About Our Ministry
Here belonging, friends, hope, challenge and authentic living all collide in the effort to know Jesus personally and to make Him known. We are passionate about welcoming every individual and affirming their worth, committed to keeping Scripture as our sure foundation, and joyful in the freedom we bear witness to through our adventures, worship, peer groups, creativity and gatherings. There's truly nothing like being a part of The Ridge!
SUN NIGHT RIDGE
Exciting Programs. Meaningful Community.
We believe both are important. Students and parents both want to experience God personally in ways that are exciting and life changing. We are also called to be in community and to experience the support and understanding of others on the journey with us. However, for these important things to truly take root in the course of students' lives, they truly need to be found meaningful. In everything from our personal communication, to group games, bible study and long trips - we strive to do it in light of a bigger purpose and give it 110% heart. In every effort, we aim to reflect how deep and wide the love of the Father is.
Sunday Night Ridge is our opportunity to connect students with peers, older students who are further in their faith journey and caring, supportive adults. We promote a culture of joy and authenticity. All of this with Jesus at the center and the freedom to grow in our understanding of who He is and who He's made us to be. It's within this community that we try to blend fun, mutual support, bible study and honest application all in the same setting. Think all that together is a tall task? Our experience so far is that the Lord has most certainly been up for it. It's been sweeeeet! We continue to be excited and amazed at where The Lord leads us.
Each week is often different, but a good idea of what you can expect, whether Middle or High is...
* Free Time with a variety of recreational options, table games, fun snacks and opportunities to catch up with friends. This is a great time for us to meet and connect new or visiting students.
* All Group time involving cooperative games or team challenges
* Peer Group Time with bible discussion led by Students in Leadership
* Series-based, interactive Message with Harrison that partners with Peer Group discussion
* Occasional: Worship Music, Theme Nights, On-Site Service Projects
Peer and Mentor Relationships
A very important part of what we do, our breakout and discussion groups are carefully put together based on grade/gender. The discussion questions allow space for students to discuss how things are REALLY going in their own world (school, friends, home, etc), and ideas on how to support others their age. It then works through application of the main message, how the scriptures can inform their current situation, and further talk and prayer time as needed.
The unique and neat thing is that for the most part these are carried out BY STUDENTS FOR STUDENTS. Middle Schoolers receive guidance and discussion direction from older High Schoolers of the same gender, while young High Schoolers are led the same from Seniors. Juniors and Seniors Peer-lead their own breakout groups. Adults are backup or substitute support for these groups, but trust the discussion to these students and are available as needed.
Students who lead are part of our Student Leadership team, which does much more than just decide on events and dates. This team works together and supports each other in how their group-leading is going, they also follow up with other students and do considerable behind the scenes work.
In all of this we have seen tremendous fruit in teens lives as they find their groups incredibly meaningful and supportive. A huge goal is for us to connect every student with positive peer, older student and adult mentor relationships... it's been an incredible experience witnessing this so far!
We'd strive to prepare the youth of today to be the leaders of tomorrow, except we're too busy trusting them with leadership NOW! It's one of our greatest strengths and something we believe very strongly: if students are grounded and given ways to serve - they will run with it and the Church will never be the same! It's a continual dream of ours to provide more and more ministry leadership training for these students so they can serve in even larger capacities in college and the future.
Parents and Adults
YES there is also a TON of need for adults. In fact, the backing of present adults helps the confidence of our student leadership and the consistency of adult presence allows our program to soar. There are MANY needs both in the forefront and behind the scenes, and as we've grown and expand our ministry goals, we're in need of further support and coordination. Please see the below link for a list of volunteer roles and bigger-picture support needs. We'd be excited to discuss doing ministry alongside you!
Student Medical Liability Form (For Trips)
For deeper Discipleship and Further Community, we have several types of groups. They are of various sizes and contexts but all involve meeting together for an extended period not possible during Sun Night Youth, and cover much more in depth scripture study or content. It's our prayer that everyone who connects with us can eventually move into this kind of deeper dive, if they are not connected to something similar elsewhere.
What else do you do?
For sure there are many events and activities outside of youth meetings! Listen, if we're gonna practice living our faith, we'd better be out doing life together and helping each other respond to situations out there we run into in real-time. This of course includes the challenge of mission trips and the mountain top commitment experiences of Conferences, but it's also in the fun adventures we're blessed to jump into. We take our faith on the road and our light out of the basket.
Here are just some examples of things you might expect at some point:
VIEW CURRENT SCHEDULE HERE
STUDENT MEDICAL RELEASE (FOR TRIPS)
team w/ other groups
Frequently Asked Questions
What ages are eligible for youth?
The youth ministry is for 6th-12th grade students, eligible to begin the summer before beginning 6th grade through the summer following their graduation date.
What denomination are you affiliated with?
The Ridge is sponsored and implemented by Oak Ridge United Methodist Church. However, it serves students of many backgrounds and a mix of students who's family are members and those who are not.
How do we access updates?
The easiest way to get updates on upcoming dates, last minute changes, additions to the schedule etc. is to join our Remind messages. Please email Harrison at [email protected] for this info!
What kind of adult supervision will there be?
We have a 1 adult to 7 student ratio at each event or trip, that ratio being by gender on overnight or out of town trips.
Where does the group meet?
Sunday night youth meets in the Gym/Cafe of the Family Life Center, while Sunday school for High School meets in the official Youth Room (D-Hall down from main office) and Sunday School for Middle School meets in the FLC Cafe. Most trips will meet outside FLC/Gym doors before bus departure.
What other activities do you do outside of youth meetings and class?
LOTS. See our schedule tab for upcoming. We mix in a variety of Retreat opportunities, fun outings and service opportunities. We wholly believe in doing life together both inside and outside of the church walls, inviting others to do the same with us.
Facebook or Instagram?
PLEASE follow us on Instagram. It's a much better platform for the way we communicate our info, put out encouraging media and engage with students. We can do all that from there, so it's most beneficial for both parents and students to keep up with us there!!
Director of Student Ministries
Harrison has a passion for seeing each new generation of students find space and rhythm for the heartbeat of God to become known intimately in their lives. He's served in youth ministry in three contexts over the course of 18 years and has a further background in camp and recreational ministry. Art, photography, basketball and super hero talk also fuel his time with students when they're not chatting about the character of Jesus, meaningful friendships or authentic faith.
Harrison is married to his beloved Shawna and father of the greatest part of both their lives: their daughter Isabella Grace.
Please reach out at [email protected] !