Sabbatical Learnings – Immanuel Baptist Church

I had the opportunity to visit the high school ministry at Immanuel Baptist in Highland this past week on both a Sunday morning and a Wednesday night.   Here are a few things I picked up as I was there:

  • They have a large group opening time on Sundays before they break into smaller Bible Study groups (our ministry does the same thing).  I loved they way they intentionally tied that time as an intro into what they were talking about that day.
  • On that same note, a volunteer led most of that time.  He did a fantastic job with an object lesson to intro the day’s passage.
  • On Wednesday night there were also a few things that were really cool.  I liked that the youth pastor wasn’t on stage the whole time.  A student led an opening game, students led worship, and a volunteer gave announcements.  When you hand stuff off like that, the quality may go down a little, but the engagement level goes way up which is worth it.
  • After the Wednesday night program students hung around for quite awhile!  I’d say about 80% of the students stayed to hang out.  In my ministry 80% of the students are gone 5 minutes after we’re done.  A key for this in their ministry: free food.  They have a parent that coordinates different Sunday School classes bringing food each Wednesday night.

I had dinner afterwards with their youth pastor Rob Signs, as well as his fiancee Amy.  One of the cool things we talked about is a retreat they were doing a couple days later.  It’s called Coram Deo (Latin for “in the presence of God”).  And essentially it’s lots of guided quiet times and experiences in God’s Word.  They camp near the beach in San Diego and are able to pull the whole thing off for $50 a student.  I’m thinking about adapting something similar in our own high school ministry.  We could use a discipleship-oriented experience in the fall in our ministry, but I don’t want to add another HUGE high-priced item.
Next church to visit: Sandals Church

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