The vision of Bethel's youth ministries is to:
- Provide a nurturing partnership between church and home;
- To help our youth find their place in the church and in our world by providing connections with other youth, children, and adults of faith;
- To involve our youth in the work of the church through worship, evangelism, learning, fellowship, and service as a path toward discipleship;
- To provide experiences that will allow them to develop and test their faith so, as they move into adulthood, they will have a faith that will go with them and grow with them.
Middle and High School Ministry Offerings
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. See below for more details.
Confirmation Kick-off Retreat
A confirmation retreat takes place each fall for all youth entering 7th – 9th grade confirmation class. This retreat 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.
Our summer events for youth offer a range of experiences. Middle school youth may participate in monthly Magical Mystery Tours and our 8th grade youth have the opportunity to travel to Minneapolis for the 8th Grade Mission Trip.
Bethel believes strongly in life-long education for our members and offers a number of educational opportunities for youth in grades 6 – 12.
30 Hour Famine
For several years, Bethel’s middle school youth have participated in a 30 Hour Famine in an effort to make an impact on our world. 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.
Information about the 30 Hour Famine is sent to all middle school youth prior to the retreat.
Primarily a casual time for Bethel 10th - 12th grade youth to meet for fellowship and learning every Wednesday night from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. The meeting site alternates every other session between the Bethel Youth Room and a youth classroom.
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.
Bethel Youth are offered several different opportunities to lead service events at Bethel. Two of those offerings are:
- Crop Walk - Our 8th grade class provides information, recruits participants, helps with set-up and leads the Bethel efforts for the Northfield Crop Walk. Due to their work, Bethel has seen an increase in the participation for this important endeavor.
- March Food Drive - For years during the month of March, our middle school youth under the leadership of the 6th grade leaders lead Bethel's March Food Drive by presenting skits in worship, tracking donations, creating fundraising opportunities for the congregation, and being the faces of the drive leadership. Their efforts result in significant contributions toward alleviating hunger in Northfield and beyond.
6th Grade Retreats
The Circle of Saints Retreat is aimed at creating this ring of adults for each of our youth as they enter middle school. During an afternoon in the fall, 6th graders and parents learn more about the importance of key adults in their lives and will be led through a process to select 5 adults whom they will ask to be the child's faith team. Once in place, these faith teams are recognized at a dedication worship service in January.
A Lord's Prayer Retreat is offered for all 6th grade youth on a Sunday afternoon. This retreat focuses on 3 petitions of the Lord's Prayer: First Petition - Hallowed be Thy Name; Fourth Petition - Give us this day our daily bread; and the Fifth Petition - And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
The third Sunday of every month is designated as Youth Sunday for worship assistants at both services. During this service, youth in grades 6 – 12 serve as readers, ushers, sacramental ministers and assisting ministers. Instructions and training are provided for all participants.
Bethel’s confirmation ministry has a “longer and later” approach. Our Bethel children begin their first steps toward confirming their faith with CAT classes in 4th and 5th grades – see CAT(echism) under Children’s Ministries for more information and move on to 6th Grade Connections and 7th-9th Grade Confirmation classes. The program culminates in youth affirming their faith in October of their 10th grade.