A Brief Overview
- The program has a four-fold goal for participants: theological, vocational, spiritual, and relational growth!
- The program runs for 3 weeks from July 9 – July 30, 2014. The first 10 days are spent on the campus of Calvin Theological Seminary.
- The second 10 days students and leaders will travel to one of three excursion sites where they will participate in ministry there. These sites have been uniquely developed for FYF in partnership with Youth Unlimited.
- Students and Leaders will then return back to Grand Rapids for wrap-up and closure.
The program will stretch and challenge students to reflect theologically on many different modern issues concerning world affairs, the church, and Christian discipleship. They will engage in group discussions on various readings from Neal Plantinga, John Ortberg, Richard Mouw, and others, films, worship, and excursion experiences. They will also experience a community that seeks to know God more and follow his will and be challenged to think about how God is calling them to serve Him as they transition into the next phase of your life and into the future.
The Facing Your Future program is an imaginative exploration of ministry and life’s biggest issues with outstanding high school students and leading seminary and college professors. Read about what participants experience below.
Grand Rapids Segment
Students arrive on the beautiful Calvin Theological Seminary campus on July 9, where the lodging, dining, learning, and recreational resources will support their stay.
The program begins the next day. With Calvin Theological Seminary faculty and other invited guests, students will probe the Bible for what it has to say about modern issues such as:
- How does the image of God contribute to healthy self-esteem?
- Is peace on earth possible? What about peace in the church?
- Can racial reconciliation occur in urban ministry?
- How does a good God let Hurricane Sandy take place?
- Can truth be found in Islam?
These will stretch the mind and reach the heart. The schedule is fast-paced, including group discussions, readings from Plantinga and Mouw, films, excursions, and worship.
Built into the program are recreational opportunities on campus and off campus. Getting to know one another and relaxing together are important features of the program.
When the first 9 days in Grand Rapids are completed, young people will be deeply impressed with the cultural and civic importance of solid, biblical thinking for life and ministry. Such an approach to our modern age is not only exciting and challenging but also deeply fulfilling and essential for the health of our church and community.
Students will participate in one of the following three options. The excursion reinforces the correlation between theological reflection and ministry. These sites have been uniquely developed for FYF in partnership with Youth Unlimited’s ENCOUNTERS Program.
Austin, TX is one of the fastest-growing, leading-edge urban centers in the United States. This liberal, artsy, college town is home to one of the most unique churches in the CRC, as well – Sunrise Community Church. Students will get a chance to learn from a multi-ethnic, multi-class, urban church based on the missional community model.
Students will get a chance to walk side-by-side in ministry for ten days with Sunrise’s Lead Pastor Mark Hilbelink, work with Sunrise’s interns, be part of a mentoring tree, work with the homeless, live in a house all to themselves and compare Sunrise with The Austin Stone, a large multi-site megachurch built on similar principles.
While they’ll be able to experience Austin’s vibrant culture in all sorts of amazing ways, the real value of the Austin FYF experience is rubbing up against some innovative and challenging perspectives on church, culture, leadership and contextualization. Students will immediately love some of the approaches being taken in Austin and be uncomfortable with others. But over the course of 10 days, the theological reflection guided by Sunrise’s staff and FYF leaders will lead to goldmines of thinking about the church to guide these future leaders.
Tualatin, OR is a southern suburb of Portland, OR. Tualatin is an Indian word meaning “lazy river”. Portland is located at the confluence of two of the West’s Coasts largest rivers, the Willamette and the mighty Columbia. Portland is 90 miles upriver from the mouth of the Columbia and about 90 feet above sea level. Oregonians are a unique breed in the Pacific Northwest. Many of them think they still have the pioneer spirit. It is also a place to escape from Midwest values. The Max line, the homeless, hippie remnants and the wealthy among others all converge in one place in quite an ethnic display. You might run into the spaced out rubber guitar player singing Elvis songs off-key asking for donations to Portland’s legitimate non-profit church of Elvis. We have screaming liberals and rednecks, no military bases except for the National Guard and we are as politically divided as the rest of the country. Mormonism is huge here with a large Temple just a couple of miles away. The cults seem to thrive here from Jehovah Witnesses to Eastern Religions to New Thought Churches, Christian Science and Scientology. The Foursquare denomination is the fastest growing Christian denomination in Oregon and is the only one that rivals the cults in growth.
Some of the possible projects for FYF to experience is a day with the homeless passing out socks and other daily necessities, doing a door-to-door survey in Tualatin, canvassing for a day for food for a local food-bank, learning “The Way of the Master evangelism method” and then doing some cold-turkey interviews in downtown Portland, working a day at Medical Ministries international which includes touring their third world re-creation of a Mexico City slum complete with the garbage and the smells. We might consider serving a day in the migrant camps as well. Hopefully we will spend one day either on the Pacific Ocean or hike up Oregon’s famous Multnomah Falls trail. Or, if we go the top of Larch Mountain at 4,000 feet, we can hike to the bottom of Multnomah Falls (passing other falls on the way) all the way down to about 100 feet above sea level.
On July 28, all students will return to Grand Rapids. There, each of the groups from the three excursion sites will present their experiences to their colleagues. Students will share what they did, whom they worked with and what they learned at their place of ministry. Before heading back home, the students will have time to begin processing their studies and excursion experiences together. On July 30, all students will return home.
All participating students and their nominators (or designated alternates) must agree to establish a mentoring relationship that extends through the college years. The purpose of this relationship is to sustain the student’s interest in theological reflection, face issues related to ministry that may arise, and seek the holistic wellbeing of the student. Suggested guidelines for mentoring are available from the FYF office. In short, the main tasks of the mentor are to support, challenge and provide vision for the student. An effective mentor is a good, active listener, and is both intentional and committed to maintaining a relationship with the student. Calvin Theological Seminary also maintains contact with both mentors and students following the completion of the program.
Students who would like to participate must have the following qualifications:
- Program is open to students who are in grades 11 or 12 at the time of nomination.
- Students must be a baptized or professing member of a Christian Church.
- Students must be nominated by a pastor, youth leader, high school administrator, or Bible teacher.
- The participation fee for the program is $320 USD, due at the time of acceptance into the program. The fee can be paid on-line here. The student is also responsible for travel costs to and from their home to Grand Rapids. The fee can be paid on-line here.
- Nominees must:
- Have a demonstrated involvement in the life and ministry of the church.
- Possess the character and qualities for Christian leadership
- Demonstrate a well-rounded involvement in their community.
- Have a GPA of 3.25 (85%) or higher.
Important Dates for FYF 2014:
|Jan 31:||Nomination, application, and transcript due|
|Feb 28:||Notification of final decision sent to
all applicants by e-mail
|July 9 – July 30:||FYF Program|
|July 9:||Arrive in Grand Rapids, MI at Calvin Theological Seminary|
|July 9 – July 19:||Grand Rapids Segment|
|July 19 – 28:||Excursion Segment|
|July 28 – 29:||Wrap-Up in Grand Rapids|
|July 30:||Depart for home|
Other Forms (updated as needed)
- Checklist for Participants (pdf)
- Due Dates Reference List (pdf)
- Emergency Contact Information (pdf)
- Food Allergy Information Form (pdf)
- Important Passport Information (pdf)
- Insurance Form (pdf)
- Medical Information Form (pdf)
- Medical Treatment and Permission Form (pdf)
- Participant Instructions (pdf)
- Participation Acceptance Forms (pdf)
- Physician Examination Form (pdf)
- Publicity Release Form (pdf)
- Travel Arrangement Form (pdf)
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