Salt and Light
We asked you to send your best group ideas to our Salt & Light "Idea-a-Thon."
Winners grabbed $100 for their group. We also chose several runners-up. Some of those ideas are on the next page.
Youth groups talk a lot about building each other up, but how many youth groups have actually spent their weekends building a church building?
That's exactly what the 15 members of the youth group from the Barre Evangelical Free Church in Barre, Vermont, did. OK, they had a lot of help from the rest of the congregation, but the group members were an essential part of the church's construction crew.
For years, the small congregation of the Free Church met in an upstairs room in a building in downtown Barre. Across the hall was a karate studio and downstairs were two bars. As the congregation grew, they knew they needed something different.
Before long, an anonymous donor gave the church an empty warehouse they could remodel into the kind of church they'd dreamed of, complete with a large area for worship, a gym, and space for Sunday school classrooms. The only problem was that the warehouse needed lots of work—it was one big open space and had been condemned by a building inspector.
But that didn't stop the church from creating a floor plan, tearing down part of the warehouse and starting the process of building a brand new church, pretty much on their own. Two nights a week and all day Saturday for almost a year, members of the youth group joined other church members in constructing the new church. Even those group members who had never swung a hammer found ways to help, from digging a ditch to picking up scraps of lumber. Taking care of that tedious work freed up more skilled workers for the bigger projects.
The building project was such a big deal that youth groups from other area churches pitched in on occasion, too.
Youth group member Colleen Dyment (pictured on the bottom row, far left) says, "Our church has become stronger because of this project, and we have a new building to boot. It was so exciting to see what God was doing while we were building our church. Whenever we were out of funds and it looked like we couldn't continue, we'd receive anonymous donations, sometimes as much as $25,000 in one check.
"It was amazing to see the amount of time spent on the building and the devotion of the people in our church. A lot of work has been done, and now we're benefiting from the fruits of our labor."
Imagine hundreds upon hundreds of high school students descending on one city for a week of hard work. That's just what happened in Indianapolis last summer when Youth For Christ held its first-ever Servin' USA work project.
Youth groups from all over the country gathered in inner-city Indy to paint, plant, and pick up. By the end of the week, 600 students had painted 16 houses and a half mile of fences, planted 15 gardens and 266 trees, and hauled enough trash out of a 100-square-block area to make a pile one story tall, 15 feet across and 40 feet long!