Therefore, our youth are directly accountable to the rest of the church. We seek to include the students in service to all areas of the church.
We believe our students should be integrated into the church, making sure their service is employed during major activities (Christmas, VBS, Godly Play, other ministries). They should also be serving in worship. Perhaps there could be a student worship team or youth ensemble, a drama team, or dance team. Our approach to community seeks to involve the youth in a variety of church-wide functions, and not just youth activities and events. When the student ministry is isolated, the church misses out on being blessed by the youth, and the youth miss out on the blessing of being a blessing.
We try to lead the students to look past their own personal needs and attention to the needy in the community and church. This way, they begin to live the Kingdom way now in their young age and will be accustomed to this way of living by the time they are adults.
However, we also believe it is important for our Students to have the space, and time to explore faith with and among their peers in safe, fun, and comfortable atmospheres. So we provide a number of opportunities for which they can do that.
Faith Circles are small groups that meet in the host homes of families in the church. This setting provides our students a time to delve into studies, discussions, and topics that are of interest to them.
Retreats – There is something about road trips, and being outside of your regular, comfortable environment that can create the space for you to try things that you wouldn’t try otherwise. We offer retreats through out the year, skiing, conferences, lock-ins, etc. where we can live alongside one another and share some memories together.
Some other things we do or have done include:
Hands and Feet Projects: We try to plan one day service projects or opportunities through the school year. Some projects we have worked on include: window washing, Coats for Kids, serving at Gleaners Food Pantry, and Relay for Life volunteering.
CIY: Believe Conference: A believe weekend is so many things. It’s about students connecting with students. It’s about students connecting with adults. It’s about students connecting with God. It’s about students connecting with the Word. A Believe weekend is intentionally for junior high students. Two days at believe will change a student’s life. A weekend full of drama and art elements perfectly crafted for the age-appropriate messages, and a worship service that engulfs in a community encounter with Christ. This weekend is committed to community and life change that lasts a life time. And we kick it all off with an afternoon of paintballing. SEE IT. EXPERIENCE IT. BELIEVE IT.
Summer Misison Trip: Every summer we invite any student who has completed 5th grade up to those who have just graduated high school to join us for about a week of intense faith formation. We have done mission trips in Copperhill, Tennessee at the Eagle Ranch, in New Orleans with TeamEffort, in Jamaica with a partnering church and pre-school, at Hope Hill Children’s Home in Kentucky, and other places as well. These trips are designed around creating opportunities to teach life-lessons, and faith-lessons while strengthening the support and friendships from those who they go with.
Retreat weekends: These can range from participating in a 30 Hour Famine, as students learn about the issues of poverty, and justice in the world. It may be a ski retreat where we can spend time hanging out, and enjoying having some fun. Or it may be a lock-in where we play games and watch movies with friends.