We here at Harbor View believe that during children’s tween and teen years they truly begin to form their own ideas about faith and how it applies to their lives. For this reason we have a youth program full of opportunities for growth and community. Our program is lead by our Director of Educational Ministries and a group of very committed and passionate youth advisors. The basis for our youth program is found in our weekly meetings. These occur on Sunday evenings from 5pm until 6:30pm throughout the school year. During this time we meet together for dinner, divide into older and younger youth for lessons and activities and then close together as a group. The weekly activities cover a broad range of ideas and purposes, but all look to build relationships with God and one another while looking at what it means to be a Christian.
We offer a confirmation class every other year for any interested youth who have completed at least their 7th grade year. We do confirmation at this time as developmentally youth are beginning to truly form their own beliefs by this time and they will have had some time to explore the subject matter of Confirmation during their first couple of years with the youth group.
6th Grade Mile Marker
The entrance into middle school is an important moment in the life of a child. Expectations tend to change as they begin to understand that their opinions matter and begin to become more aware of their individuality, while seeking acceptance in a larger community. For that reason we celebrate this moment with a number of “Welcome to Youth” activities.
One of the calls we all have as Christians is to service, and this is an important part of growing into the faith as a youth. Our youth are active in a number of weekly outreach and inreach activities, and are encouraged to share their time and talent with the church in these ways. We also have special service events where we help those in the church, and those in need in our communities. All of this builds up to Mission trip opportunities both here and abroad.
Summer Trips and Events
Summer can be a busy time for youth, but we hope that every so often we are able to take some time out and spend doing “God things.” We have over the past couple of years done a number of special trips and events. Youth Meetups for food or fun here in the area. These are great chances just to catch up with each other over the summer. We go on Mission Trips where we work with those who need help, learn about poverty, homelessness, and God’s call for mercy and justice, and discover more about ourselves. We attend Middle and High School Montreat Youth Conference where we join with Christians from all over to worship and learn about God. Team Building Trips where we went white water rafting and zip lining. There we learned about overcoming our fears, building community, and relying on one another. Day Trips to Theme parks, just because they’re fun and a good time together. This summer a number of the youth will travel to Chicago to learn and serve. There they will work with those on the outskirts of both the global community as well as their local communities as they partner with abused women, disabled children, and those in the poorest areas to do God’s work together.
Youth in Worship
Youth should be active in all parts of the church, and that includes worship. We have had a number of youth participate regularly in our music ministries over the past few years by singing, playing guitar and bass, and participating in the handbell choir. Youth are also welcome to participate in leading worship through being liturgists, greeters, and ushers. Once a year the youth also plan and lead all of worship on “Youth Sunday.” Here youth learn what goes into preparing a worship service and find what it is that God is calling them to share with the larger body.
Youth in Leadership
In addition to leadership roles in worship, youth are welcome to join in leadership roles both within the congregation and within the presbytery. We also have had a number of Youth active in the educational programming of the church, especially teaching Sunday School and leading VBS. Other leadership opportunities include taking on roles in committees, becoming an elder, and serving on the PYC at the presbytery level.
Fundraising through Service
The youth typically host a couple of fundraisers a year. We aim to make these events that both help fund the mission of the youth program and summer opportunities, as well as provide fellowship opportunities for the entire church. We do this because it is important not only to be able to serve outwardly but also serve and connect to the church to which we belong.