All staff and youth workers are required to comply with congregational abuse prevention training, including annual review of abuse prevention information and expectations, periodic background checks and completion of confidential forms for the church files. We are committed to the well-being of our children and youth.
Junior High Youth
Jr. High formation hour occurs after worship each Sunday. We strive to connect the biblical story to the life experience of youth making significant choices about the allegiances and alliances they will make. We try to spark their moral imagination and invite them choose the way of Christ.
A lock-in, a hike in the park, a lunch at the farm, a game night, a ropes course at a camp, an outing with an area group…we try to give junior youth an experience of community within the church. We seek to teach generosity and kindness, and provide them with spaces for developing good relationships with other youth and Christian adults who care about them. Playing together is a great avenue for these things.
At various times during the year we offer opportunities for service, often with the hope that youth will be accompanied by their families. Past experiences have included serving breakfast at a homeless drop-in center, blazing new trails, cleaning up at a local day care, and tidying up a river by way of canoe. No one said service couldn’t be a blast!
Every year, when there is no pandemic, we attend a winter camp featuring speakers, worship times, fun outdoor activities like tubing and snow football, and tons of time to just be together.
As opportunities become available we seek to host the youth for summer activities at the church or connected with other youth in the region.
MYF: Mennonite Youth Fellowship (Senior High)
Weekly Sunday Formation Hour
While the study of the Bible and theology/doctrine is at the core of what we do, we are always ready to talk about current life issues that the youth and our world encounter. We include units on Christian community, discipleship, and practice; current faith and justice issues and the history of the church. We teach and seek to practice respectful and healthy relationships with others and strive to have a variety of teachers who bring different perspectives to the hour. At least two adults are regularly with the youth to support their life journeys and listen to highs and lows week to week. Youth are often introduced to adults in the congregation who are living their faith in their professions and daily lives and have opportunities to talk about life choices and decisions.
As a group we enjoy being together. We usually gather once a month where we share a meal and “talk” together. Informal gatherings and outings, such as a bonfire, a sporting event, ice cream, water balloons, also help us experience the joy of Christian community.
Service opportunities include participating in a work day at the church, visiting older persons in our congregation, assembling food boxes at a local food bank, participating in making Samosas for the annual Mennonite Relief Sale, serving breakfast at a homeless drop-in center, cleaning up a trail, a neighborhood or a river, or helping someone move. We believe we are meant to be formed as servants, not just for a weekend or a week, but for our whole lives.
Nothing brings a group together like a weekend away together. And nothing opens us up to the movement of the Spirit like intentional time set apart for listening for God. At least twice a year we try to “get away,” once at the Fall all-church retreat and again at the Youth Winter retreat sponsored by a regional Mennonite Camp. Here we have the opportunity to connect with each other and youth from other churches. These times feature time to be together, as well as sessions for prayer, Bible study, talks on our spiritual life journeys, and conversations about the way of Jesus.
If a weekend is good, then a whole week is even better! Every summer the youth plan a trip together (when there is no pandemic). Usually around the Fourth of July, we plan a trip focused on: 1) Service 2) Connecting with God in the Wilderness or 3) Participating in a National Mennonite youth convention that includes worship, seminars, service, and fun. Such a summer cycle allows for a range of experiences for different learning styles as we seek to enjoy each other's company and become more like Christ.
Each year, several students are invited to become youth leaders for the group, giving input on the youth program, planning events, and serving as those who reach out to students to encourage participation.
Every student entering 7th grade, with the support of their parent(s) selects a mentor from within the congregation, someone who we hope will walk with them until they graduate from high school. We encourage mentor pairs to be as active as their schedules allow. Our First Sunday of the month youth-advocate breakfasts provide one time per month when they are sure to see each other and connect. This breakfast includes a time for chatting, sometimes games, and often a brief program touching on a theme pertinent to youth and Christian faith: mental health, sustainable living, reports from those doing service, and what it means to be baptized in the Christian faith. Sometimes the presenters are one of the youth's advocates or other adults from the church, sometimes it is an outside presenter, and sometimes it is one of the youth themselves. Pizza making, the annual white elephant exchange, and visits to the farm are other favorite events of the youth and their advocates. Mentor pairs are encouraged to connect at other times of the month as well. An annual training for Advocates late summer establishes expectations for communication with youth as well as parents/guardians.
Love of God (LOG)
Love of God or LOG is a program of Michiana Youth Ministries https://www.logmichiana.org/mym supported by Kern Road Mennonite Church. Many Kern Road youth are alumni of the LOG program and have served in leadership of LOG weekends. Michiana Youth Ministries strives to give youth opportunities to build a foundation for a spiritual life that lasts a lifetime. Through their experiences, LOG participants will have a deeper relationship with God and will use their faith as a resource for support and guidance. MYM envisions that participants will grow into caring, responsible adults who are leaders in their professions, community and faith. Michiana Youth Ministries offers high school students peer-led weekend retreats in which they can experience the love of God, enjoy Christian community and grow in servant leadership. The Kern Road Mennonite Church facility is host to the LOG weekend retreats when they occur 2-4 times per year.