It is one of the most common questions we get asked: What do you have happening for youth?
Students need a place to connect with each other and grow in their faith. As former youth pastors, we know that the Jr High and High School years are at a critical time in young people’s lives where they are going to make decisions that will greatly impact their future. So we understand why this question is at the top of the list. We are deeply motivated to build a community and create resources that minister to students.
Here are four things we are strategically building for students:
- Weekend Worship Experiences
Every week we hear from students engaging with us on whatever has been preached about. They tell us what they are getting from the message and how it is affecting the rest of their week. It is awesome to hear young people so passionate to grow in their relationship with God.
You might be thinking, “Isn’t that the service for adults?”
Yes, we don’t have a separate service for students at this point. But our service feels young, loud, and energetic. Students tend to love it! Danny and I are on the younger side of lead pastors (don’t contradict me.) And we were youth pastors for 8 years before planting Sun City Church. So it’s natural for us to think about them during our sermon prep and connect with them during the message on Sunday.
Parents will sometimes ask us when we are going to start a youth service. We tell them we already have one! Seriously, though… we may create a service just for students at some point down the road. For now, we recognize that it is healthy for students to worship alongside adults and build friendships beyond just their peers. And we are watching that dynamic be something that our Sun City Students are enjoying. So that makes us excited!
2. Small Groups
While Sunday mornings are awesome for youth, we know they also need a place to connect with other students and talk about things they are dealing with. Peer pressure. Insecurity. Wondering what to do with your life. Most of us “adults” could probably use more conversations about these topics but we realize it looks different through the lens of someone in their pre-teen and teen years. Small Groups are a great place where students can talk about their faith, encourage each other, and pray for one another.
This coming Small Group Semester, our student groups are expanding from one to three! We are praying the trend continues and the groups keep multiplying. It provides options for busy teens to find a day and time that fits best with them. Besides, teens are in different seasons with their relationship with God. Some groups might focus more on playing together and building friendships while another group might go through a Bible study together. The more groups, the more opportunities for our students to connect with peers who share their faith and grow together.
Eventually, we would love to see students leading small groups on their campuses or at a coffee shop before or after school. We have some young people who are already inspired to become leaders so that dream is on the horizon.
3. Serving on the Dream Team
When youth get involved with using their gifts and abilities to serve others, church changes from being something they attend to being who they are. They become the church. It is exciting and fun to watch students take ownership inside of their church community.
One of the things we are passionate about is seeing students discover their purpose at a young age. We don’t think they need to wait until they grow up before they start to understand how God uniquely created them to contribute to the community around them.
Our vision is to help youth step into leadership opportunities, bring creative ideas to the table, and start developing skills to minister to others. Not only does their involvement on the Dream Team enable our students to tap into a purpose-filled life at an early age but it also brings energy and creativity to the rest of the team. We are better together!
4. Events, Conferences, Service Projects, Etc
Throughout the year we will be providing opportunities for students to take some big steps forward in their faith. It might be an event designed around something that students typically deal with, a youth conference that we travel to or a service project that is made up of all students. These experiences can be life-changing for youth!
We often repeat the saying, “A change of place + a change of pace = a change of perspective.” Young people need times where they are stretched outside of their comfort zone. Friendships will be born that otherwise might not have existed. Conversations will come up that will influence the way they think about things (as a parent, you will wonder why your student actually listen when someone else says what you have been saying all along.) Memories will be made that could prove invaluable to your student as they navigate what can be difficult years. So whenever these opportunities come up, we encourage you to capitalize on them and make them a priority!
There is an awesome community of young people starting to gather at Sun City Church. While everything is still in beginning stages, there is a lot of momentum already. These students are passionate, full of energy, and excited to do something awesome for God with their lives!
We would love to help you connect with some of our youth leaders, a student small group, or answer any other questions you might have. Email us at Danny@suncitychurch.com or Jamie@suncitychurch.com. Or you can always stop by the Welcome Center on a Sunday morning and talk to one of the Dream Team members.