Welcome to a new school year and the beginning of a new year in the Youth Ministry at Mt. Haley. There’s always excitement and anticipation with the arrival of a new grade level for our students, whether they’re making the transition from elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, becoming a “Senior,” or just moving up one more grade. The Mt. Haley Youth Ministry is for students in 6th grade through one year out of high school. It’s always a fresh start with new resolutions, goals and dreams. There’s always an expectation of doing better, making a team, or becoming involved with a new interest. With this same new determination in your student’s educational growth we all share as parents, we encourage you to have this same excitement in their spiritual & church life.

It is SO important to attend Mt. Haley regularly and to be part of the church, the youth ministry and the family of God. The Bible tells us to meet together as believers and to encourage one another. Hebrews 10:25 says:

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

The Christian life is to be lived within the context of the family of God and not in isolation. We need you to be in church every week, and to have a vital youth ministry for our kids, we need the kids to attend every week! It’s good to practice what Jesus did (Luke 14:6), it’s a good habit to begin their week with, if they claim to be disciples of Christ – it sets a positive example for their friends, it’s important for their fellowship & friends, and it’s essential for growing spiritually! The extremely positive attribute of regular youth attendance is the bonding and the unity of the ministry that develops trough regular relational interaction. Make it part of their week!

Our ultimate desire for the youth of Mt. Haley is to accept and develop a relationship with Jesus Christ and to grow spiritually every day of his or her life. We have adapted seven spiritual growth principles (adapted from Andy Stanley) that we will work to develop in our youth. They are:

  1. Authentic Faith: Are our kids trusting God with the critical areas of their lives? (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  2. Spiritual Disciplines: Are our kids developing a consistent devotional and prayer life? (Romans 12:2)
  3. Moral Boundaries: Are our kids establishing and maintaining Godly moral boundaries? (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)
  4. Healthy Friendships: Are our kids establishing healthy friendships and avoiding unhealthy ones? (Proverbs 12:20)
  5. Wise Choices: Are our kids making wise choices in every area of their lives? (Ephesians 5:15-17)
  6. Ultimate Authority: Are our kids submitting to the authorities God has placed over them? (Romans 13:1-2)
  7. Others First: Are our kids putting the needs of others ahead of their own? (Philippians 2:3-11)

With these guidelines in mind, this year we will be meeting weekly in these three areas. There will be a class on Sunday mornings for 6th -8th graders at 10:00 AM with a teacher chosen by the Christian Education director of the church and a 9th–12th grade +1 year class taught by Pastor Jerry. The High School class will be working with the topic “Being God’s Champion” where we study with scripture the qualities and characteristics of living a great Christian life. On Sunday evenings will be our weekly Youth Ministry meeting from 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM. We have snacks, games, prayer time, a lesson, discussion and sharing. This is for all 6th – 12th graders. We encourage every family to help us out by furnishing snacks for our “hungry” kids we meet with every week. Sign up for snacks is always in the narthex of the church on the Youth bulletin board. This year we will begin our year with the topic, “The 40 Commandments of Jesus” from throughout the Gospel. These are the commands that Jesus proclaimed throughout His ministry beyond the Ten Commandments. Following the Youth Ministry meeting every week, Pastor Jerry & Connie hurry home to conduct the GRADS @ Grahams ministry from 8:15 PM – 10:00 PM in our home for young people, High School graduates through the age of 25. Sundays are always exciting for the Grahams!

As we prepare for the new year, our goals are to have continuous individual spiritual growth, great attendance for youth meetings, service projects, regular recreational activities and attend Winter Retreat @ CranHill Ranch on January 8-10, 2016 and the State Youth Convention of the Church of God in Kalamazoo on May 20-22, 1016.. We also plan to attend the summer 2016 International Youth Convention of the Church of God in San Antonio, Texas, July 2-5, 2016. Any student entering the 9th grade in September 2016 through one year out of high school is eligible to attend. What this means is that a student may attend with Mt. Haley one year after they graduate from high school. To help meet that goal, all fundraisers will go to youth accounts to be used for WR, SYC or IYC – after 10% is given to “Spread the Word,” our tithe. This will help us become good stewards of our fundraising and prepare for the San Antonio Convention. Our students attended the Nashville Convention in the summer of 2014 and had a GREAT experience with God and our ministry. Several students are already planning and saving for the International Youth Convention.

Our fundraising efforts have already begun and this fall we will be having our annual Mum sale, raking & cleaning yard projects, gift card sales, a Mt. Haley apparel sale, pop can collecting plus other ideas.

Another feature of the youth ministry is our “Prayer Partner” ministry where we will be signing up people within the church to pray daily for our youth and the college-aged kids. Prayer is where it all begins and we want our church to uphold the students with prayers as they attend school, interact with their friends, participate in the youth ministry, live within their families and grow in their spiritual lives. We will be updating this ministry in September.

All parents and students receive the new 2015-2016 Parental Medical/Permission Release Form for you to complete and return to the church. This yearly form enables your student to participate in all aspects of the Youth Ministry year – which includes: recreational activities, retreats, conventions, mission trips, riding in the church van, fundraising and meetings. We would like to have these all completed by the end of September. PLEASE!!!!

Our first YOUTH MEETING of the new year will be Sunday, September 20th, 2015 from 6:00 -7:30 PM for all students. We hope you invite friends and we welcome anyone who would like to part of the Mt. Haley Youth Ministry. Feel free to contact us with questions!

Ministry and spiritual growth is a process we all undergo and with God’s blessing we are excited to have this opportunity to serve you as pastors at Mt. Haley. Thank you so much for your support, prayers, and encouragement.

In Christ,

Pastor Jerry and Connie

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