“Complaining about the state of a generation will not change it; investing in it will.” -Eric Mason in Manhood Restored (178)
Gospel-Centered Teaching: Whether it’s through informal spontaneous conversations that come up in the home, or through regular ongoing programs or official events of the church, the gospel should be at the center of our efforts to teach students. We are not to simply teach what “good Christians” should do, but rather to live their lives in response to the good news of Christ and what He has done for us.
Parental Engagement: Even into the teenage years, parents still retain the primary responsibility for teaching their children the gospel and modeling the Christian life (Deut. 6:4-9, Eph. 6:1). But as children head toward adulthood, the church’s role takes on increasing importance (Psalm 78:5-8). In all that we do to disciple students, we want to ensure that we are working together (as parents and student ministry leaders), making the biggest impact that we can!
Preparation for Life and Service in the Church: Part of our aim in discipling students to prepare them for the rest of their lives as members of a local church! Our student ministry is not to be something young men and women graduate from and then move away from involvement in the church, but rather to be a place where they grow in their love for, involvement in, and commitment to, the local church.
Keeping those values in mind, a few of the ways that we practically seek to disciple students are:
- Sunday Morning Worship: While youth ministry is a helpful tool in discipling our students, our priority according to Scripture is to ensure that our students are connected to the whole body in worshiping God (1 Cor. 12:21-23). Our worship services are Sunday mornings at 9:00 and 10:30 am, and we want all students to participate in one of those each week.
- Sunday School: If students are able to go to the 10:30 service, we’d love to have them join us at 9:00 beforehand for Sunday School. In this weekly class, we train students to read the Bible with the work of Jesus as the primary focus. We use a curriculum called the Gospel Project, spending about 45 minutes in small groups studying a passage together, and 20 minutes processing as a large group about how that passage points them to Christ.
- Wednesday Evening Youth Group: One of our main goals is to prepare students for life and service in the church. One of the main ways we do this is through our Wednesday evening Youth Group gathering. Students meet from 6:30-8:00 pm at the church for teaching and small groups–in hopes that both in content and in practice, students learn to love God and His people.
- Servant and Leadership Training (S.A.L.T.): This is a monthly time to equip students for current and future involvement in the church. Students have the opportunity to pray together, provide feedback about youth events, and receive training/encouragement to use their gifts in serving the local church. SALT meets the first Tuesday of every month during the school year from 6:00-8:00 pm at the church.
- Events: Throughout the year, students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of events, including our Fall Retreat, Winter Serve Trip, and Summer trip. While these events vary in their purposes, a common goal of every event is to allow students to form valuable friendships with each other, built around service and worship of Christ.
We would love to have middle or high schoolers join us for any—or all—of these!
Our teachers, group leaders, and other volunteers are all mature believers who have gone through screening, interviews, and background checks–and who regularly are meeting together for training and encouragement in their particular realm of service.
Jake Osborn, Student Ministry Director