Q&A with DCE Suzanne Watt

Since 2010, Watt has led youth and adults on seven servant event trips.

Suzanne Watt

Suzanne Watt has served as director of Christian education (DCE) at Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Tulsa, Okla., since 2007. In addition, she is currently serving her third term as youth executive for the LCMS Oklahoma District, where all elected executives also serve in a parish setting. Since 2010, she has led multiple groups from her church, both youth and adults, on servant events. Watt recently took a few minutes to talk about her work and the benefit she sees in getting young people involved in service.

What does a director of Christian education do?

A: A DCE serves as a lifespan Christian educator, mostly in congregational settings, to teach the faith to the variety of age groups that make up a congregation. Many of us have specialties in children’s, youth or family ministry. Over time, I’ve discovered I have a real passion for confirmation ministry and our midweek Christian education program for all ages, but my favorite age group is probably middle school. I absolutely love that age!

What does your position with the district entail?

A: I direct and oversee districtwide and regional youth events, such as our annual middle school gathering, our biennial high school gathering and other regional events. I also serve as district coordinator for the LCMS Youth Gathering, which I am very excited for in 2025 since it is in my hometown of New Orleans!

Tell me about your involvement with LCMS Servant Events.

A: Since 2010, I have led two intergenerational [groups] and five youth groups on servant event trips, three of which were LCMS Servant Events, but all of which served an LCMS ministry in some capacity. We’ve gone to New Orleans, Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Missouri and Ohio and participated in projects from mild repair work to staining, painting, brush removal and trail construction. In addition to service, trips include time for Bible study, group-building and fun activities like campfire music and hiking. Every LCMS ministry or congregation we have served with has always been so thankful for any help we can offer, and it is enjoyable to make so many friends at other congregations across the country.

How have you been blessed by your participation?

A: One of my personal favorite events was our intergenerational trip to Alaska through Alaska Mission for Christ. This connection happened at the 2010 LCMS Youth Gathering, and we ended up bringing a team of 12 the next summer. We all leaned on each other’s strengths and lifted each other up in our weaknesses. We prayed together, had Bible study together and drove around endlessly to see moose together! I think back on this trip often and the way the Holy Spirit helped our group reflect the love of Christ to the children and adults we served.

What is the benefit, especially for youth, of taking part in a servant event?

A: Our youth have grown to see service as part of their Christian life. Three years ago, we also started doing a summer service youth lock-in. We spend three days and two nights at church and do projects on the church grounds and out in the community. Such service is one small way we can take our young people out of a self-serving, self-centered culture of the world and put them in a position to show Christian care and compassion to others. We know that this service is not required of us for salvation, but we remind them continually that we serve joyfully because of what Christ has done for us. Our youth also have been able to recognize that as the Body of Christ, they can share their God-given talents and abilities in various ways. Whether an artist, builder, thinker, musician — the list goes on — each one has something to give.

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Cheryl Magness

Managing editor of Reporter and staff writer for LCMS Communications.

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