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Branches Youth

Creating a place students love to hang out and grow their faith. 

The young people in our church and our city hold an exceptional place in my heart. Young students are in one of the most incredible seasons of learning, observing, and mimicking what they see. So to provide a place for kids and youth to learn and emulate the things of Christ is of the utmost importance. It all starts when your kids attend one of our Branches Kids environments, designed for students from infants to 6th grade. And it continues when they attend Branches Youth on Wednesday nights, which we created for 6th grade through 12th grade. Both programs are gaining traction and seeing some increased attendance over the last six months. This is a massive win for us! More students mean more opportunity to present the gospel and impact the future of our city and the future of the world! But this growth also creates new tensions that require creativity, management, and finances for us to break through and continue to sustain that growth. While we are certainly working on solutions for our growth in Branches Kids, there are more immediate changes happening in Branches Youth. 

The most significant obstacle Branches Youth is facing right now is space and age-appropriate activities. At the beginning of 2019, they were averaging about 35 kids on Wednesdays, and a majority of those students were high school-aged kids. By the end of 2019, they were averaging 64 students every single week, and a majority of the students were middle schoolers! Their highest attendance in one night was 114! As our incredible youth team continues to create environments in which students love to hang out and grow their faith, students continue to bring their friends! This is amazing! But, as mentioned before, it creates new problems that must be solved.

Space begins to become a pain point. Space for small groups to meet is limited. There is no space to play group games. Themed parties around holidays are a no go. So we need to provide a solution for that.

The other issue we run into is the well-known fact that high school students don't love the idea of hanging out with middle school students. This isn't new information for us, but we had to start with something. So we started with a combined event. But now it is time for us to make room for more students by splitting up the high school and middle school age groups so that both groups can begin to thrive.

What this split will provide is an opportunity for us to develop separate programs for each age group. This means the activities will be geared toward each. The message content will be more pointed, and it will allow each group to feel like they have their own unique space and time.

So, starting on March 4th, Branches Youth times are changing! Both High School and Middle School will still take place on Wednesday nights, but they will be at different times. Our Middle School environment will run from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Our High School environment will run from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm.

We are looking forward to seeing what God will do as we make this transition. If you have any questions, please reach out. Thank you for your patience as we find more ways to create opportunities for your students to connect with Jesus.