Classic Youth Games – July 16

G’day Parents,

First up, I’m about to go on leave for a few days so there will be no post from me next week.

However, I’m back on Sunday 16th for our 5pm CLASSIC YOUTH GAMES. This is going to be one hour of people’s favourite youth group/youth camp/school camp games; at least the ones that fit in our building and are legal 😉

We’ll have a mix of high intensity and low intensity so there should be a good mix of activities for everyone.

Can parents play? Yes, yes you can. I’ll leave it up to you whether that’s a wise move in your parent/child relationship 😉

This is a slightly risky event for us to run because it does rely on a good turn out to ensure it’s fun so we hope to see heaps of you there!

Here’s the Facebook event.



In case you missed it.

G’day parents,

It’s the holidays and I’m about to take a few days off (second week). Before I go I thought I’d share with you something that made it’s way to our church newsletter on Sunday. If you already read it, please stop here. Otherwise I hope you find my reflections on youth ministry helpful 🙂

Last Sunday we heard our church meetings (e.g. Sunday@6) described as like a petrol station; the place where you fill up so that you’ve got plenty of energy to serve Jesus outside the church building throughout the week. It’s a helpful image and one that I think young people especially are challenged by.

Being a teenager or in your early 20s brings a lot of social pressure into your life. It’s first world pressure to be sure, I’d much rather be turned down for a date than be shot at or starve from malnutrition, but none-the-less young people have to navigate complicated and immature social circles as they seek to establish themselves as an independent adult.

For Christian young people there are two ways to escape this: give up on Jesus or hide your faith inside the church buildings/ events. We’ve seen our fair share of both here in Diamo and neither is a positive response. Our relationship with God is so much richer when we share it with others, when we put it into practice in public and private; however that is also the more narrow way. It’s harder and often requires significant social sacrifices.

I’ve had the deep joy and satisfaction of seeing a number of people (some whom I’m still friends with years later) become Christians from a non-Christian background. This is something I hope that everyone at our church can experience on a regular basis. Could you please pray that we have the strength of faith to share the good news and have the faith to believe God will use that to change lives?


Next youth event: Youth Alive North

G’day parents,

On Friday week (July 31) we will be heading to our next regional youth event. Should be a great time. If you can’t read that graphic above (I asked who put yellow text on yellow background and was told it was the Queensland office!), here are the details for the event:

  • Date: July 31st
  • Drop off: 6pm at St. John’s
  • Pick up: 10pm at St. John’s
  • Cost: $5
  • Food: Make sure to eat dinner before hand, usually there are snacks available.

If you would prefer to drop off and pick up from the event itself it’s at Encompass Church in Bundoora, 6:30pm-9:30.

Camp Crave: Two days to register

G’day Parents,

You’ve got until midday on Wednesday to register for camp. It’s definitely going ahead and our plans are shaping up nicely. There’s still plenty of room, especially if you organise  your own tent (couple of spots left in cabins at the time of writing). If you need convincing or have questions about camp, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or email. I won’t be in the office Tuesday but if you email me I can call you back.


Well done to all those who have registered for Life Groups. We are starting four Life Groups in the next two weeks! If you have not been contacted by a Life Group Leader by the end of the long weekend then please contact me and I’ll chase it up for you.


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Youth Unite this Friday (Feb 27)

Youth Unite is this Friday. These are great events for youth as they bring together heaps of young people for a night that is both fun and encouraging. For details see my previous post.

If you would like to make your car available for the the transport part of the night then I’d love you to drop me an email. (You can even stay for the event if you like!) We never know exactly how many cars we need because we don’t require an RSVP so it’s possible we would end up not needing you but it’s always good to have more seats than bottoms to sit on them.


2015 Letter to Parents

G’day Parents,

Below is a letter you will hopefully also receive in the mail at some point in the next week or so. It outlines what’s in store for youth connected with St. John’s this year. Enjoy 🙂


We’re hoping this letter finds you well rested from your holidays. J

This letter is to refresh your memory about the changes that are happening in St. John’s Youth Ministry this year and to share the information you need to get involved. Hopefully by the end of reading this letter you’ll have a good understanding of how things are working this year. Parents, there is an extra section for you which young people are free to ignore.

Okay, let’s dive in.

Friday Nights

For the last few years youth group has met weekly on Friday nights. This will not be the case in 2015. We will have an occasional weekend event but we expect that to be once or twice a term. At this stage most of these events are unplanned as we hope you’ll help us come up with ideas for what we can do and then help us make them happen. If you’d like to be part of planning an event make sure you let Kirk (our Youth Minister) know. We will communicate about these events through these methods:

  • Our Facebook page:
  • Sunday@6 services (more on them later)
  • Our parent blog which parents can subscribe to at
  • Life Groups (see immediately below)

Life Groups

We highly recommend that you join a Life Group this year as we are going all out to make them great. These groups will be small, 4-8 youth, with two leaders. They will be mixed age group (although you’ll be fairly close in age with the other members) and potentially mixed gender (depends on who regsisters and when they’re available).

All Life Groups will feature fun, food, friendship, the bible and prayer. However, the way these things are expressed will be up to the group. Because it’s a smaller group of people, you’ll be able to help the leaders run a group that connects specifically with the people in your group and talk about topics that are relevant to you and your friends.

It’s pretty easy to join a group although we will be asking you to make a bigger commitment than what we asked of you at Crave last year. Each Friday night you could pretty much turn up or not turn up when you felt like it. In a Life Group we’ll be expecting more commitment of each other than that. These groups will only succeed if every member commits to being there each week, rarely missing a meeting.

If you’d like to sign up for a Life Group, please enter this link into your web browser and fill in the survey:

This survey is designed to collect your information so we can find the best possible Life Group for you. Your responses will be sent to our youth leaders who will then get back to you with our recommendation. This may take some time, especially early in the year as we wait for enough people to sign up. If you haven’t received a response by halfway through February please contact our Youth Minister, Kirk Mackenzie (details at the end of the letter).

Sunday@6 Services

With Life Groups being a lot smaller than Crave gatherings last year, it’s fair to ask about whether there will be a weekly chance to hang out with a big group of young people. Our weekly 6pm Sunday service is the answer… and the answer is yes! For at least the next three years we are hoping this service will get better and better at connecting with youth and young adults. There will be some people from older generations around too – they’ll act as mentors, leaders and friends.

In order to reach our goal, some things will be looking quite different this year to what they were the last few years. Here’s some examples:

  • Every fortnight we will have dinner at 5pm which will lead straight into the service. We trialed this late in 2014 with great success.[1]
  • The weeks we don’t have dinner we’ll run classic youth group games from 5pm. [2]
  • Our style will change to connect more with what’s happening in youth culture at the time.
  • We’ll pick teaching topics relevant to young people and our speakers are being trained in how to communicate effectively with young people.
    • Please note: This does not mean we’ll dumb down our teaching, we still hope to stretch your brain muscles every now and then J
  • There will be interactive and creative moments during pretty much every service.

All Sunday@6 services are in the main St. John’s building (61 Main Street Diamond Creek). Our recommended drop off time is 5pm and pick time is between 7:30 and 8pm.

Note: There will be no Sunday@6 service on Feb 1; instead we’ll be holding a combined service at 10am which we encourage everyone to come to. It will be followed by some training session which we also recommend checking out. Details at:

Camp Crave – March 6-8

Camp Crave will be on again with a few key changes that we hope will enhance the experience and relieve the burden on family finances:

  • New dates. March isn’t that far away from the time of writing but the weather will likely be nice and warm which means more opportunities for outdoor adventures.
  • We have cut $100 off last year’s price.
  • Over the Labor Day Long weekend. We’ll head off after school on Friday night and get back late Sunday – leaving Monday free for recovery. We hope this will clash less with exams and mid-year holiday activities compared with previous camps.

Please check out our Camp Crave website for more details:

There is also an official camp invite letter on the back page of this letter.

Lastly, we thought it was worth popping in a reminder that we are an overtly Christian organisation and will not hesitate to share our faith during our various activities. We want to be us up front and open about this as possible. However, we do not believe that people should believe the same as us because we’ve manipulated or pressured them into agreeing with us. We welcome those who disagree or express doubts. So yes, we are followers of Jesus but we won’t ask you to leave if you aren’t. We’d love for you to join us no matter what you believe. J


Whoa, what a long letter! Sorry if we rabbited on a bit but we wanted to be thorough so you get a really clear picture of what’s happening this year. Still, you might find you have more questions or some ideas to share. If you do, please contact us through one of the methods listed below.

We hope to see you at Sunday@6 soon and at a Life Group early-mid term 1.


For Parents

We understand parenting teenagers is not always easy. Whilst it can be ultimately rewarding it can also be a great challenge as young people get exposed to more of the world and seek to establish their independence. As well as spend time with your children, we’d also love to be a support to the whole family as best we can. Here’s a few ways we hope we can enrich your family life through what we do:

  • Life Groups provide adult mentors who are not family members. Research tells us that non-related adults who take an interest in a young person’s life can have significant positive influence. Each of our Life Groups will be led by mature adults from our church who are well trained in leading young people and held accountable to high standards; including government Working With Children Checks and Victorian Police Checks. Obviously our leaders are not 100% perfect human beings but we value our Duty of Care and the integrity of our leaders highly at St. John’s.
    • It should be noted that Sunday@6 services are public, meaning anyone can walk in and participate. Please be assured that there will be over a dozen leaders in attendance at every Sunday@6 service who are accountable to the church and on the lookout for the welfare of the young people in attendance.
  • Each of our activities is not just about holding off teenage boredom. We hope they activites will be fun but we also hope they’ll push our youth to grow in maturity as people and in their understanding of/relationship with Jesus.
  • We’ll be doing our best to communicate very clearly with families. We highly recommend you subscribe to our parent blog currently found at but we will seek to go beyond that, using other methods, in order to clearly communicate what’s happening, when, where, etc…
  • We hope to facilitate good relationships between parents of different families. It can be great to sit down with someone else who is parenting teenagers to share some stories and tips. We also encourage helping each other out with carpooling to reduce the amount of time you spend driving to drop off/pick up your family.

If you have any other ideas on how we can better support parents then we’d love to hear them. J


Yours Sincerely,

Kirk Mackenzie (Youth and Young Adults Minister) and the entire Youth Ministry Leadership Team




[1] Dinner will not happen the first and second Sunday of each school holidays.

[2] Pre service games will not happen the first and second Sunday of each school holidays.