Covid, Youth, and the Church
Covid has not only changed the shape of our ministry to youth at COS, it has changed our youth’s posture towards the church. Prior to Covid, most of our youth had a slot reserved in their week for “church stuff.” During Covid restrictions, youth apparently realized they could fill that church slot with other things…and now, convincing many of them that church is an institution worthy of their time and instrumental to their faith journey is a significant challenge.
Our response? Build a relational ministry.
Our youth may walk away from the church, but we aren’t letting them leave without a fight. If they walk away from the church, we want them to walk away saying, “They loved me and valued me and encouraged me, but I left anyway.”
To do this, youth ministry at COS is leaning heavily into small groups. Adults of all ages have stepped forward to serve as small group leaders for groups of high school & middle school students. Groups are built based on grade level, or passions like anti-racism, climate change, or theology, or affinity groups for our LGBTQ+ students & allies.
I want to assure you that I’m not suggesting our kids will be saved because they formed friendships with each other or with small group leaders. (Note: They are saved by God’s grace.) But what if church was a place that ALL of our kids looked forward to? What if they knew that every time they showed up, there would be someone there who was happy to see them? Small groups could help make that happen. And I believe that consistently putting our kids in “relational spaces” where they can feel safe and loved and seen by Christian adults and their peers could help keep their hearts soft and their ears open to God’s invitation to seek him with their whole heart.
If you want to help build this relational ministry, contact Annette Ediger, Minister of Faith Formation.
While we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we anticipate ongoing adjustments to our pattern of youth meetings. To stay informed about what is happening with COS youth, contact Annette Ediger to be added to the Youth Newsletter email list. Currently, all of our MS & HS ministry gatherings (i.e. Sunday school, WNL, small groups*, etc.) are taking place from 11:45-12:30pm on Sundays after worship. (*Small group meetings for HS students vary for each group, but the 3rd Sunday of every month is always reserved as “Small Group Sunday” to help carve out a space for our busy students and leaders to meet.)
To catch a glimpse of what our middle school and high school ministries looked like PRIOR TO COVID, see below.
Wednesday Night Live
During the school year, the Middle School Youth Group — for students in grades 7 and 8 — meets on the first three Wednesday evenings of each month, after the all-church dinner. We study the Heidelberg Chatechism, eat, and play games. We also do a fun activity outside of youth group once a month.
Wednesday Night Live Schedule (currently meeting via Zoom)
Contact Annette Ediger to be added to the Youth Newsletter email list to stay up-to-date with what’s happening with COS Youth.
High School Youth
The mission of the high school youth group at COS is to create a safe, fun, and loving space for all students where discussions about God and the world we live in can take place guided by the framework of a reformed, Christian perspective.
At COS, we are striving to pass on a sticky faith to our children and youth. For our high school students, we do this through Sunday school classes, Bible study, Small Groups, involvement in church leadership, large group discussions on potentially divisive issues, retreats, service projects, and summer trips. All of these ministries rely heavily on building authentic, caring relationships between the students themselves and, of equal importance, between students and the members of our church. We pray that the Spirit will work through these relationships to strengthen our faith and bind us to Christ for the rest of their lives. In other words, we pray for sticky faith.
While we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are adjusting our typical pattern of High School meetings. To stay informed about what is happening with COS youth, contact Annette Ediger to be added to the Youth Newsletter email list.