Parents and Students:

We are making a number of changes to our youth ministry which I’d like to review with you. Most of this has already been announced but please read it all because it is easy to miss some things. All of these changes start with the new academic year which starts next Wednesday (September 2). I’m excited about all of these changes and I think it is going to be a big improvement overall to our ministry to youth.

New Middle School Group on Wednesdays

As you hopefully already know we wanted to separate the middle school students from the high school students in order to better minister to both groups. We thought this would start with middle school only meeting one time per month. But Rob and Julia Shaw-Fuller have stepped up to lead the group on Wednesday nights so that middle school can continue and rising middle school students can start!

So starting September 2 the middle school students will have their own group and the high school students will continue in the regular fashion.

Additionally we are expanding middle school to include sixth graders. Middle school will be 6-8 grades (must be 11 by September 30) and high school will be 9-12 grades (must be 14 by September 30).

We’ve started a middle school group on The City and all Blue Ridge parents of those students are encouraged to join it here.

My New Role

Starting this Wednesday I am going to move into more of an overseer type role and less of a direct role in youth ministry. David Parker is going to be taking the direct lead on Wednesday nights.

I will still be coming and helping and a part of the ministry but this change will free me up to work in other areas beyond youth ministry. It also makes me less anchored to the high school group so I can better serve and help the middle school group when needed.

David Parker has been incredibly involved as a volunteer in youth ministry for years. He’s done an amazing job and I think he’s ideal for this lead responsibility. Anyone who knows him and has watched him knows the fruit of God’s ministry through him. David also believes that long term God is leading him toward pastoral ministry so this is a great opportunity for him and a way for us to invest in his development.

Gospel Project and Sundays

Starting the first Sunday in September we’ll be doing middle school and bringing back high school during the Sunday school hour which starts at 9:30. We’ll be using the Gospel Project curriculum for all ages (toddlers through adults) which will take everyone involved from Genesis through Revelation in three years. This is going to be a fantastic step for our church that will better equip everyone and assist families in discipleship of their kids.

So on Sundays the kids, students, and adults will all be on the same text and the same big ideas. There will also be helpful materials for parents to go deeper with their kids.

The two youth groups on Wednesday nights will use additional Gospel Project material to reinforce the ideas taught on Sunday mornings. Both times will be taught such that attendance at both times (Sundays and Wednesdays) will not be necessary or redundant. The ideal is for students to enjoy both times.


Hopefully all of this makes sense. Let me know if you have any questions.

I’m so thankful for everyone involved and their heart for helping students to grow to know and love God more and more.

Praise God and I can’t wait to see what he does!

In Christ,
Rich Shipe