Youth Ministry at Bower Hill
Our vision is that youth experience the joy of knowing a relationship with God, and belonging as a beloved child of God so that they will:
actively live, love and accept themselves and others into our community.
be passionate about understanding and exploring their personal faith and how it is enacted in their daily lives.
discover their unique gifts and embrace the God-given purpose for their lives.
To realize this vision, Bower Hill maintains three top priorities for our ministry to children and youth. These priorities are born out of the unique character and emphasis of our congregation, and the needs of young people who are being instructed in the life of faith.
For the Christian life to be “normalized” in the minds of young people, they need to form bonds with people who share the journey of faith. Most importantly, young people need to have friends their own age at church, but they also need to see faith modeled in the lives of adults they like and respect.
Mission - Youth Mission Projects
Mission is the heartbeat of the Christian life. Young people may struggle with the abstracts and ideals of faith, but when they see it in action, it makes sense. Mission also broadens a young person’s horizons and instills gratitude.
Catechesis – The Instruction of Faith
Young people are regaled with a false narrative about life. Our culture conditions them to be passive consumers whose thoughts and energies go into making and spending money. A person’s worth is assessed according to their wealth, status, beauty, and power. Christianity offers and alternative narrative to what life is about. The life of Jesus becomes a parable for how our own lives should be lived: standing always with the broken and downtrodden, choosing service over status, surrendering oneself or loosening one’s grasp on the things that we think will give us power, finding new life (resurrection) on the other side of sacrifice and surrender.
Please join us for our next Gather: All-church potluck, October 21 at 6:00 p.m. Please bring a SIMPLE dish to share based on your last name; come a bit early if needed to get your dish setup so that we can eat dinner at 6:00 p.m. After dinner, we will stay and play games, so also bring your favorite game to play.
If your last name begins with: Bring a…
A-F: Fruit or Dessert.
G-L: Main dish/protein (meatballs, pulled pork, chicken, bean/tofu dish for vegetarians)
M-Z: Appetizer, Side Dish or Salad
Everyone: A board game to share.
These dinners are envisioned as an opportunity to build intergenerational community and friendships, to connect and share in our collective life of faith to mentor our youth confirmands.
The remaining potluck dates are: October 21, December 10, January 7, February 4, and March 3.
A group of 8th & 9th graders will participate in confirmation this year to explore their beliefs, values, and worldviews as they consider whether to personally "confirm" the promises made at their baptism. But we as a congregation also make a commitment at a child’s baptism “to encourage and instruct young people in the life of faith so that they may in time respond personally to the call of Jesus Christ in their lives.” What if each of us were to commit just one hour a month over the course of the school year to do just that?
Five evenings between now and Easter, we are going to be hosting all- church potlucks and evening events. We strongly encourage all to attend! Bring a SIMPLE dish to share— no beef Wellington, maybe even just sandwiches from the Giant Eagle deli. Members of our confirmation class will be seated at the table with you. We might throw out a few questions to discuss during the meal, like, “How do you practice ‘mission’ in your daily life? Why do you still come to church?” In this way, intergenerational relationships can form, and our confirmands will hear about the faith from regular people who are trying to practice it in their daily lives.
You can participate in the conversation as much or as little as you like. After the meal, the confirmation class will go off and do their thing, and there will be programs for other age groups, including adults! Or you could just eat and leave. We’ve scheduled “Gather” so it won’t conflict with Steelers games. It’s late in the day when kids’ sports programs are over. And it will solve the Sisyphean question of what to make for dinner.
Joining these kids at table to speak frankly about your faith (along with its doubts and shortcomings) is one more way to live into the vows we made at their baptisms. It will be a joy to fellowship with each other, breaking bread together, and talking openly with our young people as they think about faith and its place in.