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studentLife Update: August 27, 2020

by Jeff Huisjen on August 27, 2020

Hey Everyone, I hope that you and your families are doing well, and that as you're stepping into the upcoming school year things are falling into place for you. I just wanted you to know that we've been praying for you, for your students, and for the schools as they've tried to navigate what launching will look like. 

In the same way that the schools and many other ministries have been trying to navigate what this fall will look like, studentLife has been hard at work determining the very best way for us to serve you and your students. Currently, we're still working on nailing down the nitty-gritty details of what this semester will look like, but we have a plan that we're putting into place and I wanted to let you know what we think studentLife will look like.

First things first, let's talk about programming this Fall

Before we start, I just wanted to restate that, as a ministry, we are nailing down the specific details of this plan. We're optimistic that everything will come together well, but as you know, we're operating in a shifting and changing landscape. With that being said, this is our plan for now. If anything changes that impacts our ability to launch, we'll let you know.

As we've been looking at this year, and based on the current trends, safety precautions, and with much prayer and thought, we don't feel that there is a good and safe way to launch normal Sunday evening studentLife programming. With that being said, our current plan for this semester is to move to an at home, small group model of programming, launching on Sunday, October 4th.

Let me outline what we think this will look like below, followed by a few logistical pieces.

With this model we would be looking at 2 leaders and up to 8 students per small group, keeping each group within the limit of 10 people for inside gatherings (including those who live at the host home). The groups would meet on Sunday night at 6pm, and would go for an hour and a half to two hours in someone's home. This home would either belong to the leader of the group, a parent, or a member of the congregation who would be willing to host. 

During the course of the meeting, there would be an ice breaker, some sort of snack, and an up front style game. Following that, the group would watch a video of the teaching for that week, and then would have some questions to guide the small group discussion.

Obviously, this new style of ministry requires some logistical details, let me outline some of those below.

The groups themselves will be split up by gender, by middle or high school, and by location. For example, we would look to launch a Shepherd area, girls middle school group, a Shepherd area, guys middle school group, etc.

For host homes, we are currently evaluating and compiling a list of people who would be willing to host a small group. Due to the limitations set forth by the State of Michigan, we're only allowed a total occupancy of 10 individuals in any residence. With that being said, if you or someone you know would be willing or interested in being a host home for one of our small groups, please let us know. The current plan for host homes would be to determine the number of students and leaders who would be able to be in the home, in conjunction with total number of people living in the house. The responsibility of the host homes would be to provide a safe and welcoming place for the small groups to meet with access to a TV to stream the teaching, the logistics of programming; games, snacks, teaching, etc. would fall onto studentLife and the leaders of that group.

I know that this a shift for us, but like I said before, we have been praying, thinking, and talking about this decision as a leadership team, and feel that at this time, this is what is best for our ministry and our students. 

As always, our hope is to continue to be in constant communication with you regarding our ministry plans, events, and to be a help to each of you in whatever way we can. Our current plan for communication will rely heavily on this blog. The second way we communicate is through our social media. If you haven't followed us on facebook or Instagram, make sure you check them out for the latest updates on studentLife!

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The final way we'll communicate in the future is through our parent email. Some of you receive this email already, for those of you who don't, click here to sign up for mailing list.

Like I said above, I hope that you're doing well. If during the next few weeks you need anything or we can be a help, a resource, or an encouragement to you in any way, please let us know. We're praying daily for you and the students.