Young people are an important part of our congregation! They are the church here and now, and they are constantly shaping and reshaping our community. Our vision for youth ministry is to call, equip, and ultimately send out our young people to live as people beloved by God and set free by the cross.
We encourage you to read below and follow the links to explore the many opportunities available for young people at St. John’s. Please direct any questions you may have to Noah Niermann, Director of Youth Ministry. Thank you!
You are at the very heart of Youth Ministry at St. John's! The programs and opportunities we offer would not be possible without your support. There are many ways you can help, and we encourage you to look at the volunteer opportunities by clicking on the box below. From weekly, to monthly, to one-time commitments, we hope there is something here for everyone.
A Chance to connect and learn:
We know that being a parent is not always easy. We are here to help build a community of support! On the first Wednesday of each month we invite you to stay at church during confirmation for an hour of fellowship and learning apart from your children. We hope to foster a space where we can find time to rest, get to know one another, and also explore difficult topics that relate to being a parent.
This year's topics include: 1.) Sexuality Education, 2.) Navigating Technology, Cell Phones, & Connectivity, 3.) Mental Health & Suicide Awareness, 4.) Fellowship, 5.) The Raising Teens Project, 6.) Street Drugs & Addictions, 7.) Faith at Home.
The 2017/2018 year will take the form of a book club as we read and discuss the book, Building Resilience in Children and Teens by Kenneth Ginsburg, MD. Multiple copies of this book are available at church or you may purchase the book online.
In the meantime, we also want to share an exciting resource with you. An extraordinary amount of research exists on the powerful ways in which parents and families make a difference in the lives of teens. The Raising Teens Project from MIT is an excellent resource that makes this research both accessible and useful. Click on the link below to explore this resource.
Middle School Ministry: 6th Grade
Sixth Grade is an important time of transition in the life of our students. Our Middle School Ministry program is designed to bridge the Sunday School years and the Confirmation program. We invite all current 6th graders to join us for an hour of fellowship, games, and bible study from 8:45 to 9:45 on Sunday mornings throughout the school year. We use the Re:Form curriculum from SparkHouse which helps us ask all sort of interesting questions about God, Jesus, religion, and the Bible.
Confirmation: Grades 7-9
Confirmation at St. Johns is a 3 year program. Students typically begin confirmation the summer before their 7th grade year with a week-long trip to Lutheran Lakeside Camp. They continue through 7th, 8th, and 9th grade, and usually complete the program at the start of their sophomore year with a celebration and special service on Reformation Sunday.
This program is designed to give young people the opportunity to explore, question, and live the faith into which they were baptized. Developmentally, these years are an important time of growth as new teenagers begin to establish key aspects of their identity apart from family and parents, develop belief systems and moral standards based on personal experiences, and apply abstract thinking skills. Our hope is that students who complete this program will be able to begin to verbalize their own unique relationship to faith, the cross, and the gospel of Jesus. An additional goal of the program is to more deeply connect students with the life of our congregation as a whole.
High School: Grades 9-12
Our high school students have many opportunities throughout the year to meet together for fellowship and study. We often, but not always, meet on Sunday evenings from 6-8. Our time together is guided by the values of community, play, learning, and worship.
Please follow the link below to find this year's schedule. Programming runs from September through May with additional opportunities in the summer.
Summer is an exciting time around St. John's! Even though much of our regular programming slows down, there are always unique summer trips and events organized specifically for the young people in our congregation. Read below to learn more about everything that is planned for the summer of 2017!
Wilderness Canoe Base: July 24-31
Everyone who has completed 7th grade and beyond is invited to join our annual trip to Wilderness Canoe Base for a week-long canoe adventure. These trips are an incredible journey that provide an opportunity for us to learn about and reflect on God's creation, strengthen our faith, and build teamwork and confidence. This trip also provides the rare opportunity to disconnect from our always connected lives and reconnect with a different pace of life. We hope you'll join the adventure!
"Always in the big woods when you leave the familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. " -Wendell Berry
Rooted: a service learning trip - June 11-18
This summer the Grand Canyon and Southeastern Iowa Synods of the ELCA are excited to host ROOTED, a partner synod journey aimed to strengthen one another for life and mission within the body of Christ. All high school students are invited to participate in this week-long service learning trip to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Sedona, Phoenix, and Tucson. We will meet new friends in the Grand Canyon Synod, volunteer together, and learn from one another. We hope you will join the journey!
Lutheran Lakeside Camp
Every summer incoming 7th graders are invited to spend a week at Lutheran Lakeside Camp! We normally attend camp during the first or second week of June. This camp experience is our kick-off to the confirmation program here at St. John's. The days will be filled with learning new skills and making new friends. Daily worship and bible study will anchor our week. Contact Noah Niermann for more information.