RSVP for Christmas Eve Services here

Mountain Life Church's Student Ministry

Mountain Life Student Ministry – Do You Have a Heart for Students?
Student ministry, or youth group as it was called back in my day, is crucial to keeping kids engaged and growing their faith. Why? Because in today’s world, the youth of America have access to vast amounts of information, much more than they can handle. And the family dynamic has changed. With both parents often working over 40 hours a week, kids are exposed to more, while being shepherded less by their parents.

According to Jordan Price, Mountain Life’s Student Ministry Pastor, “My personal experience has taught me that 9th and 10th graders are being exposed to things I wasn’t exposed to until I was in college. Adolescents are just not ready to handle the pressure, the information, and all that the world is throwing at them right now.”

And that’s why Mountain Life Church invests in student ministry. Because it’s our responsibility to help get kids connected to Jesus early in their life journey. Our vision for students is based on the premise of Sticky Faith and the fact that teens need Christian adult role models in their lives, in addition to their parents. Read on to find out how you can help grow this vital ministry.

Student Ministry Life Groups
At Mountain Life, student ministry is broken out into two separate groups. High schoolers (grades 9-12) are part of Outlet which meets Sunday evening while junior high students (grades 6-8) are part of the Hub which meets Tuesday evenings. Both groups meet in a space at the church that is designed to be inviting, fun, and spiritually engaging. Each week, students participate in worship, listen to a message, and then break out into Life Groups.

As mentioned in a previous blog, Life Groups are integral to Mountain Life church and student ministry is no exception. A Life Group is a group of people who commit to growing spiritually, caring for one another and essentially doing life together. “Having someone to walk with in life is so critical in today’s age,” says Jordan. “Students need spiritual guides to help them navigate the path. Ultimately the biggest win in our ministry is to get these kids connected to a Life Group.”

Another advantage of student ministry Life Groups is the value of hearing peers share where they are in their faith journey, whether they’re struggling or thriving. “Peers can call out each other more than leaders,” reflects Jordan. “That’s accountability. We believe that is a big value for the students, and Life Groups let them get that in a healthy way.”

There are roughly eight groups that are grade and gender specific for both high school and junior high students. Adult volunteers from the church, who have a heart for students and want to walk with them week in and week out, lead the high school groups. The junior high Life Groups are led by a mix of adult and high school leaders. This gives high schoolers a chance to mentor younger students, growing their leadership skills while also giving back to the student ministry program.

Volunteers Needed
Given the number of Life Groups in student ministry, 16 in total, the need for leaders is vast. The most volunteers currently serve as female Life Group leaders, with five to six leaders in each age group. According to Jordan, the number of leaders has a direct correlation to the number of kids involved in student ministry, with more female students in attendance.

Jill Clausen, Mountain Life’s Student Ministry Associate, helps support the women leading these Life Groups. “Jill really is the female lead of the ministry,” says Jordan. “Her role is to focus on female leaders and ensure that the female students are led well. We at Mountain Life believe that it’s important to have a female lead over the ministry for spiritual advice and leadership for the girls and the ability to interact with their parents.”

And while there still is a need for more Life Group leaders who are women, the real gap is among the male groups. Currently, Jordan himself leads a junior high and high school group, along with one other male high school leader and two other male leaders for the junior high groups. Leaving 11 male Life Groups without leaders.

“Our aim to see more kids connecting to more Life Groups, but for that to happen, we need more leaders. Honestly our ministry is hinging on how well we can recruit and train our leaders,” says Jordan. “How do we get more adults involved that have a heart for students and how do we lead them spiritually and get them to be relational with these kids? All the other things like worship, trips and retreats are easier once you have the right leaders in place.”

Student Ministry Retreats
When the weather permits, Jordan and Jill take advantage of meeting outside. Last winter the kids enjoyed snowmobiling and a bonfire at a church member’s home. This summer, the focus is on fun activities to connect deeper relationally with the students. Examples include floating the Provo River, attending the Park Silly Market and a kickball tournament and cookout at Willow Creek Park.

And then there are the annual high school and junior high retreats. “Ultimately the goal of the retreats is to get the kids relationally more connected and to have a more retreat-like experience in their faith, where we go a little bit deeper for three days,” explains Jordan. “An intense blast of Jesus and community can really go a long way.”

While the junior high summer retreat at Big Canyon Ranch is already full, students are still able to register for the high school retreat. Held at Bear Lake July 23-26th, the weekend will be filled with hiking, boating, and plenty of time around the fire to get to know each other at one of the most beautiful places in Utah.

And while volunteers are needed for the retreats, Jordan’s primary focus for the future of Mountain Life’s student ministry is on Life Group leaders. “Our big need, my dream, would be to have at least two leaders per grade and gender,” says Jordan. “If we could get the young adults of Park City that are not married or married with no kids to serve, then the kids could see someone who is only a stage or two ahead of them in life. There is some magic in that spiritual dynamic.”

By Liz Yokubison
Liz Yokubison is a freelance writer and author. You can follow her on her website, www.lizyokubison.com.

No Comments