Coming Soon: High School Ministry at Jamestown Harbor!
May 1, 2017
My life changed because of student ministry… but I didn’t know it until much later!
During my freshman year of college, an older friend named Chris saw me at the YMCA and invited me to become a leader in a ministry for teenagers called Young Life. I’d not really heard of Young Life before and told him, “no thanks.” But, three days later, I called him up anyway and said “yes” without a clue as to what I was getting into.
A few days later I was at new leader training where they talked about leading ministry with teenagers and the important role leaders have as we build trust by spending time in their world. We coach young people on teams, volunteer in their schools, sit with them at sporting events and more. As they were talking I started remembering all of the times I saw Chris in my world as a coach, around the halls of my school, next to me at sporting events and I thought to myself…. “the whole reason I’m here is because Chris was doing this to ME the whole time! This works!”
That was the moment I began my journey in ministry. 20 years later, here I am. Sometimes student ministry is drastically shaping someone’s life without them even knowing it.
I love student ministry because it calls something out in young people that they never knew was in them, because it creates relationships that last beyond the school years, and because it helps young people find their way back to God in ways we could never anticipate.
This past year we started our first steps in student ministry by partnering with Young Life in supporting Mackenzie Fredrick as one of their staff members. Mackenzie has spent this year working with students at Riley Street Middle School and leading both middle and high school teams in the Hudsonville community.
Additionally, she began our first middle school ministry at Jamestown Harbor where 6th-8th grade students can connect with each other and adult leaders and experience new truths about the Gospel. I’m so grateful for Mackenzie, she’s one of the most gifted leaders I’ve ever seen work with middle schoolers!!
This coming year we’re taking another step into student ministry by recruiting our first High School Ministry team to work with 9th-12th grade students. Carol Koppenaal has volunteered to be our first team leader and help our new ministry get off the ground!
I first met Carol 10 years ago when she was a senior in high school and I came on board at Fair Haven as her new youth director. Throughout college she volunteered on our middle school and then high school ministry teams and she’s been engaged with that ministry ever since, even while joining the core team that planted our church! Carol is both passionate about and skilled in developing relationships with high school students and I couldn’t think of a better person to help Jamestown Harbor take it’s next steps in this ministry! I’m super excited for what’s to come this fall!.
Since student ministry has changed my life so drastically, and I’m such a big believer in the power of working with students, I don’t feel afraid to ask for your help! There are a few ways you can come around this new team and help us begin right:
- You can join the team! Carol will be spending the summer looking for a few more adults who want to build relationships with teenagers and volunteer a couple nights a month in the school year to help this program begin. Folks like Carol and myself would not be here without adults in our lives as teenagers… who knows what kind of impact YOU could make in the life of a young person this year?
- You can host the group! We’ll need different homes to meet in this coming year. If you’ve got a basement or a living room and a hospitable attitude, then you are the right person to host a night or two this coming year!
- You can encourage our new leaders! Connect with Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know you are praying for her and her team, help her connect with potential volunteers and meet new students. As a volunteer, Carol is going above and beyond to begin this new ministry and your support and encouragement will be a key factor in our success!
Thanks for being a great church, a church that loves to see lives change. Join us as we help teenagers find their way back to God!