We have a variety of children and youth educational classes and programs that we offer at our church. These include an elementary Sunday school, Sunday education hour and youth confirmation classes.
Sunday School is offered to the toddlers, pre-school and elementary school children during the worship service.
The Director of Youth & Educational Ministries is Tracy Loomis.
The Educational Program at FCUCC has been developed to embrace a “relational style “ ministry. This type of ministry follows the five biblical commands (worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship and ministry). The church has followed this style for the past six years in our youth program, developing curriculum and fellowship events that create a welcoming environment that encourages children and youth to grow in their relationship with God and others. I have found it to be one of the most successful styles over the last 10 years. Relationships are the key to young people feeling secure and comfortable in their environment and with that comfort level comes an ability to open up and share feeling, fears and questions. I’ve experienced this growth first hand with many of the young people I’ve watched pass through our program over the last ten years and the change it has made in their faith and comfort with sharing that faith with others.
The Spiritual Growth Team works with the Director of Youth and Educational Ministries to create a curriculum that fulfills the goal of “building them up and sending them out into the world” while following the “relational style.”
The curriculum is developed to have a transitional flow from one level to the next, preparing youth to become the disciples God has called them to be. They start out in their earlier years learning the stories of the Bible; this transitions into learning what a disciple is, and then in their youth, teenagers discover their gifts and use those gifts to do God’s work out in the “real world.”
The Director collaborates with both the Spiritual Growth and the Youth Teams. The Youth Team plans events for all middle high and senior high students, including retreats and senior high mission trips. The Senior High attends a week-long mission trip each June. This trip is planned in the fall of the program year, and the youth spend time learning about the project the will be working on. This year it is Habitat for Humanity--working on two homes in Florida. All retreats are attended by the Youth and Educational Ministries Director and two mentors, providing a “relational style” ministry. I feel it’s very important for all the children, including youth, to develop relationships not only with their peers, but with the director and other key adults.
It is essential that the person facilitating these programs uses a hands-on approach! The kids and youth are very receptive to someone who will get in there and join them instead of standing on the side lines and watching.
As a director I have found the youth and children to be very receptive to the “relational style.” Relationships are built on trust, genuine care and concern for others and attention to the little things; sports they play, attending their events, remembering their birthdays and sending out a text now and then just so they know you’re thinking of them.
For a church to have a successful youth ministry program it not only has to have good content for study but also the relationships with the children and youth that give them the comfort and security to share their faith, their fears, and their gifts. In order to have that relationship with young people, it takes time to learn who they are and where they are in their faith journeys. At FCUCC we provide a full-time Director of Youth and Educational Ministries, along with the support of the Spiritual Growth Team and the Youth Team. Children of all ages are very important to the growth of God’s kingdom, and it shows in the hearts of these teams. ~Tracy Loomis