You can read part 1 HERE
What we do:
Our students in middle and high school attend Sunday morning worship with the adults. We worship together. We aren’t “isolating them from the body of Christ”, they are the body of Christ. We see the advantage of students worshipping in church with the adults because when they go off as adults it would be quite a shock to go from a youth group setting to “big church” cold turkey.
Our students serve the church in ministry on Sunday mornings. You stroll into NHC on a Sunday morning and you will find middle and high school students serving along side of adults, serving coffee, teaching children, welcoming guests, helping parents check their kids into Cowabunga Cove, on the tech team, and even leading in worship in music. So they aren’t isolated, they are integrated. In fact NHC couldn’t accomplish the ministry we do on Sunday mornings without the ministry of the students.
We offer Student Church. I know that this causes some in the family church movement to cringe. We come together on Sunday evenings for 2 hours. We have an icebreaker so students can get to know each other, some would call it “just playing a game” but their is a purpose behind it. We have a time of singing together in worship. We have a time of teaching where the Bible is opened and taught by a teacher/preacher. We also have a time where students can snack and chat or play a game together, we call this fellowship. Students building relationships with other Christian students and with caring adults is vital to their spiritual growth and accountability. We also have a small group time where students get together with an adult leader and discuss questions pertaining to what they learned.
Parents aren’t left out of the student ministry in fact many of our youth leaders are parents of teens. On Sunday nights during Student Church we have a small group of parents that meet together for Bible study and fellowship. I see this time for parents to get together as super valuable and helpful for them in their parenting and discipling of their teen. We also provide a weekly email to keep parents in the loop. In that email there is often material, scripture or topics to help parents continue the discussion from youth group. Often we point parents to helpful articles and resources online. We all know that you can take a person to a buffet but you can’t make them eat. You can provide resources for parents but that doesn’t guarantee they will take advantage of it or that they will even disciple their kids at home and as they walk through life.
Our mission trips at NHC involve adults, parents, teens and even children. We just had a team get back from Honduras and the team included parents and their elementary age children. We will go to Eleuthera again this spring and the team will be adults and teenagers mixed together.
Do we have events and activities? Yes. We strive not to fill calendars though and our events and activities have a purpose behind them when they do. Parents’ and teens’ calendars are already filled to the max so if we do something it has a purpose of exposing students to Christianity or giving our students some needed fellowship time. It’s good to have fun together. We make the mistake of picturing Jesus and his disciples as always being serious and never having fun but Jesus created fun and relationships so I’m pretty sure they had times where they laughed together.
Check back in a couple of days for Family Church VS Student Ministry Pt. 3