Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Newton churches come together, form youth ministry

Newton churches come together to form youth ministry

PUBLISHED: Friday, June 1, 2007
By: Cristina Janney Newton Kansan

Three Newton churches have joined forces to form a new youth ministry in Newton.

Starting this fall, Newton First Church of God, Newton Christian Church and The Journey will rotate having Wednesday night youth rallies at their churches for students in grades six through 12.

“We want to give students the idea this is what the Kingdom of God is all about — churches working together as the church, and that’s what is fun about it,” Doug Ingmire, pastor Newton Christian Church, said.

Youth from the groups will still meet in small groups from their home churches for Bible studies. All the students will use similar Biblical teaching materials.

“We will be able to have a greater dynamic and more synergy with more numbers, but the identity of our own home churches,” Brian Curran, pastor of the First Church of God, said.
All three churches are members of the Missional Church Network, and they concluded they could do more for the area’s youth if they came together.

“We can do more together then we ever could do apart,” Ingmire said.

Jay Lewis, The Journey pastor, said the new ministry will allow the churches to consolidate resources, facilities and volunteers. For example, The Journey does not have a gym, but the Church of God does. He said he was not aware of any such coalition being attempted in the Newton area before but hoped the partnership might spill over into other church activities.

“This will allow us to use our resources in other areas,” Lewis said. “It will allow us to be more effective in other areas by not reinventing the wheel.”

The ministry has hired Mitchel Diemer as a part-time pastor for the ministry. He is part-time pastor with the Newton Christian Church, and this cooperative effort will allow him to have full-time equivalent employment.

The youth ministry will be lead by a pastoral team at its inception, but the goal of the ministry’s creators is to hand over the reins of the group to adult and student leadership teams made up of members from all three churches.

A blog is in the works for the group.

The churches have several summer events planned for the new group, including a trip this weekend to Worlds of Fun and ice skating and pool parties later in the summer.

The students will attend camps with their respective churches this summer, but some consideration has been given to offering a camp experience the students involved with the new ministry could attend together next year.

In the fall, the pastors hope the youth could be involved in monthly mission projects in the Newton area and once a year in a larger mission project in an urban area or Mexico.
About 40 teens have signed up to attend the upcoming Kansas City trip, but the pastors said they hoped the ministry could swell to 100 before the end of next school year.

“Kids have a great influence and have a lot of friends,” Curran said. “They may not feel accepted at school or in the world. We can bridge the gap for these kids.”


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