Dear Hope Family,
I am very eager to communicate with you about our work to ensure the continued thriving of Hope’s ministry to our students and their families. I have cherished our conversations, your notes, the offers of support you all have extended to me, and your intercession, and I am genuinely hopeful and expectant for where we are now, how we will take the next steps in the interim, and God’s blessing on this focal point of ministry in the days to come.
Where are we now with ministry to Hope’s students and their families?
We welcomed home a dozen high-schoolers and leaders from a wonderfully formative mission trip to the Dominican Republic this week, and Davis and Anna Otto are preparing to lead a trip for our middle-schoolers to the Edge conference in Chattanooga next week. These times away from the normal routines are two launching points for connection and life together this summer. We are thankful for the work of our summer interns, Tori O’Brien and Hank Lenham, who are focused on relational ministry with students this summer. And we are thrilled to announce that Anna Otto has committed to serving as a Discipleship Coordinator for our female students in an official capacity! Lastly, there are several volunteer ministry leaders who have already given their time and wisdom to shoring up and deepening the student ministry over the summer and into the fall and spring semesters.
Under Anna’s leadership and with Katie Moretz’s help and wisdom, we want to invite the youth to several events this summer:
- July 23rd: Hangout for rising 7th – 12th grade; pizza & yard games at the church pavilion.
- August 6th: Rising 6th graders are invited to come to the Speakman home for s’mores and the chance to hangout as a class before joining the rest of the youth group.
- August 13th: Hangout for rising 6th – 12th grade; pizza & yard games at the church pavilion.
- August 27th: All-Youth and Family BBQ.
- September 10th: Youth Group will kickoff for everyone. Our hope/goal is to make youth group an every Sunday thing for all youth, with Middle Schoolers meeting at 4pm and High Schoolers meeting at 5pm, but we will give you more details as we figure them out.
What are the next steps for the interim?
The Session and I have been working towards creating and filling an Interim Director of Student Ministry position. The Director will work in concert with Anna Otto, volunteer leaders, and families to oversee and direct our student ministry. We are very close to securing a wonderful person for this role! Having such a Director affords us the double blessing of continuing and deepening ongoing ministry and planning for and securing the person to lead this crucial ministry for the longer term. Please join us in praying for God’s gracious and timely provision for quality staff and leaders.
What is the long-term plan for the days to come for Hope’s ministry to students and families?
In this interim, we are praying, planning, and receiving excellent counsel from the Ministry Architects team, who have already provided such refreshing and renewing help with vision for all aspects of our systems and structures at Hope. Their initial focus as an organization was youth ministry before they expanded to include church-wide consultation. We are refining our job description and bringing clearer focus to our vision for what a vital and sustainable ministry to students and families can be at Hope. Again – please join us in praying for God’s gracious and timely provision in all regards for this avenue of ministry.
All this is to say we are decidedly not in a holding pattern but expectantly and eagerly pressing ahead with the work God has called us to do!
As always, please do not hesitate to bring your concerns, questions, and wisdom to me and the Session, as we sincerely need it and welcome it!
Grace and peace,