“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
– Jeremiah 29:11-12 NIV
God is a God who takes care of not only us, but also our future. As a church, we care about building for a better future, too. With this in mind, we want build your faith about the future with some inspiring news about how God is moving in our teen and middle school ministries.
Y-Camps Start the Summer with Strong Faith
We had an amazing kick-off to the summer at the end of June, with hundreds of middle schoolers and teens ascending the Santa Cruz mountains for a life-changing week of Y-Camps, aptly titled “I Got You.”
Campers from all over the Bay Area were given the opportunity to connect, deepen their friendships, build memories, and listen to inspiring lessons from the Bible along with vulnerable sharing about how God has moved in people’s lives.
So many campers who arrived uncertain and unaware of God were inspired to start studying the Bible to discover his plans and purpose for them.
Many of these teens and middle schoolers had just come out of yet another pandemic school year, which affected them physically, emotionally, and mentally.
One June 2020 survey by the CDC indicated that 26.3% of respondents had symptoms of trauma and stress-related disorders related to the pandemic. In fact, during the pandemic, loneliness was the strongest predictor of symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety.
At camp, teens shared vulnerably about the real effects of loneliness, hopelessness, and uncertainty about the future exacerbated by the pandemic. They also found new courage from the Scriptures that were taught, and became inspired by the vulnerable transparency of peers who shared about their relationship with God.
Through these conversations, campers saw firsthand that no matter what we go through, God is always telling us, “I Got You.” He has an unmatched purpose for us beyond our present circumstances or struggles, and keeps us going until we become who he destined each of us to be–people who change the world!
When you face stormy seas I will be there with you with endurance and calm; you will not be engulfed in raging rivers. If it seems like you’re walking through fire with flames licking at your limbs, keep going; you won’t be burned. Because I, the Eternal One, am your God.
– Isaiah 43:2-3 Voice
Building Deep Faith and Friendships after Camp
Since returning from camp, so many teens have decided to pursue God, and have already begun studying the Bible to build a personal relationship with him. One teen came into camp withdrawn and avoidant, but after the second day decided to share everything he’d been holding inside and began studying the Bible with friends.
Another teen chose to be honest about difficult struggles and events from her past that she had never shared with anyone, wanting to learn how to become a Christian to experience the freedom that comes from God.
One counselor shared with a teen camper in conversation about how God had stuck with him through the pain of losing his mother during the pandemic. After hearing this and having many other spiritual conversations, the teen was inspired that God could help him find that same internal strength, and decided to study the Bible after camp.
There are so many stories like these as teens have been getting together throughout the past few weeks to build on what they learned at camp by deepening their faith and friendships!
Keeping up the Spiritual Momentum at “Level Up”
We are excited to keep up the spiritual momentum God began at the camps throughout the rest of the summer. This coming Saturday, we’ll be having our first ever “Level Up” night for the teens and college students who want to “up their game” spiritually and experience a summer of great change.
“Level Up” will be a fun and faith-building time, featuring great food, fun competitions, and inspiring speakers. Games will include jousting, a 3-point shootout, creative arts and crafts, spike ball, and many other exciting activities! Then, a series of young keynote speakers will share from their lives about how God enables every person to “Level Up” to an incredible destiny, build extraordinary relationships, and have a powerful impact through their lives.
“Level Up” will be at the Bay Area Christian Church Common Ground building in Sunnyvale on Saturday, July 9th at 6pm.
Parenting-themed “Let’s Talk Nights” and a Special Event for Y-Moms
But a summer of change isn’t only for teens and college students! We have some exciting things planned for parents to look forward to as well:
- Parents of teens and middle schoolers throughout the church will have the opportunity to participate in a “Let’s Talk Night” series to grow spiritually and in parenting for the month of July.
- On July 16th, we’ll host a special evening for all moms of teenagers to join other moms from around the Bay to learn and grow together. Through hearing inspiring lessons from the Bible and sharing from other moms, we can learn how to parent our teenagers with faith and rise above our obstacles to discover the purpose and opportunities God has in store for our families. This event is open to moms of middle schoolers and teens from all over the Bay Area on July 16th at the BACC Common Ground building.
We look forward to seeing how God is going to change and save lives throughout this unforgettable summer and beyond!
Until next time,
Ray & Amy Kim
Lead Ministers, San Francisco