Posts Tagged ‘DNow’

Story and photos by Ann Carter

DNow work group

In Student Ministry at Richmond’s First Baptist Church, there are several annual events that anchor our year: Fall Retreat; Christmas Pageant; DiscipleNow Weekend, affectionately called DNow; and Mission Trips. I look forward to each of these events with great anticipation, but DNow has a special place in my heart because it is the one event that truly involves the whole congregation.

DNow large group
Home group

DNow is an intentional weekend for students in grades 6 through 12. The weekend is centered on a theme that incorporates all of the elements of faith formation: head, heart and hands. Youth take over the gym and Flamming Hall, and spend the weekend in worship, Bible study, service, play and community. It takes a whole host of amazing people to make this happen, and over the past 30 years that FBC has hosted DNow, the congregation has wholeheartedly supported the weekend activities.

First, there are the host homes. Each year about 15 FBC families open their homes to host small groups of our students, divided by grade and gender. Students pile into living rooms, family rooms, and bonus rooms, sleeping on air mattresses and in sleeping bags. Hosts prepare breakfast and dinner for students on Saturday—filling dining room and kitchen tables to capacity as students and families share a meal. It is beautiful to see the students embraced by adults who become like second parents, students doting on the children of the host home, and host home children blossoming under the students’ attention. The host parents model radical hospitality for the students who are staying with them, showing them what it looks like to open their homes and welcome others.

DNow leadersThen, there are the 30 small group leaders, college and graduate students, as well as young professionals who volunteer to be group leaders in a host home. Each host home has at least two young adult leaders who facilitate Bible Study times, coordinate the students’ activities and spend quality time with the students. One of my favorite things about our adult leaders is that most of them were FBC students not all that long ago. What a joy it is watching their faith practice evolve from student to leader. This is the point of DNow—and all student ministry for that matter—to provide opportunities to learn, to put faith into practice, and for lives to be formed in the image of Christ for the sake of others. During DNow weekend, these small group leaders are most definitely exhibiting the “for the sake of others” part of faith formation.

DNow groups in GymLast, but definitely not least, the DNow weekend wouldn’t happen without the creativity and hard work of the 15 members of the Student Ministry Team. This team is made up of parents and student ministry leaders who are the brains and the brawn behind the operation. They plan the activities, put up decorations, run the sound and lighting, coordinate and distribute food and recruit volunteers. Interestingly, four of our 15 members are former youth. I love that their youth experience was so consequential that they want to enable future generations of students to have the same meaningful experiences.

There are countless ways for all of our church family to be involved in DNow weekend. Last year 120 of you committed to pray for our students, their hosts and leaders during the weekend. Twelve drivers chauffeured students to mission sites, and from host homes to church and back again so host families could go about their regular Saturday family activities. Eleven Sunday school classes and 20 individuals donated money to provide scholarships for students who couldn’t afford to pay for the weekend, and to offset the cost of food and snacks for the host families. And, 800 of you worshiped with us on Sunday as our DNow weekend came to an end.

So, join us this year for our church-wide DNow weekend scheduled for February 15 through 17, 2019. You can host, lead, drive, pray, give or join us in worship as we go about the good work of faith formation. We can’t do it without you, and maybe your faith will be formed in new ways, too!


Read Full Post »

Story and photos by Stephanie Kim.

“Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:13, NIV)

Recently FBC’s youth ministry requested volunteers for host homes for DiscipleNow (DNow) weekend. I very hesitantly agreed, secretly hoping they would have enough other volunteers so that my home wouldn’t be needed. But I soon heard from them how much they appreciated my offer.
As the weekend approached, I became nervous. I can play flute in front of thousands but don’t ask me to host a few teenagers. After all, I’m a single mom with no one to help me through the weekend. But the youth ministry assigned a group leader to stay in my home.

I have to care for my 10-year-old daughter, who is intellectually disabled and requires lots of sleep. To honor this, the youth ministry arranged rides for the late nights so I could get her to bed early.

I don’t know how to cook anything that doesn’t come out of the freezer, and to my relief, the youth ministry provided Saturday night dinner – lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and bread for me to simply heat and serve.

I don’t have a large house that is beautifully decorated and meticulously clean and organized, but God did bless me with a home that seems to be “just right.”

As I prayed about DNow weekend, I opened my heart to God:

May this weekend have an everlasting impact on these youths as they discover their spiritual gifts; help them to grow spiritually, becoming one body in Christ as they have a memorable and fun time together; may the youths who stay in my home feel welcome and blessed; please help me not to burn the lasagna; may there be no tantrums, drama, or escapes by my daughter or the teens; Lord, help me because I really don’t know what I have committed myself to!

DNow girlsAt last, Friday night came, and I vaguely recognized a few of the five 10th-grade girls I would be hosting. But I couldn’t imagine the blessing I would receive as I got to know them and their leader, Kelly Joyner, over the weekend. Though these girls had diverse backgrounds and interests, they joined together as one Body of Christ and blessed me with their grateful hearts and sweet spirits. It was not at all what I had expected from teenage girls. I now have built relationships with them and pray for each of them by name.

The passion of the youth leaders inspired me. As I worked with them and other volunteers, I discovered connections with people outside of my usual groups at church. The DNow message challenged me to discover my own spiritual gifts, find my passion, figure out what I’m good at, and use all of it for God’s glory. So if my small contribution to this amazing event is to provide a place for some youths to escape to for a weekend, I would joyfully do it again.

Read Full Post »