EPIC Student Ministries

EPIC

May 8th, 2020

A Message from Pastor Beth:

Hi everyone! 
As a church, we are in the process of re-imagining what our ministries will look like over the next few months as we do a phased re-entry. While there are many exciting things to come, I want to present you with an incredible family opportunity this upcoming week: 
A FAMILY SCAVENGER HUNT CHALLENGE!!!
This challenge goes active the minute you read this, and you have from now until Saturday, May 16th at 8:00 PM to submit your pictures, videos, and points. Take a minute and look over the document attached- there is a HUGE list of things for everyone- some crazy,fun, and random tasks, as well as many others that will up serve our neighbors and love Christ. Do as many as you can, because the family that submits the most points by May 16th wins  meal delivery on behalf of me! I will choose one children’s ministry family and one youth ministry family as winners. 
Winners will be announced on Sunday, May 17th and the meal of their choice will be delivered that week. 
If you plan to participate in this challenge, let us know by responding to this email with a resounding, “WE ARE IN!!!”  Below in the downloadable link to the Challenge. Have Fun!


Rev. Beth Graham
Associate Pastor & Deacon First United Methodist Church
626-2762 Office
(580)279-2430 Cell

May 6th, 2020

Hi EPIC Parents and Students! 
I hope this finds you all healthy and well! As we enter into May, I want to give you an update on where we are at as a church and a youth ministry. I know many of you have been wondering what’s been going on with EPIC and what the future holds for us, and my hope is that this email will really speak into that. 
Where we are at: Since Spring Break, we have been in crisis response mode. As a church, we swiftly moved all ministries online as fast as we could. EPIC shifted to meeting in google hangouts on Sunday nights, which was interesting to say the least! Truly, our children and youth ministries have been completely disrupted because of COVID-19. Instead of rushing back to our old norms, we are taking the time now to re-imagine what EPIC looks like going forward. This includes figuring out what works and what doesn’t, what values will remain constant, and what needs to be restructured so that our students can experience God to the fullest no matter what Church looks like or restrictions are in place. 
Recently, Bishop Laurie Hiller released a phase plan for all church and ministries in the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church to use as a guide for reopening. One thing that I want you to be aware of from this plan is that children and youth ministries are to be the last ministries to open at regular capacity. This lives into our mission as a denomination to do no harm in all aspects. 

Thus, we are preparing to keep EPIC online/offsite for many months to come. While we hope and pray to be back in the building doing EPIC at the beginning of the school year, we are realizing that this may not be reality for us. I have spent this week praying over, envisioning, and dreaming what EPIC will be. 
Where we are going:The past two weeks I have spent a lot of time brainstorming, talking to other churches, attending webinars, and praying over how we can continue EPIC as a ministry in this new world…all without being able to have “regular EPIC” at the church and our mission trips being cancelled this summer.
A few things that arose from this:1. The reality that what we have been doing so far in quarantine to keep students connected is, for the most part, not working. 2. Hard discussions with students on what holds them back from participating in EPIC online, which led to…3. A student COVID-19 Response team that has now met virtually twice to brainstorm and plan future EPIC meetings.4. A vision and weekly plan for EPIC that will roll out at the beginning of June (hopefully- fingers crossed!) once the Governor and Bishop release some of the restrictions in Johnson County. 

Ways to be Involved NOW:As we are currently in the “Red Light” phase of the re-entry plan (per the Bishop), all non-critical gatherings are to be stopped and distancing needs to be continued, and all youth ministries are to gather ONLINE ONLY. This red light phase is currently set in place until May 31st. SO- here’s how you can stay involved with EPIC in the month of MAY:1. Join us for the EPIC ZOOM meetings on Sunday nights. We are switching over to ZOOM effective this weekend, on May 3 and meeting at 6:30pm.

2. FAMILY SCAVENGER HUNT! This family scavenger hunt will be done EPIC style- for every item you complete on the list, points will be awarded. The family with the most points at the end of the hunt will receive a dinner delivered by me from Pancheros or Zio Johno’s.  The family scavenger hunt will take place on Friday, May 16th and Saturday, May 17th. Families will have two days to complete the tasks and send in pictures and videos. 

3. SERVING OPPORTUNITIES- 

EPIC families are invited to serve in our community by helping those who need help getting yard work done but are unable to due to health and other restrictions- this will of course be done following all guidelines and restrictions. If your family is interested in serving in the month of May by helping with yard work, let me know.

4.  EPIC Sidewalk Chalk Challenge- stay tuned for a contest to see who can tag the most driveways/sidewalks with inspiring, encouraging, and uplifting messages to our community- all in the month of May! Things to Look Forward to:

Once the Bishop moves us from the Red Light phase to the yellow light phase, expected June 1st, the following opportunities will start:
1. EPIC ON THE MOVE Epic will move from online meetings to neighborhood driveway hangouts. Each day of the week, we’ll have one house in each North Liberty neighborhood host a driveway hangout. Those who live in that neighborhood can grab their face mask, bring a lawn chair, and come hangout on the driveway with us 6ft apart. We’ll have some food, play some games, do a short devotion, and just truly enjoy each other. 
2. Parking Lot Hangouts Once we can meet in groups of 25, EPIC parking lot hangouts will start. We’ll meet at the church at 6:30pm on Sunday nights for lots of big summer games and food, and some Jesus too. 
Rev. Beth Graham
Associate Pastor & Deacon First United Methodist Church
626-2762 Office
(580)279-2430 Cell

April 3rd, 2o2o

Hey EPIC Students! How are you all holding up? We wanted to touch base with you in advance for Sunday night. Here are your weekly EPIC videos.
We will see you on Sunday night in google hangouts ~7:30pm Junior High and 8:30pm High

We’ll meet you in the hangouts 😁⬇️

March 29th, 2020

Hi all!
As we navigate through this COVID-19 journey, I want you to know just how hard all of our staff is working to make sure we are all staying connected. More importantly, we are doing all that we can to learn how to be the church digitally. This email contains all the information on how you can stay connected with EPIC and our church in the foreseeable future as a parent with a teenaged youth:
WORSHIP ONLINE  Sunday, March 22nd, was our first livestream worship service. We held one worship service led by 6-8 people from the church. Your jammies can be left on, grab your coffee, and curl up on the couch and join us at 10am. Here is the link: NL Methodist Streaming 

EPIC TEACHING TIME EPIC will continue to meet each week digitally! By Friday of every week, I will upload a video lesson to the EPIC facebook page, church website, and through email. There will be separate video lessons for junior high students and high school students. I ask that everyone watch the video before joining us in a google hangout each Sunday night for discussion and bible study around the topic in the video. This week’s topic: EASTER
Video Links Junior High: Undefeated- Easter Part 1 High School: Happy Easter Week 1

SMALL GROUP TIME – GOOGLE HANGOUTS Junior High Students will meet every Sunday night in a google hangout at 730pm.High School students will meet every Sunday night in a google hangout at 830pm. I ask that each student who wants to be part of the google hangouts be signed up for our texting service, as that is where I will send the hangout link. Link will be texted out 10 minutes before the hangout begins.  DAILY DEVOTIONALS Log in to YouVersion Bible App to find daily student devotionals to go along with our weekly topic. To find devotionals for this week:1. In the Bible App, search “xp3 undefeated” (Junior High) or “Xp3 Happy Easter” (High School) 2. Both of these daily devotional plans are 5 days and geared directly towards our students and designed to align with the weekly lesson. This week, I would like to try something new- let’s all read the devotionals together! The Bible app offers this amazing feature, and I’d like to take advantage of it. To join the devotional group, click JUNIOR HIGH Undefeated Devotional or HIGH SCHOOL Easter Devotional
CONVERSATION STARTERS At the bottom of this email, I have attached two documents. Both are conversation starters for you as the parent to engage in conversation with your teen this week over the topic of Easter. One is geared toward middle school students, and the other is geared to high school. 
Your spiritual journey means so much to us here at First UMC in North Liberty. We’d appreciate any feedback you’re willing to give us as we continue to navigate this path on putting our FAITH OVER FEAR. 
As I stated at the beginning of this email, all of this information will also be available on the EPIC facebook page as well as the church website. 
Holy Spirit, lead us together as we walk into this new path ahead for us. May we continue to grow in your grace, and come to know a deeper relationship with our Lord and Savior through it all. Amen.

Devotional links: Middle School: https://bible.com/p/25287625/476451cc8e08e240ef15d807b743f196 High School: https://bible.com/p/25287862/84d319ae18c1e7c23913dc8978dba4cc


March 21st, 2020

To our EPIC Family,

As we enter into uncertain times, know that our connections with you remain to be foremost important to all of us. Our goal throughout this time is to continue to engaged with us and with each other while continuing to grow spiritually. To do this, we’ve set up a few digital options that we really hope you will take advantage of:

EPIC TEACHING TIME 

EPIC will continue to meet each week digitally! By Friday of every week, we will upload a video lesson to the EPIC facebook page, church website, and through email. There will be separate video lessons for junior high students and high school students. We ask that everyone watch the video before joining us in a google hangout each Sunday night for discussion and bible study around the topic in the video. 

This week’s topic 3/21-3/28: ANXIETY

Video Links

Junior High: Trending: Anxiety Video

High School: I Have Questions – Anxiety Video

SMALL GROUP TIME – GOOGLE HANGOUTS

Junior High Students will meet every Sunday night in a google hangout at 730pm.

High School students will meet every Sunday night in a google hangout at 830pm. 

We ask that each student who wants to be part of the google hangouts be signed up for our texting service, as that is where we will send the hangout link. Link will be texted out 10 minutes before the hangout begins. If you would like to sign up for the texting service, please email nlmfamilies@gmail.com.

  DAILY DEVOTIONALS

Log in to the YouVersion Bible App to find daily student devotionals to go along with our weekly topic. Starting Monday, March 23, students can search the YouVersion Bible App for these topics to locate their specific devotionals:

1. In the YouVersion Bible App, search “xp3 trending: anxiety” (Junior High) or “Xp3 I have questions – Anxiety” (High School)

2. Both of these daily devotional plans are 5 days and geared directly towards our students and designed to align with the weekly lesson. 

Holy Spirit, lead us together as we walk into this new path ahead for us. May we continue to grow in your grace, and come to know a deeper relationship with our Lord and Savior through it all. Amen.

In Christ,

Rev. Beth Graham

EPIC Kick Off Fall 2019~Paint Wars!
EPIC Kick Off Fall 2019~ Paint Wars! Coming in with a BLAST!

September marks the Kick Off of EPIC Youth. This group meets up and serves as a place for students in grades Seventh-Tweleth to come together and engage in conversations about God, learn about life, and to be a part of something bigger than themselves. EPIC meetings end in May but the team works through the summer as well volunteering their time and traveling for mission trips. EPIC Small Groups are held on Sunday nights at 6:30 -8:00 PM in the Youth Room at Church.

For any questions please contact Beth Botsford- Graham, our Associate Pastor and Director of Children and Youth Ministries at: nlmfamilies@gmail.com or call the church office at (319) 626-2762.

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