In the youth ministry, we are all about building Christ-centered relationships that will help the youth at the bridge grow in their faith in Jesus. Last year challenged us to find new ways to do this effectively and with excellence.
The youth ministry had BIG plans for last year, as we looked to have both the junior and senior high ministries meet on one night—on a Friday night. These plans led to our EPIC youth launch where we ended up with 100 or so youth all together on the same night in this church building. This was just the beginning picture of what WE hoped to see for this year. Now with the whole youth team able to work together on one night, we were excited about the new things that could happened as we pooled our resources together for the benefit of the youth at the bridge.
Now, we looked forward to doing all of the normal things that we did in the youth ministry; you know, the classic things like the retreats, the all-nighters, the Christmas banquet, and the like. And even as a youth team, we were looking forward to being more intentional with small groups, with the things that we did during our Friday nights, and even beginning to be more intentional with the things we did outside of our ministry nights.
But the one thing we were looking forward to seeing the youth all benefit from by all meeting together on a Friday night was worship. As Pastor Darius, Pastor Jeff, and Moreen, and many others came to serve the youth and teach them what it means to worship as we worshipped together—it was an absolute beautiful thing to see the youth doing! This picture of what the capital “C” church is was slowly being painted into this beautiful piece of artwork.
Then, the youth ministry came into the new year of 2020 having successfully done what it always did. We put together a great senior high retreat, we had a blast at our junior high all-nighter, and the senior high Christmas Banquet was…well…magical; however, at the end of January 2020, we decided we were going to do something we’ve never ever done before—that was to have a social event with both the junior high and senior high together. So, with two full busses, a few falls and some bumps and bruises later, the youth ministry—as a whole, together—went roller skating. And, man, was it ever a blast.
The new year brought on MORE new things, actually, when the youth leader team—both the Vibe and the Fearless team, for the first time ever—did their leaders’ retreat together. The goal of the trip was to continue to work toward unifying the youth team into being one team.
Things seemed to be going according to OUR plans in 2020—especially how blessed the Junior High Winter Retreat went. The theme of the retreat was to put on the WHOLE armor of God, and, man, am I glad we did that theme, because we were going to need every piece of armor for what was going to be coming next. You see, our plan was to simply figure out what it means to be a youth ministry that gathers on one night—but God had other things planned.
And although we missed out on doing things that we planned to do—or things that we always have done—the pivot to online youth ministry also allowed us to gain certain things that we couldn’t have gained otherwise. We saw particular youth blossom online in ways that we actually didn’t expect. We learned that there are other ways we can connect and invest in the youth at the bridge. We took the chance to just slow down and experience the blessing of simplicity. The youth team’s creativity was ultimately ignited and it fueled us to attempt to do things that we would have never done prior to solely being online. A lot of us in the youth ministry actually didn’t even know what a Zoom was prior to doing this. But it didn’t matter! The youth leaders were willing to do whatever it took to continue to connect with the youth. And the youth…they just showed out! They continue to log on week, after week, after week! And it was truly an amazing experience. It was a blessing to see! But it was also an opportunity for us to learn from them. Because we started off our year with a 100 or so junior high and senior high coming together on one night in a building and we ended our year with 90 or so of those same youth…but, instead, all on a screen logged onto Zoom each from their own houses.
So, through it all, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, what the youth taught myself and the youth team was that church is more than just a building. It’s more than just a particular night; rather, together, we are the capital “C” church. We are…the bridge youth.
Hey, if you would like to see all of the cool things that took place last year in detail, please scroll below and check out all the cool things that we did. Thanks!