The youth program at Portage United Church of Christ is centered around the teachings of Jesus Christ, building our relationship with God, and learning what it means to serve our church, our community and the world. It is a safe place where students from various area schools grow and build relationships with their peers and the wider church family. Just as we say in our worship service every Sunday: No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!
During the school year, youth groups meet weekly on Sunday evenings from 6:30-8:00pm. Middle school (6th – 8th grade), and high school (9th-12th grade) spend the first half hour together in Praise and Prayer. This includes music, announcements, scripture and activities. Youth are encouraged to participate in the youth praise band, G3, (God Given Gifts). G3 performs occasionally during our Sunday morning worship services as well.
Middle School (Grades 6 & 8)
Following the 30 minutes of Praise and Prayer time, the middle school youth move to their own classroom. The class meets on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. to study, the focus is on fellowship, faith-building and Christian service. Together we share our faith, our thoughts and a lot of laughter. In addition, our middle school youth have participated in service projects, retreats and a summer mission trip weekend.
Confirmation (Grade 8)
Eighth graders spend the year participating in a Confirmation Class. They meet Sunday mornings at 9:00 during the school year to study the nature of God, Bible Basics, the Sacraments, and the History of the United Church of Christ. Additional topics of discussion include, Miracles, Death, Resurrection, Living Our Faith, Prayer and Spirituality. Confirmands also attend worship services of other denominations and they participate in monthly Service Saturdays that involve outreach within our community. Eighth graders are able to participate in the high school and/or middle school summer mission trips.
High School (Grades 9-12)
The high school youth begin the evening in the youth room with 30 minutes of Praise and Prayer time. Each week there is a discussion topic with related activities. We discuss a variety of issues including peer pressure, the meaning of prayer, building our faith, alcohol and drug use, other religions, and friendship. We are open to many points of view and strive to allow everyone to feel comfortable within our group. Youth participate in community service activities including the Wide Open Table meal held monthly at Portage UCC. We participate in retreats and overnight activities designed to foster friendship and Christian fellowship. One of the highlights of the year is the week-long summer youth mission trip. This is open to 8th –12th graders. Following each mission trip, the youth lead a Sunday morning worship service where they share their experiences with the congregation.
Every summer we send 35 – 50 youth and adult chaperones on a mission trip/work camp. They have traveled to Detroit and Traverse City within Michigan and all the way to Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and South Dakota. Most weeks are spent connecting with families while completing home repair projects for them. Some of these projects include painting, drywall, roofing, building wheelchair ramps and yard maintenance. Each year the youth return home feeling closer to one another, and closer to God. These trips instill a lifelong love of giving back to others. Mission Trip Videos: Video/audio of mission trip reflections and G3 songs Links to Freedom Builders, ASP, and Rockford Workcamps