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YOUT H MIN IST RIE S


HEY THERE! So you’re the parent of a middle and/or high school student. Congratulations! You have one of the most important (and sometimes the most difficult) jobs on the planet.

Your job isn’t always easy, but here’s what we want you to know: we’re here to help, in any way we can. No matter how connected (or not connected) you are with our church, this Parent Handbook will show you some of the ways we’re trying to care for your student and serve you at the same time. Thanks for letting us be another voice in the life of your student. Your trust and partnership means a lot to us. We can’t wait to see what this year has in store!

YOUTH MINISTRIES


WHAT’S INSIDE THE BASICS Our Staff ....................................................................................................... Our Ministry................................................................................................... Our Big Win ................................................................................................. Confirmation Covenant ...............................................................................

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THE FINE PRINT Safety Guidelines ....................................................................................... 6 Contact Us .................................................................................................... 8


THE BASICS OUR STAFF Rev. Caroline Lawson Dean Associate Pastor ASSOCIATEPASTOR@PLYMOUTHLAWRENCE.COM

Caroline joined Plymouth's staff in 2019 and quickly became a mentor, teacher, and spiritual leader to our dynamic youth group. You can find Caroline journaling in coffee shops, leaving a local gym, or taking various little creatures on long walks. Her current favorite hobby is eliciting giggles from a certain 1 and 4 year old.

Kara Holcombe Faith Formation Assistant KARAYEHOLCOMBE@GMAIL.COM

Kara Holcombe grew up in Lawrence. Social justice and service were instilled in her at a young age by her parents, who worked in the ministry and social work. In her free time, Kara enjoys cross-stitching, going to the lake, and professional wrestling. So that’s us! Let us know if there’s anything you ever need. We’re here to help!

THE BASICS

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OUR MINISTRY OUR PROGRAMS MIDDLE SCHOOL | SUNDAYS 4:30pm-6:00pm Our middle school confirmation ministry (grades 6-8) meets the 1st, 3rd and 4th Sunday for games, teaching, and small groups.

HIGH SCHOOL | SUNDAYS 5:30pm-7:00pm Our high school ministry (grades 9-12) meets the 1st and 3rd Sundays to explore our faith through social justice work, the arts and fellowship opportunities.

YOUTH SERVICE CORPS | 2nd SATURDAYS 9:00-11:30am Our high school and middle school service corps small groups gather to do impactful local service work and spiritual reflection.

MIDDLE SCHOOL CHAPEL CHOIR | Sundays 10:30-11:00 am MIDDLE SCHOOL HANDBELLS | Sundays 4:00-4:30 pm HIGH SCHOOL HANDBELLS | Sundays 11:00-11:30 am

OUR ENVIRONMENTS EVENTS Throughout the year, we’ll host several big events & service opportunities designed to help student connect with their peers and small group leaders. Events are often the environment where students will walk into our ministry for the very first time.

SMALL GROUP Small groups are the most important part of what we do. They happen in our programs, but the relationships built in small groups extend outside the walls of our church. They’re designed to connect every student with a consistent trustworthy team of adults and community of their peers.

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THE BASICS


OUR BIG WIN

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hat is our shared goal this year as we engage with our youth and create transformative community together?

WE WIN WHEN A TEENAGER TAKES A STEP TOWARD OWNING THEIR FAITH.

TAKING A STEP Now, we say “takes a step” for a reason. It’s because there’s no finish line or certificate of completion when it comes to spiritual growth. Instead, spiritual growth is a journey (a life-long journey) and no two journeys are identical. That’s why our big win doesn’t have anything to do with a specific skill or achievement. Instead, we win anytime we see a student take a single step closer to owning their faith.

OWNING THEIR FAITH What, exactly, does it look like for youth to own their faith? Well, we believe there are four things that both lead to, and are a result of, spiritual growth. We call these four things our four spiritual habits: spending time with God, spending time with others, using their gifts and sharing their story.

THE BASICS

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s a parent, you are making a huge impact in your student’s life. You are the most important voice in your kid’s life, both now and for a lifetime.

But in all of our time caring for students, we’ve learned something really important. We believe that, in every middle school & high school student’s life, this is true: your best chance at influencing your student’s faith and future is to recruit other adults to influence them with you.

Dr. Kara E. Powell and Dr. Chap Clark, authors of Sticky Faith, encourage parents to “develop a sticky web of relationships” for their kids. Especially during the teenage years, when your student is beginning to pull away from you in their search for independence, we want to come alongside you by creating a pool of trustworthy adults who can help you influence your student. That’s why our ministry is so committed to small groups. Small groups are about more than just good discussions. Small groups exist to connect youth with a team of adults you can trust so they can be supported in this transitional season and their faith can have the opportunity to flourish.

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THE BASICS


CONFIRMATION COVENANT

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uring Confirmation (6th-8th Grade) at Plymouth Congregational Church we will explore our faith together and learn about the Christian tradition in an open-minded, inclusive environment. Our confirmation curriculum allows each student to articulate what they believe and how they feel called to live out their own unique faith expression in this season. At the end of the confirmation program (in spring of 8th grade) the students are given the opportunity to officially join Plymouth Church during the confirmation ceremony. Our confirmation program also emphasizes worship attendance & parent/family involvement.

Details Confirmation Covenant Our Confirmation students will be enfolded in a vibrant, nourishing community where they can grow and flourish on their faith journey. With this goal in mind, we covenant together to honor these commitments: • Attendance at all large group events, small group fellowship nights & youth service corps projects. Please tell your smallgroup leader if you know in advance that you will have to miss any event. • Weekly attendance at worship (September-April). Fill out the worship journal at each worship gathering. If weekly attendance is not possible for your family in a particular season, please contact Caroline. • Confirmation Retreats (Fall & Spring) • Confirmation Worship Service in April (for 8th grade students)

Confirmation Retreats Confirmation retreats are life-changing events when 6th-8th grade confirmation students and their adult small group leaders get away from everyday life, spend time building relationships with one another and with God, and write up their faith statements (at the spring retreat). The Confirmation Retreats are an important part of Plymouth’s Confirmation program. THE BASICS

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THE FINE PRINT SAFETY GUIDELINES

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he safety of your youth is a priority for our ministry.

WE SCREEN VOLUNTEERS Before any volunteer is permitted to serve with us, they undergo an interview process and a criminal background check.

WE SET BOUNDARIES We have set a number of guidelines for our youth ministry staff and volunteers. As a parent, you can help us make sure your child is wellcared for by helping us maintain these boundaries. • No staff member of volunteer should initiate a one-on-one meet-

ing with a student without the knowledge and consent of their parents. • No staff member or volunteer should transport a youth in a vehicle alone. If a student needs a ride, we must arrange to have another adult or youth to accompany them. • All staff members and volunteers must maintain appropriate physical boundaries with students at all times.

WE REQUIRE PERMISSION SLIPS We will ask for your consent in order for your student to attend any event, retreat, or gathering outside of our regular program.

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THE FINE PRINT


WE REPORT DANGEROUS SITUATIONS Every staff member and volunteer in our ministry is a mandated reporter, which means we are legally required to report any dangerous or potentially dangerous situations immediately, including… • If a student is being harmed, neglected, or abused. • If a student is harming or abusing someone else. • If a student is harming or at risk of harming themselves.

WE ARE ALWAYS AVAILABLE If you ever have a concern about your teenager’s care or safety, please reach out to us. We’re just a phone call or email away!

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CONTACT US LET’S STAY IN TOUCH

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e’d love to stay in conversation with you. Here are a few ways we’re hoping we can keep the lines of communication open.

EMAIL We send an email just for parents every month. It’s packed with information on our ministry and on how to be a more awesome parent of a teenager. Subscribe at www.plymouthyouthministry.org.

SOCIAL MEDIA We post photos, videos, and updates from our ministry each week. Follow along at . . .

FACEBOOK: Plymouth Youth Ministry (Group) INSTAGRAM: @plymouthyouthministry

DISCUSSION GROUPS Throughout the year, we’ll host a Discussion Group or two for parents. If you’d like an invitation, let us know!

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THE FINE PRINT


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES If you would like to serve on one of our adult volunteer teams: The Youth Café’ Team, The Youth Service Corps Volunteer Team, The Greeter Team or learn more about Small Group Leadership Roles contact Rev. Caroline Lawson Dean (associatepastor@plymouthlawrence.com).

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YOUTH MINISTRIES

Profile for Plymouth Church UCC of Lawrence, Kansas

Plymouth Youth Ministry Parent Handbook  

Plymouth Youth Ministry Parent Handbook  

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