What a way to end a year!
Regular youth nights have come to a close, but let me tell you, we went out with a bang!
Every year we make sure we provide a night unparalleled to the rest.. something epic. This year, Epic included a trip out to Canyon Ski Hill to dive into a pit of mud! Tug of war, bucket ball and a water-fight with over 2000 balloons were just the start to all the fun! Take a look at our muddy faces!
As the regular youth year wraps up, we’d love to look back at what 2015-2016 has meant to us here at Crossroads.
Pirates Gold, Toxic Waste and Glow Tribes probably make it to the top of some of our favourite wide games from this year. Oh, and does anyone remember the time Pastor James went psycho and smashed that TV? Youth has been full of lots of exciting moments. Legacy One, Rollerskating, smashing sardine gingerbread houses, and that’s only naming a few! Excitement can always be found on a night at youth!
Lets not forget, our series on prayer. “What do you want me to do for you,” Jesus asked a blind man, and we posed the question to our students. We pushed them to go to the Father with their hearts. We didn’t leave them alone in this. Our prayer wall was a staple to youth this year. It was a place where students could write a prayer request and take one. It was a way to truly care for one another. We also created an online form students could fill out requesting prayers as a way to reach out to leaders. The response we had from the prayer wall/online form was overwhelming. There are a lot of hurting kids in Red Deer and Central Alberta, but the good news is, we can cast our cares on the One that is higher.
Breakout rooms were also a big addition to youth this year. We deviated away from the typical one large wide game approach and decided to tailor events more suited to the students interests. With having 130+ students on an average youth night, it was getting difficult to keep up with everyone. As we got bigger, we had to get smaller. Some favourite breakout rooms were spray painting, Just Dance, paintball and Mafia. Don’t forget about our Art of War theme night where all breakout rooms featured a form of self defense. At first, students were leery about having 4 events on one night and splitting away from one large group, but breakout nights were a hit! It seemed like everyone finally found their place to connect.
We wouldn’t be doing youth recap justice if we left out one very important team.. the Worship crew. Do you know how talented our teens are?! On multiple occasions our ever-growing band led us in worship. One night, we even had to bring extra stage pieces to accommodate all our members! Junior high is full of talent, but they are also full of heart. The notes they play and the words they sing don’t just come from a page, but from the souls of students who have encountered God and who want to know more of Him. Thank you to Dave for leading this team, and thank you junior high worshipers for leading the rest of us to pour our hearts out (and sometimes, even to dance our hearts out) before the One we love.
Finally, I end with this, my personal favourite aspect of the entire year. We started off the year with a real emphasis on outreach. Really, it’s been a theme ever since. Our Turkey Hamper initiative, which provided over 20 families with a Thanksgiving meal, was really the start of local outreach. Grade 9 leadership also visited Potters Hands on a couple of occasions to help lend a helping hand to those in need in our community. Probably our most significant outreach has happened within the walls of our own building. It’s what we call peer-to-peer ministry. Our grade 9 leadership team has really changed the flavor of youth group this year. We’ve always stood by our core value “because we care”, but our students have taken this to a whole new level. We had students speaking encouragement to each other, sharing testimonies and praying for each other. Students worked really hard to find teens who were on the fringe and make them feel loved, included and safe. Because of that, we had a great turnout of kids coming from local schools…many of these students, from non-believing homes. We’ve been handing out Bibles, and seeing some of these students comes to Christ. It’s beautiful to not only see people coming to Christ, but to see them following their peers to His feet.Events like rollerskating, visiting trampoline world and even Epic, may be exciting and extravagant, but none of what we do compares to what He does. When God shows up, amazing things happen. What a blessing to see God show up at Crossroads this year!