“The CY course is better than anything else I have found for middle school students,” said Ben Lyon, Associate Pastor, Worship Arts and Youth Ministry, at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Norfolk, VA. “This material is a real homerun.”
CY aims to be a life-changing journey through the Gospel of Mark for 11-14 year olds. Like the Christianity Explored course for adults, it uses Mark’s Gospel to explore who Jesus is, why he came, and what it means to follow him; but it is specially tailored to make the gospel as clear as possible for middle school students.
When Ben first saw the CY course, he didn’t like the look of it. He didn’t like the cartoons in the student handbooks, and he wasn’t sure how the students would receive it. But when he actually started running the course for the first time, he found it was ideal for addressing the questions and issues with which his students were wrestling.
Middle school is when students are trying to find their own faith. Ben discovered that CY is good for this age group because it helps students see for themselves who Christ is.
Their first experience with using CY was so good, that Trinity Presbyterian is now using it for a second time this fall. The result this time is equally as good. They run it on Sunday nights as part of their weekly youth ministry. They have modified the course by not doing the day away, but instead using the day away talks as three extra weekly sessions to expand it to a ten-week course instead of seven-week. “It’s the perfect amount of material for our fall schedule,” Ben explained
About 25 students are in the middle school group at Trinity. They break into small discussion groups for about 20 minutes for the opening, exploratory discussion. Then they come together as a large group to listen to the talk (about 20 minutes). Ben, or one of his volunteer leaders, delivers the talk live instead of using the DVD. Ben says, “The materials in the leaders guide for delivering the talks are great, easy to use, and can be handed off to volunteer leaders. It provides good content to help middle school students open up and engage the issues they are facing.” After the talk, they break into small discussion groups for about 30 minutes of discussion and prayer.
Ben also likes the training notes in the front of the leaders guide about working with 11 – 14 year old students. He says that material is right on.
Having run the CY course now for a second time, Ben says it will become a regular part of the youth ministry at Trinity.