Circle Drive Students Update

What does the youth group do on a Sunday Night?
A typical Sunday night looks like this: announcements, games, worship, a brief message, and then we break into small groups to go over the message. 

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Why is it important that parents and church people know what we are talking about in Youth Group?
It is important for them to know so that they can be praying for the students, asking God to work in their lives. As a parent, this also gives you an opportunity to ask your teenager specifically what they learned that night. Knowing what we are talking about will also give anyone that is building a rapport with a student a chance to speak to them about what they are learning. 

What are we studying now?
We started a new four-week series on Faith, specifically Grace and how it is crucial to your Faith. Last Sunday we unpacked what Grace means and what Faith means and then we dove into how Grace does impact your Faith. During this study I have seen God work in my own life. God's Grace is something given to us even though we do not deserve it. We have never earned it, nor will we ever be able to earn it. John Stott defines it this way, "Grace is love that stoops and cares and rescues, " and I would like to add even though we don't deserve it. Stop and think about this definition for a minute. Who stooped down for us, cared for us, and rescued us? Jesus did, and not one of us deserves this sacrificial act! This term and the power of its meaning brought me often to my knees this week, and I pray that it impacts the youth and you in the same way that it impacted me. 

Grace is essential to our Faith (our trust, or belief in God) because there will be times in our lives where we may have doubts, there will be days when life is hard, and we begin to think, "Does God love me?" It's at this time when God steps in and reminds us of His Grace. He saved us from our sins, and Hell, even though we don't deserve it. He sacrificed His only Son so that we could be saved. If we can remember God's Grace in our doubts, fears and hard times, then we will remain strong in our Faith. 

Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." 

A Family Ministry

Promiseland, Faithweavers, and Circle Drive Students are ministries to the family. Sometimes they are perceived as a "glorified babysitting service," where it is a time to drop children off so that parents can have a break. Some may volunteer in these ministries with the same mindset. 

That mindset is not what we desire out of our children's ministry, nor is it what God wants! We long to see our next Generation come to know Jesus as their Savior, to grow in their walk with God, and to see them become contagious in their faith! 

We are here as a resource to share the Gospel and to provide God's Word into their lives during these programs. However, these ministries are in place to equip the parents in training their children to grow in their walk with God. 

Parents I want to remind you of the big job that we have to raise our children so that they love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind, Matthew 22:37, and to encourage you to do this by spending time with your children and talking to them about God. 

Here are some ideas to help you. In Promiseland we provide activity pages that show you what we have talked about, the key verses for the story, discussion questions, family activities, and a memory verse. Seek time each day with them to ask them the discussion questions, read the story to them again from the Bible, help them memorize the verses, and explain to them the meaning of it. Ask the teachers and leaders what your children have learned in Faithweavers. They would be happy to share that with you so that you can continue the conversation with your child. Seek engagement with your child, ask them genuine questions, have them paint, draw a picture, or act out the story, whatever makes them tick and helps them retain what they have learned. 

For your teenagers, ask them questions based on what we talked about in youth group, if they had any small group questions, or how they plan to apply what we talked about to their life. Email, text, or Facebook message me if you would like to know what we talked about or a copy of the small group questions. Pray with them over meals and talk to them about God over the dinner table. 

I want you to know that I write this to you as a parent and not perfect when it comes to this by any stretch of the imagination. I try but sometimes get "too busy," "tired," or "home too late" to do this with my children. Teaching them every day is something I fail at occasionally but will always continue striving to achieve because I know it is critical for me to take the time to engage my children and to raise them up for the Lord. 

God has given us that job as parents! Let me encourage you not to give up if you miss a day, but instead seek the Lord for His help in this area and talk to your children about God the next day. 

An Incredible Year

The year 2017 has been incredible for Circle Drive Students, and when I look back, I see how the Lord has been working in them. Please allow me to share some of these moments with you. 

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When youth group on Sunday Night's kicked off this school year, the youth group split into two different times. Middle School starts at 4:30 pm and ends at 6:00 pm. Sr. High begins at 6:30 and ends at 8:00 pm. We made this decision through much prayer, and the Lord has blessed the youth ministry. There have been many new faces for Middle School, and we have seen a few new faces in Sr. High. It has been great to see the Lord work in both groups! 

This Fall we hosted a few outreach events, with the purpose of allowing our students to invite friends. The main event that God's hand was in was Reverb. This was an all-night event full of fun packed activities, held in Binghamton and put on by Word of Life Ministries - All for the sake of sharing the Gospel with teenagers. During this time three of our teens accepted Jesus as their Savior and five of them dedicated their lives for Him to use!!! Please pray that they will continue to grow in their walk with Jesus. 

Youth group and all the activities that take place, could not have been done without the volunteers that we have each Sunday night or the chaperones that sacrificed a night of sleep to go to Reverb and the drivers that got up at 4 am to pick us up (on the first day of hunting no less!) And don't forget the parents/volunteers that helped with Black Light Dodgeball, and the Candy Fundraiser. Thank you for your time and for serving God by helping us out! Your heart for youth is evident, in a culture where teens are often overlooked and left to figure out life on their own as best they can. Adults who truly care can make all the difference in the world. 

Looking back over the course of the year and how the Lord has blessed this ministry gives me a desire to say, "My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together". (Psalm 34:2-3).