Our top goal for the Youth Ministry of our congregation is to help parents teach their children about Jesus and feed their growing faith to the best of our ability. To that end, we are excited to be streamlining and combining all our youth Christian education opportunities into one larger ministry. Our prayer is that God blesses our efforts and guides our young people as they prepare for a lifetime of “Growing in Grace.”
“Growing in Grace” Youth Ministry is not making drastic changes to what we do as a congregation. The biggest adjustment is what was formerly “Sunday School.” We are combining all Christian Education opportunities for our children age 4 through Grade 12 into two hours on Wednesday evenings during the school year.
“Growing in Grace” Youth Ministry:
· Age 4 – 4th Grade - Group 1
o This group will spend time going through traditional Sunday School stories, focusing on key accounts in Scripture and building a foundation for young faith. The group will meet as one class and be taught by a small number of different teachers throughout the year.
· 5th Grade – 6th Grade - Group 2
o This group will spend two years digging deeper into the key chapters and accounts of Scripture, building on the foundation begun in their earlier years and preparing for the in-depth doctrinal content of the following years. In two years, we will go through highlights of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. As we go through Scripture, we will study various doctrinal points as they come along. This class is taught by Pastor Rodrigue.
· 7th Grade – 8th Grade - Group 3
o This group will spend two years studying in-depth the main doctrinal teachings of the Bible. As we spend time with each doctrine, we will view a wide variety of Scriptural support for it. During these years, students will also learn how to do self-guided study of Scripture. This class is taught by Pastor Rodrigue.
· 9th Grade – 12th Grade - Group 4
o This class aims to help teenagers remain connected to Jesus and seek God's guidance as they navigate pivotal years in life. The class uses a variety of study methods (direct Scripture study, book studies, podcasts, etc.) to build on the strong foundation from pre-high school years. It also gives teenagers a safe space to talk about current issues and challenges they are facing and ask questions about how to apply God's Word in their lives. This class is currently taught by Emily Rodrigue.
· Classes will meet on Wednesday evenings during the school year, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.
o The two younger groups will meet from 5:30pm-6:30pm.
o The two older groups will meet from 6:30pm-7:30pm.
Blessings of This Plan:
· Currently, the main population of Grace is an older demographic. The children we have may not see each other very often, especially if they are among the few who come on Sunday mornings. While this approach does not immediately solve Sunday mornings, it does provide a tremendous opportunity for our children to be encouraged by the presence of other children in their own congregation.
o At 6:30pm, in between the two sessions, every child in our congregation ages 4 to 18 has the opportunity to see each other, interact with each other, and be encouraged by the presence of the rest, knowing they are not alone here at Grace.
o All throughout this plan, there are "next steps" for children to keep learning and growing in God's Word. The children participating will see that staying connected to Jesus isn't just for a specific age or grade level, but rather that it is a lifelong process and privilege. It also presents our congregation with an opportunity to work on engaging our young people as they seek ways to be connected to our church family, even after their high school years are completed.
· This approach effectively serves the families who are currently part of our congregation. For 2023-2024, nearly every child in the “Age 4 – 4th Grade” group has an older sibling in the confirmation class age groups. Parents don’t have to find time to make an extra trip and the children of all ages in the family have something for them to attend on the same night.
· Our congregation is somewhat uniquely suited to having Youth Ministry time NOT on Sunday mornings as we have a long history of “Saturday School”, which many of our members participated in and still remember.
We understand this plan and approach is not without its challenges. But this seems to be the best plan right now as we seek to faithfully serve our members of all ages, especially fostering in our younger members a love for Jesus their Savior. Please pray that the Lord will bless our efforts. If you would like to be part of this wonderful ministry opportunity or have questions and would like more information, please speak with Pastor Rodrigue. Thank you!