Our youth program is alive and active! There are bi-weekly in person meetings, separated into the Middle School Youth (grades 6-8) and the High School Youth (grades 9-12). These meetings take place on the campus of IHC in our very own youth center building!
We focus on an array of topics: faith and faith formation, schoolwork and interactions with classmates and teachers, extracurriculars, and how everything in life is connected. Meeting each student “where they are” is at the core of what we do. To quote Andrew Root, professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary, when he posed the question “If youth ministry isn’t for “fun”, then what is youth ministry for?” His response after much research ultimately came from the youth he interviewed themselves- “Youth ministry is for JOY”. This is the philosophy we are taking moving forward.
With a combination of joy, fellowship, and service, the IHC Youth Groups have many opportunities to impact the lives of our church and our community, as well as their own life and faith formation. When we are not having our meetings in the Youth Center, we are out in the community or finding ways to serve others. Through activities such as volunteering with Matthew 25 Ministries, assembling snack packs that benefit La Soupe, going on the annual summer mission trip to Mountain TOP, or our new service trips through the Ozanam Center with St. Vincent de Paul and soon, to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota with the Re-Member organization, we are finding ways to serve others. Our joy and fellowship, beyond just our meetings, have taken place during our camp out on the church property, movie nights, and lock-in, just to name a few of our activities.
Additionally, our youth have various roles throughout the church worship service itself. From serving as readers and ushers, being members of the Youth Choir, taking part in our annual Christmas musical, or spring sing option, the students are a vital part of our church community.
During our most recent program year, things ended up being quite different than as originally planned due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While we were unable to meet together in person for much of the end of our year, we pivoted tremendously! From Zoom conversations to lots of individual and group text messages, the youth have continued to work on projects and stay connected. The making of Power Packs for IPM has been a great example of doing ministry at home! Working on making sandwiches for Our Daily Bread is another example of how the youth and their families have collaborated to assist those throughout the Cincinnati community during this crisis. We might not be “together” but we are working as one!
If you are interested in learning more about our Youth Program, please contact Amy Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.