Each year we head to Timber Wolf Lake for Winter Weekend with students from both First Church and Zeeland WyldLife. This year we were able to take 28 students and 7 leaders. It was a weekend filled with card games, ping pong, challenge wall climbing, henna tattoos, tubing, gaga ball, snow and most importantly, time to talk about Jesus and who He is to students. I have always loved camp because it is a unique time where there are no distractions from technology, where kids get to be kids and where deep relationships are built. I came away from the weekend exhausted and with a sore throat but more importantly with a sense that God was at work in each of the students lives. Myself and the other leaders look forward to continuing conversations with students that began at camp and the opportunity to continue to walk along side them, helping them to grow in their faith.
Last night we discussed what makes us feel excluded vs. included and why we desire to be included. We also talked about why it is hard to always be inclusive to those around us. We then talked about the way Jesus interacted with people, especially people who were seen as "outsiders" and what that can teach us. Students were challenged to think about who they see as "outsiders" and what they can do to change the way the view and interact with those people. This is hard for students to think about but we will continue to challenge them to think about ways to include and be friends with people who they wouldn't normally spend time with.
Next week we will have Todd Krygsheld join us as a guest speaker. He gave sermon a few weeks ago and I think he can really help our students change the way they view and treat others. I am excited for what is to come from Todd sharing with us!
We CELEBRATED last night! It was such a fun night of gifts, dodgeball, cookie decorating, games and time together! More pictures to come!
You could feel the energy in the room last night!
It is such a joy to see the students genuinely enjoy spending time together each week. We played a new game which resulted in lots of laughs, we have our memory verse memorized (with motions)... you should ask your student to recite it for you! Philippians 4:4-7. We helped Erica, the children's director, prep some things for the family movie night on Friday and then we had the opportunity to hear from Dan Kiel and Zach Ling.
Dan and Zach were both vulnerable in sharing hard things in their lives but also of the hope they have in Jesus and how he has carried them through. Zach is a 7th grader and is very musically talented, especially with drums. He shared a song he is working on with his cajon drum. It was awesome to see how student's supported him and how many of them relate to some of the things he has been feeling. It is always powerful when we realize we aren't the only ones dealing with something hard.
Next week is our Christmas Celebration, there is lots to celebrate!!
There was a great energy in the room last night. There were lots of laughs, encouragements and joy! I am so grateful for the opportunity God has given me to walk along side your students, to learn from them, to listen to them and to love them. It truly is an honor.
Last night we met in our focus groups for the last time of 2018!! We have just 2 weeks of IMPACT left this year, I can't believe it! Good conversations took place in our groups and I do believe growth is taking place as well. We will continue to meet in our focus groups after the new year to continue deepening relationships in those groups as well as continuing to dig deeper into the topics.
Next week we are inviting people to join us to share their story and we will have the privilege of hearing from 2 of our middle school students as well!
We had the opportunity to serve with our small groups at Mosaic, His Harvest Stand and Hungry for Christ. It is so good for us to remember it's not always about us and that there is a lot of joy that comes from serving others!
We met in our focus groups for the second time last night. We plan to meet in these groups once a month. In these groups students have the chance to ask questions, to look at scripture, to have conversation, to pray for one another and to support one another. Ask your student what they talked about last night!
We don't have IMPACT next week, November 21. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!
Lesson Title: Centurion's Faith - Jesus is astonished by the faith of a Roman centurion.
Scripture: Luke 7: 1 -10
Last night Kent lead us in our lesson time. We talked about how Jesus sees people differently, how he doesn't make assumptions or judge people based on their actions. We discussed our first impressions of a centurion and how centurion's were seen by the community as well. It's easy for us to have negative first impressions of others but Jesus challenges us, by his actions, to see people instead by their hearts. We did an activity where we drew our "armor"; the things in our lives that we value, that we spend our time doing, that are really important to us, and then discussed how these things sometimes become more important than our relationship with Jesus. We talked about ways we can guard against this and the temptation to "be perfect" to impress God when all we need to do is have faith.
You can talk with your student about what they drew as their 'armor' and why those things seem more important than their relationship with Jesus, or how they sometimes get in the way of us having faith.
This past Thursday we invited adults from the congregation to join us for the evening. During our teaching time we split into groups and were able to hear the story of these 6 adults. Their stories all had a similar theme of overcoming a difficult situation and how God was present in those times. We think it is so important to hear others stories and to share our stories as well and believe this was an impactful night for students as well as the leaders!
We do not have IMPACT this week because of Halloween... we will see everyone again on November 7!
My name is Josiah from Grand Rapids Michigan and I follow Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Also middle schoolers are cool.