What does Faith Formation look like for children in grades 6-8?
Our middle-school-age ministry, called Edge, is so named because for youth of this age, everything can feel “on edge:” their friend groups are shifting, their own growth and mental development is rapidly changing; their relationship with their parents and siblings might feel different, and so on. Youth of this age are beginning to take a broader interest in the world around them and are growing toward an ability to think deeply and critically. At the same time, middle school youth are still kids! They like to be silly, have fun, and be active. Our curriculum, also called Edge, is from the creators of LifeTeen youth ministry. The Edge curriculum is written and designed specifically for middle school youth of these grades.
Edge is held the same days/times as our elementary ministry: most Wednesday evenings from 6:00-7:15 PM.
Middle School Edge contains four components: Gather, Proclaim, Break, and Send.
- Gather: Youth gather in the parish hall with their Core Leaders. A silly game, ice breaker, challenge, or other activity introduces the theme of the evening and helps the youth have some fun social time together.
- Proclaim: One of the Core Leaders gives a brief (<15 minutes max) teaching on the lesson content of the evening. Because middle school attention spans are short, the Proclaim section is designed to be engaging and dialogical – not a lecture!
- Break: The middle school youth split up into two small groups. Two Core Leaders facilitate each small group. Everyone relocates to two of our youth/couch rooms: the Immaculate Heart room and the Saint Paul room in the faith formation hallway. In small group, leaders facilitate discussion, activities, and get to know the youth better so everyone feels they have a place in the group, will be listened to, and grow in faith and friendships.
- Send: We end our evening in Church with closing prayer. We also review reverent (respectful) behavior and allow the youth to be in the Presence of Jesus Christ, truly present in the tabernacle!
Family Faith Nights: This refers to the evenings when the parent(s) or grandparents attend with their child(ren), rather than simply dropping off and returning. Family Faith Nights begin at 6:00 PM, just like normal class nights, and end between 7:15 and 7:30 PM depending on the event. In 2023-24, we have six Family Faith Nights:
- September 13, 2023: Launch Party
- November 1, 2023: All Saints’ Day
- November 29, 2023: Family Faith Night: Advent
- February 14, 2024: Ash Wednesday
- February 21, 2024: Family Faith Night: Lent
- March 20, 2024: NEW Passion Play @ Xavier Performing Arts Center
What’s a Core Leader?
Because Edge is not a traditional classroom style of faith formation, the adult leaders are not called catechists. Core Leaders are responsible for presenting the curriculum in an engaging and relevant way, just like a catechist, but they also lead and participate in the games, activities, and small group discussions. Another reason they’re called Core Leaders is because in Edge we are focused on getting to the core – the very center – of what really is going on in the heart and mind of a young disciple who is following Jesus in the midst of these challenging middle school years. That takes a lot of care, prayer, and listening. I am so grateful for our four Core Leaders this year! Please pray for them and the youth they serve! If you have a heart for middle school youth of this age, you are invited to learn more and help out as an aide or substitute. Please pray about it and reach out to Maggie if you’d like to serve our youth in grades 6-8! Thank you!