Connect. Build. Equip. Lead. Together these four principles are what the Middle School Ministry at Bridgeway is all about. With nearly 20 high school and adult volunteers participating in this ministry, these middle school students are in wonderful hands as they learn about the love of Jesus and grow deeper into their relationship with Him. I, Joy Jenkins, had the pleasure of speaking with Audene Harvey, the Middle School Director at Bridgeway, to get the scoop on our Middle School Ministry!
“Fusion is our main program,” Audene said. “Our purpose is to connect students with each other and to God. It’s a place for students to hang out, bring friends, and to feel comfortable to bring students who are not related to Bridgeway.” Fusion meets the first three Friday’s of each month throughout the school year.
“We average about 50-60 students per week at Fusion,” Audene shared. “The students check in, and we welcome them for the first time, or we welcome them back! There’s about 15 minutes to play games, hang out, and buy snacks at Jose’s Café, where all of the money goes to our Compassion sponsor child and to the scholarship fund for our students. Then, we move on to large group games where the kids work together as a team to get know each other better, or compete with other teams.”
When game time comes to an end, the students begin their session in the Big Room. “We share videos, news, upcoming events, and a Bible-based message on a topic that is relevant to middle school students,” Audene stated. After the message, the kids break out into discussion groups based on gender and grade, and talk about the message with a leader. “When the discussion groups conclude, the kids can hang out more with their friends until their parents come to pick them up!”
Although Fusion is the main program of this ministry, there are plenty of other activities for students to get involved. “Student life groups meet weekly with trained leaders who will help them build friendships, fellowship, and go deeper into the word,” says Audene. “Students learn how to read their bible, apply it to their lives, serve together, and do life together.”
The middle school leadership training, THRIVE, is another way for students to grow. Through this training, the students build leadership skills and develop leadership potential. Audene stated, “We focus on students who identify as leaders, and also the students that other students identify as leaders. We teach them to use those leadership qualities wherever they are called to serve as leaders.”
This ministry also has Open-Door Thursdays. This takes place Thursday’s after school, and is open to middle and high school students. Students are able to take different classes like karate and computer programming, or they can come in just to hang out! As Audene said, “It’s an opportunity for the students to just be in, and enjoy, our space.” This ministry also values trips and retreats, where students, and leaders, spend time away from their normal lives to reduce distractions and focus on God.
When asked about her favorite part of working in this ministry, Audene said that being able to witness the growth of students and their maturity over the course of time is what she enjoys the most. “Watching the students become more thoughtful in their decision making, grow in their faith, and seek out leadership opportunities is always great,” she says. “How they enter as, is not always how they leave as. We help and influence them in a positive way and help them to move forward in their journey. High school volunteering is a way for them to use their new leadership roles in the same place where they may have started learning them.” Audene stated.
She said, “We meet the students where they are, and we guide them to a closer relationship with Christ.”