The Youth Ministry at New Covenant
When I was in seminary, I was invited to preach at a church that had been without a pastor for a long time and was very small. The Sunday morning service went well. Everyone was very friendly, and we stayed there that afternoon because I was also preaching in the Sunday evening service. By the time the evening service was supposed to start, there were only five people in the sanctuary: a song leader, a piano player, one other person, and my wife
What seemed odd was that the song leader led the service as if there were at least 100 people there. We each had a bulletin. He gave a public welcome to all that were there. He waved his arms as the four of us sang. He even gave announcements. The only announcement was that I was their “special speaker” that night. As he was introducing me, I couldn’t help but be amused that he was basically telling my wife and one other person that I would be the guest preacher.
I think we sometimes forget that our structure and programs are simply tools to serve people. The real work of ministry is not just keeping the programs well-oiled or giving announcements even if there is no one present to hear them. Sometimes we need to evaluate the structure of our ministries to see if they are best accomplishing our mission to bring glory to God through Spirit-transformed lives by the beauty and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As we evaluated the youth ministry at New Covenant Bible Church, we saw two main limitations to our youth program structure. We were meeting every Wednesday night with the 7th-12th grade students for a time of games, worship, and teaching. And we were meeting each Sunday morning with the 7th-12th grade students for teaching in Sunday school.
1) Teaching to a range of 7th-12th grade students makes it difficult to teach
effectively. Because middle school students and high school students are at different place developmentally, teaching to a mix of middle school students presents challenges. It is difficult to effectively apply biblical truth to specific issues that high school students face and protect the appropriate innocence of middle school students. It is much more effective to teach middle school students and high school students in separate teaching venues.
2) Both of our teaching times (Wednesdays and Sundays) have a classroom feel. Most teens are in classroom mode all day long, 5 days a week. Coming to another class can be difficult. We really want to see the students discipled through relationships. We want to be able to use Wednesdays and Sundays in a very different way. We highly value an interactive teaching time with the teens. And due to the size of our group and the age differences, we were struggling to have good discussion times.
We are excited to announce some adjustments to the youth ministry here at New Covenant Bible Church. We have created two separate ministries to serve the families with teens in our church: a middle school ministry (6th-8th) and a high school ministry (9th-12th). Below is an overview of our new program structure in the youth group.
Beginning August 15, our Wednesday evening youth group time changed. The times are still the same, 6:45-8:15, but the location has changed. We began meeting in at the mission house (which is where we are living right now). We are going to be alternating weeks between the middle school students and the high school students. The middle school students meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month, and the high school students meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month.
Our desire is that these Wednesday meetings will be similar in some ways to a CareGroup. By that, we mean that we want them to be less like a youth version of a Sunday morning worship service. We want these times to focus on building relationships, knowing one another, caring for one another, praying for one another, studying the Bible with one another, etc. We are very excited about how God will use this as we seek to partner with families to make disciples of the youth in our church.
Sunday school resumes again on September 9th. This year, the high school class will meet in Room 200 for a class called “Bible Doctrines.” The middle school class will meet in the Fireside Room for a class called “Your Word Is Truth: Seeing All of Life Through the Truth of Scripture.”
High School Sunday School - Dan & Holly Leeper, Kevin Strand, Phil Bloom
Middle School Sunday School - Sean & Janet Gallagher, Dean Still, Jordan Ferrell
High School Wednesday - Dan & Holly Leeper, Tyler & Jackie Krzeszewski, Anna Freidel
Middle School Wednesday - Dan & Holly Leeper, Joel & Mary Rose Widmer, Jen Clare, Janet Gallagher
We are excited to see how God will use this in our church and in our youth group. Please pray with us that God will continue to make disciples of the next generation in our church.
Gratefully serving with you,