Youth: Middle and High School

“If we love one another, God abides in us, and God’s love is perfected in us.”
1 John 4:12

Youth and Family MinistriesYouth and Family Ministries Logo

All are Welcome!  In our First Pres Youth Ministries, we hope to invite, encourage, lead and cultivate space for youth to grow in community and connection to God and one another.  We seek to provide inclusive, safe spaces where youth feel accepted and loved no matter what.  We do this by creating opportunities for members of our community to share space with youth using stories as a way of growing in our discipleship and empathy as we create room for identity formation.  We open ourselves to be curious and imaginative as we ask questions of God, our sacred stores, our faith, and the world.

Sundays at First.  Sunday mornings we meet with Faith Formation opportunities for middle school, high school, and our Confirmation youth.  Sunday evenings our youth Middle School and High School Youth Group begins with a meal.  There are several other opportunities to gather together for fellowship, serve in our community, go on missions and immersion trips, and encounter God in our midst.

Youth BrochureMission and Values of Youth Ministry Formation.  Faith formation opportunities seek to create space for our youth to grow as disciples of Christ:  growing in community, connection, empathy, curiousity, and inclusivity.  

Our Faith Formation practices value:  

  • Relationships
  • Contextual learning
  • Creative experiences
  • Leadership development
  • Reciprocity in the life of the church

Values for Youth Ministry and Mission Engagement.  Our mission opportunities prioritize local engagement with our local mission partners here at First Pres.  We believe it is important for our work to be rooted where we are, while also expending and moving outside our particular community.  Leaning on the work of Elizabeth O'Conner and Howard Thurman, there is an inward/outward movement to our mission practices that begin with each person's spiritual formation individually and collectively.  There are formed by opportunities such as:  1) Local mission/service projects, 2) Local pilgrimage, 3) Service learning and immersion trips, and 4) global pilgrimage trips.

Faith Formation on Sundays

All youth are invited to join us during our faith formation hour at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays. 

CrossWords Formation Hour

All middle school & high school students are invited to join us for CrossWords formation hour. Rev. Matthew J. Warfield, in partnership with Rev. Mark Mares and teacher Betsy McCallister, have designed a curriculum that explores current events happening in our world alongside our Bibles. In a TIME Magazine article in 1963, Karl Barth recalls advising young theologians to: Take your Bible and take your newspaper and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible. This is what we do in CrossWords. We wrestle with the issues of the day, and see how the in-breaking Kingdom of God might be calling us to act. During our time together we create spaces to have discussions and activities with our youth, centered on scripture and the Holy Spirit’s leading. CrossWords meets on Sunday mornings at 11am in the Youth Room.


Faith Formation is an intentional time for learning and growing in our faith.  Faith Formation is for All Ages, at 11:00 a.m. and offers multiple new and returning interactive learning opportunities, including bible study, worship dialogue, and discussion groups. Attend a gathering that catches your interest on any given Sunday, or join a group for a multi-week study.  Children, Youth and College faith formation groups (formally known as Sunday School) also meet at this time.

Youth Formation Opportunities

It’s not too late to sign up for Confirmation!  Join Pastors Megan Berry, Jay Sanderford, and Mark Mares as we embark on this important milestone journey.  All middle school and high school students are invited here at First Pres for CrossWord, an exploration of current events and the Bible.  

All formation opportunities meet in the Youth Room every Sunday (except the first Sunday of each month) at 11 a.m. All are welcome!

All youth and their families are invited to use the "Faith Formation @ Home" resources in our weekly youth email. Confirmation classes (confirmands & parent/adult classes) will still meet at 11am on Zoom with Pastor Mark and Pastor Megan. If you'd like to subscribe to the youth email, would like the zoom link, or have any further questions, please contact Pastor Mark (

Youth Group Connection

Middle school (MSYG) and High school (HSYG) continue this month on Sundays from 6 - 7:30 p.m. at the church.  We meet in the Social Hall if it’s raining.  We would love to have you join us - all are welcome!

Bring a friend, all are welcome!  Contact Pastor Mark with any questions or for more information at

Summer Immersion Opportunities

Camp Fowler (Middle + High School):
This summer, Pastor Mark is inviting middle school and high school youth to join him as he travels to Speculator, NY, to spend a week at Camp Fowler August 7 - 12. Camp Fowler is a children’s camp "grounded in openness, hospitality, and compassionate Christianity… aiming to provide space for children to be themselves, learn from those who are different from them, and intimately experience wonder and love." Deadline to sign up is Friday, February 18. If you have any interest in volunteering as a cabin counselor or another place in the camp, or would like more information, please contact Pastor Mark (

Frontera de Cristo Immersion Trip (High School only):
All high school students are invited to join us as we travel down to Arizona for an Immersion Trip, June 19 - 25. We’ll visit Frontera de Cristo, a presbyterian border ministry that works with churches and other organizations on both sides of the border to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Deadline to sign up is Friday, February 18. If you have any interest in volunteering as a cabin counselor or another place in the camp, or would like more information, please contact Pastor Mark (

Parent Zoom information meeting at 8pm on Sunday night (01/16/22):

Triennium- July 24-27 in Indianapolis, IN (High School only):
Triennium is a wonderful opportunity for high schoolers to come together and meet other Presbyterian high schoolers from around the nation. The youth get to bond as a small group from the church and start building relationships with others in their small group at Triennium. Please contact Pastor Mark ( or Pastor Megan ( for more information.

Follow us on Instagram: fpa2youth or sign up for our weekly Youth and Family email newsletter here!  You will receive updates about all of the activities and service opportunities for our Youth!

MinecraftMinecraft Office Hours.  Do you enjoy playing Minecraft?  Have you always wanted to try?  Join Rev. Mark on the First Pres Minecraft Realm this year for virtual ‘office hours’ as we try to recreate the First Pres grounds in the world of Minecraft for the 195th anniversary.  For more information, contact Rev. Mark Mares at

Follow us on Instagram: fpa2youth or sign up for our weekly Youth and Family email newsletter here!  You will receive updates about all of the activities and service opportunities for our Youth!