Second, what have we combined the 6th through 12th grades? What’s the point and why does it matter?
We originally combined the 6th through 12th grade youth together in the middle of September of 2007. I would be a liar if I said we have not had our troubles. Believe me, we have! Even though there have been difficulties in combining the youth, there have been some very encouraging things to leverage off of.
For example, I have seen on numerous occassions the older youth initiating contact with the younger youth in befriending them, as well as setting a positive mature example for them. To me this is a healthy expectation that we can place upon our older youth. An expectation that say’s, “Hey, you don’t have to wait until you graduate from college to minister to somebody, you can do so right here and now. It may not be pretty and you may experience a lot of discomfort at first, but the important thing is that you are serving God not in your own power and experience, but in His!”
To get back on topic, why were these changes originally made and what do I hope to see occur through them?
First, I hope to see more of our older and more mature youth involve themselves in the lives of the younger youth and encourage them to become more mature spiritually, emotionally, and socially.
Second, by combining the youth a difficult transition point that disrupts and hinders relationships within this age bracket will be eliminated. For instance, how would you feel if the church told you that you could no longer be with your friends that are one year older than you?
Third, provide opportunities for the younger youth to build relationships with the older youth. This will allow for the younger youth to become more a part of the body of Christ, while fostering a family atmosphere amongst the older youth.
Fourth, provide the youth with a unified community rather than two competing and separate groups with different identities.
Fifth, by having one gathering per week, instead of two, we will free up parents, caregivers, and volunteers an extra night which will help us become more family friendly.
Finally, sixth, in an attempt to see the youth of Cross Lanes and beyond committed to Jesus Christ, one evening per week enables us to focus our energies and efforts in becoming missional minded in our ministry efforts.
I would like to write more, but I have to leave and go to the store. I will address later what I believe to be the two biggest concerns amongst parents and youth in combining the group into one.
In the meantime, happy reading!