Word From The Pastor

Youth Ministry Update

Towards the end of 2017 we gathered together as a youth ministry team and identified two areas that we want to focus on and see growth in during 2018:

1.   Working closer and better with parents
2.   Improving our student discipleship pathways
As a first step in our parent engagement strategy we hosted a seminar for parents of teens and preteens last Sunday night. We had guest speaker Sid Koop who walked us through current trends amongst teens and pre-teens in the area of social media, video game culture and pornography. He gave eight practical responses for parents to use to best serve and love their kids in this cultural moment. We ended with a time of prayer for parents and for the youth in our church. This was a very special time. As a parent, I often feel unsure and insecure and I know that I’m not alone. It was so nice to experience God’s love and grace in the prayer time. 
Here are some stats that stood out:
From 2010 to 2016 adolescents who experienced at least one major depressive episode increased by 60% (time magazine).
It is estimated that the average person will spend 10,000 hours gaming by the age of 21.
Kids who spend three hours or more a day on smartphones were 34% more likely to have at least one suicide-related outcome than kids who used phones two hours a day or less.
How do we respond?
We are going to continue to pray for, serve and encourage parents. 
We are going to continue to invest in our youth ministry program.
We will remember that God is in control! Every generation has unique challenges and God is faithful—giving each one the grace we need to thrive, even in the darkest places.
Sid left parents with three encouraging thoughts:
                God is in control (Romans 17:24-26)
                God is for us (Romans 8:31-32)
                God has called us (John 17:15-18)
Let’s keep partnering together as a church family as we each play our part in discipling the next generation of Christians who will impact our world.

Jason Ballard, Assistant Pastor

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