"Worship is always the focus," said Chastity Opphile, coordinator of Outreach and Education at Christ United Methodist Church.
She is referring to the community-wide, student-led youth ministry that takes place at Christ United Methodist Church in Newcomerstown every Sunday night. More than 50 students, in grades six through twelve, are invited to participate in an hour of worship followed by an hour "after" party where they take part in a variety of activities.
But, one thing remains -- the activities are planned and organized by a group of 10 students that are on the leadership team. Those 10 leaders are selected by their peers to organize the activities.
For instance, in March, the leadership team has planned Human Foosball, Cupcake Chaos and Charades Insanity as "after" party activities. They even plan a two-night retreat to Camp Zimmerman, as well as a youth rally called Energize that takes place in the fall.
Besides the weekly gatherings, the youth also takes part in other activities during the month including a 30-hour famine, 24-hour justice experience with modern-day slavery, fifth quarter activities after home basketball and football games, and other outreach activities.
"Kids are really passionate about making a difference in the community," Opphile said. "They (students) take seriously the call to be transformed and they make it their goal to lead other students to be transformed by the power of Jesus."
Meta, which stands for "profound change" or "spiritual transformation," meets every Sunday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church in Newcomerstown. Church affiliation or school district does not matter. Everyone is welcome, Opphile said.
"God is moving in powerful ways," she said. "The youth are setting a strong example for their peers and as a result, the face of the community is being changed. Students are learning to worship God with all that they have and are following Jesus as a generation of world-changers."
To learn more, call the church at 498-8134 or visit the Meta page on Facebook.