Wednesday Nights from 6:45-8:00 in the Youth Room!
the Zone includes Bible Study as well as games, interaction with friends, service opportunities and worship. This time is not as structured as Christian Education on Sunday mornings. It provides a good opportunity for students to bring visitors. Fun is a key component of these meetings. The meetings allow students to be able to have fun together in a constructive manner. Bible Study is a key component of these meetings. The Bible Study challenges the youth to obey God's Word in their daily lives.
The last Wednesday night of each month is "Service Night". The students meet in the youth room at 6:45 and then go out into the community with our Youth Staff to share the love of Christ through tangible acts of kindness.
Why Do We Keep Middle School and High School Together for the Zone?
Two main reasons. First, we are trying to limit the number of nights that we ask students to be away from their families. Our culture places so many demands on our families (granted, many of these are self-inflicted) that our families struggle to find time to be home together. We believe it is beneficial to our families to have youth limited to one night during the week to give them a greater chance of spending quality time together.
The second reason we keep our students together for the Zone is more crucial; discipleship/mentoring. As students enter the youth ministry in middle school, they have an opportunity for older students to invest in their lives. Over the years we have seen the high school students love on the younger kids, help them learn how to behave, model how to live for Christ in all areas of their lives, and encourage them on Summer Mission and Know Hunger trips. If you ask current high school students who have been involved in our group since middle school who really impacted them in their faith, many of them will list names of older kids from our group. The investment of our older kids into the lives of our younger kids is part of what makes our group special. This investment challenges the younger kids to become the type of students God wants them to be. As these relationships play out the older kids learn how to disciple another person, a skill that will benefit them and others for the rest of their lives.
How do we deal with topics relevant to high school students but not appropriate for middle school students?
On Sunday mornings during our CE hour, we start with the two groups together for the first 15 minutes, then split the groups for the lesson. Although both groups cover the same passages of Scripture each week, we have the ability to address issues appropriate for each age level. High school students still have an opportunity to study with other high school students and the middle school students still have an opportunity to study with other middle school students. High school students also have the chance to join one of our Cross-Training groups if they are interested in more in-depth study with other students their age.
If we are able to have more youth space, will we change how we do the Zone?
Our philosophy will be the same. The decision to keep older and younger students together for the Zone is ministry driven, not due to a space issue. We desire to help our students learn how to invest in the lives of others within the group, to prepare them for a life of being disciple-makers.