This school year for our curriculum, we are going through some newly created ministry values specific for our Renew youth ministry program. What are ministry values, you ask?

Well, what is something you value? You’d probably say things like, “family time,” “friendship,” “athletic or arts performance,” “good grades,” etc. If you really value these things, then you add activities to your schedule to make them happen.

In a similar way, as a youth ministry (and as a church) desiring to accomplish something specific (growing disciples, for example), we want to communicate the things we value in order to help accomplish them. In other words, what we do here should line up with these values.

So the first is this, “We believe the church needs to be a place where all youth are welcome and find belonging. This happens through authentic, meaningful relationships between adults and youth.”

All month long we’ve been discussing this at Renew. If you’d like to hear more about it, in the next couple weeks we’ll have a new month-long podcast series up. We’d love for you to listen and join the conversation. Search for the “Renewcast” on iTunes, SoundCloud or in the MPC Life app.

Stayed tuned for more to come!

Overview:

Ministry Value #1: “We believe the church needs to be a place where all youth are welcome and find belonging. This happens through authentic, meaningful relationships between adults and youth.”

Genesis 2:18 – God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.”

It’s no question from a quick read in Genesis that humanity makes choices over and over again that lead to death. But God, he creates and sees that “it is good.” And verse 18 shows us that God also knows what is “not good.” So then since humanity chooses actions that lead to death, we could say that only God knows what is good, and what is not good. And here we see that God desires for us to be in relationship with one another.

Relationships in the church, then, have potential to offer what God is referring to when he says, “it is not good for man to be alone.”

  • What are some ways that relationships have helped you? (write out some thoughts)
  • After doing that, now think about the different things that have helped connect you to the church (people, experiences, etc). Which is the most significant of these things?

Your answer to that second question might suggest that relationships are most important. This is why we believe that youth need “authentic, meaningful” relationships with adults. This is why God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.”

Resources:

October 2017 Newsletter: Ministry Values Curriculum

HS Only Night – Genesis 2 Study Guide

Renewcast 08: Ministry Value #1 – ft. Jack B & Dave H

There’s some new stuff happening in youth ministry at MPC this school year. To help explain why, here’s a stupidly simplified three sentence history lesson:

It used to be (parents you’ll remember this) that everybody in high school wanted to be the jock or cheerleader. But today, there are a wide variety of unique peer groups, and youth are completely comfortable in whichever group they fit into. In addition to this, youth and their families are insanely busy.

More than you probably realize, this changes things for youth ministry.

Let’s look at it this way: Renew meets on Tuesday nights. Sally has xyz going on. She’s unavailable to come to youth group on a Tuesday night. Billy has Tuesday night free, but he likes to dress up like a pirate (arrgh) in his free time, but no one else who comes to youth group likes to do that (why not?). So Billy never attends.

If Billy likes to dress like a pirate, and Sally is busy with xyz, and they’re just two examples of a really diverse group of youth, then expecting them all to show up on Tuesday night for youth group is kind of absurd. That used to work, but it doesn’t anymore.

The goal this year, then, is to provide more, unique opportunities for youth to get connected, rather than just a one-size-fits-all night of youth group.

So here’s a look at the 2017-2018 Youth Ministries weekly schedule: (more…)

It’s Summer 2017 which means another round of High School Seniors are beginning to see their plans for post-high school come to fruition. As a church, we recognized them at our “Honoring the Graduates” service last month. These are the words I shared with them:

There is a new journey ahead of you beginning now. The stakes are raised and the payoff much higher. There is a calling to something greater than you can know.

I want to give a plea to you to read this book we’ve given to you today (The Amazing Next by Brock Morgan). In fact, there’s a free Wood Ranch dinner available if you do before you leave for school. That’s how much I believe in this book.

Why? This is a challenge to what your faith COULD be in college; not saying that your faith is lacking, it’s just a call to something even deeper. (more…)

As an adult, have you ever spent any time inside a middle school cafeteria? Or can you at least imagine what that experience would be like? To a middle schooler, it’s an enormous square room that seems to be bigger than the Grand Canyon and echos just like it, with it’s tile floors, bare white walls, stainless steel countertops and tables with wood grain laminate covering and metal legs on plastic wheels.

Mind numbing noise fills this otherwise barren space, now packed to the brim with people pushing their way through an assembly line of slop: milky mashed potatoes, gravy as thick as molasses, limp, lifeless, leftover broccoli, and let’s not even mention the meat. Full grown, mature adults with the best of intentions would struggle in this situation, but that’s not who occupies this space. No, this cafeteria is full of middle schoolers. Cue the scene: Food fight.

We all know that middle school kids are humans, but if aliens came down among us and looked at a group of adults, making notes and observations about our behavior, and then climbed back into their spaceship and flew at the speed of light to a middle school cafeteria, they’d be scratching their over-sized green heads, confused at the obvious differences.

These middle school aged people look similar to adults, but they could be confused for bald monkeys. (more…)