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Youth Ministry Newsletter

Issue #12  August 2016

Hello Everyone!

It's been an absolute joy meeting everyone this summer! Beach Day was a blast at Independence Lake! I also enjoyed the ice-cream party with the high school youth. Our small group discussions have given me great insight into the lives and the faith development needs of our teens here at the Vineyard. I look forward to getting to know you all more as we transition into fall. We have many fun events coming up so make sure you sign up early and mark your calendars!

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Youth Ministry Newsletter

Issue #11  April 2015

Well. Where to begin?

As many of you are aware, our church is in a season of rebuilding, as it were. We've made some fantastic additions to our staff over the winter and I am feeling greatly encouraged not only by our new team's evolving dynamics but am also enjoy newer horizons for our church. Pastor Donnell and our church board members are diligently working towards a more stable foundation that can support both the pastoral and the business aspects of a church community. Please encourage them as you find opportunities. It is difficult and often thankless work but is incredibly important.

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Youth Ministry Newsletter

Issue #10  November 2014

Hello from the Youth Director!

To my families,

I'm certain that you can begin to understand the duress in which I am crafting my newsletter to you today. As of a few months ago, I was looking forward to sharing with you my excitement of having a new daughter on the scene, our growth through the fall season, and a couple of books that have really been challenging and exciting as I've further been processing our youth ministry program and the ways that we might grow in our abilities to love you and your child(ren).

However there are far more urgent matters to address and I wish it were not so. As you could already surmise, I've been greatly distressed by the events which have unfolded in our community over the last few months. There are so many things that I wish to tell you. So many promises that I wish I could make. And so many assurances that I would like to give you. Your families have been my greatest gift at our Vineyard church and I am heartbroken beyond measure as our division is sinking in.

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Youth Ministry Newsletter

Issue #9  August 2014

Hello from the Youth Director!

There are no less than a thousand things that I would love to tell each and every one of you about our summer, the youth ministry, our church, my life, and slew of random facts that I learned about quinoa – but I’ll do my very best to keep my note brief yet insightful.  First and foremost – our longsuffering has finally come to an end as we are officially meeting in our new (and beautiful!) youth room!!!  I cannot begin to tell you just how elated the kids and I are to have such a gorgeous space that holds so much potential.

One thing I will say about the youth room that you may not have known is that, behind each of our newly constructed walls, are written more than 60 prayers for our students.  Our staff spent time imbedding our hopes and prayers into the very walls that your child(ren) meet(s) within and it is our hope, like a Nepalese prayer flag, that our kids will be saturated by God’s presence within that space.  Please, pop in and have a look if you’ve not seen it yet!  Also, don’t hesitate to send your thanks and praise in Pastor Donnell’s direction - He has put an incredible amount of time and energy into the building project which is enough to drive anyone insane let alone a full-time pastor with a million other things on his plate.

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Youth Ministry Newsletter

Issue #8  May 2014

Hello from the Youth Director!

I’m currently sitting in my downtown hotel in Nashville, TN where I’ve been attending the Faith Forward Conference together with Diane Sonda, our Children’s Ministry Director, to explore new areas of professional development within the scope of ministry to young people.  This has been a near perfect follow-up from our excellent Blue Ocean National Summit, which we hosted this month for more than 130 talented church leaders across the country!  It seems that both conferences speak strongly to our deepest desires of knowing God’s love and to seeing it touch every aspect of our lives.

I’ve had the privilege of exploring fantastic realms of thought this week, imagining what it means for a child to be ‘fully human’ and recognized as such.  I’ve been considering and reconsidering what a discipleship path might look like for our 14 year olds.  I’ve been confronted by the expectations that our culture places on parents so that we become so preoccupied in seeing our children ‘succeed’ that we often overlook the triumph of seeing our kids simply learn how to discover and draw in life itself.

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Youth Ministry Newsletter

Issue #7  February 2014

Hello 2014!

Well, I’ve officially hit my stride after being on staff for 5 years now.  I find myself grateful every week that I have a job that I truly love.  The staff, families, and kids at this church are a constant blessing to me and I feel like the good things ahead of us are truly boundless.

We’re moving closer and closer to the youth room renovations and remain on schedule for those.  If you run across Pastor Donnell on a Sunday, won’t you take a moment to thank him?  The amount of work that goes into managing this building is extraordinary.  Last time I counted, he was managing 17 simultaneous projects in the building at the same time and that’s not including his more pastoral tasks!  Demolition will begin soon and we’ll be off and running!  By the time the dust settles, this church will look beneficially different!

As a part of our adjustments this spring, I’d like to encourage you to meet one of our newer Mission Outpost Interns, Sarah Brinker.  Sarah is working this spring on a practicum that will help us to streamline interested youth into serving alongside the multiple ministries that we have available through our church.  I’m excited to see what opportunities this will open for our kids and there is no one like Sarah to make it happen!

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Youth Ministry Newsletter

Issue #6 December 2013

A New Youth Room; A New Youth Ministry

As we approach the new year I am now coming up on my five year anniversary of being on staff at the Vineyard of Ann Arbor.  I’m not sure there is a way to measure how much I’ve been challenged, grown, loved, and supported by our community and, if there were, the measurement would be relatively large.  Being a part of something as brilliant as our local youth ministry for five years has given me valuable insight into the lives of our students.

Through our weekend celebrations, our many youth ministry trips, and our life changing mission trips, I have become intimately aware of our ministry’s incredible strengths as well as our weaknesses.  In our effort to build on our strengths while undermining some of our more glaring weaknesses, I am pleased to announce a significant change to our program in the coming year.

Beginning in early January, we will be shifting our high school ministry times to Sunday evenings rather than Sunday mornings.  We will continue to meet with all middle school aged youth at both services on Sunday mornings but will combine our two morning high school classes into one evening meeting.  There was considerable thought behind this decision with the spiritual formation of our teens being our top priority.  I’d like to briefly lay out our rational for you below so that you may have more insight into our decision.

 

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Youth Ministry Newsletter

Issue #5 August 2013

I must say that this has been an incredible summer for students, staff, and my family!  We were stoked to offer two summer mission trips this year to both Milwaukee, WI with our Jr. High and to Beckley, WV with our high school students.  Both trips were highly formational for our ministry as students drew closer to God and to each other.  I was extremely blessed to have time to work closely with many of our students (some for the first time!) and to learn more about their stories as they seek to experience the presence of God and allow themselves to be moved by His deep, deep love for them.

Our high school students hung out at my home on Sunday nights and enjoyed the Bible TV Series together and both ministries had a terrific time playing multiple games of the Frisbee hybrid game, Panama Red.   And I’m pleased to report that most of our wounds are healing from August’s paintballing event!

 

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Youth Ministry Newsletter

Issue #4 June 2013

We are excited about the arrival of summer and anticipate the combination of rest and work that it brings to our families and students! This spring was particularly enjoyable following a terrific spring youth conference in Columbus, a staff conference in Alexandria, VA, and a vacation for my family in Washington D.C. My team of volunteers and I are looking forward to a summer of mission trips, graduations, and youth events to stay connected and worship God in practical and natural ways.

Following this issue of our quarterly youth ministry newsletter, we'll have had a full year's run with the new format! I hope that this newsletter has been a helpful tool for you and your family. Feedback on the newsletter and its content are always welcome.

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Youth Ministry Newsletter

Issue #3 February 2013

I hope that your winter is progressing well and that you will experience God in a fresh way as we begin our build to Easter in just a few weeks. We've certainly been moving through a challenging fall as we've adjusted to a new staff dynamics, moved through two challenging sermon series on Simplicity and Fighting Nice, and have drudged our way through the myriad of obstacles presented to us by our State and local fire marshals. I'm greatly anticipating a season of reflection as we enter Lent. As things slow down ever so slightly, I am also looking forward to attending a retreat in Indianapolis at the beginning of March called the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. It will be four days to connect with youth workers and educators from around the country to learn, challenge, worship, rest, and play. I'll also be putting some considerable time into evaluating our youth ministry's discipleship model and begin laying some exciting new groundwork that will widen the margins for God's love to invade our space and touch your children in a real and powerful way. Should you remember me this season, please pray that good things would spring forth from that conference.

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