By Geoff Starr & Becky Brooks / Photo: Geoff Starr
There’s something new happening for the youth in the Collegedale area. It’s called YiELD and it’s a way for youth to feel more connected community-wide and gain a stronger sense of how to be a disciple of Christ.
“Our goal is to disciple the youth so that they will be drawn closer to Christ. But also, to help them grow so they can lead others in a relationship with Him,” shares Geoff Starr, youth pastor at McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church. “When they leave our program after graduating from high school, we want their relationship with Jesus to be seen in every area of their lives.”
YiELD stands for Youth instructed Empowered Loved and Discipled. It’s a multi-church youth discipleship program primarily for youth in grades 9-12, with some work also in grades 6-8. The program began in August 2019 with McDonald Road Church, Collegedale Church, and Collegedale Community Church partnering to provide a ministry to disciple youth in the Collegedale area. Leaders hope that more area churches will join as the program continues.
“We believe that coming together with one goal and breaking down the ‘walls’ between churches is best for our youth,” says Starr. “The youth might go to different churches on different weeks. We want them to experience an environment that will point them to Jesus and continue on what they may have studied at anther church. This all leads back to discipleship so that they can continue to grow in Christ.”
“As the students realize we are here for them, not just as leaders but as churches, we believe that we will see a change in their hearts, as well as in our churches,” says Starr. “When we commit to developing young people, we can come together and work alongside each other easily and see more growth.”
YiELD is focusing on four ministries to start with: 1) Sabbath School. At Sabbath School, each church will follow a shared curriculum and similar style, so youth can have as similar experience no matter which church they attend. 2) Vespers. On the first Friday of each month, a youth vespers program is held at the Collegedale Commons at 7:00 p.m. This is a great time for youth from the whole community to get together for a spiritual experience. 3) Training. There are plans to hold training events for youth and youth workers to help better-equip everyone for ministry. 4) Missions. Both international and local mission trips are being planned for this community-wide youth group. Currently, a mission trip to Thailand is in the works for 2020.