Dear Students, Parents, and Leaders,
In this “Youth Ministry Reimagined” update, you will read about ideas from the Adult Youth Leaders, an excellent article written about Youth Alpha at our church, and upcoming dates. Please continue to join us in sharing your feedback and praying for the future of our Youth Ministry.
Dear PARENTS: We would really like for you to take 1-2 minutes to complete the survey below (if you did not do it last month). Just click on the link below:
We surveyed some of our Adult Youth Leaders last month about why they serve and improvements we could make in our Youth Ministry. Here is what they said:
Why do you serve as a Youth Leader?
- They are fun to be with and I want help guide them through a very formative time in life and be a positive role model for them. I want to see them develop their own relationship with Jesus and carry it on to college and the rest of their lives.
- Our students have a lot to learn about the Bible, salvation and life in general … and because they are eager to learn, I enjoy teaching them all I can.
- I love this age because they are crucial years of one’s life to form the kind of person they are going to be the rest of their life-values, beliefs, and all. I want to help mold them to seek Christ, and not the world, to meet thier needs.
Where could we improve in the current programming of our youth ministry? How do you see yourself fitting into that?
- I think we should have more time for small groups and 1-on-1 interactions. It would be great to have some intentional time to solidify the relationships between students and leaders.
- In the past, I think our weakest areas of youth ministry have been the transition periods into Jr.High, into High School, and into the 18-20Somethings groups. I know most of the PAK (5th-6th grade kids) from Awana and Day Camp and I don’t understand why more of them don’t go directly into the Jr.High Youth Group when they are able. I will continue promoting that YG to them, but something more may be needed even beyond this new approach to youth ministry.
Please give a suggestion on how we can better create an atmosphere in which every student feels like they can be themselves (at combined JH & HS gatherings)?
- Have the upper classmen be paired up with a younger student or create small teams where students get to know each other and have to work together towards a common goal.
- I’ve seen this concept work in other areas so consider pairing Senior High boys (“big brothers”) with Jr.High boys (“little brothers”) and do the same with the girls so that we cultivate a caring, mentoring relationship between the two groups. Most of the effort and commitment may fall upon the high schoolers’ shoulders, and why not if they truly are disciples of Christ ready to love others.
- Small group settings in leader’s homes.
In the past year, our Youth Ministry has had three of our own “Youth Alpha’s” (Jr High last spring; High School last spring; High School guys last Winter). We are confident that Youth Alpha will be an integral aspect of our future Youth Ministry programming.
Our very own Matt & Christine Massie were recently featured in an article about the Youth Alpha Course at Coffeehouse. (http://www.alphausa.org/Articles/1000131980/Why_Wouldnt_we.aspx)
Why Wouldn’t We Do Alpha With This Group Of Guys?
Matt Massie, High School Community Outreach Director At Bloomingdale Church, Has A Mission In His Own Backyard Of Bloomingdale IL.
On Friday nights Matt and his wife, Christine, lead 264.Coffeehouse (264 referencing the church address). Coffeehouse is a safe, relaxing environment where unchurched high school students can hang out with their friends. Most of these kids have had some association with church in the past but don’t normally attend church anymore.
One student said that he used to attend church while growing up on the south side of Chicago. Unfortunately, his experience consisted of being “verbally and physically beat up” and left him with a fear of ever returning to a church environment. However, through Coffeehouse, another student had the opportunity to befriend him, saying “If you go, I’ll go.” At that point, Matt and Christine felt that a spiritual component needed to be integrated into Coffeehouse.
Matt built relationships with several guys who consistently showed up at Coffeehouse and noticed that they played basketball at a park right around the corner from the church. Being into sports himself, Matt started playing basketball with the guys on Fridays, before heading to Coffeehouse. During their basketball games, he met a handful of new students who then also started going to Coffeehouse.
Meanwhile, Bloomingdale Church had asked Matt to lead their next Youth Alpha course. By the time they were getting close to starting Youth Alpha, Matt was hanging out, playing ball with an average of 15 guys every Friday. “As I was asked to lead Youth Alpha”, says Matt, “my wife and I were thinking about what that would look like. Then it just came to us … like God was saying ‘you have this crowd right in front of your faces’. We thought – why wouldn’t we do Alpha with this group of guys? We felt that God was telling us to do Alpha for this specific group of guys, for this specific season. Every week, it’s so great to see this group of guys, 98 percent of which do not have a relationship with God and 100 percent of them do not come to our church at all.”
Through Youth Alpha, these young men are opening up more and more. Matt (who leads the talks) and the small group leaders see them asking big questions now, all on topic, and all great to hear. Some of them have asked, “Was God responsible for the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs?”; “Why do bad things happen good people?”; “Who created God?”
“I wasn’t expecting any of these questions”, says Matt. “And I think, for a teenage boy sixteen or seventeen years old, it takes a lot of courage to come up to an adult and ask a question.”
“I also appreciate that Alpha is very easy to teach because it focuses on the things that are key in forming a foundation of faith. The ten minute talk goes by very through quickly and leaves a bit of ambiguity. And I think that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in, to help connect the dots.”
“Personally, teaching Youth Alpha has sharpened my own faith”, says Matt. “It’s invigorating to see God work as we get out of the way and let God do his thing. It’s been life giving. Friday is a long night but in no way life draining. Physically, we may be tired but, spiritually, we are all the more excited that every Friday we get to speak the gospel to these guys. We pray that this would be the start of something in them and that, at some point, they will all come to know God.”
To be honest, I am a little giddy to share this update with you. Why? Well, I do love research, especially when the results come in. More so, like you, I care deeply about our Youth Ministry and want the best things to come from the influence we have together.
Below you will find a new survey (for parents), fresh feedback (from you), and details about our new programming focuses.
Will you take some time to read it?
Daniel (& Amy, Jen Hampshire, Matt & Christine Massie and over 60 youth leaders and mentors)
Parents, we would love to get your input. It will only take 1-2 minutes to fill out this survey.
SOME RESPONSES TO THE MOST RECENT STUDENT/PARENT/LEADER SURVEY…
What is the #1 thing you would like to see different about the weekly Youth Group gathering?
- Some prayer time would be nice each week to focus your mind.
- More worship!
- If you put Jr. High and High School together, just make sure we don’t spend the lesson/small group time together. Worship and games would be okay together if needed. Just a suggestion so we can still hang out and bridge the gap, but also have time to feel comfortable sharing/connecting in our smaller, split off groups.
- More small group talk time, about life and about the lesson
- The most important is God’s Word. Deeper study of the Word; taking in to consideration that God’s Word does not come back void.
- As a parent, depression and lack of confidence seems to run rampant in their lives; tools to help them
- More focus on developing their walk with Christ…how to “do” quiet times with God (how it looks).
- I feel like topics that a lot of people struggle with in high school needs to be addressed (i.e. gay marriage, alcohol, sex before marriage.) In order for us to have a solid moral and opinions on a subject we need to have some biblical backgrounds.
- Topics that might make it easier to bring friends to more focus on local issues
- More game time
- I think we should let God just take things over once in awhile and have like a free week or something
- More special speakers and series topics
What is the #1 thing you would like to see different about offsite outreach events [Junior High] or Coffeehouse [High School]?
- More unity…not so many people doing their own thing.
- More spontaneous opportunities at Coffeehouse to include floaters and get people mingling. That works well.
- At youth group (like we used to do) visiting people, working for people, writing cards to people, etc
- Outreach and fellowship are important and should not be open to filthy or corrupt langauge as well as music that is too secular.
- I’d like to see outings and get-togethers (at students and leader’s homes) for the purpose of fun and fellowship. This would promote relationship-building and build bonds that will support the teens in their Christian walk.
- More serving in the community.
- Having an outreach night every now and then where we can help the community in some way together
- Small outings should be planned on a more personal level between leader and student. I remember once Jen and I (female student) went out to coffee and it meant so much to me. If we all were able to connect on a deeper level, the group would be able to be vulnerable with one another.
- More game days at Coffeehouse
- More variety of stuff like potlucks or stuff with food
- More people mixing
- A summer welcome party/cookout/hangout
- Give us a mission to think about
A Unified Youth Ministry with 3 CORE FOCUSES
If you have not picked up on it yet, we are looking to make significant Youth Ministry changes in the next six months. While change is challenging, we are willing to do whatever it takes to chase after Jesus’ mission to love Him and His people.
Some of these upcoming changes include:
- A unified team of Adult Volunteers and Youth Staff, focusing on key ministry areas benefiting the greater whole (Community Outreach, Discipleship, and Care)
- Utilizing different discipleship angles (large group, small group, and one-on-one) and balancing our programming (evangelistic outreach, discipleship, and “member-care”)
- Adjusting the weekly programming schedule to create opportunities to emphasize new programs (ex: The Mentoring Project, Small Groups, Youth Alpha)
Our Three Core Focuses will be:
COMMUNITY OUTREACH (Lk 10:2; Acts 17:22-23)
- Being a safe place for students in our community
- Being present in our community
- Providing a space for spiritual conversations
- Living out Christ’s mission to share His Good News
DISCIPLESHIP (Heb 10:25, Acts 2:1)
- Large community gathering for worship, prayer, learning, and being onMission
- Time and topic-specific small groups for anyone who wants to “go deeper”
- Encouragement and coaching
CARE (1 Cor 11:1)
- The Mentoring Project: connecting students with Christ-following mentors who will walk alongside them as they become mature confident adults
- Parent support, development, encouragement
- Volunteer care and development
The 7th-12th grade guys are hanging out on Friday, January 4th. It’s going to be epic!
Come at 7:30. Stay as late as 11:30. Meet in the gym.
The Winter Banquet is a night out for parents to celebrate great food, theater, and friendships. As is tradition, each annual banquet has a theme too. Therefore, we hope you will join us not only as guests, but as participants in solving the case of the missing person.
For the last six years our Chicagoland Alliance Youth network has come together for an awesome winter camp experience for junior high and high school students. We have a great weekend planned for you including winter activities, worship, teaching, small groups, and plenty of time to hang out with your friends and leaders.
THE SPIRIT OF LIFE. THE GIFT OF GOD. THE COUNSELOR. THE SPIRIT OF GLORY. THE SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD. Have you ever wondered about the Holy Spirit? Who is He? What is He all about? … and why does He sometimes seem forgotten? You’re invited to join the conversation about who the Holy Spirit is at Disciple Now 2012.
DNow is a weekend journey to know God more. DNow is unique because all the activities are held at Bloomingdale Church and the surrounding community.
- Parents/Guardians must give permission. (Online only)
- An annual YG Contract must be on file. (If you did not complete one this fall, go to: www.storiesof.us/offsite to print the contract. Turn in to gym office mailbox)
- Online registration is open now and closes Sunday, November 11.
- The cost is $45/student or $70/family (discounted for multiple family members).
Online Permission: 1 student in family ($45)
Arrival: Friday 7-7:45PM
Departure: Sunday 12PM
Who is our speaker?
Jonathan Thurman grew up in the cornfields of Ohio and came to know the Lord at a young age. After High School, he moved to Africa for a year where God gave him an interest in missions. He has led small groups for Jr. High, High School, and College students in the past and is currently a student at Moody Bible Institute. Jonathan and his wife, Felicia, sense the Lord leading them to a career as overseas Missionaries in the future, but for now he is grateful for the opportunity to teach the Bible in Chicagoland.
The students will be staying in pre-arranged church member’s homes on Friday & Saturday night. Each host home will have host parents. The host parents will provide sleeping quarters and are welcome to participate in the in-home activities.
Small Group Leaders
There will be two adult small group leaders in each small group. Students will be guided by their small group leader. Leaders will also stay at the host home and lead small group breakouts.
Saturday Afternoon Breakouts
Each student will have an opportunity to choose one Saturday afternoon Sacred Space activity based upon how they best connect with God personally. Options will include: worship through the arts, nature, stillness, service, and Bible study. Most of these options include visiting a different place around DuPage County.
Saturday Night Chicagoland Youth Gathering
We are connected with a family of churches called the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). The C&MA is a worldwide movement to make known the good news of Jesus. We are blessed to have others who are on the same mission right in our neighborhood. On Saturday night we’ll gather with five other C&MA churches for a student-led, out-of-the-box night of praise and worshipPacking List
Whether you are trying to find a mentor or you are on the fence about The Mentoring Project, we wanted to invite you to our next male and female community outings. All students are invited!
Oct 6: Female Outing: apple picking! 8:30a-12:15. Meet at church.
Oct 13: Male Outing: bonfire & meat-roasting! 7-9pm. Daniel Riem’s house (145 S. Circle Ave, Bloomingdale).
Imagine thousands of students authentically experiencing God and being inspired to expand His
Kingdom. Imagine worshiping and growing closer to Christ. Imagine connecting with new friends,
serving together and helping start churches. Imagine an activity hall filled with Big Toys, sports, and interactive games. Imagine seminars, awesome concerts and incredible experiences.
We hope you can imagine yourself at LIFE 2013!
RENEW | God’s Mission. Our Purpose
We are journeying through The Story at Youth Group to…
- See the big picture of God’s great Story
- Listen for God’s direction through Scripture and insights from their leaders and peers
- Learn deep truths about the character and nature of God
- Express their learnings and thoughts through discussion and creative mediums
- Discover new insights and directions for their lives in light of God’s Story
- See how our story is a part of God’s bigger Story
Don’t you agree that Junior Higher’s ROCK!?
we think it would be better if you were here…
We believe that parents are the most important person in the spiritual life of a teenager!
"we are junior high and high school teens in dupage county (illinois) connected together as friends"
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