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.
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: org.au/crave
- Sunday@6 services (more on them later)
- Our parent blog which parents can subscribe to at stjohnsdc.org.au/craveparents
- Life Groups (see immediately below)
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: stjohnsdc.org.au/youthlifegroup
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).
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.
- The weeks we don’t have dinner we’ll run classic youth group games from 5pm. 
- 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: stjohnsdc.org.au/parish-training-day
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: stjohnsdc.org.au/campcrave
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.
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 stjohnsdc.org.au/craveparents 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
Kirk Mackenzie (Youth and Young Adults Minister) and the entire Youth Ministry Leadership Team
 Dinner will not happen the first and second Sunday of each school holidays.
 Pre service games will not happen the first and second Sunday of each school holidays.