MOVE 2015 challenges high school students to ask, “Now What?”

NWC-News-2015-MOVE-600x350On April 10-11, 217 students and youth workers from throughout the Northwest Conference converged on Minnehaha Academy’s south campus in Minneapolis, MN, for MOVE 2015—a weekend of teaching, worship, service and experiential learning.

This year’s theme was “Now What?” based on James 2:14-17. Students go to church, attend Bible studies, and head to camp where they’re learning what it means to become followers of Christ. But with all that input, the questions arise—“Now what? What do I do with all that I’ve learned? How do I put it into action in my community?” At MOVE, over 200 students and leaders considered what it means to take a holy risk of faith where they live.

The weekend kicked off with a worship service that featured Blue Oaks Covenant Church’s worship team, led by Nicoshia Wynn. This multi-generational group brought high-energy worship that had students on their feet. In the words of one ninth grade boy, “That was the best worship I’ve ever experienced in my life.”

Friday night’s message was brought by Cesar Castillejos, from Young Life. He challenged students to consider, “Now what? You get out of the boat, you’re here, now believe in the power and presence of Jesus and see where he calls you to go … then go.”

Before heading to bed Friday night, students spent time in Minnehaha’s hockey arena (sans ice) playing games led by the staff of Lake Beauty Bible Camp and students from Solid Rock Discipleship School. The massive space was filled with students playing Gagaball, Nine Square in the Air, and board games while chowing on pizza. Youth groups gathered to end the day to discuss what they learned and to prepare for the next day’s experiences.

On Saturday morning, youth groups fanned out to serve at 10 different organizations across the Twin Cities. They played with children at a domestic abuse shelter, cleared out insulation at a local community ministry, sorted donations at a thrift store, and cleaned several churches. This gritty servant work is deeply appreciated by the sites.

Students returned to Minnehaha that afternoon for the first-ever Shark Tank: MOVE edition. Each youth group identified a need in their community and developed a plan to deal with the challenge. Some groups dreamed about community gardens that would address the need for fresh vegetables in their communities, while others developed plans to connect with the local senior center through art.

The youth groups were coached by a “shark”—someone who was experienced in starting their own ministry or knew how to create a ministry based on community needs. For example, one shark was Dawn Anderson from Bloomington Covenant Church, who started Closet of Hope to help meet the clothing needs of that area. Another was Mike Hotz, who guides the process of awarding MicroMission Grants through Sanctuary Covenant Church.

The Evangelical Covenant Church of Bemidji won the $500 Shark Grant. Their idea: start an annual 5K “color run” to draw attention to drug dependency among adolescents in their area. The $250 People’s Choice Grant went to Crossroads Church in Woodbury, MN, for the idea of developing a peer-counseling network to address bullying and depression at their schools.

MOVE 2015 concluded with yet another powerful worship session and message from Hope Smith, Young Life leader and Sanctuary Covenant member. As Brooke Shannon from New Life Covenant Church said, “[It was] so cool for us to serve side-by-side, out of our comfort zone and for the Kingdom. For a small, rural church, what a gift to be part of the larger NWC church worshipping and serving together!”