I am growing with excitement that this upcoming Sunday, August 20th, is our big Back to School Bash. It will feature all you can eat pancakes, raffles, games, and a great opportunity for the students to bring friends that haven’t been in a long time or ever. I am asking students to bring a ‘breakfast at dinner’ dish to share to go along with the pancakes (i.e. orange juice, fruit, potatoes, sausage, etc). Please RSVP this week so that I can shop appropriately.
For myself and the rest of the volunteer youth leaders, this Sunday is not just the Back to School Bash, but a symbolic beginning to a new chapter in the Disciples Church Student Ministry. Last Sunday, we spent the whole night appreciating and saying goodbye to Dan and Ashley Crouse in a student ministry capacity as they go on to different ministry opportunities at Disciples.
I want to start by thanking you all for your patience and involvement in the Student ministry during this crazy time; from Dan passing the torch to myself, our summer events being all over the place, and a summer camp that was executed last minute. I acknowledge that these last few months may have felt hectic and sporadic; I have felt that myself and will strive to make that the exception rather than the rule.
When I came to Disciples what drew me in was the community that exists outside the four walls on a Sunday morning. I see the connections that have been furthered and nurtured through dinner and life groups and have longed to replicate that with the students. I think back to my time as a student and it was not the midweek gatherings that made the largest impact. While those were great and played an important role in my development as a disciple, it was the one on one relational discipleship that made the largest and longest impact on my life. This is true to this day. I envision DC Student Ministries having that kind of impact on many more students in the coming years, an impact that invites them into the process of becoming fully devoted disciples of Jesus.
I bring this up to communicate transparently with my partners in ministry, as well as to ask for your support on a couple operational changes that we will be announcing this Sunday night to the students that I am convinced will impact your students discipleship in wonderfully positive ways. As I mentioned earlier, this Sunday night serves as the beginning of a new chapter, and I felt it appropriate to implement these changes at the same time.
First off, in response to feedback I am receiving from you, starting this Sunday our new meeting time will be 6:00-8:00pm. This is to allow parents to have more flexibility with their Sunday nights between dropping off and picking up. Doors will be open at 5:30pm for students who want to come hangout before the gathering begins. This should give us a bit more time for deep discipleship connections as well as give you time as a parent to attend to other commitments on a Sunday night (like our Sunday night Life Group that will be meeting at the Hill’s house just down the road).
The second, and maybe larger, change coming to the student ministry is we will be moving to an every-other-week format. This is not to have your student be less involved in the student ministry, but hopefully the opposite. Since coming to Disciples Church about a year and half ago, my vision for the ministry is to adopt more of emphasis on direct discipleship. The ‘off’ weeks from youth group will be times that myself and the other volunteer leaders will utilize to pursue that Discipleship. Specific plans are in the early stages, but I am excited at the space this will open up for us to think and dream of ways to be present in your students lives instead of all our efforts going toward planning and executing a weekly event.
Thank you for trusting your students with me and the excellent team God has put together to lead them. I am honored to serve with you in helping your student follow Jesus wholeheartedly. Please continue to give me feedback as to how I can serve you and your students better.
Student Ministries Director