First United Methodist Church back-to-school service kicks off Sunday

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2016

With summer winding to a close, First United Methodist Church is looking to welcome back its teenage members—and teenagers in general—to its Sunday night services.

To that end, the church’s annual Back to School kickoff service is slated for Sunday and, according to Matt Langford, the goal is to attract faces both new and old.

“Our ministry is 7th through 12th grade students, so it’ll be for all 7th through 12th grade students to have a chance to come and preview what we do on Sunday nights,” Langford said.

“And so hopefully it’ll be a chance to get some people who have never been before and then some of the people who haven’t been all summer, and to get everybody back in the regular routine of coming to church on Sunday night.”

Food, fun and fellowship are the main highlights on the agenda for Sunday evening’s services, with a message from Langford himself.  In addition, the church will offer door prizes and gift cards to participants.

The service is primarily aimed not only at students outside of First United Methodist Church’s usual sphere of influence, but also a reminder to those were sixth graders last year that they’re now able to attend.

“That’s the point. It’ll be the first time that the seventh graders will come to church, so a lot of time it’s for them—to let them know that they’re invited, now that you’re not in sixth grade,” Langford said. “But it’s also targeted at anyone who hasn’t been to our youth group before—to have a chance to come and be a part of it.”

Additionally, the weekly messages will be tailor-made for 7th through 12th graders and the unique battles they face as adolescents.

Though no two teenage experiences are alike,  peer pressure, cyber bulling and other topics are common issues that many students can relate to.

Though Langford admits that First United Methodist Church isn’t quite large enough to separate the class into age-specific groups, he’s hoping that all of his students will walk away a little wiser from their visit.

“The thing about specifically 9th and 10th graders is that they’re about to be able to drive, and so they’re trying to figure out who it is they want to be,” Langford said. “It’ll be the first time they don’t have to tell their parents where they’re going, and to be their own person.

“For the seventh and eighth graders, they’re just about to come into this new technology—like social media—that maybe they didn’t get to have in elementary school, and all of them are going to be on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, and they’re all about to have a whole new spectrum that they’ve never seen before.

“And for the juniors and seniors, it’s just trying to make leaders, because even though everyone wants to be a leader, everyone looks up to juniors and seniors.  And so it’s trying to help them, whether they know it or not, realize that young people are looking up to them, and helping them to be leaders in not just the school but throughout life.”

First United Methodist Church’s back to school Sunday service kickoff is slated for Sunday from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., and all 7th through 12th graders are welcome to attend.