Youth at the Loft: Living Our Faith Together
Welcome! Youth at the Loft is the student ministry of West Market Street UMC. We minister to students (6th-12th grade). We believe that to help make disciples we need to help guide our students through four steps:
We believe that faith is built in a community and to that end we believe that you have to connect with other Christians to help you in your faith journey. We want our students to grow closer together and support each other on their faith journey but also to have fun together.
We believe that worshiping is a fundamental part of one's spiritual life. We encourage worship with the whole congregation and offer 3 different worship experiences for youth to participate in with their families and other congregation members.
We believe that spiritual formation requires questioning, study and growth. Our Sunday Morning Small Groups allow youth to wrestle with questions about their faith with youth their age while digging deeper into scripture and theology.
We believe that faith produces acts of service in the love of Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit. We offer a variety of ways that youth can serve the church, the community and the world.
We encourage parents to play an important role in this journey because we believe no one has a greater influence on their child's spiritual formation than their parent. We want to partner with parents in ministering to their children and strive to provide excellent communication, resources, and opportunities for parents to succeed at ministering to their youth. Check out our parent page for more information and resources for parents.
Sunday Morning Small Groups (Sundays 10:00-10:55)
We have more than sixteen different schools represented across three different worship services in our youth group. As a result, we recognize that there may not be much of an opportunity for our youth to get to see and know each other during the week. During the Faith & Fellowship hour (10:00-10:55am) on Sunday mornings, we offer small groups based on age range and gender (middle school girls, middle school boys, high school girls, high school boys). Youth have the opportunity to get to know each other in small groups of 6-12, talk about their week, and discuss how faith intersects with their life. This year our high school small groups will be focusing around the question of "Who is Jesus?" while our middle school small groups will focus on getting to know some of the key components of our faith.
Each month we are encouraging small groups to get together at least once to do something fun together outside of the Faith & Fellowship hour. This may be going to a Grasshopper game, grabbing lunch after church, going to a high school football game, or doing a movie night, the sky is the limit. These fun events allow you more time to get to know each other without any agenda except having fun. At Youth at the LOFT, we think it is important to live out our faith together, in community. We hope that you will find an opportunity to build a community with your small group this year.
Sunday Night @ The Loft (Sundays 4:30-8:00)
On Sunday nights we like to come together to kick back, have some fun, eat some food, and share a little devotional. We play large group games, announce some of the upcoming events, share an awesome video of the week, play some games for prizes, and then have a 30 minute interactive devotional. Starting on September 20 we will go back to our regular schedule with Sunday Night @ The Loft. Middle school students will meet from 4:30-6:00, and high school students will meet from 6:30-8:00. From 6:00-6:30 we will have a combined dinner served by parents in the Youth Café. If you have a friend who has never been to church before or who is looking for a youth group to join this is a great program to invite them to.
Dive Deeper (Tuesdays 7:00pm)
Do you want to go a little deeper in your Bible study? Check out Dive Deeper. This is a chance to spend time wrestling with some bigger questions and going a little deeper than we are able to on Sundays. I'll introduce youth to some critical reading skills that they would learn in an introductory Bible class at a university. This time is for people who want to change up the way they read and study the Bible. During the first six weeks we will be looking at where the Bible came from, how it was written, how it was passed down, and how that impacts our interpretation of it today.
Our Production Team will work alongside Marcus to help brainstorm, storyboard, shoot, edit, and produce different audio and visual projects for the youth group and the church. The Production Team will learn basic skills with video, lighting, and video editing. Some of the projects the Production Team will be working on include, a promo video for the 2016 Winter Retreat, recap videos of past events, help in creating a Stewardship Campaign video, and creating some of our Awesome Videos of the Week that we show at Sunday Night @ The Loft. Do you want to learn how to create inspiring, creative, and funny videos? Do you have some creative ideas for promos and other videos? The Production Team might be a way you can serve.
Buddy Break Team
On the third Saturday of every month we host special needs children or VIPs at our church for three hours so their caretakers can have a break to run some errands, get some coffee, enjoy a nap, or just have a break from taking care of their child. Our Buddy Break Team will help with taking care of our VIPs. If you are 14 or older you are old enough to be a buddy. Each VIP is assigned a particular buddy who plays with them all day and gets to know them. If you are not 14 you can still help by being a floater. Floaters help out by being available to float between activities and rooms to provide additional assistance where needed. Our Buddy Break Team goes through a training session so they know exactly what is expected of them and how to interact with their VIP. Training is provided on a monthly basis by our awesome Special Needs Ministry volunteer Sarah Gray.
Our Capture Team helps capture the moments from our different events. The Capture Team comes to our events and takes pictures and videos while participating and then uploads them to Google Drive so we can share them through social media and use them in promo/recap videos. Don't know how to use Google Drive? We will teach you! If you like to capture pictures and videos of what you do then this might be the team for you.
Student Leadership Team
Our Student Leadership Team is the only team you can't sign up for, you have to be nominated to serve. Our Student Leadership Team is made up of youth who have been nominated by our adult volunteers to serve alongside our Youth Ministry Team to plan what the youth group does. The Student Leadership Team will have direct input in monthly events, retreats, mission trips, service projects, and some of our other programming. We're looking for youth who are responsible, involved in the youth group, and display signs of leadership.
HOT DISH & HOPE: 2ND THURSDAY OF EACH MONTH, 5-7PM
Hot Dish & Hope is an interfaith kitchen, hosted by First Presbyterian, that serves a hot meal to people experiencing homelessness and food scarcity. On the second Thursday of every month West Market Street UMC sends volunteers to help serve. Volunteers meet between 5:00-5:30, divy out the jobs of setting up, plating food, and greeting guests. The meal is served at 6:00 with a music and a message of hope. After dinner the volunteers help wipe down the table and are typically done by 7:00pm. 15-20 volunteers are needed each month, and the youth are going to have the chance to get involved.
INTERGENERATIONAL SEWING GROUP: 1ST WEDNESDAY OF EACH MONTH, 6:30-7:30PM
During VBS this summer our children made drainage bag covers for breast cancer patients. While doing this project one of our youth recognized that there are a lot of seeing based projects we could do to serve our church and our community. On the first Wednesday of each month an intergenerational group will meet to see a different project after Wednesday Night Supper. If you like sewing or would like to learn how, join us on the first Wednesday in October.
ROTATING SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES: 4TH WEEK OF THE MONTH
In addition to our standing serve teams and service opportunities we will also have a different service project each month. This may be volunteering to sort clothes at the Salvation Army, doing some repair work for a senior citizen, helping in the bike shop at the IRC, or volunteering at the ARC. This is a great way for youth to serve their community and work toward any service hours they may need for school.
If you are interested in volunteering with Youth at the Loft please contact Marcus McClellan or Ginger Shields. We require all of our volunteers to undergo training in our Safe Sanctuary practices. Volunteers must fill out a volunteer application form, submit themselves to a background check, and go through our Safe Sanctuaries training.