Regathering Plan for NextGen (For Real This Time)

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We are very excited to announce that all of NextGen will regather on Sunday, September 13th!

Over a month ago, ANTHEM (Youth Ministry) began meeting again in small groups and everything has gone exceedingly well. Earlier this month, we began hosting live experiences in our Worship Center on Sunday mornings (9 AM only), and those have been amazing. Now that we have MANY successful experiences under our belt and over 80% of our NextGen volunteers have informed us that they’re ready to resume serving – we’re ready to resume in-person experiences for kids.

There are a lot of details to unpack, so feel free to skim the headings to find content specific to your family. Also, we’ve attempted to pre-answer common questions in a FAQ below. Don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments or message us at [email protected]

NEW SERVICE TIMES

For nearly a month, we have been hosting in-person worship in the Worship Center at 9a on Sunday mornings. On September 13th, we will add a service so that our volunteers can both serve and attend on the same weekend.

We are serious about maintaining safe, sanitized, and socially distanced experiences for families. In order to have time to get everyone out of our children’s environments and reset for the next service, we are modifying our service times. Our services will be at 9 AM and 11 AM.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

When we had planed to regather back in June, we had initiated MANY new safety and cleaning protocols. Children’s Environments will reopen, but will do so at 30% capacity. Parents will still need to RSVP for either service and there will be a place to indicate how many children (and what ages) will attend. We will utilize our RSVP system to mobilize volunteers for each environment.

In our younger age groups, we have removed all toys and equipment that is too difficult to properly sanitize. We will bring out fresh toys/supplies for each service (which will be thoroughly sanitized during the week in preparation for the following Sunday.

In all of our children’s environments, we have marked our large group and small group spaces with “sit spots” clearly defining where kids can sit (allowing kids to have appropriate space).

Lastly, all of our volunteers have gone through revised training to prepare them for our regathering. All volunteers and kids will be temperature checked upon arrival and everyone (Kindergarten and up) will be required to wear a mask at this time. We are providing ample hand washing stations and high traffic surfaces will be sanitized regularly

PRESCHOOL ENVIRONMENTS

Just before the pandemic outbreak, we had made adjustments to begin construction on our preschool building (building 300). Obviously, we pushed pause on our construction project, but we have already made new accommodations that we will stick with for the foreseeable future.

All babies through two year olds will remain in the Babies/Toddlers building. We have enough space to incorporate our two-year old environments, so we’ll keep this entire age group under one roof.

Three year olds though Pre-K will move into our BRAND NEW temporary space. It is finished and ready for children (and it is BEAUTIFUL). You will access the new Pre-K space through the cafe. You can’t miss it. In this space, we have ample room for permanent small group spaces, a brand new large group worship space as well as a brand new environment for our kids with special needs!

ELEMENTARY ENVIRONMENTS

For the immediate future, we will be combining K-3 and Preteen like we often do for Jingle Jam and Easter Jam. We want to ensure we pull off AMAZING large and small group experiences for this age group and we feel we have more capacity to do so by combining our volunteers and resources at this time. In the coming months, we plan to move Preteen back to their own spaces.

ANTHEM JUNIOR HIGH ENVIRONMENTS

For more than a month, we have gathered both High School and Junior High School youth at 6:30 PM on Sundays. This has simply been a modified pandemic arrangement. We have found that the best time for Junior High youth to meet is on Sunday mornings since ALL Junior High students require parents to drive them to church.

Now that High School has permanently moved to Sunday nights, we will be moving the Junior High service to 11 AM beginning on Sunday, October 18th. We have a special series planned for September that we want High School and Junior High to experience together, so we will make the change to Sunday mornings just after Fall Break.

ANTHEM HIGH SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTS

Our ANTHEM Tribe Leaders have LOVED having the EXTRA time with their tribes since moving to Sunday nights. We had announced this move to Sunday nights back in March, merely a week before everything went online. Now we’re glad to be back in person at a time that allows High School youth to be together for longer than just one hour.

However, beginning October 18, we will be expanding our time on Sunday nights by an extra 30 minutes. We will begin at 6:30 and conclude at 8:30. By this time, we will modify the schedule to include more hang time where teenagers can connect with friends both inside and outside their tribes. We’ll plan for a longer worship experience (more time for worship and teaching) as well as plenty of time for in depth conversations in tribes.

This two hour format is going to create the experience we’ve been longing for many years now.

NEXTGEN ACTIVITY BOXES

We had a very successful launch for our NextGen boxes in August. This weekend, we will begin our distribution of September Activity Boxes. However, we will continue to offer NextGen Activity Boxes even after we begin meeting in person. We expect that a large percentage of our families will remain at home this Fall. Many families will come back to in-person gatherings but will continue to utilize the box to supplement weekend services and cover any weekends when attending isn’t possible.

To clarify, Activity Boxes are available for those who regather and those who need more time before regathering.

Click the button below to reserve your September box and make plans to pick it up or have it delivered!

NEXTGEN VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNTIES

Every year, we experience natural volunteer attrition. People move or situations change. A six month pandemic quarantine counts as one of those “changing situations.” Most of our NextGen Volunteers are excited to regather. However, we would love to GROW our amazing team and fill some existing gaps and staff some new initiatives specific to the unique season we are experiencing. Our first step is to attend a volunteer orientation (currently offered online two times a month). Click the button below to RSVP for an upcoming orientation.

Below are some common questions to our regathering plan:

Technically, you will RSVP your family. You can RSVP at https://missionaz.org/plan. The week leading up to September 13th will allow you to RSVP to attend the service and and to let us know how many children (and their ages) will be checking in to their environments.

That’s really unclear. Many of our leaders are excited to come back and see the kids they’ve been leading. However, everything is not going to be just like normal. Where we used to have three small groups for a certain grade, we may come back with just one. It is going to take time to sort out and we’ll always prioritize existing relationship where we can.

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