Clad in stiff robes and mortarboards, seniors across the country squirm in their seats while the Valedictorian drones on. They are eager to grab their diploma and move on. But some glance back nostalgically towards their high school years, mourning the loss of friends and activities they cherished. As we at Grace Church send our congratulations to graduating seniors, we’d like to highlight the joys of being a worker in our student ministry, developing relationships and impacting young people each week.
The leadership of Student Ministries recently transferred from Adam Swift to Charlie Hirschy, who has been working with the youth through his four years at Lancaster Bible College. Yet, Student Ministries does not run on one leader alone. About 15 to 20 adults are involved at any given time. Sunday mornings include classes for middle school and for Senior High. On Wednesday evenings, they have a variety of activities including Bible study, serving, and time in small groups called “Quads.” Add to that Momentum Dinners, the Auction, retreats, fun events, and the Momentum Conference, and you have a very full and active youth group.
Although they took a break this past year, Pam and Brian Fulmer have worked with the youth group for many years, through three youth pastors. Pam acknowledges that leading youth ministry is a hard job – and very important. “My goal is to give them as much support as I can because they’re teaching our future,” Pam says. Brian started his involvement when Student Ministries needed a bus driver, but soon found himself teaching on Sunday mornings, too. Pam first started with Junior High, serving as a helper in Sunday school. She later added leading four girls in a “Quad.” During the last fifteen minutes of each Wednesday, she would lead discussion based on the teaching or activity of the night, talk about the girls’ lives, and pray with them.
Pam has enjoyed hosting Girls’ Nights at their house, planning fun activities such as make-your-own-pizza, creating arm-knit scarves, and pool parties. One evening, she took a group to visit residents at the Manor at Willow Valley. They tried to visit Grace Church attenders, but also spent time visiting in the common rooms. The students were initially quite nervous about the venture, but they left full of the joy that comes from bringing pleasure to others.
Pam’s favorite part of Student Minstries, however, is the Momentum Youth Conference. She loves seeing the kids learn and grow so much. The speakers are usually deep and tough. Some youth have been saved at Momentum. And late at night, before everyone heads to bed, the girls will come hang out for a final time of sharing and prayer. She loves to spend that time talking with them, seeing where they’re at, and getting to know who they are.
Another faithful worker with the youth is Kate Aument. She teaches Sunday school for Senior High approximately once a month. This past year, the curriculum talked about having a Christian worldview on tough issues. What does the Bible say about war? Gender? Nature? Team sports? How does following the Bible impact your perspective? It was challenging, but fun.
Kate also leads the pantomime team. About three years ago, she asked if students might be interested in doing a mime for a worship service. That turned into a mime team that practices for a couple of months before each performance. “We have a lot of talented kids,” Kate asserts. “In fact, I can’t fit them all on stage at the same time!” Although Kate writes the mimes, she is humble about the source. “I have no creativity,” she claims. “God plants them in my brain.”
Kate wishes she could spend more time with the youth, but family life prevents that, especially on Wednesday evenings. She says, “The students are open and eager to learn, and they’re honest with you. They share what they think and ask honest questions.” She has been impressed by how giving the youth are and how they’ve embraced some newcomers this past year. When asked if the hard work and hours of time are worth it, Kate declared, “I don’t regret a moment!”
Quite a few other church adults as well as Lancaster Bible College students are involved in teaching and leading “quads” each week. With their faithful commitment and caring hearts, these individuals are making a huge impact on our youth.
The summer months bring a change in the regular school year schedule. But there is still a lot happening in our Student Ministries. Click here for the schedule.
Would you like to be involved? Speak to Charlie Hirschy today!