Children and youth are not considered the future of the church at The Church of the Good Shepherd. Children and youth are the present. We celebrate their gifts and talents, their zest for living, and their deep spirituality.
Ministries offered for Children and Youth:
Sunday School and Youth Forum: Most Sunday mornings our children ages 5-12 are invited to join us for the beginning of worship. After the Ministry of Music (about 20 minutes into worship), the children are invited to go to the lower level for Sunday School. We root all lessons in Bible stories and approach the lessons from a progressive perspective. Each Sunday has a variety of activities that help our children learn the Bible story more fully. The youth in 6th-12th grades have youth forum on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. Youth forum is a youth-focused and guided time of conversation that is relevant to our young people. Last year, the youth decided to read the entire Gospel of Mark, and completed the book!
Our Whole Lives: Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a comprehensive sexuality curriculum that helps children and youth learn about their sexuality in age appropriate and safe ways. OWL is a life span curriculum and there are programs for young people throughout their growing years. In a rotating cycle, we offer OWL for K-1st grade (8 sessions), 4th-6th grades (8 sessions), middle school (28 sessions) and high school (12 sessions). In the fall and winter of 2014, we plan to offer OWL for our K-1st grade and 4th-6th children.
Confirmation Program: The Confirmation Program is an extended time of reflection and learning about the Christian faith, The Church of the Good Shepherd, the Bible, etc. At the end of the program, our young people (middle and early high school youth) decide for themselves if they would like to become adult members of the church by affirming their baptismal vows. The program is mentor based, and each youth is assigned an adult member who promises to journey with them through the program. We are currently in the middle of a Confirmation Program, and we will have Confirmation Sunday on May 3, 2015.
Re-Member Youth Service and Learning Trip: Each summer our high school youth are given the opportunity to travel to the Pine Ridge Reservation for a week of learning about and working alongside the Oglala Lakota Indians. Our congregation has a long standing connection to Re-Member. http://www.re-member.org/
Various Activities throughout year: Every year we have lots of different activities that are children focused or intentionally inter-generational. We have game nights and all-church picnics, movie nights and parents' night out, Lenten Wednesday night potlucks and service projects. Children and youth are always welcome to join us in these activities!