At first glance online Youth Group meetings look just like other online meetings, but then the audio goes live to laughter, gentle hazing, prayers, and — what’s that in the background? — just one of the kids bouncing background slides from a nature shot to a goofy picture of a sibling, and an up close shot of Rev. Christopher that dwarfs the kid in the actual meeting — think David and Goliath. The images pop up unexpectedly and a burst of laughter signals when it happens.

Youth Group for Middle School and High School each have a Zoom meeting on Wednesday nights for 45 minutes.

Middle School Youth Group on April 22 opened with a prayer from Mrs. Nichols, one of the adult leaders: God calls you, she said, to venture where you cannot see the end, by paths never before taken, through perils unknown. Go with good courage, not knowing where you go, but only knowing that God’s hand is leading you and His love is supporting you.

Kids reported in on how they’re weathering the stay-at-home order:
Reading a ton of books; washing my dog; watching Netflix; doing online school work; spending it on the beach in a mobile home.

Then on to games, of course, the staple of any Youth Group meeting! Three games to be exact: Kahoot! Scattegories; and Name/Place/Animal/Thing.

Mrs. Patti’s closing devotional focused on the kids acknowledging their abilities. “God created you with talents, so don’t hide them. You’re all good at something. But we’re all very good at beating ourselves up. Don’t worry about being perfect. Realize each of us have things where we excel.” Mrs. Patti asked the kids, “What are you really good at?”

Mrs. Patti and the adult leaders encouraged the kids in their pursuits. “You all have talent. You are good enough and you can do these things. All the things that we’re good at are gifts from God. How we use those gifts for God matters. Your behavior models for people who you are. If we react badly, people see that. If we react well to a defeat, people notice that, too. People will ask themselves, ‘what do they have going on that makes them that way? They handled that really well.’ We’re always looking for the face of God in other people, but remember that people are looking for Jesus in us, too. Don’t hide your gifts and talents. Hone your skills.”
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The High School meeting opened with a prayer: ‘Listen to me continually; I have much to communicate to you — so many people and situations who need prayer. Walk with me in holy trust. When your mind spins with a multitude of thoughts, a mind preoccupied with planning, you cannot hear my voice. Listen to me and live abundantly. Don’t hide your gifts and your talents.’ Ask how you can use them to benefit God.

The kids answered the question “What talent or gift do you have or do that models God to others?” Replies included •”I’m a happy person who helps others be happy.”  •”I’m a positive person and I think I’m faithful.”  •”I help kids who are dyslexic and I’ve helped people learn to row.”

Meetings always close in prayer, and are followed by a reminder to meet up again next week. If you’re in middle or high school and want to join the Wednesday night Youth Group Zoom meetings for middle school or high school, shoot Mrs. Patti an email: sjecyouthgroup@gmail.com. Adult leaders are Mrs. Patti, Mr. and Mrs. Nichols, Bree Lintz, Mike Olivor, and Joe Miramontes.