Middle School Ministry (6th - 8th Grade)
SHIFT is the name of our middle school program at Sugarloaf. It is based on the idea that we need to shift our focus from ourselves and the world and on to Jesus. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, he will get us through the often rough period of life we refer to as middle school. Jesus is the rock we want students to build their young lives on.
SHIFT meets weekly on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8:15pm for a time of making friends, games, wild skits and walk-on characters, small groups, videos, worship, and a relevant Biblical lesson as we tackle issues that middle school students struggle with everyday. Issues like peer pressure, friends, bullies, self esteem, dating, acceptance, teachers, etc. SHIFT is not what you would call quiet. It is loud and crazy. It is a bit of "controlled chaos". While we like to have a lot of fun we really hope students hear the message each Wednesday night.
Before SHIFT each week, "Big Al's Snack Shop" is open selling pizza-by-the-slice, snacks, and drinks starting at 6:00pm. We also have a game room where studens congregate and cut loose playing foosball, ping-pong, air hockey, dome hockey, and tocky.
Our downSHIFT Bible Studies are designed to intentionally slow down and dig into God's word. These studies are a little more "quiet and secluded" in a sense because they are designed for the student who wants to go deeper into the Bible. During the school year we'll have a couple of different "sessions" of downSHIFT, typically following Fall Camp and the Winter Retreat. downSHIFT meets before school from 7:30-8:30am before students walk over to Hull Middle from the church.
The Wire -- Middle School Sunday School
The Wire is the name of our middle school (6th -8th grade) "Sunday School" worship service Sunday mornings at 9:30am. This hour long service is split between a time of worship led by one of our student-led worship bands and a time of Biblical teaching taught by one of our staff. We typically take a Biblical book or character and pick it apart over the span of a month or so and apply the lessons learned to the everyday lives of middle school students living in the 21st century. We want students to understand God's Word on a deeper level and how it relates to us today. During the summer (from the end of May through early August) we have a combined middle school and high school worship service at 11:00am only. Come join us as we go deeper in our faith!!!!
Fresh Start "Confirmation" Class
We do Confirmation a little differently at Sugarloaf UMC. Our class is called "Fresh Start" and is a 6 week (5 weeks of classes and 1 weekend retreat) condensed, intensive class for students who are either in 7th or 8th grade. Our goal with Fresh Start is to not only help students make an informed decision regarding Christ, but to set them up for a life-long journey with Christ. We don't see Confirmation as a graduation ceremony or finish line, but as a commissioning service and starting line. We want their decisions to follow Christ to be real and authentic, not some rubber stamp. So we've designed our class around that idea. During class we'll tackle a different major tenet of the Christian faith each week. We'll teach for half an hour and then break up into smaller groups to talk about each issue more indepth. Students are required to attend Fresh Start at 11:00am, but are also required to attend "the Wire" middle school worship service at 9:30am, as well as SHIFT on Wednesday nights. We also have a daily journal as we read through "the Case for Christ" together. Students are also required to attend SHIFT's Winter Retreat (February 10-12). Students are allowed to miss 1 Sunday morning and 1 Wednesday evening. Any more than that and they've missed 40% of the content of the class. In 2012 we'll kick off Confirmation on Sunday, January 22. The Confirmation Service will be held on Saturday, March 3 at 5:00pm followed by recognition the following morning, March 4th during both church services. Registration for Confirmation will begin in December. We'll have a special parents meeting to go over all of the details between services on Sunday, December 4th.
In Summer of 2012, we will have 2 different "level 1" mission trip opportunities for students currently in 6th or 7th grade. The first trip will be to Newport Tennessee from June 3-8 and the second trip will be to Savannah Georgia June 17-22. Both of these trips will be with an organization called Youthworks. Students who are currently in the 8th grade will have 2 different "level 2" mission trip opportunities. The first is to Philadelphia with the Center for Student Missions June 2-10 and the second is to Tijuana Mexico with Amor ministries June 2-9. We'll have our parent informational meetings for the mission trips on both Wednesday, November 9 and Thursday, November 10. The same information will be given out at both meetings.
Retreats & Other Stuff
SHIFT offers 2 weekend retreats per year: Fall Camp is September 23-25, 2011 and Winter Retreat is February 10-12, 2012. We also have the All-Nighter at the end of August, various concerts throughout the year, the 30 Hour Famine in March, as well as other activites during the summer. Stay tuned for more details throughout the year regarding these speical events! Check out all of the fun on YouTube.