The Program

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 June 29, 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 Katrina 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 Wolters, 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.

Excursion Experience

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, TEXAS 

Austin, TX is the capital of Texas and one of the most unique places in the United States to experience ministry first-hand. Austin is consistently rated among the top five places to live in the US, is rated among the top five fastest-growing cities in the US and is rated as the #1 place to live for young adults because of the cultural richness, authenticity and small-town feel despite being the 15th largest city in America. Lying on the Colorado River in Texas’ hill country, Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World and home to the University of Texas. Austin’s motto, “Keep Austin Weird” describes the artistic, counter-cultural, liberal and young feel of city’s character. In the Christian world, Austin is often referred to as the hub of missional thought, boasting several influential churches, innovative Christian leaders and the VERGE Network.

Most of our work will be done with Sunrise Community Church, a missional, inner-city CRC which has existed for about 20 years. In addition, we’ll touch base with many cutting-edge church leaders and concepts, including the CRC’s new church planting cluster concept, an innovative Korean CRC congregation, a low-income childcare center, a hybrid satellite campus church & non-profit center planted in a low–income neighborhood, church planters and several mega-church leaders. We’ll get our hands dirty working with homeless folks who live in the woods, serving meals under a downtown bridge, repairing flooded homes and planning/executing a worship service in cooperation with worship leaders.

You’ll get to try out some Texas barbeque, visit the Alamo and River Walk in San Antonio, pose with Bevo (the University of Texas mascot), swim in an underground lake and watch the largest urban bat population in the US take flight. But more important than that, you’ll get to live the day–to–day life of ministry, walking and talking with a variety of innovative churches and leaders who operate with one mission—boldly following the Holy Spirit as it transforms one of the most influential cities in the US.

TORONTO, ONTARIO 

The Toronto, Ontario site is hosted by a unique partnership between a Christian Reformed campus ministry at York University (one of the largest universities in Canada with 40,000 students), namely LOGOS Campus Ministry, and a church plant, Friendship Community CRC, which is also part of a larger cross-denominational coalition of churches in the Jane-Finch community, one of the most multi-culturally diverse communities in the already multi-cultural city of Toronto.

Participants will serve hands-on in cross-denominational programs tackling urban poverty in a cross-cultural neighborhood, e.g. after school programs for at risk youths and GED education programs preparing moms for their high school equivalency exam. Learning modules or presentations will cover topics such as, “Ministry on a Secular Campus”, “Theology and the City”, “The Power of Servant Leadership”, “God’s Mission and World Religions”, “Poverty & the City”, “Cross-Cultural Ministry”. Some learning modules will be held at York University.

TUALATIN/PORTLAND, OREGON 

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.

Closure

On July 24, 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 25, all students will return home.

Mentoring

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.

Qualifications

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 the Christian Reformed 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 student is also responsible for
    travel costs to and from their home to Grand Rapids.
  • 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.