(The picture above shows the new Welcome Center in the canopy lobby. See other pictures at the end of this story.)
September brought the start of a new ministry year for all ages as well as new spaces in which to socialize and connect. Pastor George Davis introduced a new logo for our church (seen on the top line of this web page) and a new mission statement: “Joining together in God’s ongoing redemptive mission.” His sermon from September 9 can be heard online if you missed it.
Children’s Ministries introduced new names for grade levels: Eden Springs (nursery), Happy Hollow Zoo (preschool), Windy River Trails (Kindergarten through third grade) and Cave In (fourth through sixth grades). There also is a one-on-one ministry for special needs elementary students called The Treehouse. They all fall under the new umbrella name for Children’s Ministries – Treasure Park.
New this year is the separation of preteens (fourth through sixth grades) from younger elementary children, using age-appropriate lessons and activities on Sundays. There also are a worship band and drama team for fifth and sixth graders.
Student ministries change Sunday and weeknight schedule
Core Student Ministries has undergone change on Sundays and weeknights. Pastor David Boerema explained, “Two statements we read in ‘Sticky Faith: Practical Ideas to Nurture Long-Term Faith in Teenagers’ have shaken us as youth pastors this past year.”
“High school and college students who experience more intergenerational worship tend to have a higher faith maturity.”
“Even amid mixed motives, the students who had served in middle school or children’s ministry while they were in high school seemed to have stickier faith in college.”
There will be no Sunday program for seventh- through 12th-grade students during the 9:15 a.m. service this year. Instead, students are being encouraged to worship with their families or serve in Children’s Ministries. Pastor David said that during the 11 a.m. service, “We are asking our students to be involved in some sort of service opportunity such as Children’s Ministries and 11th grade gets the privilege of going first. They will be serving for six weeks.”
After several years of having the junior high youth group meet Wednesday night and senior high on Thursday night, the entire student ministry is meeting on Wednesday night and will focus on the mission: “To be a community of disciples who together make more and stronger disciples.”
Transition plans for ninth and 12th grades
Student ministry leaders have designed a transition plan to ensure that all ninth graders are challenged to become a biblical community that learns, serves and cares for each other as they take the next step into high school. Through the fall and winter they will be transitioning from the seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade group into the 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade group. They will officially move from junior high to high school in a special ceremony at the winter retreat February 1 to 3.
There also is a program for seniors to begin preparing for their biggest transition yet – life after high school. Whether they are entering college or the work force, this is a unique transition that needs some specific attention. In late winter or early spring, the seniors will begin meeting with the 4twelve college-age group to start solidifying relationships with college students. These changes maximize our opportunity to develop a Christ-centered culture among our students in transition.
Adults have a variety of options for getting connected and growing in their faith. The Fall Ministries brochure lists the weekday and Sunday groups, as well as the Care Ministries offered to people who are in a difficult place in their lives and need someone to come alongside them.
Below are some scenes around the church taken September 9.