Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Inter-Ministry Connections

Our youth ministry at RMCC goes from 5th grade to 12th grade: 5th/6th grade, junior high, and high school. This is weighty to think about: if a student starts in 5th grade and is consistently part of the community, we have the opportunity to intentionally disciple them for over eight years. Sadly, often in church ministry there is so much disconnect between each "ministry department" that it feels like starting over every three years. They go move from 4th to 5th grade, and it's a huge transition that leaves them stressed and/or uncomfortable. Then they make a similar move from 6th to junior high, then again when they move into high school. Each ministry is so different that students can often be sent mixed messages or end up having a roller-coaster faith experience.

We've been asking the questions, "how can we make the transition as healthy as possible?" and "how can we build upon each year we have a student in ministry?" In other words, how can our entire youth ministry be connected so that students are consistently growing and maturing in their faith?

Part of the answer to these questions is to not view ourselves as exclusively "junior high staff" or "high school staff" but instead "youth ministry staff." Our commitment is to the church body at Red Mountain and the entire youth ministry; we want to be able to have each ministry grow and flourish, because we recognize that each ministry is inherently connected. What students learn in 5th/6th will be lived out in junior high. The relationships and habits they build in junior high won't simply disappear when they enter high school. Each is connected and builds upon one another. This even means connecting with and supporting the children's ministry and college ministry; both of these ministries are affected by and equally influence the youth ministry.

Thus, tonight at our Wednesday night gathering, I will be leading the 5th/6th grade crew. I'll be connecting with the staff (which includes a number of high school students), leading the games, and teaching. This gives them a brief and safe exposure to the guy they'll be hanging with for the next 3 years. 

I'm excited to connect with some future junior highers!

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