellowship from 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. for various activities, music, conversation and a shared meal. Additionally, there is the Youth Service Project every summer when we serve by re-building or repairing homes across the nation.

All these activities, plus more, are open to the youth of the community.

Youth Mission Statement

The youth program at First UMC is a safe, Christ centered environment where youth can gain tools to help them explore and grow in their faith. Activities are designed to nurture relationships and build a strong, loving community. This is a place of acceptance, outreach and spirituality.

Tricia Guerrero is the Director of Children and Youth Ministry.  Read more…


SUNDAYS FOR THE YOUTH

Youth in Worship

The youth are part of our church community and participate in worship and leadership of worship in the Sanctuary each Sunday.  There is a special tradition of our youth gathering during worship and sitting together in the youth section of the balcony.  There are activity packets in the balcony to help keep the youth engaged and reflective upon the worship service.

Youth Connect

Meets on the 1st & 3rd Sundays of the month in Room 203; Youth sit together at the balcony during 10 a.m. Sanctuary Worship Service; Then, together they go to Room 203 following the Children’s MessageOption to meet in Room 203 for approx. start time 10:10 a.m.

Let’s be honest, not all youth always want to attend worship service.  Which is why First UMC offers Youth Connect, a youth-aged Sunday School.

Youth Connect leader Jen Jacques guides the teens in conversation about their faith using a resource titled “Can I Ask That?” – a Sticky Faith curriculum from the Fuller Institute.  This study invites youth to look at topics by raising hard questions that don’t have easy answers while considering them from a biblical perspective. Youth Connect provides a safe environment where questions can be addressed in an open and loving space so that relationships are deepened in community.

About Jen Jacques, Leader of Youth Connect

Jen Jacques grew up going to UMYF at Downey UMC and sometimes Santa Monica First UMC. She is currently a middle school science teacher at a small school in Los Angeles, but was previously an Assistant Youth Director at Redondo Beach FUMC. She loves working with teenagers and helping them to think more broadly about their future and who they want to be in the world. She also loves board games and all things crafty.

If you/your youth are interested or have questions about the group, contact Tricia Guerrero, Youth Ministry Director: t.guerrero@santamonicaumc.org.

Acolytes, Crucifers & Lay Lectors (grade 6-12)

Youth are encouraged to assist in the 10 a.m. Sanctuary Worship service in any of these capacities. Acolytes light and extinguish candles in the sanctuary, carry the Bible and help facilitate worship in other ways. The Crucifer carries the cross and also helps facilitate worship. Lay Lectors are readers of scripture. They lead the Call to Worship and read the scripture passage for that morning. Training is provided for each of these responsibilities. They are all great ways for youth to be involved in the worship experience.

UMYF – United Methodist Youth Fellowship (grades 6-12)

At 6 pm every Sunday the group has dinner together in Rm 300, then at 7 pm the junior high youth and senior high youth meet together or separately in Rm 304 (the Youth Lounge) and Rm 305 for devotions, discussion, recreation, parties, and programs. UMYF also consists of overnights, retreats and other events throughout the year for deepening spiritual growth and fellowship.


Youth Service Project 

Service is vital to the Christian life. We believe that it is our call from God through Jesus Christ to be in mission and relationship with those in this world who are in need. We believe that there is need both locally and beyond. During the summer we have longer mission trips where youth experience extended service work in different areas of the country.  Read more…


Youth Sunday 

On Youth Sunday, which is usually held in January, the Junior and Senior High youth plan and lead the worship service. This service reflects the way they experience their faith in the world.  Watch the Live-Stream of the 2019 Youth/Scout Sunday service.


Youth Newsletter

Communication is a part of our history, from the early letters of Paul to the churches to the sermons we hear today. Through our monthly email we hope to connect one another into the life of the youth program. The email is sent toward the end of the work week to prepare both youth and parents for upcoming events and other matters. For more information, or to be placed on the email list, contact Tricia Guerrero (310) 393-8258 ext. 104 or fill out the form below.


First UMC takes the safety of the children and youth very seriously. We follow Safe Sanctuaries® practices, which is our commitment to the physical safety and spiritual growth of all of our children, youth, and adults.

For more information about these safety measures call the church office (310) 393-8258 Tuesday – Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For questions regarding Youth Ministry, please fill out the form below.