Gotta serve somebody
Reno Christian Fellowship
On Sunday mornings, the youth of Reno Christian Fellowship gather in a room at the church known as the Underground. Furnished with inviting couches and cozy chairs, foosball and pool tables, and an impressive set of musical instruments, the Underground at first glance does not seem like a place of worship but instead a hip and modish hangout for teenagers. This engaging but also relaxing environment is what makes RCF’s youth group different from others.
“Once I tried out RCF’s youth group, I really liked the atmosphere, so I kept coming,” says Galena High School student Danica Anderson. The setting is a refreshing contrast to the constant clichés of worship shown on television.
Aside from the visual aspects of the room, the youth group inspires personality and spiritual development with worship—including prayer songs that demonstrate the talent of RCF’s youth—as well as scripture discussions that are relevant in teens’ lives today, such as the morals behind punishment and forgiveness.
“I chose to join the youth group because I saw the character that had grown in my older sister from the Underground,” says Danica’s brother, Jacob Anderson.
Along with the development of the individual, RCF’s youth group is passionate in its mission to help the people around them.
“It’s important for teens to be involved in the community because it gives them the chance to learn how to serve others, make new relationships and experience new things,” says Danica.
Youth groups allow for teens to connect and feel secure in their beliefs all while strengthening the community. “The goal is to engage today’s youth culture with the word of God in order to help make a difference in the lives of teenagers and their families,” says Robbie Bryan, Youth Pastor at RCF. Bryan says the goal of the youth program is “seeing students navigate through their teenage years as Godly men and women and outstanding citizens who continue to make a difference in the world around them.”
The activism of the youth program at RCF is not limited to the local community. “Every year we go to Ensenada, Mexico, to work with a mission organization called Rancho Agua Viva, serving there to help build and repair homes of families in the local churches and help provide medical assistance to those who would normally not be able to receive it,” says Bryan.
The program also assists in providing shoes to earthquake victims in Haiti. Locally, Bryan says, “We have also worked with the food bank to help them gather and package food to go out to the community.”
Community service in the youth group is not assigned but is instead taught like a lesson. “We live in such a self-centered culture,” says Bryan. “If we are able to teach teenagers when they are young that helping the community and being aware of people around them is a good thing, hopefully that is something they will carry with them the rest of their lives.”
This lesson is something that religions of all kinds instruct their students. “Teenagers will see the injustices that are happening around them and try to make a difference rather than say, ‘Someone else will do it,’” adds Bryan.
“Community work is not just something to do for my faith in God but is also something to do for the faith of others,” says Jacob.
On Sunday mornings, before worship, the teens are constantly interacting with their leaders about possible events to become involved in and how to make them a reality.
“We teach from the Bible,” says Bryan. “Jesus’ life was focused on reaching out and serving those in need. This task isn’t something you can do only some of the time.” Helping the community affects teens’ lives and beliefs, and for teens at RCF, it is something they learn and take with them each day.