Every spring the Youth Council, which is the leadership body made up of students and parents for the Youth Ministries, sets their BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals). This gives youth and parents a chance to shape, in big picture terms, what the youth ministry is going to look like, and make their voice heard. This past spring, our youth sketched out three BHAGs. One was to make a concentrated effort in transitioning confirmands over to the youth ministry, and the other two were focused on this week’s Healthy Plate Discipleship area. This is an area that we as a Youth Ministry thought we were covering, but apparently our students just can’t get enough of: service. One of the goals, still in progress, is to have an opportunity for overseas missions, and the second was even more interesting. Students set as one of their primary goals that there would be opportunities for local, hands-on service, at least once a month. Our teenagers want to serve, and often, in their hometown.
So we over at the Justin have been focused on making that happen. The Refuge, our Sunday night program, has a monthly mission night, where we’ve done things like pack “blessing bags” to give to our brothers and sisters without homes, and sorted clothes at the Mission. We scraped our Sunday School plans one week to pack buckets of supplies for flood relief in Louisiana. We plug students in to volunteer opportunities like the Children’s Ministries Halloween Carnival. But our students’ appetite for this Healthy Plate food group seems bottomless, meaning we are always working to come up with the ideas and resources to make these opportunities happen for students. It is a delightful problem to have.
In that interest, in a couple weeks, we’ll be having our second annual Parade of Lights Fundraiser where students collect money for parking in our church parking lots during the Parade of Lights. All of the money collected goes toward our Summer Mission Trip, Middle School Mission Blitz, and Camp Barnabas (yes, it’s a service opportunity to raise money for other service opportunities, like I said, bottomless). There are still plenty of slots open, and I would encourage you to ask the teenagers in your life if they’ve signed up yet! We are a church dedicated to going out and being God’s people in the world, and I feel lucky to be able to watch our teenagers do just that.