Bridging the youth group gap

Timber Ridge reaches out to fifth, sixth graders with Friday fun




STEPHENVILLE (July 14, 2016) – Timber Ridge Church is hosting hours of nothing but fun for a special group of young people.

Tyler Gilbert, event organizer, says all boys and girls who have just completed – or are entering – fifth and sixth grades are invited to attend. The event is a traditional-style lock-in, with attendees staying overnight and enjoying indoor and outdoor activities, games, fellowship and shared meals.

“We’re not planning a worship – or church – service,” Gilbert says. “It’s just time for these kids to hang out, have fun and feel welcome in a safe place.”

He also explains the church’s reason for reaching out to fifth and sixth graders. Gilbert says as the congregation, which includes many families with children, continues to grow, Timber Ridge’s youth program is evolving.

“In the past, our programs for younger children have been for kindergarten through sixth grade students,” he says, adding the format seems to discourage participation from children on the older end of the spectrum who are no longer elementary students and not ready for high school.

“They’re somewhere between children’s church and youth group,” Gilbert adds. “They need their own place, somewhere they can be themselves.”

In response to the drop in participation – and excitement – at the fifth and sixth grade level, Gilbert says a new youth program for those children will begin August 28. Gilbert, a Stephenville resident who is a teacher at Perrin-Whitt elementary, has been selected to lead the program.

Since its organization about five years ago, Timber Ridge Church has experienced significant grown. The nondenominational organization holds three Sunday morning worship services through the summer months and an additional evening service during the school year.

The revamped fifth and sixth program is just one example of how Timber Ridge continues to reach out to local families. Other family-focused events include a summer movie in the park series, with the next showing at Stephenville City Park set for August 12.

For more information on upcoming events and weekly worship services, find @timberridgechurch on Facebook.

Meanwhile, check-in for the lock-in is at 5 p.m. Friday, with checkout set for 9 a.m. Saturday. The event will be held on the Timber Ridge Church campus, which is located at FM 8 (Lingleville Highway) and Bates Avenue.

Participants are asked to bring a swimsuit and towel ñ there will be slip and slide and other water activities Friday evening – a change of clothes, pillow and a blanket. Dinner, breakfast and snacks will be served.

Families are invited to return to campus Sunday to experience worship Timber Ridge-style. Service are held at 9, 10:15 and 11:45 a.m.

For more information or to sign your child up for Friday’s lock-in, contact the church at 254-464-2507.

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