Surge, the 4th-6th Grade Ministry
The purpose of Surge is to come alongside the work God is already doing in each 4th, 5th, and 6th grader and create some “spiritual momentum” by continually placing them in God’s path. READ MORE…
James Walton Director to 4th-6th Graders e-mail James
Annie Rammel Coordinator of Saturday night & 8:45 am services and midweek, 760.579.4302 e-mail Annie
Rachelle Alcantara Coordinator of 10:45 am service, 760.579.4130 e-mail Rachelle
General Email e-mail Surge
[Click Here] to view the calendar of upcoming events.
We meet during the Saturday night and 8:45 & 10:45 am Sunday morning services.
If you’re new, the first time you come you will be asked to fill out a blue registration card with address and phone number. After that, you’ll be in our computer system for quick check-in. You may register at any of the downstairs children’s check-in stations, or upstairs right outside Room B-203.
We start right on time, so come early!
“The Harbor” - Midweek Program
CLICK HERE to check out our web page and to register for the Harbor!
Surge is on Facebook
We have been rocking the FB world! If you have the QR app you can scan the QR code below. If you don’t, click HERE to check us out and “like” us.
Kid permission slip for off-site events
A permission slip is required for most off-site events. Once we have it on file, it is good for the entire calendar year.
Download 2014 Permission Slip
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4th-6th Who We Are
Our Ministry Values
1. The centrality and necessity of God. God directs our ministry efforts. God saves and transforms. Kids must know God’s love and respond before they will submit to him.
2. Ministry to the whole child. Kids are multi-dimensional, and our ministry should reflect that. We aim to create safe environments that nurture a child’s physical, emotional, spiritual, cognitive and social well-being.
3. Same-age Christian relationships. We promote and encourage same-age Christian friendships to create a positive peer environment that will endure through high school and beyond.
4. Intergenerational relationships. Kids draw conclusions about God and life from what is reflected in the lives of older Christians. They need a circle of supportive older believers in addition to their parents who invest in them in an intentional way.
5. Age-appropriate methods and content. We recognize that each stage of childhood is different; therefore, our content and methods change with the changing child. We value curriculum and learning methods that meet each age group’s unique developmental level.
6. Inquiry and curiosity. Kids learn best when they wrestle with ideas, ask questions and assimilate new information into what they already know. Kids’ questions are not an indication of confusion or misunderstanding, but an eagerness to learn.
7. Granting kids autonomy. We believe the best way to equip kids to make good decisions is by letting them make actual decisions. We try not to do for kids what they can do for themselves.
8. Long-term perspective. Spiritual growth and formation is a life-long process. We train kids and parents to make the decisions that will change their lives.
Our Ministry Distinctives:
1. Student-centered learning that is engaging and built around student needs and interests.
2. Active learning in which kids learn by doing. Extended periods of passive listening are not valued.
3. Life application of learning in which progress is evidenced by the development of godly habits of mind, heart and life rather than the recitation of facts.
4. Small groups in which an attentive leader imparts care and facilitates deeper learning and growth in each child.
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“The Harbor” - Midweek Program
CLICK HERE to check out our new web page for the Harbor!
The Harbor Spring session begins April 16, 2014, meets each Wednesday for 6 weeks from 6-7:30 pm.
No cost for the program.
Parent classes and kid programs begin at 6:00 and end at 7:30.
Kids K-3rd grade check-in at the Children’s Ministry Building beginning at 5:55 pm.
4th-6th graders check in upstairs at room B-203.
Audio Recording from “Archibald Hart Speaks to Parents: ‘Digital Invasion’”
Resources for Parents on Kids, Teens, and the Internet
Handouts & Resources from “When Excitement Becomes a Dangerous Drug”
When Excitement Becomes A Dangerous Drug- Handout
This pdf was handed out the night of the event. Answering the question: Where has all our deep joy and tranquility gone?
When Excitement Becomes A Dangerous Drug- Powerpoint Slides converted to pdf
The Powerpoint slides run through all the key points made by Dr. Archibald Hart
Dr. Hart’s Website includes more resources Archibald Hart’s Website
Handouts & Resources from FallLaunch 2012
Talking to Kids About Spiritual Stuff
How do you initiate a spiritual discussion with kids? What’s the goal? Tips on inside-out conversations and outside in.
This sheet lists several service opportunities that kids and families can get involved in.
Looking for a good devotional for your preteen kid? We ran a number of titles past our student reviewers. Read what they had to say.
Download this tool for helping you and your child discuss movie content and values. Value Ticket
Looking for a good devotional for your preteen kid? We ran a number of titles past our student reviewers. Read what they had to say here.
Has your family experienced death or divorce? These support groups are designed to help kids grow through the difficult seasons of life. For more information, contact Pam Douty, 760.929.0029 x134.
Parents: The most willing, consistent, and persistent influences in a child’s life
As we minister to 4th-6th graders, we are acutely aware that if we don’t also minister to the families kids live in, we will be missing our greatest opportunity to influence kids. Parents are the most willing, consistent, and persistent influences in a child’s life. A study by the Search Institute of teenagers and young adults asked, “Who had the most influence on your faith and spiritual development?” Kids answered: mom first, dad second, the church third.
What does this mean for you? It means that you and your family life will be the chief determinant of what kind of faith your child develops. To be sure, not all “faith” is created equal! Kids can develop self-centered faith (I believe I can do all things), shallow faith (I’ll believe until life gets tough), occasional faith (math test, anyone?), rigid/formalistic faith (expressed through acts of religiosity but lacking the heart’s full assent), bland optimism (I suppose things will all work out, and if they don’t, I’ll deal with it)...but none of this is what the Bible means when it talks about faith.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see,” says the Bible, in Hebrews 11:1. Then it goes on to tell the story of a host of Old Testament characters who believed God and his promises, even though they did not live to experience Jesus. You and I have seen God, fully revealed. What a gift. God has laid his cards on the table, and the kind of faith he desires for us is a Christ-centered faith, and all that entails. We want, therefore, for kids to believe that:
+ God is sovereign - that he created the world and everything in it, and he still has an interest and a role in the affairs of humans today.
+ We want them to believe that God is holy, as contrasted to people, who are suffering because of their own lack of perfection.
+ We want them to believe that sin has a great reach, and cannot be overcome by striving, or by will power, and should not be minimized or ignored.
+ We want them to believe that God gives the cure.
+ We want them to believe that when he does that, he begins a process of healing them.
+ We want them to believe that because of God’s great love for them, that salvation is not just “a ticket to heaven” but reaches into their lives now, aiming to transform their thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, allegiances, and priorities.
+ We want them to see others as God sees them.
+ We want them to value what God values.
This is God-centered faith, and it is grounded in Christ, without whom none of the redeemed life would be possible.
And so, people’s primary relationships - the people they encounter everyday - have a profound influence on the character of our own faith. One day, your child’s faith will be shaped profoundly by the person they marry. Prior to that, it will be shaped by friends, work associates, and roommates. But now, as a child living in your home, their faith is being profoundly shaped by you. To that end, we have offered and will continue to offer these forms of support and encouragement:
* Weekly, we provide a take-home page called the “HomePage”, which is handed out at the door, e-mailed to all parents who receive our newsletter, and posted on this website under the “This Week” tab. One side of this half-sheet has announcements pertaining to 4th-6th grade events, while the other side has a set of conversation questions you can use with your 4th-6th grader. We deliberately describe them as “conversation questions” because they are not “quiz” questions. Their purpose is to help you have faith conversations with your child away from church and hopefully stimulate future dialogue, as well as encourage kids to keep thinking about what they saw and heard in class. Quizzing stifles dialogue; conversation promotes it.
* Parent Classes: During the school year, we frequently offer classes for parents in which you can learn new skills and insights as well as meet parents who have similar-age kids.
* Hitting Home e-newsletter: Comes out weekly, on Sundays, containing the “HomePage” questions and other announcements pertaining to 4th-6th grade, with links to sign-ups. If you are not receiving this, please e-mail Joy Beidel with your child’s grade so we can add you to the list.
* Parent & Child classes: In the fall, we hold “PG-13”, a class intended for parents of kids who are beginning middle school (6th grade) that teaches you about your changing child and how to best love them and honor them as they grow into adolescence. Kids are present with parents for half the class, as we do exercises and activities together on communication, values, media, and other topics of interest. In the spring, we offer a “Mother-Daughter Class” that is similar in format to PG-13, and that has moms and daughters working through a workbook called, “Just Who Do You Think You Are?” in which girls explore issues of identity, self-concept, self-esteem, being a smart follower, and placing your trust in God.
* Hitting Home blog: I began writing this blog to provide an outlet to communicate with you in a longer form than I ever could between services on weekends. In it, you’ll find topical articles I’ve written as well as links to others about pre-teens and their lives and what it means to shepherd them. This was updated weekly until the beginning of 2010, but all of the archived entries are there.
How can we help you? How can we lead your entire family to the kind of transformation that God desires? Nothing makes us happier in 4th-6th grade than to hear stories of parents & kids communicating better, or in-depth discussions you’ve gotten into with your child on some aspect of faith or life, or to provide much-needed but hard-to-come-by time for parents and kids to invest in each other. As those who nurture kids, we need to redeem the time (that is, make the most of the opportunities we have with them) as well as redeeming the times (the era we live in, by being salt and light in our world).
I hope the resources on this website as well as the ones mentioned above help you and your child and your whole family move ever-closer to the kind of faith that God desires for all of us.
Hitting Home e-mail
Hitting Home blog
“Hitting Home” is a blog for parents of preteens, with insight and articles about parenting and ministering to 4th-6th graders.
Blog: Creating a Just World for Kids
The concept of “quality time” was born in the 1970s, as a way to allow parents who wanted to “have it all” and “do it all” to balance family life, careers, and a full plate of individual interests. The idea was that if you didn’t have a lot of time, at least you could make the time you have count. Later, detractors would note that you can’t schedule a “quality” encounter, but that quality is a dynamic in a relationship that develops over time: quality may be a byproduct of quantity.
These considerations - are we spending enough time with kids, and is the time we spend valuable - are worthwhile. But I would suggest there is yet another way adults can invest their time that will inject quality into the context of their kids’ lives - a gift that keeps on giving, if you will.
That gift is to be the dispenser and the ensurer of justice in their world. To back up a bit, one component of quality time - that is, the thing that actually makes quality time “quality” - is that it is redemptive. In other words, it is recovering lost value. It is replacing or reinstituting something of worth that is otherwise lacking. When we spend time with kids that is redemptive, they leave better off than they came in, because we’ve left them with something that lifts them or stretches them or grows them. To use a biblical metaphor, we’ve set their feet upon a rock, giving them a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2)
Justice is redemptive, because it restores an order and a fairness to a context where disorder and injustice are the norm. By establishing justice, we send a message that injustice, however rampant, will not be allowed to bully its way to the top, but that we’re paying attention, noticing, and willing to exert correction whenever necessary. I’m convinced this is God’s heart when it comes to injustice. He notices, he grieves, and he speaks, so as to remind the world that injustice does not reign, that it should never be accepted as the status quo. Unfortunately, we’ve sometimes been too busy or too apathetic to battle systemic, institutional sins like unjust power structures, or unjust treatment of prisoners, or racism, or torture. And the longer the church - God’s agents of remedying injustice - is silent, the more injustice does become the norm.
What happens then is that the number of victims grows, because the doers of injustice believe they can act with impunity. Victims sometimes become oppressors themselves, because after all, if it’s a dog-eat-dog world, you may as well exercise the advantage that you have. You may be thinking that I’m describing what happens in modern-day sex slavery, or exploitation of laborers, or caste classifications in India - and I am. But I’m also describing the world kids live in when adults unwisely retreat in the name of “teaching them to work things out for themselves.”
If what constitutes “teaching them” is actually a constructive intervention, that’s one thing. But if it’s a refusal to act because the dispute seems downright trivial to us or we just don’t care, we should bear in mind that such efforts toward self-mediated conflict resolution rarely result in justice. By refusing to intervene, we send a message that we really don’t care about their social world (which is tacit permission to mistreat others), or that we are aware but we still expect them to put up with whatever unfairness is plaguing them because “life’s not fair.”
We can do better. Surely an attitude that injustice is an inevitable reality will produce kids who grow up to believe that - well - injustice is an inevitable reality, on whatever scale. The truth is that there are schools that have cut down bullying incidences, where teasing and put-downs are not acceptable, and in which it isn’t good to be bad. This is accomplished not by meddling in kids’ social interactions, but by the same means in which justice is established in the adult world: violators are brought to account, victims are given a voice, and the vision and value of establishing a just culture is reaffirmed.
As a kid who grew up on the receiving end of my share of mistreatment - and I dished out a good deal of it, too - there were times when I really wished an adult had taken notice and acted on our problems in getting along with each other. Instead, kid justice ruled. And kid justice is not justice. It rarely has in view the greater good or restoration for the victim, but is marked by retaliation and one-upsmanship. What’s needed is a figure with enough common sense and authority to say, “No - this is how it’s going to be.” Some kids have the common sense. But few have the authority.
If we somehow establish justice among kids, we send a message that fair play and equal treatment of others ought to be the norm. They come to expect it, and to practice it. I used to believe it was best to turn away from kids’ disputes and make them work it out on their own. It’s too much of a bother and frankly, the things they quarrel about seem trivial. But I’ve changed. When we trivialize their concerns about fair treatment, we actually sanction injustice. Of course teasing and name-calling isn’t as grave an injustice as slavery, and I don’t mean to equate the two, but only to make the point that if we model a practice of inaction toward anyone’s suffering but our own, we are teaching kids that to step outside of themselves and own someone else’s injustice isn’t worth the effort. Why would I bear someone else’s problems when I’ve got enough of my own?
Remedying injustice wherever it happens is not a matter of becoming a party to the injustice. Rather, it entails bringing the offender to account, and empowering and restoring the victim. What does this look like, say, in the context of bullying? First of all, kids should be aware that bullying is not ok and won’t be tolerated. This is more than a rule, it’s a cultural expectation: using your influence to intimidate someone else is wrong. Secondly, all kids are taught assertiveness skills to speak up for themselves, first to the bully and secondly to an adult - who won’t brush aside their concerns, but who will act out of a sense of duty. Third, while we would hope that empowering kids and communicating expectations would stem any harrassment, when bullying does happen, adults are willing to step in and address the problem directly. This usually means bringing the offender and the victim face-to-face, sometimes with a third-party peer, for mediation. These programs work and have been implemented successfully at schools. They work precisely because they are engineered by adult authority figures, and that communicates: “You’ve violated a norm, and we’ve noticed, and we’re not going to let it stand, so here’s our efforts to fix it.”
Asking kids to keep problems to themselves when the problem is actually bigger than what they can handle is a terrible solution. We often fail to step in because a 10-year-old’s problems seem so small: why can’t they see that this isn’t worth fighting about? But it is that lack of mature perspective that makes them unable to either rise above the conflict or work out an equitable solution. They need our help, not to do it for them, but to give them the perspective that they lack and the skills and - most importantly - the permission to face down an injustice and make wrong right. This is the gift that keeps on giving, because when they bring an expectation of fairness into all of their relationships, they are less likely to be bullied again and more importantly less likely to visit that torment on someone else.
It’s easy to sit in an affluent American community and assent to the idea that injustice is wrong. The real test is whether we have the courage to look for it in the immediate contexts of our lives and fight it wherever it’s found - even if that’s in a place as seemingly insignificant as our kids’ lives and their relationships with other kids.
Blog: How Christian Camping Helps Kids
How Christian Camping Helps Kids
Christian camps and retreat centers have not been unaffected by the recession. As families’ disposal income drops, trips and camps often get cut. But Christian camps face another challenge - the generational job of convincing kids and parents that they’re not just another activity among equals, vying for kids’ time and parents’ money. Camps aren’t just a weekend’s worth of fun - they’re an investment. And it would be a shame to lose them, because I can’t think of anything that’s even a close second.
By “generational job”, I’m referring to a much shorter period of time than 30 or even 20 years. I’m reminded every year that fully one-third of the kids we minister to in 4th-6th grade are brand-new at this, that camp is a developmental milestone most haven’t yet crossed, and that we get to walk them through it. But first we have to get them there.
Take a few minutes to view this video, produced by Forest Home, on what they call “core essentials” - the philosophy from which they operate their programs. Then I’d like to suggest seven reasons why Christian camps offer something kids can’t easily get elsewhere - not even in church.
Here’s what happens at camp that you won’t find anywhere else:
1. Kids get almost 48 hours unplugged. The loss of wide-open spaces and the hurried pace of modern life deprives us of, to borrow the phrase of one of my seminary professors, “our best apologetics partner”. To see the dramatic rise of the mountains on either side of the camp, to leap across rocks in the creek, or to smell fresh air reestablishes our place in the created order, bringing us closer to our true selves. We were not meant to be enslaved by cell phones, computer screens, or even school textbooks. We are people who labor under the illusion that we’ve tamed nature. Wrong. Technology has tamed us. We need to be set free. This happens at camp.
2. Kids genuinely play. Some will say that kids these days have forgotten how to play, because they’re too busy, too scheduled, too programmed. Don’t you believe it. They may be busy and programmed, yes, but in an outdoor camp setting, the ability to make great fun from very little quickly re-emerges. This, again, is connecting us to our true selves. Play stimulates their imagination, requires compromise and conflict resolution, and invites them to approach other kids who it might not be “cool” to affiliate with in their schools. Play is a great leveler. This happens at camp.
3. Kids are surrounded by God, and godly influences. Adults sometimes focus solely on “the moment of decision” at camps, when a kid either does or doesn’t respond to an invitation. This misses the point that a camp environment is itself evangelistic - all the time! From morning wake-up until “lights out” (quotation marks are deliberate), kids are in the presence of caring staff and counselors who want to see their experience maximized. The counselors who will be spending the weekend with your kid are not strangers - they are the small group leaders who give their time to serve our kids every weekend in Surge, and who want to deepen their relationships by investing a weekend of their time. Forest Home’s staff is made up mostly of summer camp veterans who sacrifice ten weekends January-March to make winter camp happen. They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t love your kids. I have never seen a discipline or medical situation handled poorly at Forest Home. Instead, kids receive empathy and kindness. This happens at camp.
4. Questions get asked, and answered. We cover a lot of ground in our weekend program, but we are inevitably rushed, and one thing I regret is that we can’t be more responsive to the immediate interests of all of the kids. But because the time at camp is so relationally intensive (kids are constantly in the presence of their leaders), it creates a great forum for informal conversation, or for a leader to follow up with someone who had more questions than the nightly small group time could accommodate. What better way to model that God doesn’t live “in church”, and that our learning and thinking and talking about him doesn’t have to stay within the walls of a church, either? Instead, God-as-a-way-of-life can go on display, even if it’s only for a couple of days. This happens at camp.
5. Kids get connected in a hurry. If your son or daughter attends weekend services every weekend for a year, they’ll log about 65 hours of church time annually. If your family comes every other week, that’s 32.5 hours annually. Our ministry is made up of kids from more than 75 schools. It is not uncommon for a student new to our ministry to be the only kid from his or her school in the classroom on a given Saturday or Sunday. Hard to run into kids you know? Yes. Hard to meet other kids? It can be - it depends on how regularly a new family attends and what other outside events they engage in.
In a camp weekend, we’re talking about 48 hours of sustained interaction with other kids and leaders, making it all the more easier to return to church when camp’s over. Kids relax when they don’t have to worry about being knew, when they recognize other faces, when they themselves are know. This happens at camp.
6. Kids make memories. Think about the most outstanding events of your life. Were a number of them from before you were in high school? I hope so. Every kid deserves that pack of loyal childhood friends, the thrill of family vacations and amusement parks, the freedom of after-school play, the hilarity of stupid jokes, the raw adventure of pillow fights. Enough bad stuff will happen to them as they get older - let’s let childhood be reserved for safety and successfully trying new things. Kids now in middle school still ask me, “Remember that time at Forest Home…?” I often don’t. But no matter. The memory is theirs. Kids need those. This happens at camp.
7. It’s the easiest thing in the world to invite your friend to. Let’s face it: it’s not always appealing to ask your friend to come to “Sunday school” (shudder; we don’t use that terminology, but lots of people still do) or anything where the default model is “school”. But an outdoor camp in the mountains where you get to sleep in bunks and play outside a lot? Yeah, kids will go for that. Four years ago, a couple of boys at our church invited their whole hockey team to camp. Today, most of those kids (now in high school) still attend our church. And research shows that kids who are comfortable sharing their faith, talking about what they believe (and this includes the openness to bring someone to the place they experience it all) are more likely to hold onto that faith when the going gets tough. And for a first-timer, a weekend at Forest Home puts a great impression in their mind, because it’s church camp without being churchy. This, too, happens at camp.
And I haven’t even mentioned the teaching. But that’s because the cognitive benefits are harder to assess, and in any case, they shouldn’t be separated from the overall experience. They will soon forget where they learned what they know; but they will long remember what they did at camp.
There are ways in which camps are very primitive places. But then, we’re primitive people, aren’t we? And every kid who’s dirtied their jeans hiding in a muddy spot or windburned their nose or soaked their socks completely when snow got into their boots knows this is so. More and more, these things happen only at camp.
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4th-6th Midweek Program
“The Harbor” - Midweek Program
CLICK HERE to check out our web page for the Harbor!
The Harbor Spring session begins April 16, 2014, each Wednesday for 6 weeks from 6-7:30 pm.
Family style dinner begins at 5:15pm
Parent classes and kid programs begin at 6:00pm and end at 7:30.
Kids K-3rd grade check-in at the Children’s Ministry Building beginning at 5:55pm.
4th-6th graders check in outside the Family Center.
What Happens The Harbor:
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Surge exists to come alongside the work the Holy Spirit is already doing in each kid and impart some spiritual momentum by continually putting them in the path of our great God.
Our long-term hope is to raise up a generation of world changers who are unhindered in their pursuit of God and the realization of his kingdom.
Interested in serving at Surge?
There is a process we have everyone go through in order to serve with the 4th-6th graders. The first step is to come and observe a weekend service. Just pop in to any of the 3 services (Saturday at 6p, Sunday at 8:45 or 10:45) and look for Annie Rammel or Darlene Abrams. They can get you set up to check out the service and let you know more about our process to serve.
Check out the video to hear from a leaders perspective on what it means to serve.
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4th-6th Summer Camp 2014
Information for Summer Camp 2015 is coming soon!
In the meantime, you can reminisce in the memories from this past summer here: Summer Camp 2014 Adventure Mountain
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