- A community of Christ-followers who daily model Jesus’ mission, especially to younger people. They are committed to investing in a student’s life in little, medium or big ways.
- Students who feel sought out by adults from our faith community. Each adult helps the student realistically apply their faith to daily life.
- It takes a village. In the village of God’s people there are many adults who are willing to come alongside a parent in support. (Our spiritual community is blessed to have many adult role models and mentors who care for teens.)
- God brings all people together: young and old, rich and poor, wise and foolish. We can learn from regularly being together with people from different generations.
5 TO 1
In addition to Christ-following parents (if possible), we have discovered that students need additional Christ-following adult youth volunteers, family, friends, and mentors who connect with them one-on-one. While a 1:5 ratio of adults to students may seem adequate, we are striving to flip the equation to a 5:1 adult-to-student ratio. (www.stickyfaith.org/articles/the-church-sticking-together)
We hope for every student connected to our youth group to have (at least five) consistent, deep relationships with people who will guide them toward Biblical truth. The first (two) people are hopefully a student’s parents/guardians. Research and Scripture (Prov 22:6) points to parents as having the most significant spiritual influence on an adolescent. Additionally, we strive for the additional adults in a student’s life to be mentor(s), youth leaders, and other Christ-following adults regularly present in their life.
Students pick 5 Christ-following adults
- Start with parents.
- Then consider other adults (working toward) five consistent, deep relationships.
A Christ-following adult:
- Believes that God is trustworthy and has a plan. Knows his/her value is in Him.
- Has a personal everyday relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Regularly studies God’s Word and listens to the Holy Spirit.
- Cares about his/her community.
- Lives onMission, making disciples.
A regular connection with a student is:
- Faithfully showing up in the life of a student, modeling and sharing values.
- Intentionally seeking out a space to “check-in” to see how they are really doing.
- Can be “face-to-face” (meeting together) or “side-to-side” (doing things together).
The Mentoring Project is a mentoring initiative within the Bloomingdale Church community connecting 11-18 year old guys with Christian men and 11-18 year old girls with Christian women who will walk alongside them as they become mature confident adults.
Mentors and mentees meet at least every other week for at least one year. The male and female mentoring community have 6 planned outings (Saturdays) each year in addition to being encouraged to participate in the monthly serving events. Mentors and mentees make a one-year commitment to meet twice-a-month.
FINDING A MENTOR
There are typically three ways to find a mentor:
- A parent/guardian who would like his/her teenager to be mentored signs him/her up at tmp.bloomingdalechurch.org/mentee. (Student will be added to “waiting list.” A Youth Staff member or TMP Contact person will be in touch with you.)
- A student who would like to be mentored talks to his/her parent/guardian about being mentored and their parent/guardian signs him/her up at tmp.bloomingdalechurch.org/mentee. (The student will be added to “waiting list.” A TMP Contact Person will be in touch with you.)
- A trained TMP mentor reaches out to a potential mentee (including his/her parent/guardian) and talks about potentially forming a mentoring relationship.
- A potential mentor completes TMP training and “Volunteering With Minors” paperwork, and has been cleared to mentor .
- A potential mentee and his/her parents talk about being mentored and sign up at: tmp.bloomingdalechurch.org/mentee. (He/she is now on the “waiting list.”)
- The most current mentee waiting list is regularly shared with potential mentors.
- The TMP leadership (initiated by the Youth Staff, assisted by Contact Persons and Mentor Coaches) suggest and help make potential connections.
- A potential mentor asks a potential mentee and his/her parents/guardian if he/she would like to be mentored.
- Potential mentor and mentee meet together with mentee’s parents/guardians to determine if a mentoring relationship can form.
- Mentor and mentee and mentee’s parent/guardian sign one year commitment form and turn it in..
Adult Youth Leaders build purposeful relationships with students with the intention of helping students become more like Jesus. Some ways they do this are by hanging out with students, contacting students, writing encouraging notes, listening to them, visiting them outside of program nights, and faithfully praying for them. Adult youth leaders focus on students of the same gender.
Helping 7th, 9th, and and graduating 12th grade students make a natural transition through a fun social care and connecting group.
7th Grade Bridge Group: Leaders begin contacting students in winter, ramping up contact in spring and summer. Plan group events in May (after Awana finishes). Promote 7th Grade Banquet (June). Plan 5-6 social events during summer.
Freshman Bridge Group: Leaders begin contacting students in winter, ramping up contact in spring and summer. Plan 4-5 social events during summer.
18.20s Bridge Group: Group begins in fall, meeting about once a month. Led by 18.20somethings. Discuss topics that interest seniors. Help transition seniors to 18.20something in the summer. Promote Graduated Senior’s Banquet (June).
Supervised practical training for the onMission lifestyle
The “Student Internship” is designed to follow Jesus’ model for discipleship.
- Concentrating on a few people, Jesus’ team was made up of ordinary people, who had a teachable heart and the potential to be kingdom leaders. (Acts 4:13)
- Jesus saw potential in people, called it out in them, and gave them the opportunity to marry their talents with his mission.
- Jesus taught how to serve and then sent people out, making sure they came back regularly for more instruction. (Luke 10:1-7, 17)
Our Youth Ministry strives to:
- Create opportunities for students to work out their faith through service and leadership opportunities within our church and youth ministry.
- Be a training ministry, giving students opportunities to develop their God given talents. Whether they choose to become scientists, business people, pastors, or landscape architects, we want students to realize that God gave them talents and wants them to develop those talents in vocational training to serve his kingdom!
- Provide increasing amounts of ministry leadership for those who are ready for it.
- 1 (one) semester commitment
- Applying students will choose a “Ministry Focus Area (MFA)”/Internship Mentor
- A weekly check-in “coaching call” with their Internship Mentor
- A weekly assignment in the “Ministry Focus Area (MFA)”
- A team meeting of all Student Interns and mentors for training, teambuilding, and feedback every six weeks on Sundays.