Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Nichols named to new Young Adult post


‘You can’t watch a PT kid click into reading mode, be told he has raised his reading level in one summer, and not be affected.’ — Sarah Nichols

By Holly McCray and Amelia Ballew

The Conference’s Office of Mission has named Sarah Nichols to the new post of director of Young Adult Mission and Service.

She began work Feb. 10; her office is in the United Methodist Ministry Center, 1501 N.W. 24th St., Oklahoma City.

She will give her attention to two major areas.

  • Nichols will be executive director of Project Transformation, which operates Christian, literacy-focused daycamps in summer for elementary students in Oklahoma.

  • She will seek to engage young adults more deeply in the Church’s service around the world.

She also will be the Conference’s liaison to the Youth Force leadership.

Jeremy Basset, director of the Office of Mission, said Nichols’ efforts will enhance "a big dream of connecting young adults and utilizing their tremendous energy and gifts for the Church and its work in the world."

Generation Transformation is a new initiative by the denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries, in relationship with annual conferences. Rev. Basset explained it recruits and places young adults in mission through three categories.

  • Global Mission Fellows, ages 20-30, serve two-year commitments in domestic or international ministry.

  • Global Justice Volunteers, ages 18-30, work in 10-week mission opportunities during summers.

  • Individual Volunteers, ages 18 and older, serve during flexible service periods of 2 months to 2 years.

Nichols will promote this initiative across the Conference and mentor participants.

She also will encourage young adult Oklahomans to think and act missionally in even more ways, including locally.

Among the options are Volunteers In Mission, the Young Adult Ministry Council, and Project Transformation.

The overall purpose to help young people move deeper into the life of the Church, perhaps even discerning a call into mission and service ministry, Basset said.

Nichols’ passionate commitment to the Church has been shaped by her own extensive involvement in mission service. She said a two-week VIM trip to Africa changed her life as a high school senior. She has been a Conference Youth Ministry officer and General Conference delegate.

She has worked as a Project Transformation intern and encourages other PT internship alumni to contact her.

"Kids in low socioeconomic situations are losing the battle to become good readers. There’s a lot we can do through PT and through our Methodist heritage to put an emphasis on education," Nichols said. "There are people in pews all over the state in Methodist churches that believe they have the capability to make an impact, and that’s why they support the ministry."

She wants to spark "sacred anger" in young adults to battle injustices.

"That leads into young-adult missions. We’ve got a generation with fire in their boots, already demanding change for a lot of things," Nichols said.

"You can’t watch a PT kid click into reading mode, be told he has raised his reading level in one summer, and not be affected. We want young adults to become whatever God is calling them to become. What would it mean to have [young] people go to work on Monday talking about their awesome weekend mission experience? Excited about what they’ve done with their church community?

"It would change the world."

Sarah is the daughter of David Nichols and Tish Malloy, who is Stillwater District superintendent.

She comes to the Conference office from Moore, where she was co-coordinating the deployment of numerous volunteer disaster response teams into areas affected by May’s tornadoes. Prior to that, Nichols spent three years with Teach for America, in Indiana and Alabama.

She earned a B.S. in political science and justice studies from Oklahoma City University and a master’s in teaching from Marian University.

You can contact Nichols by email: snichols@okumc.org.


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