Parents of Senior & Junior Youth (and others!),
A couple months ago, several of our youth leaders and I met to discuss plans for this upcoming ministry season. With Annika Vriend leaving to go on TREK with MB Mission, we had a lot to discuss as we looked forward to this upcoming ministry & school year. After much prayerful discussion, we have decided to make a few significant changes to this years youth ministry beginning in September 2016.
I’m writing to let you know about those changes.
The main change I want to let you know about is that we will be separating our Senior Youth (Gr 9-12) and Junior Youth (Gr 6-8) programs from one another, moving from a combined Junior & Senior Youth experience on Wednesday evenings to two separate experiences at different times during the week. With the age (and maturity) gap between an 11-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl being what it is, the crew felt pretty strongly that it would be best for everybody to split them up! 🙂 So, there will now be two separate youth experiences for Junior and Senior Youth starting this September.
Here is the plan for our Junior Youth starting in September (Gr 6-8):
- Junior Youth will now primarily be taking place on Sunday morning’s during the church service. After the entire worship set is completed and as the sermon begins, our Junior Youth will be excused from the service and will head to the wood gym where they will have a lesson geared specifically towards them. The reason why we are doing this is because we felt that it was a pretty big jump for most of our Junior Youth to go from Kids Church every Sunday to “Big Church” every Sunday. As our kids become Junior Youth, we want to be very intentional to continue to disciple them well. We think a separate Junior High Sunday AM experience (during the message) while also increasing their exposure to the Sunday AM service will help them with that. (FYI – This will all begin on Sunday September 11)
- As far as curriculum is concerned, we will be using the Junior Youth version of Orange Curriculum, which is the same brand of curriculum that we have been using in Kids Church. We like the idea of having some continuity for our Junior Youth and being able to cement some of the important spiritual lessons that they will have been learning in Kids Church, but in a more age-appropriate way.
- In addition to Junior Youth on Sunday mornings, we will also be planning regular social events throughout the year. We think it’s important for our kids to have a chance to do something fun together, and so we will make sure to do that as much as we can.
- Kevin Scott is the Junior Youth point leader and is organizing teaching schedules for Sunday as well as all the Junior Youth social events throughout the year. If you have any questions specific to Junior Youth, you can contact him here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is the plan for our Senior Youth (Gr 9-12):
- After hearing several of our Senior Youth express a desire for more community and more small-group-type experiences, we have decided to have Senior Youth take place weekly as a Home Church. Josh & Amber Veldman have agreed to open their home and to host this group every Wednesday night and Christa Ramsay as agreed to lead the group. As you know, ‘community’ and the Home Church experience are huge values for us as a church, and so to be able to disciple our youth in this way has the potential to be a big win for our kids. (FYI – the first night will be on Wed Sept 7th – Christa will be in touch shortly with more info)
- As far as the curriculum and content of this group is concerned, Christa and the other Senior Youth Leaders will work with the youth to discern what would be most beneficial for them. As it is with all Home Churches, there is flexibly within the group to decide what it is that they would like to discuss/study based on their needs.
- In addition to the weekly Home Church experience, we will also be planning other social experiences throughout the year for our Senior Youth.
- Christa Ramsay will be the Senior High point leader this year and will be the main leader of our Senior Youth Home Church and all other Senior High experiences that take place. If you have any questions specific to Senior Youth, you can contact her here: email@example.com.
Also, we will be making a strong effort to keep the youth section of our webpage (http://thegatheringottawa.com/kids-and-youth/youth/) up-to-date and to make sure all special events are posted here. So please be sure to bookmark that page and to check back often.
Finally, I do want to let you know that we are looking to hire a Youth Pastor some time soon. We’ve already begun having discussions as a Board of Elders about this and plan to post the position shortly. If the right candidate is to emerge, there is a possibility that we could have someone in place early 2017. I will let you know more about this process as we sort things out. But for now, please keep this in your prayers.
All of this to say that we care very deeply for our youth and are being very intentional to take the next step(s) required to grow our youth ministry and (most importantly) to disciple our youth well. That’s why we are trying the things we are trying this year, and it’s why we hope to be able to hire a Youth Pastor some time soon. We want to see our youth fall deeply in love with Jesus! I know you want that as well, and it’s great to be able to partner together as church and families to see that happen. I really hope you will be sure to make this a priority for your family and to send your youth to our youth this year!
If ever have any questions/concerns/thoughts about any of this and would like to chat, please let me know.
PS. One last note – There is a significant need for more volunteers, especially in the Junior Youth ministry on Sunday mornings and in planning the social events. If you are able to help, please let us know ASAP. Thanks! 🙂