Have you ever been a part of something you just cannot stop talking about?   In addition to my amazing wife Amy, our daughter Mari, and my love for Jesus, family, and all things outdoors, this is how I feel about our Youth Ministry.  I love sharing what is happening and what that could mean for our future.  I love bragging about what God is doing.

This past June, as you hopefully have heard, we completed an extensive internal research project (storiesof.us/reimagined). We concluded that it was essential to make significant youth ministry programming [method] changes to reflect our mission: “a safe and welcoming place for students to develop friendships, be mentored, and find Jesus.”

For the past four months, we worked to implement these programming shifts.  Let’s celebrate some of our recent “wins”:

Friday Night Coffeehouse

  • We love how Coffeehouse is a safe place for all students, including “regulars,” guests, and returning guests.
  • Each Friday night about 50% of our attendees are guests or returning guests.
  • Every student hears a simple talk about the hope we can have in Jesus.
  • On September 27th, 75 people attended our Coffeehouse Volleyball Tourney.

Sunday Morning Youth Group

  • Under the leadership of Nate and Anna, “Sunday School” has been transformed into a “communal, youth group worshiping, praying, and learning environment.”
  • We have been averaging about 40-50 students.
  • We continue to see guests, especially from Coffeehouse, coming.

Small Groups

  • We have completed 5 of 8 weeks in our first round of Small Groups.
  • Each small group (6 total) has had a consistent 4-10 attendees.
  • Matt and Nathan launched a Monday afternoon Basketball/Bible Study.
  • We are already planning for Youth Alpha (January-February 2014) and the next session of Small Groups (March-April 2014).


  • A group of 15 students and their family members served with Matt and Christine at Marklund Children’s Home on September 28th.  All of the available spots were filled and they had an awesome morning together.

The Mentoring Project

  • About 20 men and teen guys hung out together on October 6th for a Bears Tailgate (male mentoring group).
  • We continue to pray and work toward matching students who are interested in being mentored with a Christian adult in our church who has been trained.
  • We are training new mentors on November 2.