Bethel’s opportunities for high school students are varied and numerous. We encourage youth to participate in places that are meaningful to the individual and help grow and sustain their faith journey. Some of the options available for high school youth in grades 9 – 12 follow. For further details about any of the opportunities, please use the ministry link to the Annual Scoop following the information here.
Hi League – a mix of worship, learning, and fellowship experiences, grades 10 – 12 meet the second and fourth Wednesday evening in the Barb Hanson Youth Center at 7:00 p.m.
Confirmation – Grades 6 through 10 all have learning opportunities as a part of Bethel’s confirmation programming. Bethel youth traditionally confirm their faith the second Sunday of October in the fall of their 10th grade.
Sunday School – Bethel believes strongly in life-long education for our members and offers a number of educational opportunities for youth in grades 6 – 12.
wePOD - wePOD is a ministry of high school youth who have a passion for helping others and “being there” for people. This ministry can be compared to Bethel’s BeFrienders, or to a Peer Ministry program, but wePOD is specifically designed for Bethel youth. wePOD is an important ministry that helps connect the youth to each other and create deeper friendships among peers. It is a central part of everyday life to help others know that they are loved and cared for, especially when life becomes hectic and crazy – this is primary to the mission of wePOD. Interested youth are trained in interpersonal skills such as active listening and relationship boundaries. The group then meets together monthly to discuss their ministries and to learn and grow from others’ experiences. Adult guides are present at these monthly sessions to assist and support wePOD participants. Training sessions are offered twice a year for interested youth.
Y.E.S. – Youth Energized to Serve is a team of Bethel youth and adult leaders who coordinate service opportunities for our youth at Bethel, in Northfield, and beyond. This ministry is open to all youth, grades 6 – 12.
An example of the Y.E.S. team’s service work on behalf of others is the March Food Drive
Prayer Friends - Every year, each 8th and 12th grade youth is paired with an adult Prayer Friend. The Prayer Friend simply commits to pray for their assigned student throughout the school year. Each youth is also asked to pray for his/her Prayer Friend. Students from these two classes are the focus for this ministry because of the transitions they will meet the following year – 8th graders as they enter high school and seniors as they move on to college.
Mentors - All 9ers (9th grade Bethel youth) are connected with a Bethel adult of their choice for a year of fellowship, service, and faith-building. Several events are planned throughout the school year to facilitate the growth and strengthening of a relationship between the youth and his/her adult mentor. This well-loved Bethel tradition is designed to assist in the faith growth of our 9th grade youth in preparation for their confirmation of faith the following fall.
Retreats – Several retreat opportunities are offered for our high school youth:
- 30-Hour Famine - High school youth are integral in organizing and leading the 30-Hour Famine for our Bethel middle school youth. During this event, youth are encouraged to ask adults to sponsor them as they fast in some form (food, electronics, TV, etc.) for 24 – 30 hours. Proceeds go to World Vision to help alleviate world hunger. The associated retreat is a way for youth to encourage one another and learn more about the challenges associated with hunger. The evening consists of games, interactive learning experiences, worship, and fun. It ends in the morning as the group “breaks the fast” with a morning meal.
- Confirmation Kick-off Retreat - A confirmation retreat takes place each fall for all youth entering 7th – 9th grade confirmation class. This is a one-night overnight at Bethel that is a great chance to learn more about your confirmation journey and get to know your confirmation teachers for the next year in a fun, relaxed setting. Details for the retreat are sent during the summer.
- Confirmation R & R - Every fall, youth who are confirming their faith are asked to set aside the first Sunday in October in preparation for their confirmation service. Their parents are asked to join them in the evening. The specifics of the day are: 1. Confirmation Retreat: All youth who will be confirming their faith attend a day retreat at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. The afternoon is spent in preparation for their confirmation service the following Sunday. 2. Confirmation Rehearsal: Youth return to Bethel after their retreat and parents are asked to join their child to walk through the confirmation service with the pastors and youth director. 3. Confirmation Dinner: All confirmands and parents are served a dinner by the 9th grade youth and parents, followed by a photo session in the sanctuary. The dinner is a meaningful end to a full day of planning for the rite of confirmation.
- Senior Stepping Stones Retreat - Three Senior Stepping Stones retreats are offered during the school year for high school seniors and their parents, one in October, in February, and in May. These retreats are scheduled from noon to 3:00 p.m. on a Sunday and are a time for families to pause and reflect as they prepare for graduation. In the first retreat, families take a look back at the events and people who have blessed and helped them to this point in their lives; during the February retreat, we look at where families are at the moment in their transition toward graduation and what they want to be sure to accomplish as a family by the end of the year; and in May, we spend time looking ahead to what the future holds for them as a family.
Youth Sundays – The third Sunday of every month is designated as Youth Sunday for worship assistants at both services. During this service, youth in grades 8 – 12 serve as readers, ushers, and sacramental ministers. Instructions and training are provided for all participants. At the late service on this Sunday, youth musicians lead the worship experience.
Summer Trips – Our summer events for youth offer a range of experiences.
9th Grade high school youth may participate in a hiking and backpacking trip to Montana through Christikon, a ministry of Lutheran congregations that is based in an outdoor setting which offers experiences grounded in and shaped by the gospel of Jesus Christ. A Bethel tradition for years, Bethel’s youth who have completed 9th grade participate in the “Mountaineers” trip backpacking as a part of their preparation for confirmation. This trip usually takes place in mid-July. An informational meeting is held for all 9th grade youth and parents the October before the trip.
10th through 12th grade youth rotate through a three-year cycle of summer trip opportunities:
- Outdoor adventure trip
- ELCA National Youth Gathering
- Mission trip
More Summer Stuff here.
The high school summer trips generally last about 10 days. An informational meeting is held for all 10th – 12th grade youth and parents the October before the trip.
For more information about any of these high school offerings, please contact the Director of Youth Ministries or the Bethel church office.