Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Fall is here…well sort of… the school year is here at least!
This summer was one of the best in memory I think in large part due to how isolated we have all been over the course of the 2020-21 school year. Highlights include backpacking up Mt.Rogers in Virginia, spending an amazing three days on the lake for our retreat, of course going to Cedar Point (~fortunately didn’t get hit by any debris~), playing Quidditch, Slip-N-Slide kickball, having a luau at Camp Carl, staying up all night competing at the Lock-In, and sending off an amazing group of seniors: Mia Walton, Koen Suzelis, Lena Smerchansky, Shane Skilton, Kate Miller, and Ryan Booher.
More important than all of the fun game stuff, we got a lot of time together to talk openly about where we are with God. I always say, “How’s God stuff?” Not a very technical question, but it’s simple, breaks the ice, and gets to the point. At the beginning of the summer we had a unit on the Four Loves of the Bible with the emphasis on relationships. We did an overview of Proverbs and wisdom, a unit on worldviews and ideologies, tackled the letters to the Thessalonians, and finished the summer with a unit on living with God based on the book With by Skye Jethani.
This Fall, we have a loaded event calendar and some awesome units set up. In the mornings we are going to spend our time tackling Apologetics which is just a fancy word for reasoned arguments concerning God (just to be clear, by arguments I mean conversation and discussion as opposed to fight club). The questions that we are diving into are all questions that the youth themselves wrote down as concerns or hard to answer. Questions such as “Why do bad things happen to good people?” “Where did God come from?” and “How can you tell if you are really saved?” just to name a few. All of these questions are things as Christians we should be able to answer, but have a difficult time putting into words. In the evenings, the lesson format will be split into middle and high school groups, and be expositional and discussion-based. Meaning we will walk verse-by-verse through, specifically for the Fall the books of Esther and start on Ecclesiastes, all the while discussing what we see and what it means within the groups.
As far as what to look forward to in September, here is the week by week breakdown. Full printable schedule can be found here
- We won’t have youth group September 5th because of Labor Day.
- September 12th we have a small event at our house (address is provided through Remind groups or email). We are going to play games, watch the Browns game, have a bonfire, and cookout a bunch of fried foods. The time for that will be 4:00pm-7:30pm.
- September 17th-19th we have our camping trip scheduled. Deadline to register is September 10th and the cost is $5. You can register here.
- Then we will have our first normal youth group of September on the 26th 5:30pm-8:00pm.
As always, email me here if you ever have any questions, concerns, or prayer requests. It is truly an honor to continue to serve in the youth ministry of Portage Chapel, it has been an incredible 6+ years. I could not have done it without the help of the most amazing youth team in the world and those who came before them.
At the start of this year our team consists of: Jamin Lattimer (7th year), Mandy Caicco (6th year), Jason Caicco (3rd year), Kristy Ritchey (5th year), Mark Ritchey (2nd year), Matthew Wunderle (2nd year), and my wonderfully patient, kind, and caring wife Erin Daugherty, as much as she can, while also balancing our family and work schedules. Please pray for us as we minister to and love on these young men and women this year.
Please more importantly pray for the young men and women in the youth program, who have left the program, and those who have not come into it yet. This continues to be a difficult time for all of us, but together I am confident we will continue to grow in Christ and be lights in the darkness, giving Him all the glory.