FirstCovGR Student News (10/2)

by Josh Hinken on October 02, 2023

Hello Students and Parents!

Can you believe this is already week 5 of our new “FirstCovGR Student News” email?! It’s incredible how time flies! FirstCovGR StudentNews is a weekly newsletter sent out on Mondays that contains middle and high school events for the week, information about our leaders, resources to use at home, and more. This is a one-stop for all things student ministry. Continue reading below for more details about upcoming events!


Our BLAZE and RADIATE leaders are awesome! For the next few weeks, we would like to highlight our leaders for you. Our leader spotlight this week contains Anthony Spaniolo and Kim Theeuwes. We are so glad they are on our team and that they love our students! Click on the “Leader Spotlight” PDF below to read their full bio.


What is BLAZE? BLAZE is a community of 6th-8th graders that meet every Wednesday evening at FirstCov. We gather to seek God and to be changed by him. We will focus on the word of God through the reading and teaching of scripture, prayer, worship, service, life groups, and some super fun games!

Wednesday, October 4: Bro/Gal Night. Take a look at the details:

  • WHO? Middle schoolers (6th-8th graders) and their friends are invited!
  • WHAT? We have a Bro/Gal night this week! On Bro/Gal nights we split by gender for a meal, practical teaching, and fun. Splitting our group by gender allows for a greater community to be formed and deeper questions to be asked. The bros will be heading to the Thelen's house and the gals will be heading to the George's house. Our leaders are pumped to hang out with you all!
  • WHERE? Both the bros and gals will meet at FirstCovGR in the gym. The guys will load the van and drive to the Thelen's house (3070 Maplevale Ct SW). The girls will load the bus and drive to the George's house (5763 Woodbriar Dr). Both groups will meet back at FirstCovGR at 8pm. If your student cannot make it to church by 6p for transportation, feel free to drop your student off at the respective house!
  • WHEN? THIS Wednesday, October 4 from 6-8p.

Sunday morning programming has started! This year, we are offering two different classes for our 6-8th graders on Sunday mornings. They will both be from 9:00-10:15a. Take a look below for the descriptions.

  • ABIDE 67: 6th & 7th graders are invited to join us for snacks, games, and scripture. Our main focus will be to build community, practice spiritual devotion, and learn what it means to abide in the presence of God. This week, join Lauren Abrell and Rebecca Beltman as we talk about different ways to pray. Meet in room 112.
  • Confirmation: 8th graders are invited to join our confirmation and discipleship class. We will walk through the Bible and explore God’s word together through large and small group discussions and activities. This week, Pastor Ginny will be teaching on Hermeneutics. Meet in room 109.

SAVE THE DATE: Our Junior High retreat is coming up at Portage Lake Bible Camp from November 10-12! 6th-8th graders are invited to join us for a weekend of real faith, real fun, and great friends! Stay tuned for more details about departure, cost, and schedule. Talk to Lauren with any questions.


What is RADIATE? RADIATE is a community of 9th-12th graders who gather to seek God and to be changed by him. We will focus on the word of God through the reading and teaching of scripture, prayer, worship, life groups, and some super fun games! We meet every Sunday evening at FirstCovGR.

Sunday, October 8: SERVE. Take a look at the details:

  • WHO? High schoolers (9th-12th graders) and their friends!
  • WHAT? RADIATE SERVE night! Join us as we head into the Grand Rapids community for a night of service. As of right now, our plan is to serve with ICCF. Inner City Christian Federation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to work towards vibrant communities in West Michigan with connected neighbors, housing justice, and abundant opportunity--all people deserve safe, clean, affordable housing. We may be doing things like painting, yard work, power washing, and more to clean up these houses for tenants to move into. Make sure to wear close-toed shoes!
  • WHERE? Meet at FirstCovGR in the youth room. We will have pizza for dinner!
  • WHEN? THIS SUNDAY, October 8 from 6-8p.

Our Student Leadership Team (SLT) is meeting THIS Sunday, October 8 at 4pm. If you are looking to explore your spiritual gifts, leadership skills, and what it means to be a servant leader, come join us at Applebee's (4475 Lake Michigan Dr). Fill out THIS form before you come :) We hope to see you there.

4-D is back on Sunday mornings! High schoolers are invited to join Patty Hansma from 9-10:15a in room 224. Come eat some donuts and study the Word with us. Contact Josh Hinken with any questions.


Are you in a sport, band, choir, school musical, and/or something else that we can cheer you on at? Send us your schedules! Our leaders would love to come and support you! Send any schedules/details to Lauren Abrell at (630)750-6458 OR .


Please note that you must have a FirstCovGR Student Registration/Waiver for the 2023-24 school year submitted in order to participate in FirstCovGR's student ministry events. Please fill out THIS form. We need one form per student.


We are super excited to walk alongside you, your student, and your family this year! We believe that what we do in student ministry is important when it comes alongside what you already do at home. In order to bridge the gap between home and church, the two must not only encourage one another, but they must work together. We hope to use this section of our newsletter to provide you with resources to use at home as well as to share opportunities to get involved at church with your student(s). Our student ministry team is very excited about partnering with you!


  • Our team loves the resources that Fuller Youth Institute provides. Fuller Youth Institute is a branch of Fuller Theological Seminary that has paved the way for youth ministry and intergenerational discipleship. They have a whole library filled with books, articles, podcasts, and more that are directly for parents. Check out THIS link to find out more about it.


  • We are also looking for parents, ministry teams, and other volunteers to host OR or provide a meal for our Middle School Bro/Gal Nights. Here are some dates we are still looking for:
  • Provide a meal on Wednesday, Nov. 1 for our gals
  • Host our gals on Wednesday, Dec. 6
  • Provide a meal on Wednesday, Dec. 6 for our bros
  • Please fill out THIS link if you are interested. We appreciate your gift of hospitality!


  • Take a look at our fall calendars (attached)! We would LOVE to see you.
  • Join our Facebook group: FirstCovGR Youth Group. We often post about upcoming Middle and High School events, post ETAs when we have group outings, and upload lots of pictures to this page!
  • Follow us on Instagram @firstcovgr_ms & @firstcovgr_sh
  • Check out our High School LinkTree:
  • Want to find out more about our student ministry? Click HERE to visit our website!


Our team would love to connect with you! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Josh, Michelle, or Lauren via phone call, text, email, or office visit. We are looking forward to partnering with you this year!

Yipee! You made it to the end! Thank you for reading and being diligent will all the details. Looking forward to seeing you all so soon!

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