On Sunday afternoon on October 6, more than a thousand teenagers shuffled out the door of the IGNITE Conference in Wildwood feeling energized having just spent two amazing days at the IGNITE Youth Conference experiencing their Christian faith in new ways and with new people. Many of them were asking the same questions: Now what? Why does this have to end? How do I live out my discipleship every day at school?
Next Generation Ministries has the answer: IGNITE Communities. IGNITE Communities is a full year of regional programming for youth groups to stay connected to each other and to Christ and to build on the foundation of youth programs in GNJ local churches.
The first IGNITE Community will launch Sunday November 17 from 5-8 p.m. at four locations to accommodate the busy schedules of teens and their adult leaders. In January there will be an IGNITE Community Winter Retreat at Pinelands Center and Mt. Misery and March there will be another regional event. Two additional IGNITE Community locations are also being planned.
The new IGNITE Communities, which will each feature a unique blend of fun, worship, small groups and food, will be available for free to youth from sixth to 12th grades at four locations–Trinity UMC Hackettstown, Bridgewater UMC, First UMC in Toms River and Haddonfield UMC. But as participation grows, the team plans to add more.
IGNITE Communities is inspired by GNJ’s 2019-2 Strategic Plan, which calls NextGen Ministries to cultivate and mobilize a new generation of enthusiastic disciples of Jesus Christ that connect, grow and lead in their congregation and communities to transform the world. Their vision is to enhance the work that is already going on in GNJ’s local churches by providing a year-long calendar of programming that can connect local youth groups with their peers. Each community is locally run to provide context for the region.
“IGNITE Communities is going to be great. Our regional teams have been super excited to bring this new programming for our youth groups,” said Eric Drew, Director of Next Generation Ministries.
Posters and flyers are available for download on the IGNITE website, www.ignitenj.com, and a new leaders guide is being developed so that local youth leaders can integrate the curriculum with their existing programs.
For more information and to access a valuable youth leader guide, visit www.ignitenj.org/ignite-communities/.