We are blessed to have many youth volunteers in our Next Gen ministries at Gateway Church! Between our 2 campuses, there are 43 preteens and teens who serve on a regular basis in one of the nurseries, a preschool class, an elementary class, as a Kidway tech volunteer or with the middle school Sunday morning class. These youth are using their gifts and talents to serve and make a difference in the lives of children who are younger. Read on to find out what a few of them had to say about serving at Gateway Church.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Alice: My name is Alice Hanson. I am 14 years old, and am in eighth grade at Glenwood Middle School. I’m in the school choir, I'm involved in an art club through the Marathon Performing Arts Center, and also plan on doing VIP and most likely FFE when I get to highschool. In my free time, I enjoy sketching and shading art, learning various songs on the piano to sing to, playing games with my family, and taking care of my pets.
Seth: I am Seth Van Horn, an 18 year old junior at Van Buren. I am involved in YoungLife, sports, and 4-H. In my free time, I enjoy playing sports with friends and tinkering with computers.
Gabe: I am Gabe St. Amour. I am 17 and am a junior at Liberty Benton High School. I run track and cross country as well. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with friends and family, working out, and playing games.
Molly: My name is Molly McKanna and I am a sophomore at Findlay High School. I don’t do any in-school sports but I do show horses. I am involved with hockeyettes at school and I also help at Challenged Champions. Challenged Champions is an Equine therapy facility for kids and adults with a variety of special needs. In my free time, I also like to hangout with friends and family, ride horses, and babysit.
In what capacity do you volunteer at Gateway Church?
Alice: I volunteer with the four and five year old preschoolers in the Green Room at the County Road 9 Campus.
Seth: I volunteer in the Attic with the middle schoolers at the North Main Campus about once a month. I am also a student leader in our youth group.
Gabe: I volunteer as a Kidway Tech Assistant as well as being a middle school assistant in the Attic at our County Road 9 Campus.
Molly: I attend the North Main Campus and I help in the Preschool Room first service every week.
How long have you attended Gateway Church?...been a volunteer in Gateway Church’s Next Gen ministry?
Alice: I have attended Gateway for about seven years, and have been a volunteer in Gateway Church's Next Gen ministry with Cheryl Drake for the past three years.
Seth: I've attended Gateway Church for a year, and been a member for about a month.
Gabe: I have attended Gateway Church since I was born.
Molly: I have attended Gateway Church since we moved to Findlay in the summer of 2018 and I have volunteered in the preschool room since we started coming. But it has become more of a solid schedule in the last 2 years.
Why did you initially volunteer to serve?
Alice: I've always worked well with little kids, so when I finished Kidway, my parents and I discussed how to step up and volunteer with them. It was a great way for me to learn more about teaching (mostly from Cheryl Drake), and how to be a good role model.
Seth: I wanted to get more involved and felt I could help the middle schooler's grow in their faith.
Gabe: I volunteered so I could make an impact on kids younger than me.
Molly: I initially started volunteering because my mom needed help and I love helping and teaching little kids!
What do you enjoy most about serving?
Alice: I love seeing how kids can get involved with stories in the Bible, remember our Bible verse, and make friendships with each other. It also warms my heart to see kids I've taught in the past recognize me at Gateway Church in the halls and give me a hug.
Seth: I enjoy the connections I get to make with the middle schoolers and losing in ping pong after service.
Gabe: I enjoy the relationships that I make with other people serving and the people that I serve.
Molly: The thing I enjoy the most about serving is honestly just the relationships that are built with the kids and their families. The excitement every week when we see them walk in, there is nothing like it.
What would you say to someone who has been feeling a tug to serve, but who hasn’t started yet?
Alice: I would say that it all starts with a first step. The first step is the hardest, but once you've taken it, everything gets easier. It also is much less intimidating if you are familiar with the age group that you want to serve in. Lastly, the person you work with can make a big difference and help you along the way, so it's way less stressful your first time volunteering.
Seth: I would encourage that person to take a leap of faith and step out of their comfort zone.
Gabe: I would tell them just do it! You can make so many good connections through serving and you can tell that you really do make a difference in the people that you are serving. It’s a great opportunity to help and meet others in the church.
Molly: This is one of the best things that happens in my week! I really have made so many great relationships with kids and parents alike, so if you are an adult looking for maybe more connections this can help with getting to know people. I have also come to realize through this opportunity how much of an impact you can really have on the lives of these little kids! They are watching the examples around them, so that also pushes me to not only lead a life centered around Christ for me but as an example for the younger generation as well.
Are you inspired to serve as well? Sign up on our website at any time or talk to one of our Next Gen staff members to find out what the current needs are in the Kidway ministry. We will be needing extra volunteers coming up in the summer months as we give our dedicated volunteers a much needed break. This is a great opportunity to serve, whether you are a youth or an adult!
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