Children, Youth & Family Ministries
The goal of NWC Children, Youth & Family Ministries is to promote shared growth for children, youth and families in your churches by offering strategic training, support and resources for those serving in these ministry areas.
Our purposes are:
- to identify and highlight best practices
- to provide and/or promote key training opportunities and resources to strengthen children, youth & family ministries
- to connect individuals or congregations to coaching support as needed
- to facilitate shared events that extend the ministry of the local church for children, youth and families
- to identify and/or develop ministry assessment tools for evaluation and planning purposes
Why Children, Youth & Family is a ministry priority
The Northwest Conference is full of dedicated, passionate, capable leaders and volunteers who understand the importance of making ministry with children, youth and families a priority. Effective ministry with children, youth and families won’t happen if our ministries are full of good intentions, but poorly led. Loving Jesus and loving kids is a good place to start, but we must be intentional with our methods and deliberate with our leadership of this generation.
Why we invest in young people & families
Children and youth matter to God. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14).
Children and youth are more receptive to the Gospel than adults. In the United States, most people who make a decision to follow Christ do so before the age of 18.
We hope to reverse the trend of research that shows close to 50% of young people who express faith as adolescents will walk away from faith after graduation from high school.
The local church is uniquely equipped to help parents pass on faith to their children and to develop a community that supports a child’s and adolescent’s faith development.
Young people are the church of today, not just tomorrow
The Northwest Conference collaborates with local churches to create events that directly impact children and youth. We believe we are better together, and that our shared ministry creates dynamic contexts where youth and children can encounter Christ. These events empower our students to meet others from regional Covenant churches and have access to speakers, worship teams, resources and experiences that they might not otherwise encounter. Over the years, the range of events has changed as we respond to the needs and desires of our churches. Some we have done for decades, such as Adventures in Leadership and MUUUCE. Other events are relatively new, such as Go:Serve and VIVE. The Northwest Conference is constantly evaluating the effectiveness of our shared ministry events as we seek to meet the needs of our churches in the best way possible. These events are led by task forces made up of leaders from NWC churches.
Children & Family Events
Go:Serve is an opportunity for families with kids in PreK through upper elementary school to learn and grow together, in a family-friendly, yet stretching, environment suitable for younger children. Families can expect to have their worldview expanded, to be inspired by God’s kingdom workforce in the world, and to have opportunity to extend the hope and love of Christ with those experiencing unmet needs.
Five Covenant Camps The Northwest Conference is home to five awesome Covenant camps. Each camp offers a unique set of activities, a beautiful outdoor setting, and a caring, welcoming staff. Children, youth and families throughout the NWC participate in summer camp, family camp, weekend retreats and other life-changing camp programs.
MOVE also known as Mission Outreach Venture and Experience, is a weekend opportunity for senior high students (9th-12th grade) and youth leaders to have a hands-on mission experience in an urban setting. The event combines worship, education and service in a context that challenges high schoolers to think more deeply about compassion, mercy and justice.
MUUUCE stands for “The Most Unbelievable, Ultimate, Urban, Camping Experience.” This highenergy, fast-moving, multi-day event is designed to give middle schoolers and junior highers a chance to connect with Christ and their peers.
Adventures in Leadership (AIL) is a weeklong intensive for select high school students that intentionally develops and strengthens leadership skills in the rugged and beautiful setting of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
CHIC is a triennial event hosted by the Evangelical Covenant Church where thousands of high school students from all over the denomination gather for powerful worship, dynamic speakers, creative educational experiences, outdoor recreation and small group conversations.
VIVE is a college readiness program for students in grades 7 through 12. It focuses on students who are the first in their families to go to college and those who are under-resourced. It is done in collaboration with North Park University. Students and parents begin to see that their dream for a college education can become a reality through VIVE.
How the Northwest Conference can serve your church
The Northwest Conference remains committed to ministry with Children, Youth & Families. Seeking to equip, resource and encourage the local church, we can partner together to pass on faith to the next generation.
Whether your church needs help with a staff transition, a risk management issue, a question about resources, or to talk through a tricky situation, we are here to serve you. The Conference staff has access to a variety of resources and people to help your church as you seek to build strong and healthy youth and children’s ministries.
To learn more about how you can prayerfully or financially support these ministry priorities, connect with others in ministry, or to learn more about the ministries listed, contact the Northwest Conference office.