The Pullen youth ministry exists to help youth and their families navigate the transition from childhood to young adulthood by introducing youth to a broad spectrum of issues and ideas that will help them to emerge as well-equipped young adults, grounded in faith. We embrace each individual as a unique and beloved child of God. We accept people where they are and encourage them to grow in their relationships with God, their community, and themselves.
The youth ministry supports youth as they discover and nurture their spirituality. In true Baptist tradition, each youth is given the freedom to shape his or her own relationship with God as their faith journey grows and matures.
Youth Sunday school leaders take seriously the needs of each youth by honoring him or her as a unique creation of God. The journey of adolescence includes both inward and outward paths. Therefore, our youth ministry assists our teenagers in understanding themselves and the world in deeper ways that engage them where they are in their growth as people of God.
Rite-13 (Grades 6 & 7) is a two-year class designed to celebrate God’s gift of womanhood and manhood to build self esteem in the context of the Christian community, to establish a framework for friendships that bridge stereotypes, and to provide a foundation for the remainder of the program. The curriculum focuses on their relationships with God, self, family, friends, and church.
J2A (Grades 8 and 9) uses a curriculum entitled “How Will I Live? Becoming the Person I Want to Be.” Through Bible study, this group considers characteristics of open, healthy people who take care of themselves and care for their world.
YAC (Grades 10, 11 & 12) builds on the previous years of the program under the theme of “Where Am I Going? Moving Out Into the World.” Using Bible study, this class fosters independent thinking as the youth anticipate becoming increasingly separate from parents and home. Applying one’s faith to social issues, personal decision-making, and vocation are important in their study and activities.
All of our youth meet together at 5:15 PM for dinner brought from home or purchased in Finlator Hall. Fellowship is an important part of this time together. We have announcements at 6:15 PM followed by our program at 6:30 PM. The program changes from week to week, but it is our aim for it to always be informative, conversational, and/or relevant to teenagers.
Lenten Program Options
In the five Wednesdays before Easter, youth have the opportunity to select one of several program options in which to participate for five consecutive Wednesday nights. In the past, we have explored religion in movies, movement as worship, and many other topics. One of the options each year is Cup of Life, which explores the ritual of baptism and concludes with youth having the option to be baptized into the Pullen congregation.
Fall Retreat is the first trip of our program year. During this important time together we try to capitalize on this time together by intentionally mixing up the group and giving youth opportunities to get to know others in the group they may not know so well. Fun, fellowship, and reflection are all part of Fall Retreat.
Baptist Youth Camp
Baptist Youth Camp (BYC) is arguably the most beloved event of the program year among Pullen youth! In fact, it has been heard that the youth admitted if they could only do one activity they would want it to be BYC.
Pullen is one of the charter congregations that gave birth to BYC almost twenty years ago. It is now a group of covenant congregations that meet together at Laurel Ridge (a camp and conference center of the Moravian Church) each summer for the week that includes July 4. Camp includes creative and relevant bible study, active and thoughtful special interest groups, inspiring and reverent worship, and new and treasured relationships.
Youth in grades 6-12 learn a variety of choral music to offer in worship and other events at Pullen as they participate in Youth Choir. This group rehearses on Sunday afternoons from 1:15-2:00PM in the Rehearsal Hall (Room 128-B).
Festival by the Sea
The choir also joins other regional youth choirs for the annual Festival by the Sea at Springmaid Beach Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC. This weekend includes enjoyable rehearsals with the nation’s finest conductors, beach fun, area attractions, and concludes with worship led by the large festival choir.
Youth and adults who have played wind, string, or percussion instruments for at least one year combine to form the Pullen Orchestra. This group offers instrumental music and accompaniments for worship, and rehearses on Sunday mornings from 8:45-9:45AM in the Rehearsal Hall (Room 128-B). The orchestra also plays each year for Pullen’s Sunday in the Park, Cameron Village’s Holiday Open House and travels annually to play for worship at other area churches.
Youth are also engaged in missions and outreach work, including:
- In Our Own Backyard, a summer opportunity in the city for middle school youth;
- Summer Mission Trip to Hazard, Kentucky for all age youth and adults;
- And Cuba Youth, a pilgrimage to our sister church in Matanzas, Cuba for older youth.
Rituals and Traditions
This is an annual ceremony held during worship for youth who have already turned 13. In this ritual, the young people are charged with the responsibility to use wisely the creative power unleashed within them at puberty. It is procreative power as well as energy
useful in all aspects of life. This is followed by a commitment by the rest of the youth group and the congregation to provide support. The youth then receive a private blessing from their parents.
Christmas Eve Late Night Service
Our youth create and lead Pullen’s late night Christmas Eve service at 11:00 PM. This is a highly creative, meaningful worship experience. A gathering after the service for refreshments and fellowship has also become a favorite tradition, especially for young adults returning home for the holidays.
Lenten Discipleship Classes
Beginning on Ash Wednesday and continuing through Easter, discipleship classes are offered each Wednesday night to explore various faith topics in more detail. Those who participate in the class that explores baptism will have an overnight retreat and will be paired with an adult mentor from our congregation.
The Easter Morning Baptism Service in Finlator Hall is a Pullen tradition following that of the early church. Those who have completed the discipleship class and have determined to be ready to symbolize their faith in the ritual of baptism join in this service. Each person being baptized is asked to write a statement of faith, which is shared with the congregation.
Usually held in May, this is a youth-led worship service that celebrates youth and honors our graduating high school seniors.