New Apostolic Church USA

Faith Arc FAQs - Youth

What happens when a youth graduates from high school? (to what group will they belong)

When a youth graduates from high school, they are considered a young adult and will engage in congregational life just as any other adult. We hope for the congregation to treat young adults as such, and we look forward to celebrating their maturing gifts through application in the congregation.

 

What if my youth group (currently) is mostly out of high school?

As a result of this distinction, the youth group in your area may now be smaller. That is okay. This may change what the group looks like. Perhaps, you may be left without a traditional “group”. If there are any students in 8th to 12th grade, some of the young adults may continue to be involved in those relationships by being a mentor or perhaps a facilitator for the youth small group material.

 

How long can someone be in the youth group?

The youth group is a focused teaching and social element for 8th-12th graders. Once someone is no longer in high school, they are no longer a part of the youth group but rather considered a young adult in the congregation.

 

How will the youth group operate without the older youth as mentors? What will happen to my child that is older than 18 but is currently very active in the youth group?

Many young adults have been considered part of the youth group for many years. They can still have a very active role in mentoring youth that are still considered a part of the youth group.

A youth leader may still lead and coach young adults in the individual’s mentoring responsibilities with youth, and equip them to be stronger leaders in the congregation. Depending on the young adult’s involvement with teens, the young adult may need to go through some approval and background checks.

 

How will the youth group operate without the older youth vehicle drivers?

Similar to how young adults may have mentoring roles with youth, they may also have functional roles like driving or chaperoning. Parents will also need to support the youth group and can provide transportation.

 

Our youth group relies on the older youth to help out. Can they still do that?

Absolutely. However, we no longer consider them “older youth” but rather young adults. If the young adults choose to still be involved in the youth group in some way, it is expected that they do so with an understanding that they are now adults that are helping out in the youth group. They can help serve the youth group by facilitating youth small group discussions, mentoring, providing transportation, among other ways to get involved.

 

What should be done when there may not be parental support for a youth to participate in the youth group?

There are many demands on time and other responsibilities that people are committed to in their daily life. If a parent is unable to or doesn’t want to provide the necessary support for their child’s spiritual development, that creates an opportunity for the congregation to help support and invest in the student.

 

What happens after someone leaves the youth?

After a student graduates high school, they are now considered a young adult and it is encouraged that they participate in the adult discussions and activities in the congregation. Transitioning into the adult membership of the congregation is also an opportunity to take on some responsibility and employ spiritual gifts to serve the Body of Christ. If the young adults choose to still be involved in the youth group in some way, it is expected that they do so with an understanding that they are now adults that are helping out in the youth group. They can help serve the youth group by facilitating youth small group discussions, mentoring, and providing transportation, among other ways to get involved.

 

What happens if a student is held back in school and repeats a grade?

This will be handled locally on a case by case basis.

 

If someone is already confirmed, would they still attend the youth small group discussions?

Yes. While the THRIVE youth small group discussion curriculum is what prepares a student to be confirmed, it is also intended for those that have already been confirmed. Those that may be repeating the material will be doing so 3 years after they would’ve had it and can either refresh the topic by participating in the discussion again, or facilitate the discussion and share their experience and how their understanding of that discussion topic has changed since they had that discussion previously. The material will also be refreshed semester by semester, so the discussion guides may not be verbatim of what they experienced 3 years prior.

 

Does it occur immediately that young adults past 12th grade can no longer attend youth activities?

We understand the need for smooth and effective transitions. If they choose, young adults can still attend youth activities as this new model takes shape. Starting in Fall of 2017, the youth group will be open to those that are in 8th grade. It is expected that the youth adults that have graduated high school, that would be attending at that time, would help provide mentorship and be examples to those in 8th to 12th grade. (updated 2/2017)

 

8th-12th grade does not align perfectly with high school. Why is this the decided range?

What grades constitute ‘high school’ and ‘middle school’ can vary from school district to school district around the country. This range was chosen because it best aligns with when students may be joining the youth under the current model.

 

What is the plan for the transition between various levels or groups?

As a student transitions from level to level, the facilitators, teachers, ministers, and leaders should be supporting them and communicating with each other to ensure smooth transitions. Additionally, the congregation and parents need to provide a consistent foundation of support to help close any gaps that may be between the learning levels.

 

How will the youth small group material be delivered?

Starting in the Fall of 2017, the THRIVE youth small group discussion material will be available semester by semester on nac-usa.org.

 

Is there a criteria for youth to attend a certain number of small group discussions before being confirmed?

With improved teaching on the importance of the youth small group discussions, it is hoped that the youth and parents see the value in participating and supporting the small group discussions. The curriculum is designed for the student to attend each of the discussions. Knowing that there may be some times during a semester when the student is unable to attend, systematic reviews happen each semester to ensure the core material is covered and understood. With the new curriculum, there will be an expected level of participation.

 

What happens for a 14-year-old who enters the youth small group curriculum midstream?

The THRIVE curriculum is not a ‘building’ curriculum, but rather a ‘rolling’ curriculum. Some students may enter the group in the “T” semester and some students may enter in the “V” semester. Since it is a rolling curriculum, all students will have an opportunity to participate in all of the discussions prior to their confirmation.

 

We can’t get students to participate in small groups now. What makes you think this will change?

Currently, there is no structured youth small group curriculum. Various resources have been made available to be used as the basis for small group discussions. In the new model, the THRIVE youth small group curriculum is what prepares a student to be confirmed, as well as promotes continual learning and development. In addition to a more structured and consistent small group experience, there are concurrent teachings for parents and the congregation to understand and promote the importance and value of participating in the youth small group discussions.

 

What night or day will youth small group be offered?

When the youth small group discussions take place will be determined locally based on the schedule that best works for the facilitators and the youth. They could be on a Wednesday evening as a Midweek Experience, a Saturday morning, a Sunday afternoon, or any time that works best for the group. It is encouraged that there is some consistency to when the group meets so that the youth and parents are able to plan and rely on the discussions happening.

 

Would it be fair to say that a weekly or monthly youth gathering would be more of a teaching experience rather than a discussion and social experience?

There is no reason that the youth small group discussion cannot be a social experience as well as a learning experience through small group discussion.

 

How will this experience work in a congregation when there is perhaps only 1 student every couple of years?

The student would still be expected to know the material and if there isn’t a dedicated youth leader for that congregation, members of the congregation could help facilitate or participate in the small group discussion.

 

Are there still youth services?

Yes. The Youth Work Group is currently working on some guidelines for youth services that will be introduced next year.

 

Are there still going to be national youth gatherings?

At this time, there are no national youth gatherings scheduled. As we are in transition over the next 2 years, it is encouraged that any youth gatherings happen on a more regional or district level.

 

Are these changes happening all over the world?

After discussing the various elements of the Faith Arc strategy with Chief Apostle Schneider over the last 3 years, the changes happening are only in the United States district.

 

Who will need a background check? (This was in lieu of a prior statement that all teachers and youth leaders will need a background check.)

For any person working with children or youth in the congregation, they will need a background check. This includes teachers, youth leaders, and ministers. Already right now, ministers are going through the process of signing the Principles of Understanding and receiving a background check. The process of background checks is important because it’s necessary to create an environment of safety for all members.

 

Everything worked great for me. Why are you making these changes for my child(ren)?

Continual learning and change is important. Culture has evolved a lot over the past several years. The research done by the New Apostolic Church USA suggests that it is no longer fitting to have an open age range for a youth group. This has legal, safety and maturity level components. In today’s culture, we must be very sensitive to the legal implications of having adults in ministry with minors. These legal sensitivities are rooted in making safety for minors a priority, and we must share this concern. Further, adults are in a different life stage and often have different needs. It is important for young adults to experience full integration into congregational life as the adults that they are. They should be treated this way, and they should be labeled this way.

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