Abiding Grace Lutheran Church offers a wide array of youth programming options for children of all ages. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or church member, we offer many ways for your children and family to get involved in a faith-based setting.
Youth Ministries Offered
For additional information about our youth offerings beyond what you see here, please contact Gary Knutson.
Faith Stepping Stones Ministries
We offer various opportunities for young children to learn about Sacraments. Class times vary by season.
Baptism Class: Baptism classes are conducted twice per year at Abiding Grace. We cover the spiritual process and command given to us by Christ to Baptize all. In this class, we explore the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind Baptism from a Lutheran perspective, and help parents on their journey in raising a child in the Christian Faith.
First Communion Class: First Communion classes are conducted each spring. Throughout the New Testament, we are continuously called to come to the Lord’s table in proclamation that Jesus is the son of God, that he is always present with us, and that he died & was resurrected so that we might receive God’s mercy and forgiveness through Grace alone. We practice “open communion” at our services – such that anyone who believes, regardless of age or membership, are welcome to join us at God’s table. First Communion classes at Abiding Grace are designed to help parents nurture this important aspect of children’s Faith as they deem they are ready. After completion of the class, participants will receive their First Communion meal during the Maundy Thursday service.
In addition to Sunday School, there are a number of ways for elementary students to participate and grow in their faith here at Abiding Grace.
First Bible Classes: Youth aged 3rd grade and above are encouraged to participate in our First Bible classes, which happen once per year. During these lessons, we instruct youth on how to use the Bibles they will be receiving from Abiding Grace, as well as explore the books and stories within. These classes provide a great introduction to the Bible and prepare students for future youth group participation at Abiding grace.
Squad 456: Squad 456 Meets on the 3rd Sunday of the month from 5-7 pm. This program helps youth in grades 4-6 understand their faith in adolescent years. We teach these students how to use and navigate their Bible, with a system of devotionals designed to help them get better acquainted with the Texts. Squad 456 also enjoys crafts and age-appropriate team building activities to enforce lesson themes and encourage healthy relationships with their peers. This group ends each meeting with a shared meal.
About 75% of youth do not continue to attend church after confirmation. Developed by the Lutheran Church, we offer a systems approach to the adolescent Faith Journey that focuses on “growing middle school small groups into senior high small groups by injecting the DNA of Jesus into the nucleus of every cell through the love, care, and attention of an adult Christian Guide in every carload of kids.”
Here We Stand Confirmation: Our three-legged approach to confirmation focuses on Learning, Service and Fellowship.
- Learning: We gather three times each month for Learning Events with our ministry team, to experience a theme, music, and teaching designed to draw youth closer to Christ. Following each experience, small groups meet to check-in, process and discuss the theme, followed by prayer.
- Service and Fellowship: Once each month, small groups meet for a service or fellowship activity. These activities are designed to help students become a servant by serving, and to build relationships by being together.
Lenten Faith Mentoring: As a part of our confirmation ministry, Faith mentoring pairs individual Confirmation youth with individual adults of the congregation in order to discuss issues pertaining to Faith and life as they experience the Lenten journey together. Confirmation students are free to select an adult, with their consent, to be their Faith Mentor. The purpose of Lenten Faith Mentoring is to:
- Expand each student’s circle of trusted adults within the church
- Enable each student to see and learn how other adults (apart from their parents) live out their Christian Faith
- Offer each student a personalized opportunity to learn to make sense of their Faith, as it pertains to their own life and purpose
- Gain broader adult participation in the youth’s learning process
High School Youth Group
Our confirmed and high school youth are invited to join us all year, each Tuesday at 7 pm. Our high school youth group gathers together to learn how to navigate issues prevalent to their lives and Faith Journey through devotionals and discussion. We use many different ministry curricula, including Ministry and Media, Augsburg Fortress, Group Publishing, Concordia, and other relevant programs. Our high school youth fundraise throughout the year to be able to attend a summer mission trip to an area that has been devastated by natural disasters; often teaming up with other faith-based organizations, such as Lutheran Disaster Response.
In addition to our many wonderful youth programs, we offer:
- Age-appropriate children’s sermons during worship
- Sunday school for all ages during the school year
- Vacation Bible School during the summer
- Nursery services during worship (currently unavailable due to COVID-19)
Meet our Director of Youth & Family Ministry
Gary Knutson has been in youth ministry for over 16 years. He came to Abiding Grace during the summer of 2019 from Colorado; where he was the Director Of Youth & Family Ministries in a suburb of Denver. Gary has a wonderful wife, Helen, to whom he has been married for 18 years. He has 5 children (Colleen, Cameron, Kaitlyn, Matthew, Christopher), and 4 grandchildren (Maci, Jensen, Henry, Claire). He also has two dogs (both rescues), Jazzy and Brittany. Gary grew up in Great Falls, Montana, and got his bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland while serving in the military as a Military Policeman in the Army from 1982-1992. He enjoys golf, fishing, and is an avid Alabama football fan. Gary’s passion for youth ministry is second to none. He wants to make the Bible come alive for all youth, and walk side by side in each student’s faith journey. His favorite quote is, “Incarnational Relationships Are It.”