A safe and welcoming place for 7th-12th grade students to develop friendships, be mentored, and discover Jesus.
FRIDAY NIGHT COFFEEHOUSE
A safe and welcoming place for students to hang out on Friday nights. Coffeehouse includes an open-format (gym, food, foosbol, air hockey, table-top games, hang out, and gathering event (group game, talk, conversations).
7th & 8th grade: 6:30-9:30 pm (must be picked up by 10pm)
9th-12th grade: 6:30-11:30 pm
SUNDAY MORNING YOUTH GROUP
A weekly space to come together to grow in our understanding of God’s Word and how it must be transforming our lives. Sunday mornings include music, prayer, discussion, and studying God’s Word together.
Small Groups study practical applications of the Bible together and encourage each other to live onMission for Jesus. Small Groups meet at student and leader’s homes.
Youth Alpha is a non-confrontational party to discover faith. Youth Alpha includes a meal, hang out time, and safe discussion about the Christian faith.
Helping incoming 7th and graduating 12th grade students make a natural transition through a fun social group.
THE MENTORING PROJECT
A mentoring initiative within the Bloomingdale Church community connecting 11-18 year old guys with Christian men and 11-18 year old girls with Christian women who will walk alongside them as they become mature confident adults.
A semi-monthly serving project for our community alongside our peers, family or mentor.
Supervised practical training for the onMission lifestyle
RETREATS & ONMISSION TRIPS
Giving students the needed change of pace in order to connect with Christ. onMission trips assist students in discerning what following Christ looks like.
In preparing for our trip to Chicago, I challenged our team to read and memorize 2 Timothy 4:1-5. Here are a couple phrases from that passage: “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching…as for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Living, and working in an urban setting in out-of-the-ordinary conditions for an entire week is quite a grueling process. Despite that, our team of 8 students and 3 leaders persevered, and fulfilled the ministry God gave us through Family Empowerment Centers of Chicago.
Here are some highlights from our trip:
- Serving at South Asian Friendship Center’s block party (over 400 people)
- Seeing our students lead worship during church
- Putting on a Day Camp, with an average attendance of 38 kids
- Watching our students take on many different tasks, working with the other youth group, and being willing to go the extra mile to make the Day Camp extra special.
- Kids sings, smiling, laughing, and warming up to the group throughout the week.
- Visiting a Bahai temple
- Prayer walking through Roger’s Park
- Foot washing ceremony
- Learning about who our neighbors are
- Learning about the Great Commission
In students voices, here are some of their takeaways from the trip:
As said by Katie M: “I’m leaving my Day Camp kids, who I’ve gotten to know and care about this week…it’s been amazing to see the things God has done this week. He is good.”
As said by Jeremy P: “It has been very awesome working here at the FECC. It was really cool to see the kids go from the first day of shyness to the second day of being loud and singing. I have learned that whoever is close to you (in this case, the BC Team and the Iowa Team, and Rodgers Park area) are my neighbors. I learned that we need to love our neighbors and not judge by what you see with a first glance.”
As said by Renee B: “This trip has been amazing, we have been learning how to minister to other people here and love them. And the talks with our leaders have given us a new perspective in thinking about our faith and how we are listening to God. The power of prayer has also been a blessing. This experience has been wonderful in teaching us how to love others and do God’s work!”
As the leader of the trip, my takeaway from the week centers around the night we learned about the Great Commission. The realization I had is that God’s work in the world has existed from the beginning of time. Our task as Christ followers is joining in the work God is doing. So, we joined the work that God is doing in Roger’s Park, Chicago. Even though we’re no longer there, that work still continues, as does the work God gives us where we are today.
We give all the praise to God for allowing us to participate in his work in Chicago. We know that the week would not have been possible without individuals praying for us, and without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith… let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
A year ago, we had the opportunity to attend my maternal grandmother’s 90th birthday party. A year later, we spent a weekend celebrating my wife Amy’s paternal grandmother’s 90th birthday.
My grandma spent her life in New Jersey, the daughter of Italian Catholic immigrants who came to America for the opportunity it promised. Through her parents’ discovery of a personal faith in Jesus, my grandma learned and lived out the same faith. Amy’s grandma was the daughter of Swiss-German immigrants who came to America in hopes of practicing their protestant faith, settling in Berne, Indiana.
I love history and understanding my ethnic cultural heritage, but this is second tier to my gratitude for the spiritual heritage our grandparents and parents have given us. As much as I love being Italian and hearing stories about my family’s history, it holds no comparison to how thankful I am that my family has lived out a personal relationship with Jesus.
You know what my favorite memory of my grandma will always be? The thought of her sitting on the chair in her bedroom praying for me every day. You know what my favorite memory from our weekend with Amy’s grandma? When she shared a bookmark she made for each of us reminding us that she prays for us every day.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews talks about Christ-followers being surrounded by a “cloud of witnesses.” I immediately think about my grandma who prayed for me everyday and for Amy’s grandma who continues to do this. I think about the fact that it is no coincidence that all of their grandchildren are following Christ today and serving His Church. I am full of gratitude for this incredible heritage that I have been given and I am humbled as I think about my son and daughter who will also have a story to tell of grandparents and parents who prayed for and surrounded them.
It was a wet, ugly night and I had resigned myself to seeing no one show up for our food drive. To my amazement fifty teens from Bloomingdale Church and the Lake Park National Honor Society were crammed into the church coffeehouse. I told them I did not want to send them out door-to-door in the drizzle but they overruled me and said they wanted to go. Even though we all got wet, we had a lot of fun being together, putting out 2,000 food drive bags on residents’ doors, and having MomaTola’s Cupcake truck pull up in the church parking lot to give each of us a gourmet cupcake.
On Sunday July 6, over 384 bags of food were picked up and delivered to local food pantries.
Pastor Bill Calvin
After 19 hours and 1500 miles later, 17 of our Junior High students and leaders made it to Chattanooga, TN. Not your typical joy ride, but the trip was a great opportunity for our youth to use their energy and talents. God has blessed them with many opportunities to do different activities and help out the community.
We stayed at The Gathering, a church on the north side of Chattanooga. The students were mixed around into five crews with the two other youth groups that joined us. These crews not only worked together at each work site but also prepared and cleaned up our meals each day.
Some of the work sites and activities our students participated in were:
- Playing, reading, and praying with elderly people in assisted living centers
- Playing with and entertaining toddlers or preschoolers
- Clearing brush for a new trail at a local state park
- Filling hundreds of boxes at a local food bank
- Moving 500 bricks from the rubble of a 150 year old house for new walking paths
After a hard day’s work, the group participated in fun evening activities such as climbing around Rock City atop Lookout Mountain and playing at a downtown park. You ask any student who went, and they will all tell you about the cool on-site worship service on our last night. It was very unifying for our group, allowing our students to understand God in a whole new way.
We, as leaders, are proud of each and every one of them for the mature attitude they held throughout the trip. We are encouraged to see the great men and women God is growing them into. See more pictures on our Facebook Page.