The discipleship model for our college-age ministry at Orchard Hill is called BLESS. It stands for Begin with prayer, Listen, Eat, Serve, and Story. Breaking bread in community is grounded in scripture and we want to use times around food to serve as an opportunity to live like Jesus, share our lives around a table, and invite strangers into community.
Once a month, Orchard Hill serves a free lunch to all college-age in order to live out this mission. This semester, we've served 4 meals and averaged over 208 people at each meal. Last Sunday was our annual Thanksgiving Feast and we had the largest attendance for a college-age lunch, with 249 people!
“I love college-age lunch because it is a time where we can put our BLESS model in action,” shared one UNI junior. “It is so encouraging for students to join in fellowship and grow in the wonderful community around us!”
Behind the scenes, Julie O'Connor has stepped in to lead the cook team in planning, preparing and serving these amazing meals. “Cooking meals for the college students
is so gratifying. I love using the gifts God has given me to help serve this awesome group,” O’Connor said. “They are always so thankful and appreciative.”
“Thank you, Orchard Hill, for all of your support over decades to love and serve the next generation of Jesus followers!” shared Carter Moore, College-age Ministry Leader. “It has been fun watching how God uses this meal to build friendships within our college-age community.”
The next college-age lunch is scheduled for December 10 in the Commons following the 10:45 service. If you'd like to join this team in preparing and serving these meals to BLESS our college-age community, please email Carter Moore at email@example.com.
“Movie Night is about to begin. Doors are open, popcorn is popped, and candy is ready! Hope to see you soon!” This was the simple invitation sent out via Orchard Kids Facebook page last friday as Orchard Hill prepared for it’s second annual Family Movie Night.
“It’s the simple things - when families are able to come together, have a great time with no commitment, and they just get to show up and enjoy themselves - that is the recipe for success,” commented Rendi Scholten, Orchard Hill’s Kids Ministry Director. “It is the simplest things that have the biggest impact.”
This was certainly the case last weekend when Kids Ministry hosted a movie night in the church Sanctuary. They served popcorn, had a candy bar, and invited families to come and enjoy a movie together.
The movie for the night was Moana. “So much fun, please do again and often,” said Rachel Blough. “Such a fun night! Thank you volunteers!! The candy ‘bar’ was adorable!!!!” commented Shelly Wessels, both via Facebook comments.
Nearly 200 people attended the movie. Several families came in PJs and brought pillows and blankets with them. Many commented that it was a great trial run to see if their kids could make it through an actual movie in a theatre. Others said this night was better than a movie theatre because they could come and it was casual, laid back and they also got to spend time with other families from the church.
“These events are always a reminder to our staff of why we do what we do. We love these kids and their families. We want to invite them into this space to simply be together and sometimes it just takes a party. This is what it is all about, loving one another,” continued Rendi.
More movie nights to come in the future. Stay tuned for additional dates.