Youth Ministry Transitions…

One of the more attractive aspects of life at Neighborhood Church is that as a church, we have a culture of innovating and exploring new ways of doing ministry and life together. In the coming months and years, we have the opportunity to collaborate together with several other Midtown churches to effectively disciple not only our own students, but also others who are in our neighborhoods and community.

Several years ago when Neighborhood Church began meeting with multiple Midtown churches during Lent for the prayer collective, the Lord planted a seed in Mandy Grisham’s heart for a collaborative youth ministry that would see these churches come together to try to do youth ministry in a way that we hadn’t seen or experienced before.

Fast forward three years and today, we’re seeing that vision become reality. Over the past year, leadership from Neighborhood Church has been meeting with leaders from four other Midtown churches, as well as with Ken Bennett from an organization called SOUL For The City to dream and plan for what collaborative youth ministry might look like in our urban context, with a special focus on campus ministry at the Maxine Smith STEAM Academy. There is much common passion and vision to see Midtown’s teenagers experience the love of Jesus so that their lives, their youth culture, and the broader community flourish because of their encounters with the love of Christ.

As a multi-church ministry, this collaborative ministry partnership (entitled “Crossroads”), will exist to build a Midtown youth parish which provides a fun, safe, and thoughtful context for all interested teenagers to:

Experience enjoyable, authentic, and loving community
Consider the story of Jesus Christ and his offer of a whole-life relationship with them
Consider growing in a relationship with Christ – discovering their life potential in Christ
Consider sharing Christ’s heart for their youth culture
Consider how Christ’s mission “to make all things new” applies to the story of their lives

There are many other details to share, and we will certainly do so in the next several weeks, but in the meantime, we ask that you join us in praying for this collaborative effort which seeks to bring new Kingdom impact amongst the students in our community.

Now, you might be asking, “Wait…doesn’t Neighborhood Church already have a youth ministry?”

The answer to that is YES, and we as a church have been so very fortunate to have had Vincent Spriggs give leadership to our middle school ministry for the last year. He, along with a team of parent volunteers, have done the critical relational and spiritual work of building a ministry to our middle schoolers. Vincent specifically has willingly committed countless hours planning, teaching, and building relationships with our kids, and our church community is incredibly grateful for that.

When this vision of Crossroads began to come together several months ago, our leadership asked Vincent if he would like to be considered to lead the Crossroads collaboration. Given his full time role at Manasses High School, his continuing work on a Masters’ degree, and the season of life and family in which Vincent and Rachael find themselves, he discerned that this was not the time for him to pursue such a role. That said, Vincent has expressed interest in continuing to invest himself in the students of Neighborhood Church in a volunteer role, as this Crossroad collaboration ramps up. Again, we as a church are deeply grateful for the Spriggs, and their past and future investment in our kids.

These are exciting days for our church and for our students. May God continue to bring about His purposes in us and through us for the sake of His Kingdom…

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